The Problem With Student Problem Solving

After teaching students for a number of years that are comfortable and familiar with Apple products, it is eye opening for a student to ask you what to do if the screen goes dim or how to add a slide to a project.  With so many things to teach students about using technology in the classroom, what is the most important skill to teach young minds?

In our room, I started with what I thought the basics looked like.  Reflecting on the easiest thing to accomplish, I decided to show them how to import a file and mark on it with a PDF annotator.  However, is that the reason why we need to use technology in the classroom? Is writing on a PDF the magical thing that changes the game for students? No.

On top of figuring out what the most significant skills to teach students about technology, I had to continue to provide a rigorous and meaningful program in English Language Arts for advanced students. I decided to leverage the iPads for their most important use which is creation all the while encouraging students to learn the most important skill they could from them; problem solving. The problem with teaching this skill? It can look “mean”, and from what I have seen, it isn’t always a skill focused on in school.

With my eyes set on creation and problem solving as the core of our why with iPads, I forged on laying out the plans for our year.  I may not seem like the most empathetic human being when telling a student, “You can figure it out.  I know you can!” After they have asked how to import a document or add a new picture.  However, the test of time has shown over my past 6 years that yes students can “figure it out” and they are better for it.  Better thinkers, better students, better members of society. After numerous times of getting on my technology soap box of “You can do it” and “Don’t ask Mrs. B”, I finally had that Ah-ha moment when a young lady interrupted a writing meeting I was having with another student and said, “Hey, Mrs. Blalock can you show me…..  Oh, never mind. I will figure it out by myself.”  The Hallelujah Chorus was playing in my head while I went back to a conversation on complete sentences.

Engaging in creative projects and inspiring problem solving coupled with independence, if I can accomplish that in a year, I believe I will create a solid foundation for next year.

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