Hello. I am not sure if there is a discussion out there for computer lab teachers yet. If not, I would like to start one so we can bounce ideas and resources off each other. I spent my first year teaching as a computer lab teacher. At first I was hesitant because I thought I would be a classroom teacher. Now, I love it and feel I am in the right place at the right time.

This September I start my second year only this time i am at a Chicago Public School with 600+ students. I have a lot of work to do to prepare and would love to talk with anyone about tips, tricks, what to avoid, etc.

Jeremiah Olson

Tags: computer, lab, labs

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Very very nice. I love the video about the kid who loves to IM. I can use all these resources. Thanks a bunch. Is it ethically ok to try and embed these videos into my website so the kids have no choice but to watch the video? I have visions of 30 kids doing 30 different things when they go to the site. Any ideas?

I'd guess not. How about projecting it onto a screen or wall?
Hello everyone. OK, I am back. Things have been a bit hairy around here so I haven't had too much time to look through this discussion. There are so many good ideas here it really is great example of collaboration using these tools.

Here is my set up: I have 31 student computers in my lab.I see every class once a week for 30 minutes. There are over 30 kids in some classes but the average is around 25 or so. These kids are 100% African American, inner city Chicago kids. There is one group of 8th graders where it was all I could do to get through the half hour with my sanity in tact.

I plan on hammering down rules and procedures and getting these kids in their assigned seats for the next week before I move on to actual technology lessons.
Hammer the rules. I'm in a similar position. I'm doing 1-6 at a school of ~300 seeing the 2-6 graders 2x a week for 45minutes each time, and the rest once a week for 45 minutes. I'm in week two. With the eighth graders give them carrots (hey, you behave, we can do this more enjoyable activity, or you can work on how to sit down how to ask for help, how to get up, etc.) I have a couple of rules in PowerPoints (see http://oakridgeedtech.wikispaces.com). Remember with language learners, and the behaviorally impaired, direct kinesthetic commands (face forward, both feet on the floor, all four chair legs down) works better than "let's see a nice line". It also lowers the lawyering from the optional defiant kids. Tell them explicitly and clearly what you expect. I have a second grade class with three girls that is giving me fits. I'm having a primary teacher observe me for pointers.

Last piece of advice, since you are new find a successful experienced teacher with a personality similar to yours, and get tips from them. If you are quiet, find some one quiet but effective. If you are laid back, don't get advice from someone who is anal. I find that people are invariably paired with a mentor who is a disciplinarian, but may have a very different personality. You can't change your personality, so get advice from someone like you so you won't have to.
I would be more than willing to bounce ideas around with you... I am a 3-5 tech lab teacher in a school very similar to yours. Check out my website for a list of links and projects that I have done with them. One suggestion with these students, keep them engaged and do not call them out in front of their peers, just whipser in their ears that you would like to have a talk with them later. I look forward to some great ideas and collaboration.
I looked at your site and one question popped into my head. How do we get kids email accounts to access Blogger? Although it seems most of my older students have multiple email accounts I am reluctant to have them use those. Can I create a teacher email account through Google and have every one use that? Wouldn't they be able to use that email at home then? I can't have that.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

I am really appreciative of everyone's feedback here. Thank you all.
Actually, I do not have the students use an email... I allow anonymous posts and have them click other and use their initials and homeroom teachers name. I also monitor all posts and approve only appropriate comments. Good luck, Craig
I forget where I saw this tip, but if you create a gmail account for yourself (MrOlson@gmail.com) you can then annex the student's name to your account. (MrOlson+Student@gmail.com) All the email will come to YOUR account and the student has an email account to allow them to set up their blog, but will never be able to actually access the account. I did try this out (not with Blogger, but with another service) and it worked -- all the annexed email was sent to me.
At my schooI set up a gaggle.net account for the school and enabled the teacher to enter her students. It is a school only system that allows the teacher to control and see the postings. We are going to use this as a school to school communication tool. I don't think the students have started using it yet but it looks good.
Hi Jeremiah,
Pardon my ignorance, but what's a computer lab teacher? Are you a resource person for classes and class teachers who book the labs, a tutor who provides skilling up for students and staff, a rescuer who enables classroom teachers to not develop their own technology skills or...?
In my defence, I'll claim to be Australian (as you'll note from my failure to spell!) and so part of a somewhat different world!

I'd thought you were starting a discussion about computer labs, which many folks seem to think it fashionable to rubbish. (I don't. In schools from poorer demographics - such as mine - the laptop madness is not possible, even if it were, personal ownership can be dangerous anyway with risks of theft, damage and vandalism. And in any case the world is wider than the pressure for ubiquity and constant connection. There are other things to do, such as carbon-based socialising, classroom-based networking, physical publishing, presentations with flesh and blood audiences, and dynamic real time, geographically proximate or collocated conversations. These things can occur when disconnected from the digital life-support system. Ah, pardon the rant - but although I appreciate the blessings of ICT, I do consider them mixed with curses.)
I think some of us are a resource, and some are teaching classes to primary/elementary students. I teach students one class at a time. I have the 2-6 students in for two-45 minute periods a week. This provides time for their teachers to do "prep" work, and gives the kids time on the computers. Some teachers do drill on the computer, some do project based activities. Most do a mix. Some have kids on the Internet, some had walled garden labs (most have some internet access).

There is controversy about how appropriate it is to have a computer lab teacher. The tendency is for ALL the instruction using technology to be done by that teacher, and for regular classroom teachers not to embed technology in their teaching. Also, there is the risk that the technology will be taught in isolation, and not be tied into the rest of the curriculum they are learning. This is my first year teaching computer lab. I have taken pains to make sure what I teach is embedded with the themes, and non-tech standards that students are bing taught in their regular class. I'm also trying to showcase, and train other teachers on technology so that they can use it in their classrooms.

I teach is a high poverty school. We may eventually be getting laptops, even take home ones, but what is interesting to me is the mix of technology that these children have. Almost all have game boxes at home, and DVD players. Many have computers, but not all of them work or have a good internet connection. The lab helps even that out.
I'm the computer teacher/ed tech specialist at an inner city elementary school. I work with approximately 450 students a week in grades K-5. I see most classes once a week, with a few lucky ones who come to me twice a week.

I try to collaborate with classroom teachers to dovetail my instruction with their classroom instruction, but have had only limited success. Most of the teachers claim not to have the time to plan with me, so I work around them, using the appropriate curriculum for each grade.

This is my fifth year running the lab and our projects have included researching, writing and publishing non-fiction books using Lintor Publishing; PowerPoint presentations on New York State; claymation movies (using Frames; Kid Pix slideshows for the little ones, poetry podcasts and blogs. This year I'm trying out wikis and digital storytelling. We've been trying to publish as much student work as we can to our lab blog. Knowing their work will reach a real world audience is a tremendous incentive for my kids. I've also starting using Intel's Thinking Tools which got a very enthusiastic reception from the fifth graders.

While my students learn how to use the computer and the software we need to complete their projects, I don't think of myself as "teaching computers." My students are learning how to research, collaborate, plan and publish their work and they're having fun in the process. I confess to really loving what I do every day.



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