Quality of Work vs. Time Allowed: A Very Official Study

October 22nd, 2010 by Brian Leave a reply »

Diagram 1 – Very Official

This is my fourth year as librarian and previous to that I spent five years teaching Language Arts. In both frameworks I facilitated technology projects with students. This week I’ve observed some great teaching with two Science teachers. One thing that I noticed is that they allotted the perfect amount of time for their students to finish creating iMovies.

When working with technology, you’ve got to find that balance of giving students enough time to explore the program and troubleshoot errors, but if you give them too much time, they’ll tinker until the project starts to decrease in quality (the “Hey! We Need Squirrels in our Planet Reports!” Effect). This balance between not enough and too much time can be discovered through practice over the years doing the same project, tweaking it to meet student needs and standards.

Another way to find the balance is to break down the large parts of the project into tiny, more manageable chunks. That’s what these two teachers have done masterfully and is what I recommend for others, especially when tackling technology. It’s something that sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how tempting it is to give the students too much time for tech.

Granted, all this depends on students paying attention and working when they’re supposed to. I’ve seen that when you give them enough instructions to be confident to start working, but also let them know that time is limited, they usually do a good job of meeting your professional expectations.


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