The Issues

Using one computer in the classroom can be both frustrating and fun. There are issues related to using the computer as part of large group activities and small group activities. There are also some general management concerns.

Large Group Activities

waveLarge group issues include connecting to standards, keeping it simple, modeling concepts, incorporating PowerQuests, exploring Internet resources, involving students, and facilitating group activities.

Connect to Standards. How will students individually show their understanding?

  • Match specific task to standard
  • Worksheets
  • Scored Discussions
  • Answer Cards

frenchConsider printing activities, using checklists, and using group testing to check student understanding.


Keep It Simple. How can I keep from being overwhelmed? Replicate using the same software with different activities: Group Writing, Concept Maps, Diagrams.

Storm Activity
Open a template in Inspiration. Design two activities that use the same template.

Model Concepts. What's the best approach for demonstrations? Automobile Clutch

  • Students watch
  • Teacher talks through steps
  • Students talk through steps
  • Write down steps as group
  • Students work in center

PowerQuests. How can I facilitate inquiry-based learning? Stimulate inquiry with
text, visuals, video. Illustrate ideas in many formats. Facilitate critical thinking - discuss, debate, role play.

Storm Activity
Explore The Underground Railroad. Design a PowerQuest that introduces an assignment and links to the website.

Internet Resources. How can the group explore websites?

  • Single webpage with quality info
  • Increase browser font size
  • Print out supplemental material
  • Preload or save pages
  • Return to same site regularly: word of the day, this day in history, SetGame, Daily Activities

Involve Students. How will students stay involved? Flash Engine

  • Group Questioning
  • Small Group Activities
  • Individual Activities

Group Activities. How can I do everything (talk, type, listen) at once?

  • Share responsibilities
  • Teacher acts as facilitator
  • Student works keyboard
  • Students brainstorm on paper

The key to effective use of Google is finding practical applications. For example, let's say you're working on materials for a literature circle related to moving or travel. With younger children you might be reading Bud, Not Buddy while high school students might read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Whirligig.

Let's use Bloomability by Sharon Creech as an example. It's the story of a teenager who moves to Switzerland to live with her aunt and uncle. Using Google tools you will find many ideas to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

Storm Activity
Brainstorm applications of Google Earth.

Management Considerations


Management issues include considering hardware needs, considering timing of projects, and thinking about equity.

What hardware do I need to go with the computer? Change Browser View

  • Large Display
  • Monitor & scan converter
  • Data projector
  • Digital Camera, Video Camera
  • Microphone & Speakers
  • Printer

Timing of Projects

How often should I use technology?

  • One shot: short, concise activity - Brainstorming issues
  • Short term: a series of sessions - Process writing a class short story
  • Long term: a series of weeks - Collect & graph recycling data
  • Ongoing: over semester or year - Add to Inspiration as you read

Think Equity

How can I make computer time equal for all students? Don't try.

  • Think equity, not equality
  • Meet the most needs
  • Make all projects exciting!
  • Make time on task productive
  • Don't use it as a reward
  • Reader Rabbit - What specific standard will it address? How will it help specific students? If none… skip it!

Storm Activity
Share a favorite classroom management technique.


Small Group Activities

windSmall group issues include exploring center approaches, providing effective support, considering center activities, encouraging collaboration, exploring scheduling options, building realistic expectations, and finding help.

Center Approaches. How can centers be organized? Theme activities, Project based productions, Varied activities, 4-5 students at a time.

Focus Attention. Explore 1 of 7 Ocean Zones. Conduct experiment.

Effect Support. How can I help students become independent?

  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Handouts & Worksheets
  • Electronic worksheet
  • Templates
  • Bookmarks

Go Deep. Select a software package such as KidPix. Explore a feature you've never used before such as Templates, Directions, Backgrounds, Clipart, Audio.

Center Activities. What activities work well in centers?
Group Activity: research, presentation, data graph, WebQuest
Reoccurring Activity: journal writing, bookmark pages, vocabulary activities
Choose and print. Food Timeline.

Collaboration. How can I encourage collaboration?
Assign roles: Keyboardist, Leader, Director, Writer, Photographer, Editor, Researcher
Require individual & group outcomes

Scheduling Options. How should I organize time at the computer?
Consider many approaches: Regular rotation schedule, Activity stations, Pull-out system
Focus on times that will not be skipped or interrupted

Realistic Expectations. What's practical and realistic in small groups?
Keep typing & data entry short
Use a template
Add to class project:
chain writing

Find Help. How can I make it work?
Peer tutoring
Cooperative Learning
Adult/Mentor Assistants
Look for global partners

Storm Activity
Go to Kids-Learn and explore projects.

Don't slip into Oregon Trail Syndrome.

Look for the rainbow. Be realistic. Be unique.

Be a lighthouse. Share what you learn.


Go to One Computer Classroom: The Issues (PDF).

Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/06.