What Computer Time Was, Is, and Should Be

I would’ve thought that my higher-level students would have used computer time to do more difficult English work.  After all, the most basic and immediate benefit of Computer Time is that it’s inherently multilevel. 

Yesterday, however, I noticed that everyone (even my temporary Level 3 student) was on the beginning level.  When I suggested to a few students that they try Level 2 or Level 3, they were all eager to do so and they haven’t seemed to look back. 

Maybe I wasn’t clear about what the purpose of computer time was (very, very possible).  Maybe they’re cautious learners.  Maybe they felt it was some sort of respect to the Level 1 teacher to do Level 1 computer work.  Maybe it’s a mix of all of those.  I guess the point is that the first days of computer time weren’t actually as multilevel as I’d thought!  Luckily, fixing that was simple once I realized it was an issue.

I also feel that we have an issue in that we have Computer Time as separate from our “real” learning time, and that we use our computers solely to run unidirectional software and never (so far) for students to collaborate and create content.  These issues don’t have quick fixes.

One big reason it is this way right now is that students lacking basic mousing skills or who type at 8 WPM are going to have a ton of trouble collaborating and/or creating content.   I think the foundational work we’re doing has great value.   But some of my students are not novices.  All of a sudden, I’m back in a multilevel conundrum in which I can’t effectively plan for specific individuals because attendance is erratic. 

We just have a long way to go.  The next step is probably to do a project in the class in which we collaborate digitally, for example, making a cookbook during an upcoming food unit.

Everyday we come a little closer to using our digi-tech how we should.  As Granny says, “We’re getting there, inch by inch.”

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