In the television game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” contestants answer a series of multiple choice questions in an attempt to win $1,000,000. Contestants have the option to use a lifeline if stumped by a question. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a reliable lifeline when stumped by a question, especially one related to technology?
In this blog I have been chronicling our Elementary Education department’s move to require students to bring an iPad to class this fall. Our goal is to prepare our teacher candidates to learn and teach using technology. We are presently on our second week of the semester. As might be expected, students (and faculty) have experienced many emotions over the past few weeks, ranging from excitement, to curiosity, to frustration. Some students seem thrilled to be using the same technology they learned with in high school, or happy to be on the cutting edge in teacher preparation. On the other hand, some students show great hesitancy and even emotional stress at the thought of learning with technology. Many students are quickly realizing their vast knowledge of social networking, smartphones, and texting will be only minimally helpful in this new learning environment.
Our iPad initiative team was hard at work all summer preparing what we call “Connection Point,” a collection of resources that serve as a lifeline to novice iPad users. We want students to know we offer a variety of tools to help them learn about using their device. These resources include:
- kick-off orientations.
- online tutorials with self-assessment quizzes and badges for successful completion.
- a face-to-face iPad help station in the Education building for the first two weeks of the semester.
- a series of mini-workshops once a month presenting various apps.
- the formation of informal iPad user groups that meet weekly.
Overall we are pleased with the ways students have utilized these resources, although we would like to have seen all students immediately take advantage of at least one of these lifelines.
As the semester is now underway, we have noticed that the students are beginning to use each other as lifelines, recognizing one of the more subtle goals of our initiative: the value of learning together.
Do you have a lifeline for technology issues that stump you? If not, cultivating a go-to resource, whether it’s phoning a friend or asking your own students, can be a technology lifesaver.