Managing Computer Lab Sessions - Keeping It Focused Article Review
In this article, the author is the usage of Internet technologies in education. Internet is the thing we cannot ignore nowadays since we use it on daily basis and find it impossible to spend even a day without checking our mail boxes, messages in Facebook or simply googling the information we do not know. However, the author is concerned that as useful as it may be, Internet is used for non-educational purposes in the classrooms and student often use private windows to look up the information which is absolutely not related to the subject, or play on0line games, etc.
The new innovative method used in the classrooms is making the students use their own computers for learning purposes. However, the author sees quite a few disadvantages in bringing this new method to the classrooms since the students get even more distracted than usual. These thoughts encouraged the author to re-evaluate the current methods used by teachers. Therefore, he decided to develop a new system that could increase student’s productivity and provides a clear structure for teachers to plan their lessons.
While discussing the article, the author mentions quite a few Internet – based tasks which were divided into following categories: Acquiring Skills, Virtual Touring, Searching for Information, Problem Solving, Generating Results, Researching, Exchanging and Publishing Information and Studying the Internet. In order to put everything in a more simple way, the author decided to come up with certain examples of tasks which belong to each category. In author’s opinion, category Acquiring Skills would be the easiest one as it is way easier to control it since it is the computerized equivalent of controlled practice. The software will control the students and keep track of what they are doing and whether they are completing the task, however, it still cannot prevent students willfully deviating from their tasks.
The other tasks which require Internet access also require a certain level of trust from the students because they need reasonably free access to the Internet.
But if the teacher decides to use the methods which involve access to the Internet, it is way better to make the students work in groups and share the responsibility among the class. This will prevent them from distraction and will keep them concentrated on the task.
Another way to keep the students focused on studies is to give them the materials beforehand, as the author did during his TOEFL classes. It will result in students spending less time staring in the monitor and more time working with the information provided.
The other method I especially like was the shortage of time. If a teacher gives students a bit less time than required they will have neither time nor opportunity to use their PC for purposes which are not related to their studies. Thus this method works generally for any activity the students are involved in.
Also, in table 2, the author provides the readers with the list of the most common cheating tolls which must be avoided. The teacher must also watch the task bar for applications that should not be there.
The last but definitely not the least, the author provides the readers with different options how to track the students’ progress and plan their studies. Personally I found especially useful the whiteboard since they are easier on-screen and can then be pasted into most Windows applications.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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