Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Collaborating with Classroom Managment Software

Most teachers who spend time in the computer lab are at least vaguely familiar with Classroom Management Software. This is the software that allows a teacher or computer lab aide to monitor the students while they are using the computers. Most of these software packages include several features:

  • Monitoring of multiple screens at one time

  • Monitoring of a specific screen

  • Remote control of a specific computer

  • 'Pushing' of 1 Screen to multiple screens (screen sharing)

  • Chatting from one computer to another

Now, how these features are implemented in each software package varies, but for the most part you see these features.   A few weeks ago a there was a twitter conversation that started with this from @shareski

To which @teachntech00 replied

Well,  I had my own input on the conversation, but I promised Patrick Black and Dean Shareski I would give some examples of how I used Monitoring Software to good effect in my classroom.

  • First, in my keyboarding class, it was impossible to see all 40 computers from one spot in the room, so my choices?  Pace like a caged lion, or use monitoring software.

  • Monitoring software helped me keep students practicing keyboarding skills on task for more time than when I didn't have it.

  • Students (keyboarding and others) could virtually raise their hand and I was able to go through the queue in order and more quickly than running around the room.

  • When I was helping a student at their desk, I left the monitoring software running and displayed on the projector.  This allowed peer influence to affect use of computers and I was able to monitor while not at my desk.

  • I could share my computer to quickly show a technique that I may have not shown earlier (especially useful for multimedia projects)

  • I could share or allow a student to share their screen to show a technique or effective design

  • My favorite technique was to create group chats with students assigned the same work but seated apart.  This allowed them to collaborate while sitting apart.

I found that the monitoring software wasn't really about locking kids out of 'bad' sites but more about helping them focus on using their time and resources effectively.  There are also highly effective ways to facilitate collaboration, sharing, and just in time/just enough training when an instructor can step in and resolve a specific problem.  So go ahead try one out.  For most situation they will probably require some technical set up, but they are worth the effort.

Classroom Management Software:

Visit Dean Shareski or Patrick Black on the Web.

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