Meh – August 10, 2016

How Not to Start the Year with High School Students

So, I thought it would be a great idea to have students do a brief assignment online with their brand-spanking-new Chromebooks so that they could view the syllabus and synthesize some of the material (specifically, the class rules.) I also thought other teachers would do similarly.

I was wrong.

Students had so much trouble logging in, resetting their passwords and distinguishing between Haiku and Google Classroom that I chalk this up as a full learning opportunity. Some would call this an utter failure, but every failure is a learning opportunity.

On one hand, I am glad that I took the leap of having them use the Chromebooks. I wanted them prepared for the whole-school digital lessons on Friday, and I wanted them to be comfortable with technology. On the other hand, we had very short 30-minute classes today and we did not actually have a chance to even start the group activity I had wanted them to do to get to know their groups and work with the technology.

One great point about all this was that the majority of students came prepared with their Chromebooks and had them charged and ready to go. Only about three kids from each class did not have them, and one student overall did not have his charged.

I think next year I would like to assign online homework for the first night to get a taste for the “flipped classroom” thing.

Oh well. This disastrous first day reminds me of the year when I started with a “speed dating” interview icebreaker activity where students spent one minute telling one another as much as they could about themselves. While this activity was great for energizing the class and creating lasting friendships among students, it set a light-hearted tone for the year that was never quite overcome. It was difficult to manage the class when activities or lessons required seriousness. First impressions can be nearly impossible to change.

I am also having some trouble understanding the different roles between Google Classroom and our Haiku Learning management system. It appears as though Google Classroom does not automatically add assignments into Haiku. I may have to abandon my Google Classroom ambitions. I’m okay with that if it will help students. I will see what happens tomorrow.

On a side note, we had a great welcome to the incoming freshmen. I’m glad to be working as an Instructional Coach for my second year, and embracing a new niche that has kind of appeared for me in instructional technology. I didn’t choose instructional technology; instructional technology chose me. 🙂




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