We’re simply over two years into the pandemic for COVID-19, and my college students are lastly again within the classroom and studying in-person. Preserving my college students motivated remains to be a problem, and I’ve observed an necessary change of their angle to expertise: Simply utilizing tech for actions and initiatives has not been inspiring my college students prefer it did earlier than the pandemic.
Earlier than the pandemic, my college students perked up once they heard that they might be utilizing expertise as a medium to finish an exercise or a challenge. They have been at all times excited to check out a brand new program or web site, to create their very own productions with sound and animation or to file a podcast or a digital story. Utilizing expertise to finish initiatives was at all times an natural means for college kids to work collectively, discover expertise and current their work in artistic methods. In lots of situations, these experiences with expertise enormously improved my college students’ retention after all materials and made their studying experiences extra participating.
Being a center college instructor, studying on Zoom was arduous for almost all of my college students. They have been tasked with sitting in entrance of their screens for almost all of the day whereas studying remotely. If that was not sufficient, they have been additionally compelled to be taught and work together with a melting pot of various websites and applications that have been utilized by their completely different lecturers.
In a short time, expertise was changing into extra of a burden for college kids than a software to reinforce their studying.
Now that we’re again in particular person, I’ve needed to hold this in thoughts when planning actions and initiatives.
A Shift in Pondering and Planning
After I launched into my first unit challenge after returning to in-person studying, and I offered our expertise challenge on historic Egypt, I used to be met with frowns and sighs. I had by no means gotten this response from my college students after presenting them with a challenge.
Normally, my college students are electrified with concepts and can’t wait to start. Their reactions actually made me take into consideration how I exploit expertise in my instructing, and why I would like my college students to make use of it as a medium to finish their initiatives. My goal was at all times to make my college students’ studying extra memorable and interesting, however now my strategies have been backfiring on me.
I didn’t need my college students to undergo by way of this challenge, so I made a decision to amend it a bit. As a substitute of requiring my college students to all full the identical podcasting challenge, I made a decision to offer them selections. I created a alternative board for the traditional Egypt challenge and brainstormed completely different challenge choices, with some that required the usage of expertise and a few that didn’t. After I distributed my alternative board, to my shock, nearly all of college students selected challenge choices that didn’t require the usage of expertise.
After observing this phenomenon, I wished to dig deeper. I requested my college students to write down a couple of traces about why they selected their challenge possibility. The responses revealed a couple of frequent themes. Most of my college students reported that they wished a break from their screens. They wished to do a challenge that was extra hands-on that allowed them to work extra off-screen. Different college students reported that utilizing expertise for initiatives will be actually irritating for them, particularly when issues don’t go as deliberate and they’re compelled to troubleshoot their issues. These college students additionally reported that initiatives that require the usage of expertise can take for much longer to finish and ideal due to all of the small particulars that go into them.
After viewing all of the initiatives produced for the traditional Egyptian unit, I used to be pleasantly stunned by what was submitted. My college students actually took possession of their challenge selections, and I think the outcomes have been a lot better than they have been once they have been required to finish a selected challenge and didn’t have any selections. It was alternative, not expertise, that impressed my college students.
By means of this course of, I realized many necessary classes. I noticed that lots of my college students are fatigued by way of expertise. Academics required lots of them throughout distance studying, and it is just proper to offer them a reprieve. A reprieve doesn’t imply I’m making issues simpler for my college students. It implies that I’m now giving them selections.
Though my college students gained many beneficial tech expertise whereas studying remotely, they weren’t all motivated to make use of them upon their return to the classroom.
Every of my college students is completely different, and so they all have completely different talent units and pursuits. By giving them selections, I’m permitting them to determine what medium is finest for them.
And today, I’ve found that utilizing expertise doesn’t at all times inspire my college students. Giving them selections has impressed my college students to actually immerse themselves in what they’re studying and show their studying in a means that most closely fits their skillsets. After a break from being compelled into utilizing expertise, my hope is that their love for the usage of expertise will return.