As if teachers didn’t have enough responsibilities, it seems that nowadays we’re being expected to teach the newest program, technology, or method that’s trending. You might feel nervous at teaching Minecraft, Scratch, Roblox, Python, Lego Mindstorm, or Make:Code, especially if you’ve never used it before. Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you familiarize yourself with new tech, and help you generate high-quality lessons that will wow your students.
Get Hands-On with the Tech
It’s hard to teach something you haven’t worked with first, so your first task should be to become familiar with the technology. You don’t have to become an expert, you just have to know enough to answer basic questions, and help students get started. It’ll be helpful to write down at what stages you encountered issues, as they will be the same spots that your students will run into trouble. Remember too that most children won’t have experience with the programs you’re using, and if they do it’ll likely be in a recreation capacity, and not in a iSteam environment.
Unless you’re using some extremely new technology, it’s likely that there’s resources available for you to access and help craft your lessons. YouTube is always a great place to start, but you can also find great resources on Lynda.com, or even your local library. Don’t discount the manufacturer’s website, Minecraft Education Edition, for example comes with pre-planned lessons that even include pre-made PowerPoints. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Use what’s already out there.
Test (if you can!)
When possible (and I know that most of the time, it isn’t), try to test your lesson out on a family member, co-worker, or smaller group of students. It’s a great way to tweak any issues your students might run into while doing your lesson in a stress-free area. If you don’t have time to test, make sure you build some time into your lesson to allow for troubleshooting. Don’t be afraid to use any issues as learning moments for your students, remind them that it’s a learning process for you as well.
Having a beginner’s mindset is an extremely important skill when you’re learning new technology. It’s absolutely impossible to know everything tech-related, and something new is going to come along that replaces what you already knew. Stay flexible, and allow yourself the chance to explore an experiment with new technology. At Coded-Minds, we’re always looking for new ways to implement technology.
– Andrés Porras