WONDERING what to do when first faced with a 9th grade class armed with 1:1 laptops? Here’s a couple of ideas … let’s kick off with the bad way… then move to a fun way. All you need to play is a PBWorks. This is one of those learn it in 10 minute things.
Some will set about establishing THE ‘rules’ – what you can’t do and how you will behave in MY classroom – or else.
They start with threats, expose weakness, discount opportunity and never test student strengths.
You know what I’d do? Play Wiki-Tag!
I’d teach them how teach each other about how to look after their laptop! I’d get the kids to create a resource of awesomeness that everyone could share or add to. I’d create a student-help desk, right there and then. I’d create a learning community. I’d empower everyone. I’d establish a new norm – and at the same time knock over half a dozen outcomes. I’d mix that with their ‘regular’ lessons … yep, I’m crazy enough to do two-things at once.
Here’s how wiki-tag works
- Start with a brainstorm – get kids into groups to think/pair/share and list what they know about their new laptop and what think they are going to need to know. Go around and around students in the groups asking for ideas until all the ideas ran out.
- Then I’d go around and ask for responses until they run out.
- Put all the knows and need to knows on the wall.
- Give each student something to do from the list – and make a wiki-page. (yeah, you have to sign up to pbworks first).
- That student owns that page, until someone makes it better – by putting a suggestion in the discussion tab. If the group thinks the idea is better, then the kid who currently owns the page needs to find something else, and the kid with the suggestion now owns it. So the displaced kid has to go looking to improve someone else’s idea.
- Anyone not adding to the ideas; gets given and ideas to work on. The group will allocate a ‘task’… They’ll learn to be pro-active, as solving your own problems is more interesting that being given one. If the group can’t come up with one – then they get the teacher’s idea.
- You have to play everyday for month, and then have to do at least one thing a week for semester. (Appoint a wiki-administrator to give you a weekly report so you don’t have to).
- Students design an evaluation; to work out what activity gets the best marks, based a criteria such as; innovation; accuracy; importance; effort; supporting others (the 21st Century skills).
- Students grade their projects – those that contributed to the best page – share the marks (let them work out the formulas)
- There’s a weekly reward for participation – additional credit on your final term score.
Each day I had them, I’d give them a new problem to solve, or throw them a curve ball – and in solving it, lead them to explore new boundaries and find better ways to explain it. From resources on touch typing to help with configuring the wireless – my ideas would mix with theirs. I’d make pages; and they could make them better. With my wiki, I’d embed 75% of the pedagogical technology I need in one hit as kids learn to ‘mix’ and ‘mash’.
I’d get them to think of ways to evaluate our ideas, and the value of the improvements – a kind of ‘idea’ currency exchange.
- If you stick to small stuff, you have to do more than if you create new big stuff. Huh? Well if you put up a simple page; then someone will find it easy to change and you are more likely to get bumped. Do a comprehensive page and you might keep it all semester (and focus on stuff you like).
- That’s how life works, so that’s how I want my class to work.
- I’d make the IT Helpdesk a wiki not a form or a phone call. And if I had IT help on staff – guess what, I’d make damn sure my kids knew that they didn’t need support or wait in line – as our wiki would be the best way to get help – anytime.
- Not ‘can you help me to’ – I want to hear ‘Can you teach me to’ – and put it on our wiki.
- I’d want our school to have the best wiki – and get dots on our map and get other schools to use it!
By the end of the month, my kids would be independent; co-productive and co-operative – ready to deal with whatever I wanted to teach next. Deeper learning rewards more than surface learning. Then I could play more wiki-tag, just by changing the topic – because they have learned a process in a realistic, relevant way.
Want to learn to play? – Drop me a line, sure we can hook it up. 50 ways to play wiki-tag … easy.