My sister-in-law has recently gone back to school. Thankfully she already had some basic computer skills but she was still in need of some major help. When my sister-in-law started in a nursing program my first task was to teach her how to use a student management system called Blackboard. Most colleges now offer many of their classes online. In order to disseminate the information to students and collect assignments from students a student management system is necessary. Today’s students need to know how to create, type, format, and save documents properly. They also need to learn how to use a student management system in their pre-college school years, as this will help give them a leg up on other students as they will not have to focus learning the technology but the content.
My next task was to teach my sister-in-law how to send a document to me so I could talk her through her problems or how to do whatever it is she was trying to do. I taught her Google Drive. She was able to create her documents and share them with me so that I could see what she was doing wrong and could help fix the issue without me going to her house or her coming to my house.
While I have helped my sister-in-law with many of her technology questions throughout her college career my biggest task occurred just recently. Her professor specifically asked the class to create a Prezi. What is a Prezi?? For someone who has never heard of a Prezi and only has very basic computer skills this was a HUGE deal. Even if the professor had asked them to do any other type of online presentation it didn’t matter, my sister-in-law would have still been lost as all she was familiar with was PowerPoint. Although she had never created a PowerPoint, most of her professor’s lectures were presented in this manner. I have spent over 10 hours with my sister-in-law teaching, helping, and coaching her through this Prezi project. It is now done and she is very excited and grateful that she had someone to turn to for help. Not every college student will have someone to turn to for help. If these skills are taught little by little over the course of a student’s pre-college years they will be college and career ready.
Many teachers say to me that they don’t have the time for a large project, it’s not worth the frustration of having to teach the students the technology, or the most recent response which was my students can’t do that. I say to them, it is worth it and yes they can! I was just working with a third grade teacher last week who was working with charts and graphs. I suggested teaching the students Excel. She said “I don’t think my students can do that.” My response was “this is a skill they need to learn. Let me help you.” Sure enough her students could do it and has done a great job! Sure the students aren’t being tested by a standardized test on their tech skills but they will be tested in real life. Technology skills have become a life skill such as reading a book, adding and subtracting, tying a shoe, or learning to zip a coat. We are doing our students a disservice if we don’t take the time to teach technology skills.
I find my job to be extremely rewarding as I am passionate about spreading my knowledge of technology with others. I also find it rewarding to learn. I am a true lifelong learner. I learn something new everyday that I am able to pass on to others.
Amy Schmidt has been in various positions in education for 20 years. She is currently an eLearning Coach and Technology Assistant with MSD of Wabash County. Amy is in charge of every aspect of technology from break fix to teaching and coaching technology within her Kdg.-6th grade building. Her job is not just a job it is a passion and something that she believes in with all her heart. You can follow Amy on Twitter @MSDeLearn_Amy,