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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 3: Skills and Best Practices

Computer Assisted Instruction

The use of computers to support classroom instruction has expanded rapidly. However, the research on the effectiveness of the use of computers in terms of student achievement has not kept pace. This research piece by Kathleen Cotton for SIRS (School Improvement Research Series) provides some useful research data.

http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/5/cu10.html

The data suggests that the use of computers supports student achievement in the following areas:

  • Learning Rate
  • Retention of Learning
  • Positive Attitude Toward Instruction
  • Improved Attendance
  • Time on Task
  • Cooperation/Collaboration

It is interesting to note that the research also supports the goals of No Child Left Behind in that the use of computers is more effective with:

  • Economically disadvantaged students
  • Lower cognitive outcomes
  • Handicapped learners

Students in the research studies also supported the use of computers. They said computers:

  • Are infinitely patient
  • Never get tired
  • Never get frustrated or angry
  • Allow students to work privately
  • Never forget to correct or praise
  • Are fun and entertaining
  • Individualize learning
  • Are self-paced
  • Do not embarrass students who make mistakes
  • Make it possible to experiment with different options
  • Give immediate feedback
  • Are impartial to race or ethnicity
  • Are great motivators
  • Give students a sense of control over learning
  • Teach in small increments

Perhaps, teachers should review this list as they think about their own teaching practices.

Group Research Strategies

Often teachers assume that students know how to do effective research using the resources in their media center. However, it might be helpful to spend some time with your students reviewing the tools of research and how to use them to complete your research assignments.

http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca

Including well-designed library-based assignments in your courses can help build students’ research and thinking skills. Make the tools of research familiar to your students and the inquiry process more engaging by using the following tips on how to:

  • Vary the Type of Assignments
  • Teach Research Strategies
  • Avoid Common Problems
  • Consult with Media Specialists