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For some teachers, trying to manage and organise work with one or two computers in the classroom or taking whole class lessons in the ICT suite when there are only x amount of computers, presents quite a number of challenges. Monitoring students while teaching the rest of the class is certainly considered by some, just impossible. However, with a little proactive planning around lesson preparation, ICT organisation and management these perceived challenges can be turned into creative just-in-time moments of learning.
How do I begin to plan and prepare for ICT?

  1. external image ComputerFixes.gifIt is very important that the teacher as a facilitator is well prepared and equipped for computer work and/or proposed ICT lesson/s.
  2. So, to develop a group of on-task independent workers both in the classroom and ICT suite, assess and really get to know your students’ computer skills first. An ICT capabilities survey will give teachers an overview of what skills students presently have and what skills may be required.
  3. Once students’ skills are determined, consider how this information can be used strategically:
  • Will technologically strong students be paired with less able?
  • Will 'behaviour challenging students' work together?
  • How might students stay on task at the computer, or does one need to monitor another?
  • Will some students need to work alone in order to maximise concentration?
  • Will older students be 'borrowed' as teachers to work alongisde your class?
  • Will older students be briefed ahead of time on lesson expectations?
  • Will older students as teachers work with certain and/or the same students every time?

How can I group students?
As students should be grouped for maximum output in the classroom and/or ICT suite, think of the time constraints you as the teacher will be facing:
  • How much teaching time will this particular lesson or project involve?
  • How much learning time will the students receive?
  • Should students be stopped at any particular point?

What about the placement of computers in classroom and or the ICT Suite?
Setting up classroom computers and/or an ICT suite with students at the heart requires a little effort, consideration and planning. It is essential to know the layout of the ICT suite especially if students are required to work on certain group activities and/or a timed rotational basis. Some teachers send 1-2 student in ahead of time to 'get the ICT suite ready'.

When setting up computers and/or an ICT suite, the following ICT Suite Layout Guidelines.pdf may be helpful.

How might the 3R's apply in the ICT Suite?
Effective classroom management is the key to becoming a successful educator and managing student behaviour is a sure piece of that puzzle. Teachers would therefore benefit from spend time with students during the first 3-4 visits developing an understanding that rules, routines and responsibilities already formulated in the classroom would also apply while using the ICT suite. It would certainly be a good to often recap on this information.

What about gaining students attention in the ICT Suite?
Like the set rules, routines and responsibilities, whichever strategy teachers use to gain students attention, the key to strategy success is to keep it simple, be very clear and explicit, check for understanding and allow students the opportunity to practice the strategy for themselves.

Here are just a few well-used strategies that can be taken, if not already, from the classroom, into the ICT suite:
  • use a musical instrument like a triangle to get students attention. This also saves the teachers voice.
  • say 1,2,3,4,5 and students reply - once I caught a fish alive etc - A strategy that works very well with young students.
  • call "pause" and the children would have to hold clenched fists in the air and look at the teacher (like holding up paws hence the action and word).
  • wear a funny hat (that would only be worn in the ICT suite).
  • silent hand up.
  • say "1, 2, 3, eyes on me" and the children chorus back "1, 2, eyes on you". This works well with young children and it rhymes!
  • display a cardboard box traffic light and use it accordingly .
  • use an online whiteboard timer (with sound).
  • have students turn the screen monitors off.
Once again, it is important that you establish a consistent way of doing things in your classroom that can be transferred to the ICT Suite.

How can I manage students back in the classroom?
It is possible to plan activities that incorporate ICT without many of the drawbacks that teachers might imagine.
1) Start small and in the classroom—plan one activity that is related to your integrated planning. The activity does not need to be long and students will enjoy the novelty should you consider keeping to time with a stopwatch or online timer.
2) The activity should be one that you are familiar with, or have practiced yourself to its conclusion. Students should be able to work independently, so that you are not called away from the rest of the class.
3) Have a high-achieving, cooperative student be the first to try the activity,so there will be less likelihood of other students playing around as this person will probably stay on task.
4) Buddy less able students with more able if necessary.


How to maximise the use of 1-2 computers in the classroom
Effective classroom management strategies for technology
Many, many websites that focus on organisation and management using computers
Article: Investigating a Classroom Management Approach in a Computer Suite