In past years I covered A LOT of classes, but this year not so much. I get called to cover if a sub position doesn’t fill, if there’s an I.E.P. meeting, and many other reasons. Sometimes it’s for “15” minutes but it’s usually longer. So the one thing I have learned over the last few years while covering a class is the do’s and don’ts of technology in a classroom. Here are a few lists:
*Set the rules before anyone….ANYONE….I mean ANYONE is allowed to even think about opening the computer. Reason why- that one student will go ahead and either use someone else’s account/computer.
*Do ask if anyone should not be on the computers. Students will tell on each other with no reservations. If you don’t ask they will be on a computer when their privileges have been revoked and when everyone else has told you repeatedly that that student should not be on the computer, that student will have a melt down when you take them of the computers.
*List the websites then can go on. If you are allowing Prodigy then list it. Also tell them that these are the only sites you can go on. If you just say educational sites they will find a way to get around the “educational” part. (Student states “Well, my uncle told me I could learn a lot if I looked up……”)
*When setting rules make sure you tell them the volume level on their computers or make sure they use headphones. Also let them know if you allow them to partner up or work with a small group. My suggestion is if it’s your first time covering the class, everyone should work independently.
*Monitoring is still need even if they are all on task and silent. Chances are there’s one or two surfing the web and the ride is a category 5 wave. (Meaning: definitely an inappropriate site).
*Don’t sit and think they are all innocent happy learners. Keep an eye on them. If you hear giggling or noise of trying to talk go quickly but stealth like behind the student so you can see what they are doing.
*Don’t take for granted that the screen they have up is what they have been working on. Nope. Usually they think they can get away with switching back and forth but check the tabs or click on the back arrow to see where they have been.
*Don’t say “This is fun time or free time”. Say “Additional learning time” or “GATE scholar time” It is harder for the teacher to get them back on task when he/she returns to teach.
*Even if your “15” minutes is extended to 30 don’t let them stay on the computer more than 20-30 mins. After 30 mins. they usually are bored and will start to wander sites or writing notes to someone else in class. Depending on the grade you could wind up with notes that just might make it into an airplane shape that will try to travel the length of the classroom.
I know there are many do’s and don’ts and some seem like common sense, but maybe by reading this post it will be in the back of your mind when you need to cover a class…say for “15” minutes.
Best of luck when you do.