Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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. Prepare 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 page 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

The Alphabet Key (The A-Z Key)

Tony Ryan's Thinker keys can be adapted and used with ICT and I am gradually going to add to this blog different ways I use these with children. The first one I am going to look at is the Alphabet key ('A-Z' thinker key).
Definition: Compile a list of words from A to Z which has relevance to topic.

Create a PowerPoint (or Keynote) template that has a letter per page. Insert a new slide and choose 'Title Only'. In this example I have made the letters in WordArt and dragged the 'Click to add title' down to the bottom of the slide. Duplicate that slide by clicking on the slide in the left hand panel and pressing Ctrl D (or Apple D) to duplicate, keep pressing Ctrl D until you have enough slides.

Topic - Zoo
A to Z of animals in the zoo. When you visit the zoo, have a prepared worksheet with A-Z in one column and space in another column to record what animals there are that fit with those letters. Record any details you can find and add them to a PowerPoint (or Keynote A to Z)

Topic - Literacy Unit 'Where the Wild things are'
Use children’s drawings in Paint, AutoShape animals or take photos of them dressed up as Wild Things or photos of their art work. Insert these into an A –Z PowerPoint with names for each letter of the alphabet and descriptions of their Wild Thing.

Topic - Reading Activity 'Artemis Fowl'

Create drawings in Paint, Artrage or any other drawing software. Insert them into an A-Z PowerPoint. For each letter write something about the characters, themes or plotlines.