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I started teaching in a computer lab for the first time this semester. It’s been a bit traumatic so far, as the classroom dynamic changes a lot, but I’m enjoying the challenge so far.
Yesterday we had our first proper class, and I decided to run it as an independent study session to allow students to familiarize themselves with some useful online tools. There were 35 2nd-year non-English majors in the class, and their English ability and familiarity with computers varied wildly. You can see my lesson briefing on my teaching blog here.
The lesson was partly successful, but I can see how to make it better and was very excited by the potential of using a blog or website to communicate with students. Here are my major impressions of the class:
- I tried to do far too much. None of the students had enough time to finish, and that was very harmful to the classroom atmosphere and their feelings towards the course. This is the #1 thing I would change about the lesson
- Only a couple of students asked questions/for help. Need to spend more time getting the class comfortable with calling me over to help with problems
- Unforeseen technical problems reared their ugly heads: the NY Times website does not allow popjisyo to load individual articles (something I only noticed when a student pointed it out) and the edublogs comment feature is a bit too aggressive in its attempts to deter spambots. Both of these caused a lot of frustration to my students