Learning Centers - Design Issues

Technology Implementation Plan: Online Development Guide

Cooperative Groups Teacher Presentations Computer Lab Saving Online Information Learning Centers

Learning Centers

Design Issues

     One of the most significant changes in instruction that learning centers bring to the classroom is the need for multiple lessons that will be implemented simultaneously at each station.  The added challenge here is that students will not work on the lessons in the same order since they will all start at different stations and rotate around.  This means that one lesson cannot depend on another since you cannot be sure that a given group has already gone through a prerequisite lesson at a different learning station.  When developing learning centers it is always important to keep this issue in mind and to come up with lessons that are not dependent on one another.  For example, if you were developing a set of learning centers for use with the Stowaway Adventure you would not want to make one of the stations collecting ship data and another station the analysis of that data.  If you did try this you would run into trouble when one of the groups who had yet to collect ship data got to the station at which they needed to do the analysis since they would have no data to analyze (unless groups were using data collected on a previous day.)

Another important aspect of designing your learning centers concerns the length of time students spend at each station.  Some approaches have students rotating through all of the stations within one class period of approximately 50 minutes.  From a technology perspective this is nice because it allows all of the students time on the computers (provided they are one of the stations) within the same class period.  Especially for younger grades this can be important since often students all want their turn on the computers.  The downside to this is that the time spent at each station is very small.  With five stations you would have only ten minutes per station.  This is hardly enough time to accomplish even a small task.  In addition, if a problem is encountered, such as a computer crashing, the time it takes to get back up and running can really throw off your schedule.  A better approach is to give each group a full class period at each station.  Although this means you will need to develop more extensive lessons for each station it will greatly enhance the impact the technique has on the students.



Cooperative Groups Teacher Presentations Computer Lab Saving Online Information Learning Centers

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