Check out my Computer-Equipped Classroom
Back in July, I popped one of our assistant principals a note about my plans to switch our print newspaper to a digital one. At the conclusion I added that I had hoped we’d figure out a way to get me a writing lab so my journalists and creative writers could have consistent computer access. I figured by mentioning it, I would be laying the groundwork to eventually make the dream a reality.
Within two weeks I was stunned to find out he made it happen. As it happened, a room normally used for the AVID program was being outfitted with brand new tables and computers, which I gather might have been targeted for the business department but was being repurposed for me. There was a tradeoff, of course: I would have to relocate all six of my classes from the third floor, where the rest of English happens, to the second floor. That was a sacrifice I was happy to make.
I dropped by school a week before I had to report, hoping to check out my new room. I was informed that the purchases orders got bollixed up at the Central Office and it would be some weeks before they arrived. The AP and I speculated late September while the computer science teacher I’d share the room with bet on late October.
Originally, the room was used for a distance learning program with huge banks of televisions and carpeted walls to muffle sound. They hadn’t been in use in some 13 years and my principal made it her mission to finally get them removed after years of talking about it. The finally were taken out and the room felt bigger, and emptier.
Well, the computers arrived in late September. But without tables to put them on, they had to fill a closet. Eventually, the tables arrived but not with all their legs. When the hardware arrived, they got built pretty quickly then in a just about a week, the 30 computers and monitors were unpacked and wired up. My desk and attendant wiring was moved and al of a sudden the room was ready.
Now, I have technology at my fingertips and am free to have my students switch between traditional desk work and using the computers. I’m training the journalists to use the Content Management System to post their stories for editing and the writers love working digitally.
I’m also beginning to alter English 11 lessons to take advantage of the computers. This week they took a new unit diagnostic test which analyzed the results, show me scores, how long each student took to complete the test, and analyzed how the classes met the two standards being tested. I’m also having them use tech to post responses to questions and do short research pieces, which trains them for the future.
It’s all at the beginning of a process, but I am thrilled at how this is coming together and how forward thinking we’re being.