Today I had Computer Club with the 4th and 5th graders. They’re quite a group! They’re so very enthusiastic about everything.
Today’s lesson was to teach them that they could solve most of their classroom problems all by themselves. I spent about 15 minutes before the end of the school day sabotaging computers in the computer lab. I pulled cables and cords, moved the dock, hid the dock on the side (rather than at the bottom), and generally made a mess of things. I also took the paper out of the printer and turned it off. (I was smart. I made a key so that I knew which ones I’d messed up and how!)
To me, the problems were minor, but they were also the ones for which I’m most commonly called for assistance. When it was time for Computer Club, I then started up the projector only for them to see that it didn’t work. We spent the rest of the class walking through the various problems and showing them how to fix them. Finally, I split them into pairs and made them fix the rest of the lab. Their goal was to print a page from the district web site.
I was very proud of them. They managed to fix everything. They even seemed to understand the rather flaky network setup in some of the classrooms.
I think they really enjoyed it and walked out feeling like they could deal with many of their classroom problems. I hope so. It’s nothing for me to “fix” a computer that won’t power on in the classroom simply because someone accidentally turned off the power strip, but it would be so much nicer if I didn’t have to take care of those problems. Unfortunately, those are things that the teachers are generally too busy to take the time to troubleshoot. If these kids can figure out the easiest ones, that leaves me more time to deal with the tough ones.