Okay, listen up teachers! Who cringes at the thought of taking a class full of young students to computers for some digital technology learning? Today’s generation is so switched on when it comes to finding their way around an iPad or tablet. But, the good old computer can leave students feeling a little underprepared. And this can mean that 30 minutes of computer time is all too stressful, for the teachers that is…
Computer time certainly isn’t all butterflies and roses like this Shutterstock image portrays…
shutterstock.com / michaeljung
Tips and Resources for Computer Time with Younger Students
Computer time doesn’t have to be a stressful time for you. In fact, there are a number of hints and tips that you can implement to make the computer time go smoothly. But, the number one tip is don’t plan too much. Remember, a computer session where all students successfully log in, by themselves, is a successful mission!
Here are some printable resources and some tricks that worked for me and my class that you may like to try out.
(1) Set Up Student Login Cards
Our brand new editable student login cards are a must to make computer time less stressful! Either attach them to a lanyard or a colourful key ring so that students don’t lose them!
(2) Number Computers
This is such a simple idea – but used to make a huge difference to the littlies in my class. We had a separate computer room, so I numbered the computers! Students were then given a number and that was always where they sat. Consistency and routine are always key when it comes to computer time.
This strategy also saved time as there weren’t any fights about who was sitting where and students trying to sit next to their friends. I also tried to sit a more skilled learner with someone who was less competent on computers.
To make numbering your computers easier – check out our Numbers and Symbols Mini Flashcards.
(3) Reward Successes with a Hole Punch Card
There’s something about using a hole punch card and setting a challenge for your students to complete their hole punch card that little minds just love!
Print off our Computer Hole Punch Cards and attach it to your students’ login cards and celebrate successes, big or small!
(4) Practise, Practise, Practise
Do your students find it hard to login? The problem with going to the computer labs once a week, is that students don’t get much time to practise logging in – especially for little cherubs!
Using a pretend keyboard, (like the one pictured below), may seem simple and basic, but it provides your students with more opportunities to practise their username and password on a keyboard. We purchased this keyboard cover on eBay very cheaply.
You may also like to utilise this keyboard for other vocab activities such as typing in their sight words! The options are endless…
(5) Lowercase and Uppercase Activities
Often we don’t realise that our computer keyboards use capital letters! And, some littlies may still be struggling with recognising and matching their lowercase and uppercase letters! Therefore, some basic activities to assist them in consolidating this knowledge is super helpful!
This activity where students are required to recognise uppercase and lowercase letters on a keyboard is perfect!
(6) Use Visual Cues to Help Students
This super simple colour-coded computer keyboard template is a game-changer for early years teachers! Think about it from your littlies perspective – trying to find one letter on a huge computer keyboard is now doubt overwhelming – let alone having a time limit in place as well!
The idea behind this resource is that the colour-coded tab will be stuck on the side of a keyboard (example shown below). Each row is given a colour that is also shown on the printed computer keyboard. This means when a student is trying to find a letter they only need to look in one row rather than the whole keyboard! Bravo!
(7) Appoint Tech Assistants
There’s no doubt about it – kids love the responsibility of a job in the classroom, so why not pick students as your very own Tech Assistants. I would suggest two students that show competence during the first few sessions of computer time.
One of the difficulties during computer time is that there is only one of you and many, many students who may need some help! Having Tech Assistants can alleviate the pressure on you.
shutterstock.com / Photoroyalty
(8) Limit Distractions!
When your students enter the computer lab or library, depending on where your computers are, encourage them to sit somewhere together on the carpet. Ensure the students don’t go straight to the computers – there is always so much to distract them!
Focus on one thing at a time – outline your expectations at the beginning of each and every lesson and explain what you are looking for, without computer screen and keyboard distractions!
shutterstock.com / Monkey Business Images