Monday, July 2, 2012

Tech Alternatives for the One Computer Classroom

This week I am away on an offline vacation. Rather than let the blog be dormant or rerunning old posts I decided to give some other people a chance to share their experiences and ideas with you. I hope you enjoy the posts.

So you have been ordered to integrate technology in you classroom. Only problem is, you only have one computer. There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Here are 10 ways you can use your one computer as an invigorating learning tool.
  1. Presentation Tool- The first (and simplest way) to use your computer is to present notes or information to your students. To do this project your computer screen onto a presentation screen or smart board. If you don’t have one a dry erase board works just as good. This also requires the aid of an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) projector. The best way to do this is for the teacher to walk the room explaining the notes and making sure students are on task while a student works the keyboard.
    • Example- Present a power point on the steps of solving a quadratic equation.
  2. Game Show Host- There are a ton of interactive games, note taking techniques, and simulation activities on the internet. Allow one student to direct activities projected on the screen or fill in a graphic organizer on the dry erase board and another student to make the movements on the computer. Students can be grouped to increase competition.  
    • Example- Go to and search for games based a lesson you will be teaching.  Divide students into groups of 3-4 and allow them to compete against each other in a game. One student will operate the computer and be the score keeper.
  3. Competition Tool- Play the games or competition listed above (in #2). However, make it a competition between classes to get the whole class involved. The results can be calculated on the board or tracked using an excel spreadsheet with a bar graph.
    • Example-  Have students compete to identify the battles of the Civil War of the parts of the body on
  4. Learning Center- Setup learning centers in your classroom. Create an activity where groups of students move through various learning centers with one of the centers being a computer learning center.

  • Example-Create learning stations about the stages of mitosis. Have a one station where students take notes, have another station where they color diagrams on the stages of mitosis, another stage where they interact with a simulation on the stages of mitosis (such as  , another where they create a model of mitosis, and another for assessments.

  1. Computer as the Peak Activity (Pre-search, Research, Post-search) - Have a group assignment where students have a before the computer part (or parts) of the assignment, on the computer part of the assignment, and an after the computer part(s). This allows each group to prepare for what they will do on the computer as well as evaluate what they did while on the computer.

  • Example- Students prepare to write a debate on abortion by writing a thesis and creating an outline, get on the computer and research information about cell phones in school using , and then use the research information to formulate their debate.

  1. Jigsaw Puzzle- By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the jigsaw method. It breaks a lesson down into parts and groups of students work on different parts of the lesson. Each part of the lesson will equal one piece of the puzzle. One of those pieces will be a computer group.
    • Example- When teaching a lesson on China, I jig sawed the lesson into a language group, a culture group, a religion group, a history group, a customs group and a geography group. While the other groups used the textbook and other resource books , I allowed the geography group to use my computer to map famous places using Google Earth
  2. Students-Teacher- Allow students to become a specialist on a particular topic and they can create a PowerPoint or other activity to teach the rest of the class about the topic
    • Example- As an end of the year review, students can pick a war (i.e. World War I) and create a short 3 slide PowerPoint on the topic to present to the class. Other students can be busied doing their research in a textbook or creating a multiple choice quiz about their PowerPoint.
  3. Post Master-Allow students to work on an activity at their desk. When they get their part correct, they can go type it into a master list or Power Point projected on the board.
    • Example- This is a great “Get to Know Your Classmates” activity for the beginning of the year. Have each student come up and make one PowerPoint slide about themselves and present a master PowerPoint show entitled “Getting to Mrs./Mr. ___________’s class”
      1. For fun make it a quiz, where the student puts a weird fact about themselves and the class has to guess who it is.
  4. Scavenger Hunt- Have students complete an in class scavenger hunt that allows students to get on the computer for only part of the answers.
    • Example- Have students answer questions in the different resources in the room (textbook, encyclopedia, classroom books) about the Civil Rights Movement and for one of the questions have them listen to Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on
  5. Tutor- Use it for struggling students for remediation or enrichment for early finishers. This is also a great for students who need some extra credit.

Kimberly Scott has more than six years of teaching experience. This includes middle and high school, both in the traditional and online environment. She has done numerous trainings, designed several innovative curriculums, and developed end-of-course assessments. She specializes in innovative teaching techniques, curriculum design, and integrating technology in the classroom. For more information, visit her blog