It’s January. You're back in your classroom, summer (or rain) lingers in the air, you’re feeling refreshed and excited about the possibilities of 2023 with your ākonga.
THEN in the corner of your eye you see a pile of devices. Perhaps you’ve got a game plan or perhaps seeing the tangle of chargers is giving you heart palpitations.
Either way, we’ve put together a few key tips and points to consider to sort your digital environment to start term 1 ready to go!
1. SORT THAT PILE
Depending on how much you're left to your own devices (get it!) with your classroom digital devices, this is an essential starting point. Do a quick audit:
How many devices does your class have?
Do they all have chargers? (I swear they are eaten by children, especially ipad cords)
Do you students have BYOD?
Do you have a plan for storage and charging?
Do they need labels?
Have they still got old work or old accounts on them?
Here’s a few solutions to those questions:
2. SORT KIDS EMAILS OR LOG INS
Before your students come to school or in the first week, check they have their google accounts set up. This may not even be an issue, but I still recommend creating a quick list of your students and their email. Chances are most of them will have forgotten their passwords - we recommend resetting them all through Hapara (if you have it) or the Google Admin Dashboard to be all the same. Then, see tip 4, you can teach students about strong passwords!
TOP TIP: not all teachers have access to the Google Admin Dashboard, either your SLT will or your digi lead will. Have a kōrero with them about emails/resetting.
ANOTHER TOP TIP: Make a list of logins to print and put on wall or in individual students books/desks.
3. DEFINE YOUR DIGI ENVIRONMENT
What role does digital learning/fluency/technologies play in your teaching and learning? That’s the big question. Here at DC, we advocate for a balance and a mix - digital technologies should enhance and support your programme not necessarily dominate it or become time fillers. Here are some key points to consider:
Google Workspace (I’m using Google Workspace for this example as it seems to be the most common platform used, but this could be Microsoft as well)
What will you use Google Workspace for in your own teaching?
What will you use Google Workspace for with your learners?
Student Creativity and Work
What are some ways your students will present/share their learning?
What are some of the tools you already use that work well?
What apps or programmes will add to your programme?
Enabling Student Agency
How might you share links/docs/info with your students digitally?
What tools could support students with diverse needs?
Sharing with Whānau
How will you share and celebrate student work with whānau?
How will you communicate with your students whānau?
Lots to think about, but we’ve got some ideas for you:
4. PLAN FOR SOME EXPLICIT TEACHING
Ok, maybe a hard truth here but in order for your students to effectively use any digital device or tool, explicit teaching and modelling is required. Our students may be ‘digital natives’ (albeit some have debunked this theory) or spend a lot of time on devices, they don’t know what they don’t know and they need to develop their skills to create QUALITY OUTCOMES. Just like when students come into our classroom, they need to learn the ropes, the processes the systems.
You may be getting students from different classes, or even different schools! To ensure equity (and protect your sanity) I HIGHLY recommend carving out some time in term 1 to teach your students at least the basics.
And it doesn't have to be boring! Ok, signing in and out can’t be jazzed up that much, but make your life easier and have a list of emails on the wall, get them to write their email for handwriting in week 1 (think school.co.nz).
A couple of ideas of things to teach explicitly:
STRONG PASSWORDS - if you have reset passwords, then teaching students to make their own strong passwords is not only good digital practice but integral in digital citizenship. Think - animal, number, symbol.
GOOGLE DOCS BASICS - one of my go to mini lessons to do to teach some great basics in Docs. Don't forget to model it! 1. Create a Google Doc 2. Make a table 3. Insert photos of your favourite things- animal, food, sports etc 4. Share it with a teacher or buddy! Find more ideas for Google with ākonga here
GOOGLE SLIDES BASICS - another one of my go to start of the year lessons is this All about us/Guess Who? collaborative Google Slide. If you are not ready for collaboration then get them to do some sort of version individually.
BOOKMARKING - Teaching your students to bookmark key sites like - their drive, Mathletics, Seesaw etc saves a tonne of time (and tears). Tip: you can actually customise this in the Google Admin Dashboard so that YOU can choose what the bookmarks are and have that pushed out to all your students 🙀
SEESAW - Create a self portrait - covers how to take a photo, how to use the tools and how to post - great for beginners on Seesaw! Here's a list of kid speak (and teacher speak) I can posters for your class and kids!
TOP TIP: I suggest doing this in a rotation - just like reading or maths - take a small group - teach them explicitly, rotate through your groups. This gives you a chance to teach the skill over and over (great for your fluency!) but it also means you can see who will become your experts and then use them to help or teach others.
Like a Skills list? Check out our skills list for Google Workspace here (handy for you and older students!)
We also have them for Book Creator, iMovie, Seesaw and more!
5. TRY SOMETHING NEW?
Term 1 is the term where for a lot of students everything can feel pretty new. It’s a great time to try one something new. Maybe try book creator? Set up a class site? Have a go with Google Classroom?
Learn alongside the students, be brave, what’s the worst that can happen? 😎
FEELING OVERWHELMED? NEED SOME HELP?
If you need some support for you and your kura to find the right tools for the job, speed up your digital workflow or upskill yourself for using digital technologies in meaningful integrated ways - get in touch!
We do fully funded free PLD for kura all over Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Check out all our resources over on the Digital Kete - www.digitalkete.co.nz
or flick me an email here and let's get the ball rolling for 2023!