Our middle school teachers are having problems in the computer lab with students who are not being on task with research projects. Going to other sites, off task sending each other files and pictures, etc. What policies, consequences do other middle schools? We are discussing taking privileges away, documentation, etc. Any great models out there?

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Seems like they would have thought of that before they walked in the lab. I'd start over--set up the rules (AUP) and expections, introduce the projects and try again. If you don't abide by the rules then you sit in the lab with an encyclopdia and a pencil/paper.

If the projects are rich, real and relevent there shouldn't be time for tomfoolery. Teachers should manage the lab or trouble is right around the corner. OK, I don't have much tolerance for bad behavior.
Indigo, good point--but computers offer distractors that library books may not. Of course you could still pass notes, throw spitwads, etc. sitting in a room without computers-- a plan should be in place.
Hi Ron,
Are you using a managed computer lab? I use Workgroup Manager and I'm able to shut down individual or all computers easily. Classroom management is always challenging but when you add computers, you have a special problem. I generally have 90% energetic boys in my multimedia classes. These are some of the techniques I've used that work for me. If I'm speaking to the class and anyone touches the keyboard, I simply unplug it and take it with me. If a student happens to be where they shouldn't, I have them log out and do silent reading or homework. It's there problem to make it up. (I don't have encyclopedias available). I agree with Nancy that it's a good idea to have the rules/procedures posted but I think there are definitely special management challenges when using computers. These days I have very few classroom management issues but I make sure they know my consequences beforehand. One thing for sure, we need to constantly walk around the class to help and "observe". (One more thing, my classroom lab is set up so I can see all the monitors, at once, but that's probably not practical for most labs.)
Thanks Kathy, we'll look into Workgroup Manager since our lab is Mac. Solidifying our consequences and being consistent across the board from teacher to teacher is our next step.
Here are some random thoughts:

1. Make sure the computer lab expectations are clearly defined on the "Computer Usage" form the students sign ever year.

2. Rearrange the computer lab (if you can) to avoid computers that are out of your range of vision. I moved the printers in my room to the back to remove "slacker" seats (the ones your problem kids go to in hopes of being able visit other sites).

3. Give a lesson showing them what you (and IT) are able to view. Show them the monitoring software. Show them a history log which shows every site they visit and at what time. Show them that "Erase Internet History" does not erase everything.

4. One day let a few kids think they are getting away with visiting forbidden sites. After class view their history and note sites (games???) they shouldn't be accessing. Block these sites. If IT doesn't give you permission to block sites ask them for permission. Tell them it will save them time! If kids accuse you of blocking sites tell them that is an IT function and they can view anyone's screen at any time.

5. Catch one student on a forbidden site with monitoring software, screenprint the image, and pass it along to the principal. When a few kids get caught then the "word" gets passed along quickly!

6. Have fun with the "game", but don't let the students see you smiling! Kids will be kids!
Great ideas, thanks. Our lab is in a "M"configuration due to limited space. It makes it tough to walk and monitor. The monitoring software seems a necessity. We are a small K-8 school and the only school in the district, but we can round up some money and get on this. I think a few screen printouts and evidence to show the Principal and parents will solve our few problems. Great help.



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