Handy Computer Tricks

Grant Thompson may well call himself the “King of Random” but this little video is full of helpful hints and with over 4 million views I’d say he has hit the mark and been quite specific in his help. He has actually put together more than 6 simple tricks and the ease with which this video transfers information to the viewer needs to be analysed and observed! He has put a lot of information into this video but you do not have the feeling you are on overload. You need to be aware that Apple is pulling support for QuickTime security updates on Windows. Silly and even unbelievable in 2016. Running malware and virus protection should keep you safe because QuickTime is the easiest tool for making screencasts. So fuss free. Grant Thompson also forgot to mention the Windows Snipping Tool which is so easy for taking screen shots or parts of screens. Much easier than the print screen button.

Five One to One Basics

one to oneWorking with students with laptops means you have to rethink your approaches and genuinely involve yourself and students in a new approach to learning or it is more web surfing , more spreadsheets and more word processing…at what cost? Rethinking it all if you have a joy of running the class from the front and watching and interacting with your students can be a bit of a challenge. After nearly a year of one to one learning I have these basics to offer:

1. Be clear about the real and genuine problems in your class in terms of individual students, the group and the environment. Work out how you are going to address them. Can you trust them all to do the right thing on their laptop? How will you solve that? What will you do if you have flakey internet access? What will you do if everyone works really well on a laptop but you have one student who is a technophobe? What will you do if the students start telling you how to use your computer?

2. Draw students in gradually to their laptop lessons. What do you plan for them to do? What might it look like when it’s finished and how might it help them in real life or later on? Do you have some good examples of what you want them to achieve? Do you have a poor example of what you want them to do and challenge them to do better. I find the latter works really well with laptop lessons! Students love overcoming mediocre!

3. Make things easy. Show them on the whiteboard the things they think they might not be able to do. Get them started on the first bit . Ask them to do a dummy run for 5 minutes and then compare notes of how the approach could be improved. Make it light hearted and uplifting but tell them when they will have to try really hard to accomplish or achieve something. Literally organise the one to one and let them approach you one at a time for 10 minutes or whatever you say until all the bugs and problems are resolved. The others need something clear and precise to do.

4. Never assume. What you value and like on a computer is not necessarily what they like and value and each students will have their likes and values. This is the basis for sharing and part of your job is to help them value their own way of being on a computer. It really is individual. Your second job is to get them to accept there are different approaches and ways of doing things with technology but you will have to agree on the core approaches for any task. Will it be recorded? Will it be a movie? Does it have to be a doc? Is acknowledging pictures important? How many pictures? How many slides? All these things can be agreed to. Allow them an opportunity to suggest ways of doing things. Share and get feedback.

5. Keep asking them about their experiences and ways of looking at things on a computer until you understand blocks, blind spots, knowledge gaps, things they love. Talk through what you are doing as you are doing it so they understand how you are approaching and creating as you use a computer. In lots of ways it is a about patience and tolerance because people really do use computers quite differently and we move forward by sharing our approaches and ideas. Make sure they know why you are saying and doing what you are saying and doing.

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