I spent last week teaching my 7th graders how to create presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint. Using PowerPoint is always fun because students really love the program. I always start out by asking my students if they know how to use PowerPoint, and inevitably, almost every kid raises their hand and thinks they’re an expert. Once the week is over, I ask if anybody learned anything new about the program, and once again, almost all students raise their hand.
One topic that I covered was inserting hyperlinks. The day before their presentations were due, I walked into my classroom to find this on my desk:
I know it’s a little hard to read, but it says, “Mrs. Swanson if you read this & if it’s before 3:30 can you come down to the library I need some help on how to make links. -Thank You”
My first reaction was, “WOW! It’s so nice to see that one of my students stayed afterschool to finish up!”
My next reaction was pure sadness. This student clearly thought that I was the only person/thing to turn to when he couldn’t remember how to insert links.
If there is one thing I want my students to understand after they leave my class – it is how to access quality information. I want my students to understand that they can turn to the World Wide Web for information if they are stuck. I want them to understand how to evaluate a website to figure out whether the information is accurate. I teach these things – but clearly - I have to focus on it MORE.
If students are stuck in my classroom – this is my policy: Ask yourself, Ask a Neighbor, Ask Mrs. Swanson. I think it’s time to change it to: Ask yourself, Ask a Neighbor, Ask a Search Engine, Ask Mrs. Swanson. I guess you could call it a “teachable moment.” I started my next class talking about help menus in programs, and we even searched for “Inserting a hyperlink into PowerPoint” with Google. The kids couldn’t believe how many returns there were!
I reminded them that I turn to search engines when I have questions too! It reminded me of a comic I saw forwarded on Twitter awhile back…
What are you doing in your classroom to help your students understand what it’s like to live in the “Information Age?” Do they understand how to access quality information?