'Tis the season for giving! Playing in the snow, fun family activities, getting ready for the holidays... this can also be the season where your kids completely change. There are more and more special activities happening which means that tutoring might not be the favorite on the list of things to do. One of the most important things we can do as a teacher is to continue to show interest in their daily lives to maintain that connection and really engage with our students. It might also be time to rethink how some of our lessons are working for our students.
Here are five signs that you might using too much tech:
1. You hear, "I'm bored!"
Every child is different, of course, some kids are going to be drawn to the tech. Knowing this helps you implement that into a lesson. Some kids, on the other hand, are going to be more engaged with you being more of a part of the lesson. I tell my kids that this "B" word is a bad word. 😉
Can this happen during any part of a lesson, even during a game? Yes, it's true. I've had a student say they're bored in the middle of a very engaging game. How can they be bored during a game? I was using a website and a PDF; the student just didn't think it was fun. Since then, I started making freebies for teachers on how to build movement into games and without much technology. I'm just trying to take away some of the "B" word that we might hear.
2. You're getting more frozen ❄️ than Elsa with no plan B.
Sure, we have to use tech online, but tech is not always our friend. When your screen is freezing up a lot or your students are calling you frozen, it's the worst. I always tell them that I have to go get a sweater. LOL Not only is it very frustrating for the student but it's also frustrating to you because we plan this great lesson, and you end up not carrying it through. Maybe you have too many tabs open, but regardless of the tech you're using, you still need a Plan B. A plan where you can come back to the video and have a smooth lesson even if you have to pop off Zoom.
Our goal as educators is to deliver a lesson that flows and doesn't interrupt our students' learning. If glitches come your way, this is a sign that you have too much tech and you need that extra plan. This just happened to me this week. They didn't have the plug to the regular computer and had to switch off devices. It was complicated and it kept freezing. But all we did was switch to FaceTime, which we have as private tutors. We were able to put Plan B into place and work on video.
3. Oh No! You've lost control again.
We want to elevate our lessons by giving our students control of tools or maybe the remote control but not the lesson. Sometimes when we insert too much tech into our lesson, we give up a lot of our control. This happened to me when I shared the remote control for an app called Sound Literacy Board. My student started spelling naughty words and moving the files all over the place. I felt helpless! I've also had kids scribble all over the screen. We need to know what our teacher features are and how we can get our lessons back into our control. When we use our own materials, we can support our learners. Again, this can be our Plan B if you have a really good listener. We also need one for our wiggly and curious kids.
4. It Takes Too Long to Prep.
You spend time searching for slides that are going to support your lessons, then the next day you look for PowerPoint or interactive word card sides. Maybe you create games or search websites for decodable sentences. These all are amazing resources at your fingertips! But if it's taking too long to prep, especially if it's longer than in person, it's not fair to your students. If you have the practice and you've already taught the stuff in person, you have the materials at your fingertips. So, you have to think about how I can use technology to use my own materials, not how can I use technology to replace my teaching methods.
5. You're Missing Out on Teachable Moments
I thought I had everything right on the first day of my student, I uploaded 100 PDFs onto a program called Bit Paper. I had everything covered. I had what I thought was everything covered, but a student is always going to have a question and need an additional resource. That's what makes it so amazing teaching one-on-one. We can have these teachable moments, but if we're searching online for our answers, it can really break the flow of the lesson. I love the fact that when my student has a question, I can reach for a nice visual to support them with a new strategy or share a new resource under the document camera. My students don't see me searching the internet for answers and your student shouldn't either. Let's hold onto the teachable moments.
There are so many other signs that you might be using too much tech in your lesson. You're all very skilled tutors and teachers! I said I wanted to share so many tips with you and really focus on the behavior and needs of the students, the flow of your lesson, and how you maintain behaviors. Your set up is really going to make you and your student successful!
I'm also sharing a free game this week! Click HERE for Winter Wonderland Spin and Spell!
Have a great week!