Elementary Computer Lab Strategies
Supporting New Consumers of Technology Effectively
Preparing 21st Century Learners
In order to help students recognize the keys they will use often, stickers can be applied to the keyboard to help these keys stand out. Below is a poster of the keyboard that can be downloaded to your computer and edited according to sticker placement or appearance.
Please note: This is definitely a cooperative project. While effective, this strategy does take time, and is most effectively completed in groups or as grade levels.
Desktop Shortcuts and the "Magic Number"
While bookmarks and settings we rely on every day do not travel between computers in the district, there is an easy way for students to access these settings. In this way students should use the same computer each time - a magic number, if you will. If the student uses the same number computer when going to the computer lab or when using a laptop cart, links and shortcuts they place on their desktop will remain there.
What does this mean, really, for instruction? Using this strategy a link to Symbaloo could be applied to the desktop, easily bringing up all of the Internet links you would like the student to look at with one click. It also means that shortcuts to network folders, such as the Dropbox and Handout drives, can be created as well, dramatically minimizing the amount of clicks a students needs to complete.
Symbaloo revolutionizes the way students access guided resources on the Internet. In this case images replace text, allowing students to click on a picture to navigate to a given resource. The teacher might project the image of the icon they are looking for to better identify which link they want the class to use. For this purpose a PowerPoint with all of the images has been linked below. In addition, the district Launch Pad has been converted to Symbaloo, which you can use immediately, or create your own using the tutorial below.
Evaluating Digital Content
Interactive Presentation Tools
One of the strongest tools for this purpose is Nearpod, a way to add interactive elements to a traditional PowerPoint presentation perfect for computer labs. A tutorial is given below on how to use this great resource.