Opinion
Infrastructure Opinion

Computer-Assisted Classes—Middle Grades

By Folwell Dunbar — September 29, 2006 1 min read

Consultant, Collaborative Learning Inc.
Former middle school teacher, 6 years
New Orleans, Louisiana

Having worked in education, especially middle schools, for more than 10 years, I’ve accumulated a list of the 10 best ways to use the Internet.

1. Conduct research via the Web. Find quotations, primary documents, and statistics to support theses; ask experts questions; tap into resources from distant libraries, schools, and museums.

2. Increase productivity. Check grades and attendance online; build tests, lessons, and projects; post assignments on class Web pages; communicate efficiently with colleagues, parents, and students.

3. Motivate and inspire. Use streaming video and photos for writing prompts and guided instruction; take kids on virtual field trips, allowing them to interact with students abroad.

4. Access and use real-time data. Participate in online polls, chats, and teleprojects, and then use the results to complete hands-on performance tasks.

5. Participate in educational simulations. Your students can dissect frogs, design roller coasters, play the stock market, and fight historic battles.

6. Assess online. Practice for the big test, and review chapters and units. Survey digital portfolios, and track student achievement without wasting paper.

7. Publish student work. Expand the writing process by reaching an audience beyond the classroom; review other authors’ works; participate in virtual book clubs.

8. Take online courses. From the comfort of home or classroom, learn about the latest instructional practices and accumulate continuing education credits.

9. Collaborate with colleagues. Participate in study groups; provide feedback on peers’ lesson plans; share best practices without having to schedule meetings.

10. Learn Web design. Graphics, layout, desktop publishing, HTML, marketing—you name it; it’s all part of creating and maintaining your own site.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2006 edition of Teacher as Computer-Assisted Classes

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