EducationPlanner as a Computer Lab Activity
The EducationPlanner website is so easy to use that most of your students will have no trouble finding the information they need. It may be of benefit, however, to introduce them to EducationPlanner through a directed activity in your school's computer lab. Teachers may also want to use some of the website's features as part of the academic curriculum.
Planning the Activity
Here are some suggestions for planning a directed activity in your computer lab:
Understand your school's computer system.
Computer problems can slow down the lab activity, limit the amount of material that you cover, and be frustrating for both you and the students. Consider these issues in the planning process:
- How reliable is your school's computer system?
- Can students sign on and access the internet quickly?
- Do you have problems with server speed?
- If using laptops, will you need to recharge them between lab activities?
- Is your wireless internet access reliable?
Figure out how much time you have.
The amount of time you have available determines how much material you can cover in each lab activity. Give some thought to the following:
- How long is a class period?
- How many class periods can you dedicate to exploring EducationPlanner?
- What topics are essential to cover considering the time available?
Identify your students.
The make up of the students in each lab activity can help you determine the best way to construct each lesson plan. Ask yourself:
- What is the general reading level of the students?
- What is the level of computer literacy and keyboarding skills of the students?
- What is the most appropriate material to cover for the grade you are working with?
Recruit your colleagues.
Getting buy-in from your colleagues adds credibility to lab activity you want to conduct with students. Identify the following:
- Which teachers may be willing to give up instructional time so that their students can explore EducationPlanner?
- Do you want to make the lab activity part of a regular class, such as English, Reading, or Guidance, or do you plan to take students out of the classroom?
- Is it possible to make the lab activity a required computer class?
Conducting the Activity
Once you are done with the planning, there are a few more things to do to ensure the lab activity goes smoothly:
- Reserve the computer lab and make sure the lab is unlocked before students arrive.
- To save time, wait to take attendance while the students are working in the website.
- Be very familiar with the website before giving instructions. Students are quick to pick up on whether you are unorganized or unprepared.
- Walk around the lab throughout the activity. This makes it easier for students to ask questions and easier for you to maintain control of the class.
- Check frequently to be sure all students are working in the appropriate section of the website.
- Keep one eye on the clock, quickly move things along, and make sure you have enough time remaining to cover all of the material. Time flies when you're in the computer lab, and keeping the activity fast paced will help hold the students' interest.
- Avoid lengthy interruptions and resist the urge to spend extended time with individual students.
- Keep it light and make it fun so students will want to return to the website on their own time.
- Allow conversation to occur as long as the students stay focused, they don't get too loud, and they quickly move on to the next topic when you instruct them to do so. Students will naturally want to talk to each other as they review the website and find things that interest them. They are also very good at helping out a classmate who may have gotten lost along the way.
- Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something or are not totally familiar with a particular part of the website. When put in this situation, encourage students to try to find the answer to the question. This promotes creative thinking, investigation, and problem solving. Many times a student will find the answer and inform the whole class. As a result, you learn from the students, and that is a healthy instructional environment!
Your students are going to enjoy exploring EducationPlanner. By doing an effective job of planning and conducting a high-quality lab activity, you can ensure you've provided a meaningful educational experience for them.
Want to Know More?
- Visit the Site Map to see all that EducationPlanner has to offer your students in once glance.