Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Computer lab usage is so valuable - we have 1 lab with 30 computers, with 26 which actually work, to share among 10 core academic teachers, and another 1/2 dozen other teachers, and 300 students. Knowing we would need to be SUPER efficient in our precious 2 days in there, I typed very explicit instructions, or so I thought, for our data gathering expedition today. I went through directions on how to open a Word document, insert a table, add headings, made data links on my website with annotations as to what information could be obtained at each site. I had maybe a third of students who followed the directions with absolutely no problems. Another third needed occasional help, sometimes legitimately "lost", other times just not really reading the directions. THe other third simply asked EVERY STEP OF THE WAY! These were not necessarily low functioning students, or those without computers at home, but your typical A-B middle class students who simply refused to read directions, or try anything on their own. They could not/would not even get their name and math hour and project title centered on the top 3 lines before they inserted a table. It was a nightmare with me scurrying back and forth around the lab, saying "Read the directions." "What does it say here?" "Look further down on the page." "What don't you understand?" "Show me where you got lost."

I am not sure what I could have done differently.... one day to actually set up the form, with tables to enter data into - step by step together. But I think the top 2/3 of the students would have died of boredom, and the other 1/3 would have still had to have me hold their hands for every step... so what would the points of that have been.

Part of me says.... LET THEM FAIL! Either they read the directions, and make an honest attempt on their own, or they just do not get the info they need.... But the "teacher"part always intervenes and says they are just middle schoolers... be patient... don't snap at them... and then ultimately.... my sanity escapes and I start being a grouch to all of them ... even those with legitimate questions, and worse yet, I just DO IT for those who are refusing to make a valiant effort on their own.... and nobody wins.

one more day in lab tomorrow... wish me luck.... and even more patience

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