This is my first year as an eLearning coach. This year our school corporation went 1:1 with Dell 2120 netbooks for grades 6-8. We had already been 1:1 in the high schools. The job is very exciting indeed. Perhaps the most important question I run into on a daily basis is, "What do we do with these things?" While the answer may seem simple, "Use them," it's just not that easy. Teachers need training before unleashing this type of technology in a classroom.
The biggest complaints seem to stem around the issue of classroom management. The lead question in this category is, "How do I stop them from doing _____?" I begin to wonder why we need to stop certain things rather than actually channeling those into the proper avenues for success. If students want to see how email works why not email them an assignment? If they want to see how chatting works, why not have your class in a chat room?
On the classroom management side of things the teacher has to be mobile throughout the room. The teacher and student also need to have a relationship in which there is a trust. Students and teachers need to be able to stop for those 'teachable moments' when something goes wrong with a website, or a student accesses something they shouldn't. All parties involved need to know that some difficult conversations may be had and those need to be viewed as learning opportunities.
Like it or not, technology is here to stay. Our students today really don't know of a world without it. Some of us do and while we reminisce about times in which life was simpler we know that today's technology has made things easier. We also know that the technology toys we have are becoming more and more essential to our own lives and as a result we must continue to learn ourselves. Isn't that our goal as educators? For our students to become life-long learners?