General Issues
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Classroom Issues

There are several important classroom issues to consider with regard to computer use. Below will be some brief discussion about a few key points.

The One Computer Classroom
Several of the classrooms at the charter school have Internet access limited to one computer.  You can find some great articles that give practical ideas to handle this situation at this site, The One Computer Classroom.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use a buddy system that pairs more computer saavy students with beginners.
  • Have a management plan in place before starting a project (i.e. cards indicating who is on the computer, when and for how long).
  • Create two desktop folders, one for completed work and one for work in progress.
  • Provide a checklist for students each time they spend time on the computer so they can keep track of where they are in the project.
  • Use templates whenever possible. Then students can rotate through an activity without loosing or altering the original.
  • Emphasize preplanning to time so actual time on the computer is put to good use.
  • When introducing a new computing skill, model frequently before expecting students to do it on their own.
  • Use the L-TV hook-up when demonstrating these new skills.
  • Enlist the help of volunteers as much as possible

There are several good books focusing on one computer classrooms. Of particular notice are those written by Tom Snyder . Also check out these searches from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Special Needs Students
Accomodating the needs and learning styles of today's students is made easier with the integration of technology. By encorporating a multimedia approach, teachers have the tools to allow all students the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of exciting learning experiences.

Here are a few examples of how technology supports inclusion:

  • The use of a laptop computer and speech recognition software enables the student with speech and motor impairments to work towards independence in writing.
  • Multimedia writing projects that pair learning disabled students with non-disabled peers can tap unrealized potential of both populations.
  • Deaf students can learn to translate American Sign Language to written English by integrating story telling, video taping and word processing.
  • A portable braille devise with speech output can allow a high school student academic success.

    The National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education Through Technology, Media, and Materials (NCIP) site is a wonderful place to learn about how and why to use technology with your special needs students.

    This is not to say that accomodating learning disabled or physically challenged students is easy. However, if you keep an open mind and a creative spirit, accomodations can be made. There are many adaptive devices created especially for a wide varierty of conditions and there are also monies available to help defray associated costs (see the above mentioned site for details).
    Relevant Web Sites
    Computer Assisted Instruction and the Learning Disabled: Factors that must be Addressed for a Successful Program

    LDOnline Tech Guide

    SNOW Learning Technology: Adaptive Technology

    The Internet: An Inclusive Magnet for Teaching All Students

    NCSA Mosaic Access Page

    Disadvantaged Students

    The Digital Divide, the separation between the technology "haves" versus the technology "have nots", is currently being hotly debated. Almost every classroom population will have students that come from impovershed backgrounds. Our responsibility is to minimize the affect this has on individual success in a technology rich classroom. As such, it is imperative that we provide the additional instruction, practice and hands-on computer time needed by those students. It is likely that such opportunities will be motivating for the children and rewarding for the teacher. That's a win/win situation!

    Relevant Web Sites
    Curriculum and Instructional Strategies: Using Higher Order Computer Tasks with Disadvantaged Students

    Closing the Equity Gap in Technology Access and Use: A Practical Guide for K-12 Educators

    Critical Issue: Ensuring Equitable Use of Education Technology

    The bottom line..."Playing" on the computer is (almost) a universally enjoyable experience for children. If we put the time to sound educational use and keep in mind the particular needs of the children in our care, the computer can open up the world to a child. It is worth the effort!

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