One of the first days in the lab, I set the ground rules as to showing and sharing. Students are ALLOWED to go from computer to computer, interact, and discuss at anytime. Since my computers are around the room, with the screens FACING each other, EVERYONE can see what is going on, on EVERYONE’S computer. There are NO rows. So, if the students sees something on a screen that they are interested in, they can immediately go to that person and ask THE question “How did you do that?” There is constant feedback as to any file, composition, or movie before any full presentation to the class. Students can FAIL and recreate any project given the immediate feedback and responses. With this constant reworking of files, students become extremely innovative and stretch their creative juices.
Students are so conditioned to stay in their seats, that in the beginning the ask permission to get up. They quickly realize that I have empowered them to direct the class as to when to work, listen, comment. Amazingly, their own work becomes increasingly more important. They want to work harder, make more innovative projects and see the class as a breeding ground of incredible projects. Many times they COME to class with a file they have created at home. Recently, I had a seventh grader create an amazing movie. I immediately posted it and now the comments are pouring in. He saw one of the videos in class and decided to try one himself.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
It can get loud and busy, with all the walking around and of course you have to monitor it, but as the class develops, the behavior problems are less and less to the point of a total work zone.