Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wednesday Wit

 It's all about perspective... always....

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Monday, May 2, 2022

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Now that we've moved on past COVID protocols, and kids can work together again, I've had to review my tech teamwork policy.

Help with your words, not with your hands.

I love how much the kids love to help each other. In fact, one of the lessons in Code.org's curriculum has kids doing something called paired programming. I use the analogy of pilot and navigator a lot as well, directing one student to use the controls while the other is in charge of the "map."

There are a ton of unplugged ways to practice this as well. When I taught third grade, we had a fun (yet old fashioned!) team building activity that involved one student giving directions to a second student. The first student had to direct the second as to where to place shapes to build a picture. The "direction giver" was not allowed to say what the picture was, they were only allowed to say things like "put the blue circle below the red rectangle." The result was often comical, and drove home the importance of clear communication (a lesson we can use at any age!)

Communication is one of those critical life skills that kids begin developing at birth, and the finessing of communication skills can take a life time to achieve. These kids are so helpful (for the most part) and are more than happy to jump up and help out a classmate, especially with technology. The challenge comes when kids want to grab their friend's device and do the work for them, instead of explaining how to complete the task at hand. 

Yes, it can take longer to explain something to someone. Yes, it can seem tedious, especially when you (or the child helper) can get it done in one or two clicks. But it's so much more than just the time factor. It's incredibly important for each child to learn those basic tech skills. And it's even more important for everyone to learn how to clearly explain something to another person.

It's part of why I love teaching coding so much - if the directions aren't crystal clear, the program won't work. Plain and simple. And while communicating in real life isn't as black and white as coding is, it's definitely a skill worth honing.

Help with your words, not your hands.

Making the time for this kind of practice is worth it, because in the long run (or even just a few months down the road) the payout is huge. Not only that, but it crosses curriculum and content areas - because if you can explain a fairly complicated tech task, maybe explaining your thinking for that math problem won't be so challenging!

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