Rolling out new technology to a full class of elementary students is an intimidating task. No matter how well you model the tool with a projector, most students will not properly learn until they use the tool, make mistakes, and get assistance along the way. When a rollout happens at once, however, with a class of 15-25 kids, a lone teacher can easily become overwhelmed. There are ways to assuage this problem. You could bring in extra teachers to help your class. You could enlist older students to assist younger students. Or, if students have their own resources at home (or are in a 1:1 setting), you could flip the lesson using a video screen cast and hope students have parents or siblings around to troubleshoot when problems arise.
When my students recently started a video vocabulary project using iPads with Doodlecast Pro, I chose another way of implementing the new technology. Rather than trying to show my entire class how to create videos, I started with two students.
The next day those two paired up with (and taught) two other students. Later, those four taught four more, the eight eventually expanded to sixteen, and within a few days my entire class was independently writing, creating, and publishing videos. Some students chose to continue working in pairs; others chose to make videos by themselves. It was much smoother than a huge roll out where everyone is confused and the teacher is pulled in a dozen directions at once.
I’m sure this has been done countless times, but I’ve never heard a name for it, so I’ll call it the “Kids-Teaching-Kids” method of technology implementation. Once my students were into the project, I still turned on the projector and showed the whole class a few tips and tricks, but mainly they were teaching each other.
I’d recommend this method to anyone who is hesitating to start a new project involving technology. Big rollouts are intimidating; starting small is a piece of cake. The next step for my class is to teach my school’s other third grade class, and then have the entire grade get another grade involved.
Has anyone tried a similar method of introducing new tech in the elementary? Or suffered from a disastrous big rollout? Let us know in the comments!