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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Teacher attention getting device for the computer lab in Technical; Good morning all, I am looking for ideas on how to implement some kind of attention getting device for students ...
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    BaronVonSchtuk's Avatar
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    Teacher attention getting device for the computer lab

    Good morning all,

    I am looking for ideas on how to implement some kind of attention getting device for students to use instead of raising their hands...

    I run a small school network at an international school in Armenia (around 70 computers with associated peripheral devices) and also teach the technology classes. I find myself constantly running back and forth in my lab, bouncing from one raised hand to the next and have found over the years, and not surprisingly, kids don't sit very patiently with their hands in the air for very long. My idea is to create some kind of device to place on top of their computers (the towers sit on top of the desks, next to the monitors) that they can use to signal that they need assistance, but that does not also prevent them from continuing to work, as keeping your hand in the air tends to do.

    Something as simple as a flag they can place on top of the tower, or a small light bulb (maybe LED or USB powered ...) with an on/off switch, would accomplish the job, but I was hoping that somebody would have a more interesting suggestion.

    Conditions:
    1.) Dirt cheap and/or able to be built by a weekend warrior type of handy-man (me!)
    2.) Materials must be very common due to the fact that I have a hard time purchasing goods from the US or UK (remember, I am in an international school) so everything must be available locally.
    3.) Durable!!!

    I look forward to seeing what the collective minds of edugeek can come up with...

    Cheers!
    Last edited by BaronVonSchtuk; 3rd December 2010 at 08:40 AM.

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    There was a program on UK TV last month about a trial of teaching methods and one of things they had were coloured plastic cups. Green meant I'm fine, Amber , I could use some help and Red, I'm completely stuck. The thing about this and most of the other new ideas the guy was trying to get classes to use, was that it needed perseverance. Initially, the teachers would say it doesn't work, it's too hard to administer etc., but he bribed them into continuing with cream cakes and eventually the teachers and pupils got used to the idea and responded favourably.

    Another ploy he used was the secret student and it's one I have adopted. Each day, a student would be picked at random and monitored. If at the end of the day, the student's behaviour and effort justified it, the whole class got a point towards an end of term trip to Alton Towers and the student was identified. If the student failed to make the grade there was no point but the student wasn't identified. After a while all the teacher had to do was say "can I remind you there's a secret student in the class" and the effect was almost instantaneous. The reward has to be good enough to make the kids really want it.

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    BaronVonSchtuk (3rd December 2010)

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    BaronVonSchtuk's Avatar
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    thanks laserblazer for the suggestion(s). Colored cups would be a solution and it may turn out that I go with something like that, but I am hoping someone will come up with a fun, exciting, creative, and educational way to accomplish the goal. (for example, using USB powered LED lights can lead into discussions about USB, about LED's, and all sorts of other creative tech-related topics).

    With my listed conditions, I may be dreaming too big and a nice low-tech solution like you pointed out may be the only reasonable solution. We shall see.

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    You could give the pupils pointy hats with LEDs at the point. They could turn on an amber or red LED if they need assistance.

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    The fraility of the human mind...

    Sorta like a mid-tech (LED's don't count as high-tech... right) dunce caps?

    We could incorporate a NIA game controller into the headband of each one to read the thoughts of the students and light different LED's depending on the thoughts.

    All clear = green
    problems = red
    thinking about plagiarizing = amber
    pr0n = white?
    etc...

    Oh the fun we could have!

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    elsiegee40 (3rd December 2010)

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    Lollypop sticks with different colours, they are a recognised teaching tool as they are being promoted to our staff by the bucketful for some stuff so maybe worth a go?

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    I know some classroom monitoring packages (eg: Lanschool/ABTutor) have functions where the students can chat to the teacher, Have you thought about trying these?

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Lollypop sticks with different colours, they are a recognised teaching tool as they are being promoted to our staff by the bucketful for some stuff so maybe worth a go?
    Soooo, the students get the lollypop sticks, but I get the lollypops, right? I like where this is going. Maybe we could instead use empty beer bottles! You know, get some green glass beer bottles and some amber glass beer bottles and give those to the kids to signal 'all is well' or 'trouble'. Of course, we would have to empty the beer bottles first.... and knowing kids, the bottles would get lost all the time and so we would need a constant supply of bottles. All in the name of education!

    Quote Originally Posted by p858snake View Post
    I know some classroom monitoring packages (eg: Lanschool/ABTutor) have functions where the students can chat to the teacher, Have you thought about trying these?
    I have used both Lanschool and NetOp School in the past. They are both great products and students have a variety of was of communicating with the teacher (me) through them, but I am the type of teacher that is constantly walking around in the lab while I am teaching. I rarely sit at my desk during class time so any digital solution will not really address the current problem. What I really need is an obvious (largish), fun, easy to see solution that students can use to signal their need for assistance, without disturbing their work-flow as more times than not a student can continue to work on other things until I can get to them, but not if they have to sit there with their hand in the air. We are also talking about students ranging from 5 years old up to 18 years old so something easy enough for the little ones but not too cheesy for the big ones.

    Now, about those beer bottles...



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