Getting the most out of the computer classroom

Getting the most out of the computer classroom
“The point is to make the computers disappear from view, so that using one in class or for
homework is as unremarkable as using a textbook or a pencil.”
Bill Thompson. 18 June 2004. How computing is changing the classroom. BBC News.
Roland Nord
1st computer game played – Star Trek
1st taught in a computer lab – ALA’s Apple II+s (1983?)
1st taught at MSU – 1989; ACC built previous year? Typewriters in the library
1st MSU satellite computer lab – AH 204
The technology of writing  what’s changed?
Invention (prompts)
fewer choices may be better than more choices (Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice)
blogs as prompts
notecards vs. ? Type from upper left to lower right; literally cut and pasted documents
Composing (craft & comforts)
pen & paper vs. typewriters vs. computers
typewriters never did make it into the classroom (though many of us composed on typewriters)
Steven King—3 typed pages per day
handwritten vs. typed vs. printed copy
importance of legibility (the technology of deception)
handwritten manuscripts --> typed manuscripts --> (editing, proofreading) typeset copy
carbon paper --> stencils --> dittos --> photocopies --> disks --> web --> CMS
Composition (Eng 101) course objectives
Students will be able to
demonstrate and practice strategies for idea generation, audience analysis, organization of texts,
drafting, evaluation of drafts, revision, and editing;
write papers of varying lengths that demonstrate effective explanation, analysis, and argumentation;
become experienced in computer-assisted writing and research;
locate and evaluate material, using PALS, the Internet, and other sources;
analyze and synthesize source material, making appropriate use of paraphrase, summary, quotation,
and citation conventions;
employ syntax and usage appropriate to academic writing and the professional world.
Sommers, Nancy, and Laura Saltz. “The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year.” CCC 56.1
(2004): 124-149.
Why do some students prosper as college writers, moving forward with their writing, while
others lose interest? In this essay we explore some of the paradoxes of writing development
by focusing on the central role the freshman year plays in this development. We argue that
students who make the greatest gains as writers throughout college (1) initially accept their
status as novices and (2) see in writing a larger purpose than fulfilling an assignment. Based
on the evidence of our longitudinal study, we conclude that the story of the freshman year is
not one of dramatic changes on paper; it is the story of changes within the writers
Beloit College’s Mindset List—2010
The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
They have known only two presidents.
For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
They have grown up getting lost in "big boxes."
There has always been only one Germany.
They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
They are wireless, yet always connected.
A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in
the front.
How tech savvy are your students?
Cell phones, text messaging, and IRC
Video games and multimedia
The Instructors
Your writing tasks
Syllabus, exercises, assignments, comments, correspondence
you are always modeling writing, revision, editing, and research for your students
Your students’ writing tasks
Your goals
Increase students’ research, writing, and revision
Decrease your writing, reading, and evaluation
Your computer classroom
Word processing vs. computer-assisted writing
word processing is a misnomer; text processing is better
word-processing software was developed by programmers to ease their writing tasks
we taught a lot of writing in the word processing classes
90/10 rule
Styles, templates, outlines, comments, track changes, document compare, forms
HTML editors
Files vs. documents
File storage: MavDisk (including MavWeb), myMSUportal, D2L, MavMail, memory sticks
Smart boards vs. smart students
Demonstrations vs. participation
limitations of the computer classrooms
demonstrations by librarians vs. student searches