Monday, October 20, 2003

Laptops

I used the laptops for the first time today. We have 60 laptops but we only recently received them and have been busy configuring them to get internet access and stuff like that. Now that we're passed the first really crazy weeks of school, and the laptops are ready to go, we have been slowly starting to integrate them into our lessons. Here's what I did with them today:

Last week, my students designed experiments to find out what variables affect the strength of an electromagnet (i.e., length/thickness of wire, thickness of bolt, number of batteries, etc.). They carried out their experiments and recorded their results. Today and tomorrow, they are writing up their projects as PowerPoint presentations which they will give later in the week. I see this as an alternative to having each individual student turn in a written lab report, though the information is similar; it is also good practice in speaking before a group and using the computer to present information.

Using the laptops - even only 6 at a time (one per group) - adds new management challenges to the classroom. For example, I have a shelf in the back of the room set up with power cords for the laptops to quietly charge when the students are not using them. Each laptop is set up with a folder for them to save in and a system for naming the documents which prevents one group from accidently saving over another group's work (a likely scenario when they are all doing similar projects). Basically, they name their documents "electromagnet [class] [table #]". I have to keep my eyes open for inappropriate laptop use (like grabbing it away from another student).

The kids really like using the laptops, though, and the work they produce is very professional.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home