You are looking at a printed poster and the work looks excellent. Does that mean your student possesses strong ICT skills? Not necessarily!
Your students might be applying inefficient techniques to create the desired result. Let me give you an example.
At the school where I am teaching as a guest instructor, the students begin using TechnoKids Computer Curriculum in kindergarten. By the time these students reach Grade 7 they have spent years completing technology based projects.
I have noticed over the past few weeks of teaching that some of the students lack basic ICT skills. Since I am a guest instructor, I am unfamiliar with which students are newer members to the school community. After inquiring about the situation, I learned that some of the students in my class have not been at the school since kindergarten, so there are gaps in their skillset.
The strategies these students are applying are not noticeable in a printed copy. For example, the Grade 7 class just completed the poster activity for TechnoWonderland. They look fantastic!
Looking at the posters you can’t tell if the students:
- aligned text using the alignment tools or the spacebar
- wrapped text around a picture using text wrapping tools or if they manually arranged text
- limited their formatting choices because they did not know how to apply other tool options
- used time saving techniques or not
How can teachers notice the lack of ICT skills?
As a teacher you cannot judge ICT skills based solely on the printed version. Instead, you need to watch your students work as well as preview the digital copy. Here are some tips:
- Watch your Students Work: Walk around the room or position yourself in a location where you can preview the monitors. Observe your students working.
- Activate Show/Hide: Ask students to temporarily turn on Show/Hide. It is a tool in Microsoft Office that displays hidden formatting symbols. The ENTER key produces a paragraph mark ¶, SPACEBAR a dot, and TAB key an arrow. These marks will help you determine if students are formatting text properly.
- Challenge Students: Make a suggestion that will improve the layout or design of the publication. If students possess the ICT skill, without instruction they will be able to produce the suggested result. If they can’t, this gives you an excellent opportunity to introduce a tool or feature.
ICT skills can’t be measured just by viewing the final printed copy. By following these tips you will be able to identify students who might be hiding their lack of skills. This will allow you to help your students discover new, more efficient ways to produce quality publications.