Good Digital Parenting
Blog | April 16, 2013

What To Do When Your Students Are More Tech Savvy Than You

eLearning Coache, Plymouth Community School Corporation

This is the first year 5th and 6th graders at Riverside Intermediate School are 1:1 with MacBooks. The excitement at the beginning of the year was electric! Students were so excited to have a computer where they could do school work, homework and projects. And the best part: they automatically understood that the computer was not their own and that they needed to follow all of the school’s rules when using it...Do you believe me?

Many of them were very excited, of course, but those first few months we had so many issues with Students on computersstudents hacking into accounts, deactivating the administrative codes on their machines, illegally downloading games and music, and on and on and on. Students’ computers were being re-imaged (wiped clean) left and right. This created a lot of hesitation for the teachers to even want to use the computers in class.

I have always been an advocate for just coming out and saying what needs to be said. Those first few months, I went into many classrooms and just told the students what I knew. I walked in and said “I’m going to shoot straight you guys. I know you know a lot about computers. I know you have things on them right now that you shouldn’t. I also know you are sharing your knowledge with each other. It is time to use your powers for good and not evil." After this happened I wrote a post called “They don’t know we know they know we know” where I outlined just what happened.

It can be very difficult for teachers when their students are more tech savvy. This can create a strange dynamic in the classroom, and is really changing the way we look at education, student learning and the approach teachers take in their lessons.

To me, this is the perfect opportunity to empower your students. When they are gifted in the area of technology, let them show it off!

  • Here are some tips for letting that dynamic shift create a more welcoming and open vibe in your classroom:
  • Have open and honest conversations with your students. They need to know you are aware of what is going on, even if you aren’t completely sure.
  • Have a modern-day ‘Show and Tell’ where the students share techie tools, websites or tricks they’ve learned with the class.
  • Ask your students for help! They will feel so empowered that their teacher came to them that they will respect you so much more.
  • Let students lead lessons. Often times, students learn best from other students!

My best advice would be to give your students a voice in your classroom. Students need to have a say in how they learn. By giving them the opportunity to choose how they complete a project or assignment, you are giving them ownership of their work. Celebrate what your students are good at and build them up! The great thing about technology is that it provides plenty of opportunities for creativity and ownership. Don’t shy away from it - embrace it and prepare to be humbled by your student’s knowledge!

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.