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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Computer lab joys

After 11 years at my school, we finally obtained a computer lab with 17 desktop computers to use. We struggled for so many years to assemble mini-labs using grant computers and donated machines. This year my library was equipped with 8 Dell PC’s which replaced the nine year old iMacs. Instead of a variety of screens, techniques, and operating systems I am finally able to teach the entire class simultaneously.

For those of you who have had equipment, this isn’t a big deal. Those of you with bare bones equipment can rejoice with me.

I have still managed to work around and create some pretty impressive things with students over the past 11 years. Now though I can turn the technology instruction over to the classroom teacher and have more time for individual students to work on machines rather than partnering.

What was the first thing I taught each group of 2-4th graders in one hour? Parts of computer, internet safety, using the OPAC, linking to our library site from home, linking to the public library, the riches of having a public library card, how the computer isn’t as creative in finding solutions as we are and sometimes is wrong, how to capture images from the internet, copyright & fair use rules, how to open 2-3 windows, how to open 2 programs at a time, how to use Powerpoint to share our ideas, how to cite our source and copy/paste our URL’s, and how to properly leave the lab for the next class. 

Sound pretty basic and nearly everything is a review, but the difference is that now every student was able to simultaneously participate. We did so much in so little time.

For follow up the 4th graders have been coming back in and creating powerpoint presentations for the upcoming class detailing their 5 favorite books of 4th grade. I’m putting it together with MovieMaker now and the 3rd graders will see it next week. They are so proud of their work and how they were able to individualize. 

Oh, the joy of every child having a computer at the same time. (I did have to bring in some laptops for the larger classes)