Teaching with laptops or devices
When teaching with extra material on students desk, like the laptop, here are some helpful hints:
Have a colour code for what type of activity you are doing.
Green – Independent work.
Yellow – Explore along with me. Students then know that it is appropriate to multitask, or self direct their learning
Red – Eyes on me, hands off devices. (Don’t use often as it means that what you are saying is more important than their learning.)
Have the students start up the laptops as soon as they get to their desks
Have an activity for them to start on (find a photo that demonstrates ecosystems) while the rest of the class gets ready.
When you wish to speak to the class with their undivided attention, have the students close the lids or turn them over
When you wish to speak to the class briefly, have the students place the lids at 45 degrees or blank the screen.
When asking students to go to a specific site, it is useful
to use the Accessibility features of Mac OS on the display device,
to use a URL shortener like bit.ly,
to upload onto a standard start or jump page for your class
or to use a QR code
I am a proponent of not having 1 to 1 laptops for classroom integration. When sharing, students must work together and communicate. They are working towards common goals, rather than competing to get their work done. Several additional reasons that I prefer to have students work with a shared laptop include:
There are lesson devices active that can have technical problems
To be off task requires agreement from both students
Each group has twice as many ears listening to the directions
When actively writing, one student can operate the device, while the other focuses on just thinking
There are twice as many active problem solvers when problems arise.
Those that are concerned about students not learning or doing their own work, I return a challenges such as:
Why students must type their own work?
Why do we need every student to do the work or produce a product?
Is the learning activity about product or process?
What are we evaluating – their written output or thinking that is communicated?
Does completing a performance task ensure learning has occured?
Are we asking students to answer real world problems or artificial tasks? (When are you not allowed to collaborate in life?)
Management techniques that can help
Assign each student a number (1, 2)
Ask number 1’s to get the laptops – Ask number 2’s to start it up.
Ask number 1’s to start an application and add their first 3 ideas – Ask number 2’s to add 3 of their own or expand