Going to the Computer Labexternal image IMG_2798_3.jpg

A lot of time can be wasted going to the computer lab, and this is very valuable time as there isn't much of it allocated to you. Here are some tips to make it a worthwhile experience.

  1. before you leave your classroom ensure that children know the rules and the things they have to do when they get to the lab. i.e. turn computers on, log on, open up server (if work needs to be saved there) open a Word or Pages document start practising touch typing their name (address, town etc). Younger ones can open KidPix and type the alphabet (doing all these things will not give children time to interfere with each other or 'ride the chairs', also keeps the noise down to a minimum)
  2. when you are teaching something new, make sure all eyes are on you and bodies are pointed your way, hands off the keyboard
  3. always repeat the task at least twice
  4. if some children are having the same difficulties, bring them up to your laptop and datashow and show them all over again
  5. have at least 3 monitors that can help with problems
  6. use that teachable moment with the more capable children and teach them something more advanced as you see they are coping with the original task
  7. make the tasks meaningful and authentic
  8. when finishing in the lab, make sure that all children know the procedures of how to shut down programmes correctly, and log out

Computer Labs, lots of students and researching

At the moment lots of schools are researching the Olympics on the Internet. Depending on the age of the children and their 'skill' in searching the Internet, this could be potentially a frustrating lesson for both teacher and students. Here are some tips for making it a stress free, enjoyable experience for all.

  1. Talk to the children before you leave the classroom about what they are going to be doing and what the expectations are, if you try to tell them in the lab most will not listen as all they want to do is get on the computers.
  2. Ensure that all children know what they are going to do when they get onto the computer (which game, internet site, or finishing off activity)
  3. external image olympics.pngPrepare a PowerPoint (or a Keynote) page with hyperlinks to the websites the students would most visit, students then can open this from a central place and quickly access the Internet pages (this is more suited to younger children)
  4. If you want the children to type in the Internet addresses themselves then teach them to click on the Internet address at the top of the pageexternal image google.png and then type the URL. (for some reason children always type the Internet address in google which then forces them to take more steps than necessary to get to their final goal)
  5. Most of the time you do not need to type www at the beginning of the address
  6. If you want to teach the whole class something new, consider teaching a group first, let them practice and then they show others. The rest of the class can be practising typing, playing a game or finishing off work
  7. Have a 'control' call that children must respond to when you call it such as 'S-T-O-P STOP!' or my favourite 'Stop, look, listen' or another one I have seen a teacher use is 'Hands up - On heads - Look this way
  8. It is important that children know how to exit out of the programme they are in and how to log off, so that the next class can get started without having to do extra steps before they can even begin their own work
  9. If the children are working on a presentation, consider having a rubric that gives them the success criteria listing what is expected