There are so many reasons why one might choose to wait until children are older before using Google Apps. Some that immediately come to mind include my students’ typing skills (or lack thereof), bridging the conversation about email, and how will I negotiate all those apps they now have access to.
Oh Well! I am diving in! So what strategies am I using?
Issue #1 :
Typing. Ok — this is a big one. But it turned out to be a great reminder for students to use Typing Pal at home *see my previous post on typing*. I allotted more time and was more patient. Also, I helped students who had trouble by typing in the authentication gibberish that Google makes you do the first time you login. After that, the students don’t care and peck away. They ask each other for help and they point out where letters are. The good news is that this lesson becomes a reminder that they need to use Typing Pal so the usage of the app goes up.
Worried about the conversation about email? So have it! In the 2nd Grade, they still follow rules. Next year, they will use email regularly so I get the luxury of introducing it while they still listen to rules. More importantly, I am teaching it as a tool for getting work accomplished and not as a social tool. I think that helps a little. They learned how to use email in order to send ME a Google Form. Which brings me to ….
All those apps! It is the apps that made me make the leap. You see, the 2nd Grade is knee deep in the research mode of the Design Thinking unit we are doing. They need to survey each other to find out what people think about the products they are redesigning. So what a great opportunity — this is one time that technology makes learning better. Google Forms!
Below is the structure of the lesson:
- I had to explain qualitative vs quantitative questions and data, why each is valuable and how can we use them effectively.
- Students then created a survey questionnaire with a minimum of 3 qualitative and 1 quantitative questions.
- Students learned how to create a Google Form, share it with each other, and share it with me.
- Finally, I had to coordinate a time when all 60 students could fill out each others surveys.
- I placed 12 computers in each classroom – 6 group surveys per 20 students x 2 computers
- Then I gave each class of 20 Children 10 minutes to visit each classroom.
During our next lesson, students looked at their survey results.
- They went to Form in the menu items
- They scrolled down to Show Summary of Responses
They were amazed at the answers their classmates gave. A lot of students remarked that some of the answers to the survey will affect the outcomes of their designs, and some were happy that their ideas were validated through the results.
These children now have a skill that a lot of adults don’t have. And they loved every moment of it!
Next: Ideate and Prototype
For several years, Don Buckley with aruliden has worked with TSC to bring Design Thinking to the curriculum. I have worked for two years learning this method to develop a design thinking curriculum for early elementary students.