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NYC Helpline: How To: Manage Your Classroom
View Instructional Videos for Teachers about Classroom Management

Classroom Management (Secondary)

A high school science teacher demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to success.

Classroom Management (Elementary)

An elementary school teacher guides us through her daily classroom routines and shows how consistency and structure are essential.

Classroom Management through Cooperative Groups

View two elementary school teachers demonstrate how they engage their students through group work to help them learn.

How to Home
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: How To Get Started

Managing a One Computer Classroom
Carolyn Hornik

Is the computer in your classroom sitting in the back of the room collecting dust? Is it even plugged in? Are you frustrated by the fact that there is only one computer in your classroom? Though the one-computer classroom is far from ideal, there are a variety of effective ways in which a classroom teacher can use that one computer as an instructional tool.

First Things First
You need to make sure the computer is equipped with the appropriate applications if your students are to research, write, illustrate, and present information:

  • word processor (such as Microsoft Word, AppleWorks)
  • drawing and painting application (Paint, Kidpix, SuperPrint, Illustrator and AppleWorks, additionally, applications such as Inspiration or Kidspiration can be used to create graphic organizers)
  • presentation software (PowerPoint; HyperStudio, Kidpix also contain presentation tools)
  • an Internet Browser or electronic Encyclopedia (Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator)

The computer center can be enhanced with digital cameras, digital video cameras, scanners, MP3 players, CDs, and DVDs.

The computer can be used as an electronic chalkboard for demonstration purposes by connecting it to a television or LCD projector. In this way an idea or concept can easily be illustrated. Online activities and information as well as teacher made visuals can be shared with the whole class or with a group of students.

Computer savvy students and teachers can create PowerPoint projects and present them to the class, individual students, or groups of students. Teachers who utilize the workshop model in their classrooms would find the computer an effective tool for modeling activities and for group work assignments.

Online stories, demonstrations, simulations, movies, and maps are available for all subject areas and all grade levels. As part of cooperative group work, students can employ the computer to complete their part of their project-based assignment. Students, in their roles as researcher, writer, illustrator, and/or presenter, might utilize the computer as an important tool in carrying out their role in the group’s project based assignment. Their work could be published and shared as a collaborative project with students in other schools.

Setting Up a Computer Center
Teachers can set up a “computer center” in the same manner other classroom centers are set up. Students would rotate assignments to the computer center in the same manner as other centers are rotated. Some teachers maintain a center rotation chart posted in the computer center. Others have students move name cards attached with clothespins to rotate centers.

Task card activities, containing extensions of classroom lessons, would be available at the computer center. Task cards can be teacher made or readymade. (Task cards can be purchased from Teacher Created Materials or Connected Classroom). The following types of applications are essential for your

Suggested Computer Activities:

  • Research information and real time events.
  • Graph data and organize information with graphic organizers, databases, spreadsheets, diagrams, and charts.
  • Take, display, and/or print digital photographs. Create a multimedia album.
  • Use clip art, sounds and movies to illustrate concepts. View movies to introduce science and social studies units.
  • Illustrate math problems and concepts.
  • Locate geographic areas on a map. Label borders, population, surface features, etc.
  • Create an illustrated class dictionary to reinforce spelling and vocabulary words.
  • Communicate with other classes anywhere in the world, as part of a collaborative project. Become book buddies, share experiences and ideas, and ask experts in various fields for information.
  • Enliven presentations with slide shows and dynamic web pages.
  • Inspire stimulating discussions.
  • Spice up student writing by using an online thesaurus.
  • Use interactive online activities to review and reinforce concepts and skills.
  • Publish class books and newsletters.
  • Write and animate action in a play.
  • Make journal entries.
  • Create travel brochures.
  • Use the calculator to develop and reinforce number concepts.
  • Participate in web quests.
  • Provide support to English Language Learners with interactive stories, reading activities, and multilanguage dictionaries.
  • Go on an online scavenger hunt.
  • Take part in online simulations.

Teacher Tips:

  • Train a group of students that will become “class techies.” Instruct them in basic computer skills, basic trouble shooting, and use of each application. Be sure to put a class techie into each cooperative learning group.
  • A specific task should be assigned for each student using the computer. Include the name of the software to be used in executing the task and review the directions so that students know how to do the project.
  • Teachers should prescreen and bookmark Internet web sites to be used by students. Limit the number of web sites for each assignment.
  • Plan tasks that address different learning styles and multiple intelligences.
  • Assign one cooperative group to the computer center at a time. Each group might be assigned on a specific day of the week each week.
  • Keep accurate scheduling records for computer use. Keep a log or journal including the names of students who need additional time to complete assignments. Students might also complete journal entries indicating the date, time, work that was done on the computer, and any help they might need. As students complete their individual tasks, they might quietly notify the next person on the list for their group. Some teachers find it useful to have each student or groups turn over a name card on a pocket chart when they complete an assignment on the computer.
  • Develop assessment strategies for evaluating student work done on the computer. Many teachers utilize a checklist. Students sign and attach the checklist to their completed project. Have standard setting projects available for students to model their work on.
  • Establish a method for saving student files. Each cooperative group might save to a specific folder set up on the computer or each group might have its own floppy disk for saving work.
  • Print and display students work.
  • Create templates for assignments.
  • Attach a set of headphones to the computer to avoid class distractions. Try to position the computer so that only the computer users face the screen.

Dust off and power up that computer in the back of your room. Use it to create a classroom of motivated, independent, cooperative, and collaborative learners.

Additional Resources:


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