Speak the lingo

Posted by Wayland Scott on 10/21/2017 12:00:00 PM

Having tech savvy students starts with computer literacy, which comes naturally to many students because they live in the tech-world.  But that's not true for everybody.  Consider my daughter, for example...  she's naturally computer literate, because, look at her dad!  She must be a force to be reckoned with, right?  Well, no.  She’s a wiz at a lot of things, but computer stuff just doesn’t come easy for her, so we have to work at it.  Likewise, just like any other concept or skill, if you want a classroom of proficient users, computer literacy must be taught.  Technology has its own language.  So in short, you have to speak the lingo. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a device that translated things for us?  There is, and there are.  Luckily, it’s not a weird fish you put in your ear, unfortunately though, the device is YOU (and occasionally google).

So how do you do it?

>Use differentiated speech. 

I might say, “could you make the window full-screen (point), or maximize it (pause), make it bigger, by pushing this button (show).”  Once the action is complete, repeat for the class what the student just did.

For resizing things, I might say, “could you resize this for me, make it bigger…  using the handlebar on the image.”  I’m identifying the visuals with I’m talking about so they make the connection between the lingo and the virtual structure (the handlebar on the image).  Further, students hear in context alternate descriptions of the tasks or objects and can generalize the meaning of the vocabulary (maximize, handlebar) they will use throughout thier careers.  This happens best where you have an activity…

>Aquire and generalize with activities,

 like this resizing activity...


There are many activities that come up incidentally or that you can do on the fly.  What else can we do? 

>Use gestures...


 ...keeping to the fish theme.  And, whenever possible,

>use visuals:

bigger biggest

Obviously, we're talking about elephants now...


...and mice.  Some actions are just hard for particular students to learn.  Especially the students I teach.  We wouldn't want our more auditory students to think we were talking about the mammal, right?  A visual might just solidify the message next time they need to use the "right" button (NPI).

Students get use to hearing phrases like, “right click…  cut, right click…  paste”, and will be able to fill in the blanks as the work is being done.  So,

>use words and pictures together.

If I say, "cut, and (pause)..."

cut and

...I want to hear several people say, "paste!" -and not to be confused with the Elmer's kind.

More times than not, the visual instructions are part of the action.  Use words to explain what is happening, and what people are doing.

how to

When my students tell me, "Mr. Wayland, you need to fix your hyperlink!", I know I've done my job.

Keep in mind, we're here to connect with our students, and when we don't speak the same language, the world can be a confusing or even scary place...

don't eat dinosaurs.
don't eat dinosaurs.

What happens when we think we're speaking the same language... It's that serious, folks!


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