Can a laptop be used as a teaching tool?

Sunday, February 8th, 2009 | Computer Usage, laptops

You can use your laptop as a teaching tool in two ways:  it is a great help during lesson preparation, and it can be used for lesson presentation.

A laptop will make lesson preparation much easier, as you use it to type lesson outlines, gather teaching resources, and prepare assessment tasks.  The best part of it is that you can save your work for reuse next year!

If you want to use the laptop in a more direct way to present lessons, the small screen will be a problem.  It is impossible for a large group of learners to see what you display on a laptop screen.  You will need a projection device such as a data projector or an interactive electronic whiteboard if you want to use your laptop effectively for lesson presentation.

With the aid of special programs – presentation software – you will be able to prepare presentations to use in your lessons.  The presentation may include text (words, lists, descriptions or definitions), pictures, diagrams, sound and even video clips.  You can put together presentations that are much more exciting than a simple slide show.

Let’s now look at some says in which you can make your lessons more interesting with the use of your laptop:

Introduce sessions with a captivating picture, diagram or quote, thereby setting the scene for the session and helping the class to focus on the purpose of the lesson.

A picture is worth a thousand words – illustrate important points, or difficult concepts, by means of interesting images.

A video clip will capture the attention of the learners.

Display worked examples to a class in a step-by-step fashion.

You do not have to go through the laborious process of writing notes on the board – simply prepare them ahead of time and display them at the appropriate points in your lesson.  Just think about it – you can use these notes over and over, without the need to rewrite them.

During a class discussion, type learner suggestions and ideas and display them for all to see.  These notes can be saved and used repeatedly.

There are many resources from which information could be obtained for your presentations.

The internet is a rich source of pictures and video clips.

You can take your own pictures with a digital camera and incorporate them in your lessons.

Some interactive electronic whiteboard suppliers make their databanks of educational material available to teachers.

Colleagues may be willing to share their resources with you.

After using your laptop in the class for a while, you may discover – as many other teachers have done – that you never want to be without this useful teaching tool again!

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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2 Comments to Can a laptop be used as a teaching tool?

Albie
Sunday, 8 February, 2009

Using a laptop in your classroom all the time, gives the learners the exposure (and access) to the “real world” and its business tools.

A Laptop produces an enormous and substantial educational benefit (and eventually a profit when they are in the Business World one day) by supporting and facilitating learning of the learners in their classrooms. Exposure to a “moveable” technological device e.g. laptop gives them the “freedom” to use it anywhere – just look at a Business Executive – from the office to the home to the airport to the high speed train undergrounds / under sea channel – thus, from the the deep blue ocean to the surface of the earth / ground to the air to the atmospheric space – galaxies – the sky is not anymore the limit!

Read the following about laptops in education as a tool:

http://www.microsoft.com/Education/AALResearch2.mspx

Albie

Mariaan Bester
Wednesday, 11 February, 2009

I start each lesson by completing the absentees on an excel class list in my class. I have a data projector so all pupils can see everything I’m doing. After that I open the sheet named behaviour and tick of the names of pupils talking. Without saying a word, my class quiet down. At parents evening I take out my laptop again and give parents a day to day account of their children’s behaviour. After class I have a line up of pupils that want to quickly download the lessons of the day on their flashdisks. I save a lot on printing copies of worksheets. It is true that not everybody has access to computers at home, but many pupils DO have access and I do not print out notes or lessons unless absolutely needed.

When we have a staff meeting I take my laptop along. At the end of the meeting the minutes are ready to be emailed to the headmaster – I do not have to go home and retype it.

My lesson planning is on an excel spreadsheet with hyperlinks to every document that I will need per lesson. The fact that I do not search for documents, pages, worksheets ect do wonders for class dicipline. I just look more organized.

Where ever I have to wait, I take out my laptop and take care of admin or plan lessons. I downloaded a free program that I use to transcribe choir music.

In the past every time I wanted to transpose music I had to spend hours on re-writing music in different keys. Now I can do it during break.

There is only one thing: As soos as there is a power failure that last longer than my battery power I put my feet up and do nothing! I completely forgot how one is suppose to function without a laptop!

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