What if you can only have access to one or two computers for the whole class for much of the time. Does that mean you cannot do anything of any value? Not at all. Here are seven suggestions for how to make the best of the situation.
Draw up a class rota of who will be using the computer(s), and in which lesson. Your planning may not entirely work out in practice, because of factors like absences and power cuts and so on. However, it is easier to ensure that all pupils have been given the same opportunities to use the computers if you have a rota than if you don’t.
With the ICT co-ordinator or other teachers, identify the areas of the ICT Programme of Study (PoS) -- or your own scheme of work -- that you will be able to cover. This is not to say that the ICT PoS is a sort of pick-’n’-mix, but that it may be possible for different teachers to cover different aspects of the PoS in order to ensure that it is completely covered.
Devise generic activities that can be applied to a variety of situations, such as internet research skills and copy/paste.
Devise activities that require pupils to share a computer. Computers are excellent for encouraging collaborative learning and higher-order skills such as modelling.
Adopt the approach of showing the pupils as a class how to do something on the computer, and then practising it in that lesson and subsequent lessons.
Plan your lessons in a way that computer-based work and non-computer-based work are similar in terms of intended learning outcomes. For example, to take the copying and pasting idea again, all pupils could be engaged in finding suitable pictures and pasting them into their written work, whether they are working at a computer or not.
If you are in the fortunate position of having a computer suite and computers in classrooms, it may be possible to teach the whole class a computer skill all at once, which they can subsequently practice in the context of other subjects and/or lessons.
Did you find this article helpful or useful? It was first published on 15th February 2008.