SOL10, Day 10: Kids and Tech, A Sizable Amount of Unpredictable

I started out the lesson thinking I was ready. Charts made.  Devices charged. I was taking students to the next step in the argument writing process.  We had been slow and methodical. They were ready.

I thought.

After the lesson, I picked up my notes. I wanted to check in with those students who had evidence stated as a reason.

Then I hear it. It sounds like drowning. “Mrs. Harmatz….”

“I can’t get into my Google Doc.”

“L. translated his doc into Spanish, and he can’t figure out how to get it back to English.”

“Mrs. Harmatz, my document isn’t here!”

These are the sounds of my classroom writing with technology.

Some of the problems I work through. Some of them I can’t. I call our tech guy. He explains the problem, but there is no solution for my students now.

I shift the unconnected to reading, assuring them they can write during the reading workshop.

Meanwhile, L. is now working in English and F. has found his document. A. started completely over because she just understood the difference between reasons and evidence and T. is off in his interpretation of the work. I think he’s writing the text of debate.

I collect my thoughts again and move towards my intended conferences.

Tap, tap, tap. “Mrs. Harmatz, I have a stomach ache.”

Out of the corner of my eye I see M. leaving his iPad on the floor to get a mentor text. W. just misses it while fetching a new keyboard.

Technology and children create a sizable amount of unpredictable.

As much as I appreciate the value of the combination, today I wondered about the mix. I know they need to use it. That there is a learning curve. That tools like Google docs improve students’ ability to revise and edit. But on days like this one, I have a moment or two of wishing for the pen and paper.

And then I remember, the translated and missing documents would be permanently missing, and P., working in the corner with the voice activated mode, would not be writing at all.

I finally sit with down to talk about reasons and evidence and tap, tap, tap. I turn, ready to remind students not to interrupt conferences.

“Mrs. Harmatz, K has something to tell you.”

“I figured out how to get into those Google docs you can’t access. You just click on the file folder in the corner.”

“Seriously?!” I say. Then she shows me. “Brilliant! You are brilliant! Tell everyone what you discovered.”

“I can help!” says L.

“Please and thank you,” I say.

Teaching with Tech requires constant adjustment, because of the unexpected.  The problems are different, but the unexpected element remains the same.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.


16 thoughts on “SOL10, Day 10: Kids and Tech, A Sizable Amount of Unpredictable

  1. I seriously could have written nearly the same post yesterday! The struggles and the teachable moments. So true!

  2. I agree! We are lucky to share a class set of chrome books in 3rd grade but I’ve found my students often figure out how to do something when I can’t!

  3. How frustrating it is for our children (and teachers) as they grow up with ever-changing technology, but then I think of the problem solving skills that so many of them have learned through the inevitable technology troubles!

  4. That was a perfect sum up of how my days with technology go. I vacillate wildly between being glad we have it and just wanting to take out paper and pencils. I love how one of your kids discovered the problem.

  5. Technology is certainly more unpredictable than a pencil and paper. But it’s worth living with the glitches because of the new opportunities.

  6. I hear you – we love tech, and then we hate tech…my favorite part was when your tech guru stepped in. Everty classroom needs a kid or two like that.

  7. Yes yes yes! As an instructional technology coach, this is exactly the journey I lead people down on a daily basis. You saw the benefits past the momentary confusion, and set a great example for kids that you don’t just give up on something because it doesn’t work the first time. Kudos to you!

  8. We have to take the bad with the good when it comes to tech. I always have a back up system when I’m presenting. It’s always good to have someone in the audience/class who knows more than we do. Your capturing of the moment was great.

  9. It sounds like you are doing great, Julieanne, but I know it’s frustrating. I love that ending problem-solved by the students. They are going to be the greatest techies!

  10. Classroom management is like a juggling act most days. I often turn to my kids to solve tech problems. They often know more than I do.

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