Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's About Progress, Not Perfection

My students learning how to use the Chromebook.

Yesterday my students finally got their hands on the Chromebooks. They were very excited, probably too excited!

Working with a small group, the students learned to do the following:

  • log on to the Chromebook using their GAFE account, 
  • choose a profile picture, 
  • use the Omni box to search for our D2L site
  • go to and bookmark our D2L site
  • zoom in and out to make objects/text on their screen larger and smaller
  • sign out and shut down
By the end of our session the students had accomplished a lot - and I was completely exhausted. Even in a small group situation, there are a lot of things going on and trouble shooting (with students on the computer and those assigned other tasks) always seems to be part of the equation. 

In the middle of what I would refer to as organized chaos, I recalled a quote I had heard earlier - it's about progress, not perfection. 

The beginning stages of preparing students to use the device to assist with critical thinking, creation, and collaboration  involves learning new user names and passwords and the intricacies of the device. The students need to feel comfortable with the tool and have knowledge of common issues that will arise in order to take the focus off of the technology and on to the learning. The comfort and fluency I am referring to comes with practice and experimentation. 

Working away at becoming familiar with the device.

My students last year accomplished many great things with respect to their leaning. It is not fair to compare where my new students are at to where my students last year ended up.

Start up that involves learning how to use a device that has never used before with young children is a tough task. It can be frustrating and discouraging but the key is to focus on practice and progress. Building capacity is never easy but staying the course will lead to amazing things. People who visit my classroom tend to see all the good things - the fruits of our labour, a labour that involves a lot time and emotion. For them to visit and see disarray and confusion would be beneficial to get a feel for what they might expect with a class of 7 year old  children but that isn't what 99% of people want to see and experience.

The purpose of this post is to acknowledge the many difficulties that come with progress and fluency. The pain is short term, the gain is long term. My class and I are in the middle of the "pain" component of our journey but I know that it won't last forever and that is a part of the process that will benefit my students and myself.


  1. This is such an important point, Rolland! How do we get students to work past this frustration and uncertainty? How do we support them, but also, how do they support each other? I'd love to know what works for you and your students. I'm starting to work more with technology with my Grade 1's, and I think that we're in a similar place. I'd love to hear more about your "solutions," and/or the "process of these solutions."


  2. Hey Aviva, thanks for your comment! I really like to "chunk" work for my students so that they have 1 or 2 tasks to work on and master. You would think that it would reduce frustration, and it reduces a bit of it but the overwhelming feelings still creep in. I also like to talk to my students and let them know that I know that what they will be/are working on will take time and practice before they feel good with it. No real secrets here and I suspect that these are the things that most teachers do. I think the key is to be aware of and acknowledge that there will be bumps in the road. My students know when I am frustrated and I know when they are frustrated. We are a community of learners and I would like to think that it is the rapport built between us that allows us to take risks in our learning.