To share good ideas, tips and tricks for managing technology-rich classrooms and engaged learning projects
Very soon you will be engaged in a discussion activity with the rest of the course participants and instructors. This is a time to ask questions about how others have used technology in the classroom . . . and survived!
Read over the following list of questions. Jot down some notes on your own experiences and any other questions that come to mind. It would be a great idea to talk about this with some teaching colleagues at your school. It is usually quite helpful to talk with other teachers who have used the same equipment, or had the same students. Perhaps you will be able to chat with a teacher who has no prior experience with technology in her classroom. This too is a worthwhile view to consider.
Are you asking all students to use computers at the same time? (Is that supported by engaged learning?)
What will the other students be doing when some students are using computers?
How flexible is the physical arrangement of your classroom?
Can additional laptops be set up? Can more computers be rolled in on carts?
Do you have enough power sources? Network connections? Table surfaces or desktops?
How will you make the best use of the resources you have available?
What activities will need to be done on computers that are connected to the Internet? What activities could be done on computers without Internet connections?
What activities could be done with small word processors/portable keyboards?
What will you expect the students to complete prior to using a computer? For instance, will they need a "search plan?"
How will students indicate that they need assistance? Do you have some sort of indicator that will not disrupt the rest of the classroom?
What will you need to do to accommodate learners moving through the project at different rates?
How will you structure your class to provide ongoing assessment?
How will you provide resources and ask questions that make students responsible for their learning? (and make you a co-learner/co-investigator?)
How much group work has your class experienced? What basic cooperative learning skills need to be taught before expecting students to work in groups?
If students are not able to use computers in their classrooms, what will they have to take with them to the computers? How can this information be organized so that it is not lost?
Does the technology really enhance the learning, or is it "one more thing to do" with the topic?
Remember: If you keep the focus of the lesson at the top of your list, you will be able to evaluate any classroom management challenge rapidly and take the correct choice of action.