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Keep students focused in computer classrooms

Hold Student Focus & Attention

  • Be explicit about your expectation that students will not surf the Internet during class.
     
  • Have students get out of their seats to do group work or gather round demo. 
     
  • Have students turn off or dim their monitors. 
     
  • Use master control function to take control of students' computers. 
     
  • Look at the reflected light on students' faces from monitors—if most faces reflect light similar to what you're working on up front, then you know they're on task. 
     
  • Do not expect students to click, listen, watch the projection screen, and take notes all at the same time. 
     
  • Move around during your demo—walk up the aisle if you have an image that will be projected for a few minutes. 
     
  • Make sure students can hear: have them sit near the front. 
     
  • Make sure students can see: consider drawing on an overhead projector.
     
  • After every 5-10 minutes of demonstration, allow 10-15 minutes for students to practice skills or ask questions.

Show & Tell

  • Tell students what you are going to do before you begin ‘mousing’ around. That way they can think about the task before they have to do it.
     
  • Slowly perform the action more than once, keeping the steps performed in short sequences. 
     
  • Move arrow or cursor in a circular motion around a particular spot on the screen to focus student attention on that area, especially during a projected class demonstration. 
     
  • Have students perform task while you talk through it step-by-step. Try not to correct too much at this step. It may help if they softly talk themselves through the action. 
     
  • Perform task again, slowly talking through the action so all students can keep up if they are performing the task with you. Hook up speakers to magnify your voice, if necessary. 
     
  • Allow students to work through steps themselves while you correct them individually. Here is where a brief, step-by-step instruction sheet will help. 
     
  • Introduce new keyboard shortcuts only after students have learned the basic steps of the lesson using menus.
     

Use Your Resources

  • When students get stuck or need help, encourage them to ask peers. 
     
  • Call on the computer tech for technical support if needed so you can focus on teaching.
     

Teach Digital Housekeeping

  • Teach the students to exit programs, documents, anything else on the desktop, when they are finished using a computer. 
     
  • Make sure they follow the proper logging off/shutting down procedure.