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  • Writer's pictureJames Kieft

Set expectations on the use of Technology as part of your student induction

With the new academic year about to start, as a teacher, we start to think about how to best onboard and induct our students. In this blog post, I explore the importance of setting high expectations not just related to behavior but also to the way you want them to use technology to create their assignment and coursework.

Just because your students appear confident in using their mobile devices with certain apps it does not mean that the same confidence also applies to using productivity tools such as Google apps suite and Microsoft office.

So it is key that you introduce the tools you want the students to use as part of your induction, I appreciate that access to computers isn’t always straightforward however the apps for both Google and Microsoft are available on mobile, and even though this is not a perfect solution it is a starter for 10.

So first off I think it’s important to talk about file storage. It’s about making sure they’re aware of making the best use of cloud storage so they can access their work from any of their devices. The days of the dog eating their homework or them losing their USB key are long gone. I would suggest starting getting the students comfortable with using whichever cloud platform your school or college uses whether that be Google or Microsoft or something else.

When it comes to using that cloud storage get them used to how to create folders and organise their files appropriately. It is much easier to start properly organising their files and folders instead of having to organise them later on so that will be my first suggestion.

Next up it’s about understanding how to share files so go through and make sure they’re clear on who has access to what, and what remains private to them. And finally, make sure they are clear when it’s appropriate to put stuff into shared spaces such as Microsoft teams.

Have you got the basics of using cloud storage and organising files and folders the next thing I like to talk through with my students are some of the tips and tricks that will benefit them. I know some of these tips may be perceived to be just for those who have disabilities but actually, I think all of these trips are useful for all students so don’t just focus on those students you think need it, make it common working practice for all students.

So the first of these functions is the dictate feature it’s available on both Google apps and Microsoft office and it means you can talk and it will type for you. I’m creating this blog on my iPad and I’ve got Google Docs open I’ve got the speech-enabled via my keyboard and I’m talking and it’s typing for me. Just like writing very few students now have great typing skills so why not make it much easier and get them to talk and type instead.

The next tip is about getting students to read their written work back to check for mistakes before submitting it. I find it easier to listen to it being read. With Microsoft, you’ve got Immersive reader and within Google we got Speechify both are great tools and enable students to listen via a range of different voices to what they have just written.

Next up I move my attention to presentation tools such as PowerPoint on Google slides both of which allow the user to make use of built-in designs that are available. To access this feature, look at the Explore feature within Google slides and the Designer feature within PowerPoint. Both of these features encourage students to focus on the content of the presentation rather than taking up lots of time trying to make their presentation look slick.

When it comes to building students' confidence in using certain tools, I like to get them to carry out a number of activities using the same tool multiple times. I find PowerPoint and Google slides are so flexible and can be used in lots of different ways. That repeated use of the same tool grows their confidence and their familiarity with using it.

Here is a link to my Powerpoint playlist it highlights a number of ideas for using it, they also work in Google slides as well.

Finally, it is worth spending time introducing them to those tools you use as part of your lesson activity such as Quizizz, Mentimeter or Wakelet. The trick is not to overwhelm them with lots of different tools just pick two or three and just focus on using those in lots of different ways.

I wish you all the best for the new academic year, I hope by setting those expectations on how you want them to use technology and really showing them some of the tips and tricks, it will contribute to them being successful in completing their studies. So remember the time you spend at the start of the year familiarising them with these different types of tools will be worth it when it comes to submission time. To assist you in introducing these feature to your students I have created this playlist of MS office Shorts

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