Teaching tips

29th October 2004 at 01:00
* Establish clear ground rules so that pupils understand that using computers is not a "play lesson". If you wouldn't allow them to listen to personal stereos during a non-ICT lesson, don't let them listen to music on the laptop.

* Have a clear routine: I get pupils to log on and then push the screens down (or turn them off on desktops) while they load up. Use this time to introduce the lesson.

* Have an online starter available that students can use independently if you need to sort out any problems such as forgotten passwords. I use WordLab on www.englishonline.co.uk

* If you want to talk to the class, ensure they turn their screens off or push them down. It takes a second but avoids distractions.

* Avoid using laptops to type up written work. They can be far better used structuring the writing.

* If the internet or network is essential for your lesson, do have a back-up idea so that you're not stuck if you lose access.

* Try activities yourself first so that you are able to demonstrate them.

It's often a good idea to try them on one of the computers that students will be using.

* Do get the students to save work regularly.

* Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Share ideas and resources.

www.teachit.co.uk has a massive resource bank and is developing a wealth of onscreen resources that would suit whole-class teaching. You can also ask for advice on the discussion board. NATE and englishonline also have loads of advice for using ICT.

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