- Teach them how to do the twenty most common problems they'll face on a computer (more on that later). Expect them to know these--do pop quizzes if that's your teaching style). Post them on the walls. Do a Problem-solving Board (click the link for details on that--it works well in my classes). Remind them if they know these, they'll have 70% less problems (that's true, too) than the kids who don't know how to solve these. If they raise their hand and ask for help, play Socrates and force them to think through the answer. Sometimes I point to the wall. Sometimes I ask the class for help (without saying who needs assistance. Embarrassing students is counter-productive). Pick the way that works for you. The only solution you can't employ is to do it for them.
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- Teach students keyboard shortcuts. Does that sound like an odd suggestion? It isn't. Students learn in different ways. Some are best with menus, ribbons and mouse clicks. Some like the easy and speed of the keyboard. Give them that choice. If they know both ways, they'll pick the one that works best for them. Once they know these, they'll be twice as likely to remember one of the two methods of doing the skill like exit a program (Alt+F4) or print (Ctrl+P).
- Let neighbours help neighbours. I resisted this for several years, thinking they'd end up chatting about other topics than tech. They don't when sufficiently motivated and interested. They are excited to show off their knowledge by helping classmates.
I know I promised in Are you as smart as a Year 6 in technology? to share the twenty tech problems that solve seventy percent of student questions. I will have to save that for next month. For those who want to peek ahead, click to see what readers think is the hardest tech problem they face and and click to see the problems I'll be covering--and their solutions. Next month, I'll provide detail to help you understand them and their solutions better.