Tech Tip Tuesday: How to Get Kids to Learn New Technology

by Kristie Burk

If you have a new app or technology tool that you want students (or other teachers) to learn, how do you do it?  Do you jump right in with teaching? Do you first show the students how the tool works?

Steve Bambury, founder of the iPad Educators site, shares a great ideas in his article called “Flipping Pages: A Student-Centered Approach to Introducing Apps.”

Bambury promises a group of teachers that he can get students to learn how to use the Pages app on the iPad in just under an hour and on their own.

Before they begin, each student gets a checklist of success criteria, an iPad, and some Post-it Notes. Then, Bambury divides the students into groups.  I’ve summarized the hour for you below, but please read the entire article for more details.

Stage 1 (25 minutes):  Students sit in groups, but they must be silent.  They are not allowed to talk to each other or to the teacher during this entire time.  They are encouraged to play with the app/tool and try to do as many items on the checklist as they can.  If they run into a problem or have a question, they write it on a Post-it Note and stick it in the middle of the table.

Stage 2 (10 minutes):  The students are allowed to work in their groups, showing each other what they have learned and they clear all the Post-it Notes by “collaborating and problem solving.” They still are not allowed to ask the teacher for help.

Stage 3 (10 minutes): The students are allowed to ask questions to anyone in the room, except their teacher.

Stage 4 (10 minutes): The students are finally allowed to ask the teacher any remaining questions, but Bambury says, “They were finally able to ask me questions…[but] they didn’t really want to! They knew most of the answers by this point and had realised that they could be more independent learners.”

Stage 5 (5 minutes):  The class reconvenes for a final evaluation of the app.

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