Using a computer room
Booking a Computer room might seem like the answer to the end of your stressful week but as with all things in teaching, if you fail to plan you plan to fail!
Here are 4 tips for any subject use of a computer room which will help you keep your stress levels down:
Have a seating plan
1. Have a seating plan. Ask the teacher whose usual room it is if they have a template to save you drawing up the room. If there is no template then pop along to the room and quickly draw it on paper, numbering the PCs/seats in each row. Assign your students to one of these numbers and then count the students into the room and into their seats at the very start of the lesson. Line learners up and then call out names in number order. This reminds learners that this lesson is still subject to expectations you would have in your own classroom – you are still in control!
2. Set expectations in the corridor. Students have a tendency to think rules only apply in certain classrooms, so if you take them from your English room to a Computing room, they seem to think English in a Computer room does not mean the same rules apply to them.
Control the room
3. Check for control software. Control software is used to allow the teacher to control learner’s machines from the front of the room. You can do things like block certain websites, or pause all screens to help you get students’ attention. Ask your IT/Computing teachers if you have this software (Impero is a famous example). If you have something like this, ask for a very quick lesson in how to use just those two functions.
4. Don’t just sit at the front. Often when a computer room is chosen for a lesson, teachers make the assumption that because students love computers they will sit and work on the task set. In reality, what tends to happen, is learners will find ways around website filters and try to spend as much of your lesson as possible online shopping, looking at Google images and/or Google Maps! The solution is that you need to continue to move around the room. If you can’t see a PC screen, then chances are the student will try to not work! Move around the room, look over shoulders, lean in and talk about the work (all the things you would do back in your standard classroom).