How long does it take you to learn a new skill? I recently got a little folding my iphone and when I started using it, despite my excitement, I made horrendous mistakes and it wasn’t a bit comfortable. I kept at it, typing on it a few days and now, it’s very natural and I see what a great device it is! Note that it took a lot of time for me to see that. Now imagine your students. All the skills they are required to learn in a year can feel overwhelming, especially if they don’t have the pre-requisite foundation. Remember that it will take time and repetition for them to get the feel for new skills, just like it takes adults time to learn their new gadgets and skills. Why would you expect it to be any different?
What are some ways to enable mastery of new tasks? One huge one is the computer lab. If you want kids to learn a skill, look for a kids’ computer site or program and have them drill. This year my school bought a typing program and there are many free ones online the kids can use. If you can get them going independently on a new skill, you’ll see fast growth. Still, remember all skills, academic and otherwise do indeed take time.