It was a cloudy December day in San Francisco, I had created a Trigonometry Review Assignment for my precalculus class and was excited to have them start using Edcite. Luckily, I remembered some important tips for avoiding “Technical Difficulties” when using a new classroom technology. Here are three pointers for helping your students get started!
1. Have students sign up for accounts ahead of time
Even though it is fairly simple to set students up on most technology websites, simplify the process by getting students registered with the website in the days or weeks before they will be using it. This could be done in the last 5-10 minutes of a class period or be given as a homework assignment (with some accompanying instructions). Signing students up early means that if there are any issues with sign up, they will be dealt with before you give out an assignment.
2. Simplify username/passwords for students
As most teachers know, some students have an amazing ability to misplace or forget where their homework is. Don’t let this happen with their username and password! For their username, give clear directions about how to format their username. My school has a standardized email account (last name followed by year of graduation), so I asked my students use their emails as usernames. If your school does not have school emails, feel free to come up with your own system (e.g., first initial followed by last name). For passwords, I do not keep track of these for students, but I tell students to use a password that they use for their email. This combination ensured that 24/25 = 96% (I am a math teacher!) of the students in my precalculus class were able to remember their username and password.
3. Collect feedback from your students
Reflection is a really important part of the teaching process and I find that the best information to reflect on comes from the students themselves. After I used Edcite the first time in my class, I had students fill out a google form which collected all of their feedback and compiled it into a document that summarized it. Another idea that I plan on using in the future is to end the assignment with a free response question asking for their comments or thoughts about the assignment. Not only is this feedback often helpful and insightful, it engages students by bringing their voice into the process!
These three tips made my classes’ introduction to Edcite even smoother. In upcoming posts, I will discuss more details of creating, finding and giving assignments to students!
– Brian McIntosh