There are few things more satisfying than working as Apple Education Resellers, and Invotec is quickly becoming the “go-to” reseller for area schools. Primary school principal Trish Taylor summed up her experience with the company by calling Invotec “responsive, friendly, and supportive.” She also mentioned the way Invotec explains complex technology in simple terms and helps schools prioritize what needs to be done. Invotec doesn’t just put computers in classrooms. They also help educators figure out how to make the most of technology. As a way to make the transition into technology-filled classrooms easier, Invotec offers these ten tips to educators:
Classroom technology can enhance your experience as an educator or can create chaos. It all depends upon how computer rules are set. Before students have the chance to see their new computers, discuss rules. The first rule should be, “Computers are meant to reinforce classroom learning, not distract from it.” Allow students to help set rules and create a poster that displays them for everyone to see.
If possible, arrange seating in a circle with each student facing outward. Not only will this allow you to stand in the middle and see what is on each student’s screen, but it also cuts down on student distraction.
Create a “Time for Quiet” Cue
Anyone who has ever attempted to capture the attention of 20 or 30 fidgety students knows the frustration. Add to that the distraction of clicking mouses, laptops opening and shutting, and noise coming from headsets, and you might feel as though you will never have your student’s full attention again. Create a cue (it might be something as simple as ringing a bell) that tells the class that it is time to turn their monitors off, unplug their headsets, and turn their mouse over on its back. In other words, once they hear the cue all work on their computers should cease and eyes should be on you.
Post a Troubleshooting Chart
Unless you prepare students to troubleshoot minor issues with their computers you may find yourself spending valuable time doing it for them. Some problems – like running out of battery power or headphones not working correctly – are sure to arise. Take time to show the entire class how to take care of the small issues themselves. It will make them feel good about their skills and save you much-needed classroom time.
Every student is different. Some can concentrate with little effort and others need help in the concentration department. Consider allowing students to listen to music (of your choosing) on their headphones as they work. It can help them focus on their assignment, block out noise from other students, and may keep them from visiting with their neighbour.
Assign Students to Maintenance Duty
There is no need for you to handle the day-to-day maintenance of computers yourself when you have a classroom full of willing students. Assign maintenance duty to two students each week. During that week they will be responsible for making sure everything is charged and equipment is properly stored at the end of the day.
Create a Daily Goal Log
To stay on task, students need to have specific goals they are expected to accomplish. For example, if you’re working on a botany chapter, their goal for one day may be to find the ten most common plants in the Victoria area. The next day the assignment may be to find native plants that are poisonous to animals. Each student should have their online goal log. In that log they will list their assignments by day and whether or not they have completed them.
The reward system you implement will depend mainly on how old your students are. Young children are thrilled by getting a star next to their name on a poster board or being able to take a treat from a jar after achieving a goal. Older students can be a little trickier. One thing that may work is to allow a student who completes his daily goals for two weeks to “create his own assignment” for extra credit. Again, if you were working through a botany chapter that assignment might be something like writing a paper on which seeds are edible.
As Apple Solutions Experts we are aware that issues arise. Sometimes it’s as simple as realising that a student has trouble seeing the monitor clearly and needs larger font and sometimes it’s more complicated — like finding out that a child with a learning disability cannot keep up with the class. Computers in the classroom are new to your students, but they are also new to you. As long as you recognise that issues are going to come up (and will undoubtedly have a remedy) and are willing to go through the learning curve, you will find the best way to use technology to complement your lesson plans.
When you’re looking for an Apple partner in Victoria, keep in mind how important it is to work with someone who understands how computer technology works best in a classroom. Call someone who has been down this road before and can help you and your school avoid potential pitfalls.