Friday, August 6, 2010

Week 7: What Can we Do with One Computer in our Classrooms?

Another important topic was also introduced in week 7. It was about having one computer in our classrooms. The task was to talk about what we can do with this kind of setup. At the beginning, I’ve found this idea far a way from reality as I teach 45 students. However, reading Deborah’s resources and my colleagues posts on Nicenet, I’ve recognized its potentials. Using one computer seems a little bit challenging, but as Rao (2003: 21) points out that with planning and some creativity, teachers can give students experiences that meet learning objectives even where there are few computers and many hands to share them. Rao thinks that by narrowly defining the purpose of each project, teachers can make strong pedagogical links between computer use and curricula. Whether the purpose is to learn basic computing skills, manipulate data, synthesize information, or make classroom presentations, objectives can be satisfied in ways that meet content standards.

This means that teachers can make use of one computer If they make a precise plan and use their creativity to find alternatives. Also, defining objectives is of a great value when using limited resources and machines. To take advantage of just one computer, teachers should divide their students into groups and assign the role of each group and its members. This viewpoint is also asserted by Rao (2003) stating that creatively grouping students is also the key to technology use in a one- or two- computer classroom or in a lab where there are far fewer machines than students. Grouping students for computer related projects is often a better instructional strategy than having one student on one computer. In groups, students communicate, collaborate, and support each other’s learning experiences.

Reading the one-computer classroom article:, I've found many valuable ideas. For example, teachers can use MS Office Package to create e-gradebooks, students' attendance, database of students' information, lesson plans, tests, handouts, worksheets, interactive PowerPoint presentations, certificates, ... etc. Students can use it as a creation tool to produce some PowerPoint presentations, brochures, newsletters, … etc. and as a learning tool to use educational CDs provided by the Ministry of Education, dictionaries, internet resources, … etc. Moreover, both teachers and students can use this only computer for assessment, presentation, accessing information and communication.

My colleagues also suggested many applicable uses. For example, Stephen considered the computer as a “Technology Station”. He prepared many various computer-based language activities from which students select what suits their levels, needs and interests. I think it is a wonderful tool as students will enjoy using it.

Luiza suggested that her students can collaborate with each other to create a PowerPoint presentation or write a paragraph by Word Processing I think. I like her idea of assigning roles for each group. This will make all students involved in the lesson.

Victoria used the computer as a presentation and assessment tool. She tried to find various materials to show: films, cartoons and short videos, Presentations, pictures, songs, quizzes, tests, drills, gapped texts, a board for brainstorming, presenting grammar rules and tables, material for discussion, team games, … etc. She also used the computer as a component in a learning/research center, where students can access multimedia encyclopedias, the Internet, and application software. Actually, these ideas are very beneficial for me.

Liliya & Elsa also used the computer as a presentation tool to present lessons, movies, videos and cartoons. In addition, Elsa’s students will use the computer to show their projects and work.

For Arjana, she used Skype chat with school from Brazil and Spain, with her class of 24 freshmen. In my school, we do similar communication activities. We conduct some competitions among schools at the level of administration using one computer with an internet connection. Students consider these competitions a very beneficial and enjoyable experience.

Hanan suggested using the USB modem to search for some useful websites and show the material on the screen. If this doesn’t work well as such connections are a little bit expensive, she suggested to create an interactive PowerPoint presentation with pictures and sounds. She thinks this will help teaching vocabulary related to the lesson suiting different styles.

Wow …. ! How lucky I am to have all these ideas in just one week. Thanks so much my dear colleagues for your applicable suggestions and to my dear instructor Deborah for her valuable resources.


  1. Dear Azhar,
    Rao is right when he says that we can make a change even if we just have one computer in class. We just need to learn and teach basic computer skills to give it a try. Sometimes people are too negative of any change.


  2. Dear Azhar:

    Thanks a lot for making such a good summary about differnt lesson plans and ideas for one computer classroom.They are practical and applicable.

    Rexona commented that sometimes people are too negative, This is natural in the process of adapting change unless it becomes a habit in the persons' character.

    I think that we have to differentiate between being "negative" and being "frustrated".

    Sometimes if someone feels "rowing against the flood " , then he will think twicebefore attempting any new ideas.



  3. Dear Azhar,

    Thank you for a thorough summary of our mutual ideas.
    As for negative attitude of some people that Roxana mentioned is perhaps because many people who grew up in the pre-computer age worry that the use of computers will take the emotion and heart out of the classroom. Their main argument against computers in the classroom is that teachers need to take into account the importance of student emotions. They do not want the quick evolution of computer technology to interfere with the student’s need for human support that they receive from the teacher-based instruction.
    But computers are important in education because they force us to reconsider how people learn, how they are empowered, and what the nature of learning and useful information is.


  4. Just like you, I think the one computer approach is a bit challenging but not impossible.
    After your posts I had more ideas for the one computer classroom. Students' attendance. Great idea. Add a wifi connection and the school can check in a second who is absent, for example. I will be carrying just one bag. Imagine, just one bag. With enough pendrives with all my files. Open them in the class computer... Too good to be true.

  5. Dear Azhar,

    I just want to say that I too like your summary! you present things in an appealing way...


  6. Azhar,
    I have so much more things to say regarding my job, my students, etc. I guess, we all pretty much think the same way. Between my teaching, this course, and my family (a lovely wife, and a three-year old boy) I don't have a minute to socialize. This course has offered me more than I bargained for... Lots of new experiences from people who I feel a deep connection right from the start. Just because we all share the same passion: teaching.

    I believe all over the world there is a deep difference and totally opposite views between teachers and administrator. I can just use your post word by word regarding what my bosses say regarding one computer in each classroom.

    My best regards and respect to you.


    P.S.: WiFi is just wireless internet connection. It's the latest... there is no cable between your computer and the world: antennas do the trick. It works just like cellphones do. Don't expect any tech jargon from me, cause
    that's pretty much all I can say about Wifi. It's there and I use it.