Hi there. In this education post, I would like to talk about the technological tools for young students in the online learning setting.
In offline learning with blackboards, whiteboards and projectors, students can get by with paper notebooks, notepads, binders, pencils and pens. Online learning requires a computer or laptop, a keyboard, a mouse and possibly a computer monitor. It is more expensive to learn with online learning with all the equipment. In addition, there is a higher learning curve with learning online as being proficient with the tech tools is important. Not being good with the online tools and technology will make you fall behind in the virtual classroom.
- Young Students Using The Computer (Parents Helping Out)
- Using The Computer Mouse
- Using The Laptop Trackpad
- Typing Skills
- Tablets Usage
- Troubleshooting & Computer Problems
Young Students Using The Computer (Parents Helping Out)
As we are often connected and reliant on technology for learning, news, shopping, traveling, etc, it is a good idea to teach young students basic technology skills and concepts. Something that is teachable to young students are basic technology skills with computer usage, tablet usage and internet usage.
Since many young students may not be able to do nor learn things on their own, it is helpful for parents to assist their children with technology usage. This is easier said than done as parents may not be around to help or they may not be knowledgable with the technological learning platform that their kid(s) is using. From the educator perspective, more patience and care should be exercised as students are learning how to use the tech tools on top of learning new topics.
Using The Computer Mouse
For desktop computers, a computer mouse is one of the most essential tools for a computer. Young students who are starting out have to get used to controlling the mouse for the on-screen cursor. On top of moving the mouse there are the two main buttons on the top of the mouse. These are for left clicking and right clicking. Left clicks on a mouse is for selection while right clicking is mainly for loading a menu for additional commands.
If the computer mouse has a mouse wheel, the mouse wheel can be used to scroll up and down on a page.
Slightly advanced computer mouse functions for young students include:
- Double (left) clicking to open a file.
- Clicking & holding the left click button and then moving the mouse to highlight multiple items.
- Click and drag on a file to move the file around.
- Click and drag for drawing or colouring on an online learning platform.
- Upload and download file buttons.
Using The Laptop Trackpad
Laptops are nice as they are portable which makes them more expensive compared to their desktop computer counterparts. One main disadvantage with laptops is that trackpads are not the most easiest thing to work with when you do not have a computer mouse available. Moving the on-screen cursor with the fingers on a trackpad is not too bad. Clicking on files is not too difficult either. It is the selecting of multiple files and moving them around that can be tricky for the young fingers.
The computer mouse or trackpad on its own is not enough. A keyboard is needed in order to type letters, characters and numbers for making words, numbers, phrases, sentences, opinions, writing pieces onto the computer screen.
Typing does require young students to use their fingers a lot. They would mostly adopt the hunt and peck typing approach where they would find what they want on the keyboard and type out characters one at a time. Do not expect young students to be able to type fast at 60 words per minute (WPM) or faster. Exercise patience.
Some students have touch-screen tablets instead of a computer for online learning. User experiences and functions work differently on touchscreens versus computers. Students will often touch the tablet screen for selecting items, typing, colouring and using on-screen buttons. Zooming in/out through the pinching method of the fingers may need to be taught.
Moving files or items around on the touch screen may not be an easy function to do for young students. It does require the touch of a finger along with a press of the same finger and moving the finger so the file/item moves to a new location.
Troubleshooting & Computer Problems
Although online learning does have conveniences and advantages over in-person, it is not perfect. Online learning is heavily reliant on electricity, the internet being on, the online learning platform being on at all times and being error free and having the users be able to use the online tools.
I cover a few computer problems with some basic solutions.
Power Outages / No More Battery Power
Some students may or may not know if their computer or tablet has low battery or not. The device could shut off randomly due to no power. For battery recharges, it would be better to have the parent charge the device for the student. Students could have wet hands and charge the device.
Frozen / Blank Screen
There are times when the screen is blank or does not show things properly. A common solution is to find the refresh button on the internet browser to reload the page. The refresh icon looks like an arrow in the form of a clockwise circle.
Not having sound makes it hard for the student and teacher to interact with one another. You can somewhat communicate through text only but it is not ideal. Make sure that the sound is not muted or the sound output is the correct one. Use headphones sound output when using headphones and use speakers for sound from computer speakers.
Online learning does not complicate some things for young students. There is more to learn on top of learning the teaching materials. However, being able to do well with tech tools at an early age is highly beneficial as the modern world adopts more technology in everyday life.