This is the fourth in a series of posts on teaching technology quickly so technology-based learning activities can be focused more on the curriculum than on the technology.
Kids Teaching Kids
Another effective strategy is “Kids Teaching Kids.” This strategy is important because many teachers still don’t feel they know as much about technology as their students do (whether they actually do, or not).
The good news is that same feeling of inadequacy translates into the teacher having 15-30 valuable resources right in her own classroom!
In its simplest form, “Kids Teaching Kids” can be as simple as when a student comes to you and says, “I saw that Moesha had some interesting animation in her project; will you show me how to do that?” You respond, “Why don’t you ask Moesha how she did that?”
More deliberate approaches include creating a poster listing typical tech issues, apps, peripherals, devices, and programs for your classroom, and the students who know how to use them, do them, or fix them. When a student needs help with using the iPod Touch as a digital camera, he can look up at the list and see which of his classmates already know how to use it.
Some teachers use the “three before me” rule. If a student has a question about how to do something, she must ask three other students before approaching the teacher.
Another strategy is to teach a new skill or tool to a handful of students, with the expectation that they will then go on and teach the other students.
Notice how each of these approaches both empowers students (often including students who may not have a lot of other opportunities in class to feel empowered!), and frees you to put your energy where it is most needed.