Creating Computer Based Projects: Planning and Implementing
Why Use Technology At All?
There are many reasons to use technology and of courses there are reasons not to. Some of the following are the reasons to use technology in the classroom. Technology allows for multiple ways of learning and allowing students to show what has been learned. Technology can give you the ability to extend the classroom outside of school walls with the Internet and other technologies. This makes it for a real world audience to be reached. Skills that are being used in the outside world can also be applied to content areas in school. Technology allows for the opportunity to differentiate the way core subject areas content is accessed and looked at. Students are using computers on their own time whether they are playing games or surfing the web. The opportunity to use this technology in the classroom can raise the level of engagement of students who may enjoy working on computers, but not enjoy school.
Teachers much like students are at multiple levels of how they use technology inside and outside of school. Whether you are helping a teacher planning to use technology in their classroom or are looking to use technology yourself you may want to think about what level of experience you might be at.
Three levels of experience:
- Still unsure of how to find resources (websites, computer hardware, etc.).
- May have questions on how to manage a classroom of students using computers.
- How to manage resources, human and technology.
- Lack of knowledge on how to deal with simple technical issues.
- Technology may be used simply for drill work or research/word processing.
- Begin to perform basic trouble-shooting.
- Start to change from teaching technology to using technology as a learning tool.
- Only one or two types of technology may be used in the classroom – most likely what the teacher is most comfortable with.
- Has a good understanding of where to go to find necessary resources.
- May still be using technology merely to enhance their productivity.
- Experiment with news ways of instruction.
- Teachers design learning experiences and environments to take advantage of the technology’s capabilities to meet objectives.
- Teachers are experimenting with new technologies, even though their students may know more about it then they do.
- Know how to find all necessary resources and equipment necessary for lessons and/or projects.
Things To Think About Prior To Planning
- Will students be able to stay focused on the project at hand or will they end up off task?
- Do you have a plan B for technology issues?
- Do you know how to do some simple troubleshooting?
Students’ Research skills
- Do students know how to analyze content on the web?
- Do students know how to use search engines effectively?
- Do students use multiple resources, for example databases in the library?
- Where are students’ with their content area skills?
- Are students looking at simple facts or underlying frameworks of content area?
- Do students understand what their final project will show?
- Does it have enough memory and storage for what I am doing?
- Do you need to print?
- Do I need to sign it out?
- How long will it be available to me?
- Do you have to worry about something that students might not be familiar with?
- Are there things I need to attach, for example a projector, which I haven’t used before?
- Do I need a specific type of
- Do the computers that I am using have the software installed?
- Will I be able to access the software when I need it?
- Will students have access outside of class if needed?
- Do students know how to use the software?
Students’ Technology skills
- Do students know how to login to the schools network?
- Do students know how to use the technology tools to complete the project, or will you need to teach them those skills also?
- Do you have students that are computer experts?
- Make sure that students remember to save often!
- Do students know how to save to their network folders?
- Are there people that can support your goals (Other teachers, students, librarians, instructional technology specialists)?
- How do you contact those people?
- Will they be available to help you throughout the project?
- Are there parents that might be willing to help?
- How much time can I spend on this project?
- How much in class time will students have?
- How much outside class time will students need?
- How much time do I need to prepare for the project?
Just like any lesson that you plan for you will want to plan for your technology project. Personally I think of what I want to do and give myself more than enough time for planning, at least a month if not more. There are some things that you should consider as you begin your plan.
As you are setting the goals of what you want your students to achieve by the end of the lesson/ project you should also be thinking about the technology that is available to you. Sometimes the technology seems to get in the way of the goals that you are trying to accomplish. You will want to make sure that your goals and technology fit together. Don’t sacrifice your goals for technologies sake.
During the planning stages you will want to look at the following as it relates to the technology.
- Are the tools to achieve your objective available?
- Do you know minimum software that you need?
- Will you need to reserve the computer lab?
- Is the project reliant on the Internet, if so do you have a backup plan?
- Have you talked to the librarians about the resources that are available to you and your students?
- Are you expecting your students to have all the necessary skills for the project or are the skills such as researching and technology you have to include?
- Are you working with laptops that need to be charged?
- Student passwords need to be a consideration.
- Where will they save their projects (Network, CD, or Floppy)?
- Do your human resources have some free time?
A week or two before
- Do students have their passwords?
- Double check with the times that you have the equipment reserved.
- Do you have instructions for students to follow?
- Have you tested at least one machine that you are using?
- Do those students that are supporting others know their roles in the classroom?
- Do students know the timeline for the project?
Day prior or day of the Project
- Do you have the equipment ready when students come in.
- Remind those that promised to help (It never hurts).
- Do you have instructions listed out for students?
- Once students are logged in and have the software open it isn’t a bad idea to have them save their project immediately.
- Do students know what is expected of them in the lab?
Where to Get Ideas?
As always it is nice to see what others have done so that you can borrow their ideas and create your own lessons.
- Monroe #1 Schools
- http://blackboard.monroe.edu - Then look in the Course Catalog and find the Monroe #1 BOCES ITS forum.
- Adobe Digital Kids
- http://www.adobe.com/education/ - This has examples of projects others have done.
- http://ali.apple.com/ - This site has lessons and materials of projects that others have done.
- http://www.microsoft.com/education/ - This site has lessons and resources. Also look for the Innovate Teachers area of the site.
- http://webquest.sdsu.edu - This is the home page of the WebQuest.
- Marco Polo
- http://www.marcopolo-education.org/ - This is a national database of lesson plans that have been reviewed.
- Library of Congress American Memory
- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html - This web site is a wealth of primary source documents related to American History.
I can just type a web address http://www.google.com
There are a lot of things that students and teachers can be taught about the web. Things such as finding out who owns a particular web site, what the website has looked like in the past, and the structure of web sites.
Determining Website Owners
When someone creates a web site they actually have to register the web site with the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which controls the names given to web sites. Since this happens and the regulations require that the information is made public you can actually look up to see who owns a web site. There are about a million ways to do this. Two ways that are reliable is using either InterNIC or a web site domain service such as GoDaddy.com.
When you visit these sites you will be given a listing of the information about the company that owns the web page. Now you may have to do a little more digging to find out more, but that is the nature of information.
Registrant: Google Inc. (DOM-258879) Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View CA 94043 US Domain Name: google.com Registrar Name: Markmonitor.com Registrar Whois: whois.markmonitor.com Registrar Homepage: http://www.markmonitor.com Administrative Contact: DNS Admin (NIC-14290820) Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View CA 94043 US email@example.com +1.6506234000 Fax- +1.6506188571 Technical Contact, Zone Contact: DNS Admin (NIC-1340144) Google Inc. 2400 E. Bayshore Pkwy Mountain View CA 94043 US firstname.lastname@example.org +1.6503300100 Fax- +1.6506181499 Created on..............: 1997-Sep-15. Expires on..............: 2011-Sep-14. Record last updated on..: 2006-Apr-10 16:15:58. Domain servers in listed order: NS3.GOOGLE.COM NS4.GOOGLE.COM NS1.GOOGLE.COM NS2.GOOGLE.COM
Contextualizing the Web
The web is a dynamic piece of modern technology. In the past texts were given edition numbers and you could go back and see what the differences were between editions. How can this be done on the web?
One way is by using Archive.org's way back machine. This allows you to take a look at websites that have been archived. This isn't an extensive collection of everything on the web, but there are some interesting pieces that might be able to help students learn more about what they are looking at.