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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 2: Skills and Best Practices

Computers in the Classroom

The computer site referred to in this website has a wealth of information appropriate for this module and this activity. However, the research is still not definitive on how much computers have contributed to student achievement, at the expense of more traditional approaches. Teachers will want to continue to think about how computers can be effectively used as an additional tool in the repertoire of good teaching strategies. This website provides some important “think abouts” when using computers in the classroom.

http://www.atariarchives.org/deli/computers_in_class.php

“‘What is the potential of the computer?’ is a meaningless question,” Kurland says. The question should be What is the potential of the computer in a particular classroom with a particular teacher?'”

–Midian Kurland, Director,
Bank Street Writing Project

Active Learning

Like the support for open-classroom settings, the support for active, hands-on learning is nearly universal among researchers and reviewers.

Supporting documents include Colville and Clarken (1992); Drake (1987); Finklestein (1988); Hardin (1991); Harwood (1990); Leppard (1993); Mabe (1993); Miller (1985); Morse (1993); Mullins (1990); Naylor (1990); Newmann (1987); Parker (1990); Patrick (1988, 1990); Pereira (1988b); Rowe (1990); Thomas (1984); VanSledright and Grant (1994); White (1989); Wood (1990); and Wraga (1993).

Specific kinds of active learning recommended by these writers include:

  • instruction and practice in-class discussion
  • responding to open-ended questions
  • research (using materials other than texts)
  • writing projects including letter writing
  • cooperative group projects
  • brainstorming
  • role-play
  • simulations
  • perspective taking
  • on-site learning
  • observation
  • mock trials
  • case studies
  • town meetings
  • interaction with guest speakersother resource persons
  • community service projects

Civic education requires active learning. A report on civic education is found at: http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/10/c019.html.