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Monday, March 12, 2012

Never Touch the Mouse: Teaching Diane Facebook


In an effort to keep in better contact with parents and students, my principal started a school Facebook page.  His goal is to have the daily announcements posted as they happen.  He delegated the maintenance of this task to Diane, the MHS Secretary.  Diane is not a personal user of Facebook, and viewed this task with trepidation. 

The responsibility of teaching Diane how to use Facebook fell to me.  Last year I read an article about how to help people learn technology.  The one point that stuck with me the most was that the teacher must never touch the mouse.  The learner must complete the task in order to remember how to do it on his or her own.  No matter how frustrating it might be, the learner must do the task, and the teacher must not touch the mouse.  I constantly have to remind myself, and often sit on my hands, so that I do not touch the mouse. 

Diane, ready to post at a moments notice.
We’ve started with small tasks.  First, I gave Diane a tour the Facebook page features.  Then I explained how to make a post.  I always try to have a real-life example, rather than telling the possible tasks she can perform.  For example, I gave her a photo of new books that just in the library to post with a caption and a link to the Library Page.  Just showing Diane the possibilities can overwhelm, but having the practical examples, helps Diane retain the skills…just like any other student. Whenever Diane sees me coming into the office, she’s nervous that I'm going to teach her something new.  However, she is proud of all of the skills that she has learned in a short amount of time. 

Diane has reluctantly embraced Facebook, but sees the benefits.  She is able to answer questions from parents, and sees how much quicker parents receive information.  We are able to show the positive things happening around school to community members.  Congratulations to Diane for learning something new and for helping me learn how to teach technology to those that are hesitant.  We have learned from each other.