Technology use is an important part of our fourth grade enrichment/library lesson plans. As teachers we have spent a lot of time thinking about what the best way to introduce tools is and how we can step back and let students drive their learning. Students know how to play and explore, and we want them to bring this same spirit to their use of technology.
One model that has worked great this year is the idea of student leaders. Students who finish work early are given access to the tools with minimal directions. With extra time they learn the ins and outs of the tools naturally and without a large amount of teacher guidance. These students then become our classroom experts. As other students in class finish their work and move to the tool for creating and sharing ideas, our lead learners become consultants for questions and support. Early in the year we found that the lead learners were nervous about the undirected exploration, but as time has gone on we see students jumping at the chance to explore. Early in the year we observed students going to the teacher with their questions about technology, but now we see them turning to their peers. My favorite teaching phrase in fourth grade this year is 'check in with so-and-so, they are a class expert on this tool'!
It is great to look around the room and see these students leading learning!