Friday, August 10, 2007

Only One Computer In The Classroom?

I came across an article on the web today that gives tips on what to do if you only have one computer in your classroom. This is the situation that I will be in when I intern in the Fall. I want to use technology in the classroom but was feeling very limited because of only having one computer. The article gives some good pointers, some I already knew, but some were helpful. I think what it boils down to is being organized and having a good plan set up. The article was called:

That's Not a Drinking Fountain or How to Survive in a One Computer Classroom by Whit Anderson

Some of the tips were to:

Have stations set up for the students to rotate through.

Have students print off information that they may need instead of sitting at the computer reading it.

Get a projector or a large monitor for the whole class to view together.

Plan ahead, have students brainstorm what they need before they get on the computer.

Beg, Borrow and Trade, see if any other classrooms have free computers, send some students to work in the library at the computers, have the school put computers on rolling carts so they are mobile.

Match Task and Resource. If there is an old computer sitting around have students use that for doing reports. Use programs such as AlphaSmart and Dreamwriter for word processing to be uploaded later.

Alternate Access Times, have computers available at different times each week such as before school or at lunch.
Another thing they mention is not to let the children use the computer as a 'reward' for getting there work done fast because slower students also need the computer. I think if you know your students well enough you will be able to judge this for yourself.


Janine said...

Sounds like you will be ready to go in your internship. Another option is actually to phone businesses and see if they have any old computers that they would donate. I know the town office where I live upgrades their computers every couple years and then they let them sit around until someone phones or until there is someone that wants them. There are tons of businesses like this. It is a good way to get free computers as long as you have room in your classroom to put a couple more.
Last year I was volunteering in a grade 2 classroom and they did the rotating from station to station and it worked really well as long as you fully explain each station to the students. They did theirs in the library resource room so there were more computers and more room.
Good luck in your internship, I'm sure you will do fine.

Crystal said...

Hey there, thanks for the good resource, I definitely "blue dotted" it. It is always helpful to get little hints from other people!
In previous experience in a Kindergarten classroom, I have seen first hand the rotating from station to station. It seems to work really well. Each student got a "buddy" to do stations with and when they got to the computer station, they knew exactly what to do. Even though there were two people at the computer they worked really well together to solve whatever they happened to be doing that day. One day two students who never got along happened to be paired up, and by some chance they worked amazingly on the computer together. You would have never known as an outsider that those two students normally didn't get along.
Also, I really like the idea of "begging and stealing" for computers. What would it hurt if a student from the grade 2 classroom used the grade 4's computer while they were doing their science lesson? You could have ear phones so the noises of the computer would not be disrupting!

Erin said...

This is great information for us. It's hard to believe that in this digital world we still don't have a lot of technology in our schools. I know that there are schools who have almost nothing in the way of technology, and then there are schools like the one I pre-interned in which had a computer lab with computers stacked (but never used because they were to slow and PC they used Mac now), at least 3 computers per classroom, plus an ibook cart and they were still begging and borrowing computers in other classrooms during class time. Odd. I guess as teacher we will learn to make the most of what we have.
Thanks for the advice.

Stepa said...

Thanks for helpful website. It may help organize classroom routine for better usage of limited assets. I personally, prefer an idea with a projector and even more with a Smart Board. In an ideal classroom every student must have a computer. But in reality kids can use computers at home or a School’s Computer Labs for creating and publishing their coursework and teacher can demonstrate it at class using the projector. One projector is cheaper then 20 to 30 computers.