Getting your kindergarten class to login II

I know I’ve written about this before, but the original post was a year ago. Since then, I’ve had a year’s worth of practice and have felt that getting my kindergarten class to login has been more successful this time around.

As a refresher, here’s an excerpt from the original post:

I remember well the term where it took so long for everyone to login that time was up, and we all had to log off again. The class was disappointed, and I was too. In myself that I couldn’t get them over the line, and also that I didn’t manage to teach anything at all.

One major challenge I have faced that can derail the most carefully planned lesson is getting your kindergarten class logged in. Without everyone logged in, it is next to impossible to teach anything at all.

 

So what have I learned since then?

  • A common problem I have is that I overestimate the abilities of my class (I’m getting better though). Just because these kids are growing up around screens and input devices and all sorts of impressive gadgets, it doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. Most these days have not had much experience with a mouse and don’t know how to hold it, which button to click (“Now, click on ok” means nothing to a five year old. What’s click? Where’s ok? How do I get on ok?). Swiping a touch screen on a game on Mum’s phone (that she gave you to keep you quiet while she sips her coffee in the café) doesn’t really equip you with many useful skills for using technology. These are little kids who know a lot of things, but at the same time don’t know much.
  • Slow down. This takes time. I was ready to spend a whole term (I only have each class for 1 hour a fortnight) working with the kids on this if it meant they could login within minutes for the rest of the year. Probably there will be some who think this is excessive. It was worth it.
  • Teaching the concept of logging in is just as important as sitting in front of the monitor and practicing typing it in. I have devised a fun little way of reminding everyone of their username and password before even entering the room. More to come below.

“Just get on with it” I hear you cry. Ok then.

Here’s some strategies and thoughts I have to help this process.

  • Have your cards with each child’s username on it prepared before you start.
  • Talk about the parts of the computer and how we have to login because the computer needs to know who is using it. Introduce usernames and passwords.
  • Explain how the computer needs to username and password to let you use it. Emphasise that the computer isn’t as smart as we think and that the username and password has to be exactly right for the computer to recognise us.
  • Show each child their card with their username on it, and tell them their passowrd. Here is where things diverge. In my school, everyone has the same passowrd. It has made life 1000 times easier. Yes, I know you shouldn’t do that but I didn’t make that decision. I’m glad it was made though.
  • This is the little game I devised that the kids really enjoy. It’s a great way to explain the concept of logging in and it encourages them to remember their username and password.
    • Everyone lines up outside the room. You stand in front of the door with it closed.
    • Tell the class that for each child to be let in, they have to whisper their username to you.
    • Ask the line leader his/her username (if it’s firstname.lastname then their name is fine). Then ask them to whisper their password in your ear. If you’re as tall as me your back will be letting you know enough is enough by the end of the line.
    • If he gets it right, open the door to let him in. Let them know they are supposed to go and sit on the floor quietly.
    • Shut the door and repeat with the next one, and so on.

The kids loved this game and got quite excited when it was almost their turn to whisper their name. You may be thinking that they will run amok when left to their own devices with the door closed. I was worried myself the first time I did it, but they all sat silently on the floor waiting to see who would come in next. I was surprised.

This has worked very well. All the class understood exactly what was needed to login, and the difference between this year and last year has been huge. The next step is to get them to remember where the letters of their names are on the keyboards…

 

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Little Oliver thought it was such fun to press all the buttons on Daddy’s laptop while his thesis was open.

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