Sunday 24 February 2019

Training Teachers vs Teaching Kids

So as the title suggests, this is going to be a comparison post.

I divide my time between coaching teachers on how to incorporate technology into their lessons and showing students how to use the technology to get the most out of their learning. This also serves the purpose of letting the teachers "get on with the teaching" without also having to be the experts when it comes to the technology.

But the differences between the two are enormous! If you imagine having to teach some grade 8 students how to make a video to demonstrate their understanding of a topic vs showing teachers the same platform (ie Clips on iOS) I am sure you would know that these are two VERY different sessions!

I have broken the differences down into a few key points:

Firstly - kids are not afraid to take risks or make mistakes. They embrace the existence of the UNDO button. If kids are faced with a new app with 10 different buttons, they press all of them to find out what each button does. Teachers would be too scared in case they break something!

Secondly - kids are fast! Today's high school children were born into a world of Technology. Of Youtube, iTunes and podcasts. They are well versed in the world of smartphones and mobile devices and will generally be able to figure something out if they don't know how it works. Show them the gist of it and that should be enough for them to get the hang of it. I generally have to spend at least twice as long demonstrating how to do something when it comes to adults. In fact, this year's Grade 8's at Rustenburg Girls' High have blown through the first term's iPad curriculum in no time and I've had to adjust my planning drastically!

Number 3 -  kids are very good at seeing different use cases for different apps or pieces of software. Show them a video creation platform that comes with beautiful templates and they will take screenshots of these to bring into their presentations. Teachers are much more interested in seeing a like-for-like replacement scenario where the technology literally replaces what was done before (think substitution in the SAMR model), regardless of the fact that there may be no benefit to the learning outcomes!

To be clear - I do not want to alienate the amazing teachers who put in hours of extra time and effort to enhance the already brilliant things they do.

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Finally - kids are very good at "delving deeper". By this, I refer to when they discover additional features of an app beyond what is immediately obvious. They unlock the "advanced settings" element almost immediately. Teachers will use and re-use the same feature of an app without ever finding out some of the more exciting aspects...where the real fun begins!

What do you think? As a tech integrator, I enjoy both aspects of my job. There is nothing like helping a teacher find an innovative or more engaging way to teach a particular concept, but then the excited look on their faces when kids learn the wonder of adding cool animations and transitions to their creations in a Keynote presentation is not far behind!

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