I had a quick question regarding sharing computers, desktops or laptops. I am wanting to have students share a computer with another student for one week and then switch the next week. My goal is to have every student work with one another and really share ideas and work together. I am just curious if anyone has tried anything similar and has anything to share, whether it is knowledge, grading criteria, random thoughts, pretty much anything. I teach high school World History and American History and the majority of my students are sophomores. Thanks.

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We share computers quite a lot at my elementary school - for no other reason than we do not have enough! We have a suite of 16 mini macs, but all our classes are bigger than that. We have some old laptops, but they do not work very well.

I guess our students are used to doing it. Sometimes I will make everybody pair up in order that they do collaborate on a given task, but usually it is just who wants to pair up can do so. The kids are really good at taking turns and I always try to ensure that one person does not do all the work while the other watches. Depending on the project, I do like to switch some kids around so some have the opportunity to work alone.

What kind of activities are the students doing when they are using and sharing computers? Just shooting out ideas... if they are working with different people each week, they can use an ongoing wikispace for a particular history project to document their ideas and work. They can also use digital storytelling tools and create a book where each student contributes to a fictional narrative based on an historical event or person, similar to a teambuilder activity where one person starts off a sentence and the second person finishes it. You can use performance assessment for grading participation, collaborative work, communication skills, as well as performance skills and the product itself. Throw in reflective essays to assess disposition and get student feedback. Another variation is to have students peer-review each other.



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