Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 69: Online Practice

It was meant to be a simple day in the computer lab to keep students practicing "old" material, but very little ended up being accomplished (warning: the following will border on a rant about access to technology in public schools).

My school has 5 computer labs with antiquated desktop computers that are rapidly falling apart.  The "Math & Science Computer Lab" only has 32 machines in it, for class sizes that (in my case) are all over 32. Ok, fine, I generally don't average 100% attendance, so it can work out. In 2nd hour yesterday, a handful (maybe 3 or 4) of the machines weren't working. Either they can't log in to the school network, or the machine is stuck in a constant boot loop, or it simply can't access the website we use for the online tutor. It ended up not being a big deal as I had more than a handful of absences (it was Friday after all). 

By 5th hour, the number of non-working machines had risen to 10 (without my knowledge of course). Not only is this my most challenging class, but even after a number of students have been removed from the class, I still had more than 22 show up. So I decided to send a half dozen to the school media center where there are handful of loose machines that students can use. 

In 6th hour, I attempted to do the same thing, but the media center was booked. As was the computer lab in the media center. And the computer lab across the hall. I was left with 33 students and 22 working computers to incorporate a required part of the curriculum. 

As a result, not much got done. Only a handful of students chose to ignore the distractions and work diligently with the online tutor. Most chatted with friends, listened to music, or played games. I know, I technically have the power to insist that they not participate in those actions, but 1) what do you say when by default, 10 kids are not going to be able to participate in the lesson? and 2) I've learned that the more discipline issues I handle 'appropriately,' the more reinstatement meetings I have to sit in on, and the more plan hours I lose. That doesn't mean I simply avoid dealing with behavior, but I tend to reserve judgement for only the most serious offenses. 

Next week is the last week before the 2 week holiday break. We'll wrap up/review Unit 4, go over ratio & proportion to prep for Unit 5 (Trig ratios), and take an assessment. 

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