CREATING THE BEST TECH HANDOUTS!
So, you want your students to find five facts about dolphins from two Web sites. Or, perhaps they have measured the distance of the school flagpole's shadow at different times of the day and need to record the data in a spreadsheet. You could tell them what to do and hope they remember all the steps -- and spend valuable time reminding them of the steps -- or you could provide them with effective tech handouts and teach them to work independently.
But aren't we supposed to be moving towards a paperless world? Why bother with paper during a tech lesson? For a number of reasons, including:
- Different learning styles/disabilities: Students learn differently.
Although some will remember instructions you give orally, visual
learners will need written and illustrated instructions. Those
with learning disabilities might need both oral and written reinforcement.
- Consistency and Comprehensiveness: Tell students how to do something
and most might get close, but few will cover everything exactly
the way you want them to. Files will be saved all over the place.
Titles will be right aligned or left aligned -- everywhere but
in the center of a Word document as you instructed. Ensure that
your expectations will be met by spelling them out on paper.
- Self-direction: Lessons that use technology successfully often
involve students working on their own or with a small group. You
simply don't have time to walk each student through each step
of a project. Clear and effective written instructions keep students
on task while you spend your time on other teacher tasks.
- Any age, any content area: Do you teach preschool and think
your students can't use paper-based instructions? Here's a sample
used in a kindergarten class. Students were taught to open a Web
site, read a story along with aural prompts, rate the story, and
then close the browser. No words were needed; the instructions
were all provided via screenshots!
So, now are you ready to create and use effective handouts? Let's get started.
Next: Step One: Break