Tuesday, June 8, 2010

30 Secrets Of A Good Computer Lesson

1. The lesson forms part of a unit which forms part of a scheme of work.

2. There is a good starter activity, one that gets the pupils settled down an in the right frame of mind to do the work you've planned for them.

3. The teacher spends time at the start letting pupils into the secret what the objectives (intended learning outcomes) of the lesson are, ie what is intended to be achieved by the end, and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons

4. Pupils are given open ended tasks (as far as possible), or at least not tasks with a glass ceiling. (Even lessons designed to impart a set of skills can still be more interesting than "drill & practice").

5. There are plenty of resources for the pupils to use, enabling the teacher to give QUALITY guidance, ie not confined to explaining how to save the document! Such resources will include "how to' guides and posters, on screen help (which the pupils will have been taught how to use), and each other.

6. Ample time is allowed for the plenary, thereby allowing it to be somewhat more useful than the POLO model: Print Out and Log Off. The plenary is an ESSENTIAL part of the lesson, used to check what learning has taken place, consolidate learning, and prepare pupils for the next stage. In fact, a lesson might have two or three plenaries rather than just one at the end.

7. Homework is set at the START of the lesson, enabling the teacher to explain what needs doing, and for the pupils to understand what they need to have achieved by the end of the lesson in order to be able to make a good job of the homework; note that homework is ALWAYS given, regardless of so called homework timetables! (It doesn't always have to be written down.

8. Pupils are given plenty of time on the computers, with the teacher helping individuals and small groups.

9. Work is set at an appropriate standard, taking into account the pupils’ prior learning and attainment, and what is expected of their age group in terms of national standards.

10. There is a lot of questioning â€" PROBING questioning â€" and assessment for learning techniques in evidence.

11. There is a good range of material to provide for differentiation (higher attainers and children with special educational needs) and personalised learning.

12. The teacher is aware of individual pupils’ needs, such as their individual education plans â€" and makes use of the assessment and other data she has â€" remember: data only becomes information if you DO something with it!

13. Not all work takes place at the computer.

14. Pupils come in on time, prepared, and ready to start work.

15. There is a good buzz in the room pupils are talking about the work, not last night's TV programs.

16. Pupils organise themselves and, if working in groups, work collaboratively rather than competitively at least with other members of their own group!

17. Pupils don't keep asking the time, unless they are worried about not being able to complete the work (see below though) and don't notice the time going by.

18. Pupils don't understand the concept of finishing the work in the sense of having time left over to check email, play Solitaire etc.

19. Pupils, even normally poorly behaved ones, ask to be allowed to stay on, come back at lunchtime or come back early in the morning.

20. Pupils respect the equipment and the room. For example, they do not leave discarded print outs on the floor.

21. Pupils are happy and confident enough to try out things you haven't shown them: they ask help from each other or look at the posters and manuals that are available for them.

22. If you interrupt their work in order to announce or explain something, someone asks you to hurry up so that they can get back to their work.

23. Pupils do a greater amount work, say for homework, than you have asked them to. For example, instead of conducting a survey with 10 people they decide to ask 20.

24. Pupils do a wider range of work than you have asked them to. For example, instead of just writing about what the hospital of the future will be like, they canvass the views of others and carry out some research about current developments.

25. Pupils want to show off to you little tricks they have discovered, such as keyboard shortcuts.

26. Pupils talk to their friends about the lesson.

27. Pupils discuss with their friends the possibility of taking a particular ICT course in 3 years time.

28. Pupils not only want to assist at open evenings/days, but are able to look after and even create an ICT presentation on your behalf.

29. Pupils are able to help other (younger or older) pupils with confidence and enthusiasm.

30. Pupils ask you questions that you are unable to answer.

This article is (c) 2005 Terry Freedman

About the author:

Terry Freedman has nearly thirty years' experience in education, and nearly 20 years' experience as a writer. A member of the UK's Society of Authors, Terry has had around a dozen books published, and over 800 specialist articles in leading newspapers and magazines.

Written by: Terry Freedman


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