Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Kidspiration, Word and Projectors

No Interactive Whiteboard or Internet access, what could she do?

I was in a class yesterday where the teacher was really keen to use her laptop and the school projector in her classroom teaching. I showed her how to set it up and we decided where was the best place to put it. Of course the projector is not suspended from the ceiling...it has to sit on a table, but we could work with that. And we had to use extension cords, so duct tape was used and new rule in the class imposed "Walk around the table rather then through the gaps!"
Next was the discussion of how to use this as a learning tool.

First of all we looked at the Kidspiration math activities that are available on the school server. These types of activities can be used as a teaching tool. Because we were projecting onto the whiteboard the children could go up and write the answers with whiteboard markers (which they love doing)and the teacher could also get children to come up and type in the answer.

And of course Kidspiration is a great authoring tool, very simple to create your own activities and if you are still using Version 1 or 2 then you must upgrade to Version 3 as it has a folder dedicated to great math activities that you can adjust to suit your class and a new view which gives you maths tools to create activities with.

So using the laptop and the projector for maths was easy... What about writing?

We talked about how she models her writing on the whiteboard in the class so I suggested that she use 'Microsoft Word' and the font Comic Sans with a large font size so that all children can see it.
It is a good idea while you are modeling the writing to turn off the capitilisation, (2007 go to Menu Button and select Word Options, click on Proofing, click on AutoCorrect Options, deselect Capitalise first letters of sentences, click OK) (2003, go to Tools, click on AutoCorrect Options, deselect Capitalise first letters of sentences, click OK)
Students can make corrections using white board markers. This is also a good opportunity to teach keyboarding editing skills, as you do the editing say what you are doing "I need to fix up a spelling mistake so I am going to take my mouse and click at the end of the word scool and I am pressing the Backspace key, now I am typing in the correct word". This is a common editing mistake I see children doing, instead of going and clicking on the word to correct it they will backspace a whole sentence , therefore wasting time as they have to type the sentence again. And of course this is great time to remind children what fingers they should be using, such as "What finger do I use to make a full stop?" Have a couple of old keyboards available so that children can pass them around and practice making the full stop with the ring finger on their right hand.
So even without Internet access there is still a lot of ways you can use a projector and a laptop!

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