Learning Centers are often best used in mid-size to large classrooms
with between 4-6 computers. The size of the classroom is a factor
because of the need to reorganize the classroom configuration of desks
and chairs. You will want to separate the learning stations enough
so that the students can work at them without disturbing others.
Often a good configuration is to have centers in each corner of the room
and then one or two in the middle. The numbers of computers is important
because you need to utilized them as part of one of the stations.
If you have groups of 5 students each and want them each to be able to
use a computer then you would need at least 5 computers for your station.
Thus, the number of computers usually needs to be the same as the number
students per group if you want to utilize learning centers. You can
double students up on computers but this can diminish the impact of using
the technology. Finally, Learning Centers can be especially effective
if you need to cover a number of prerequisite skills prior to starting
work on a project. Prerequisite skills lend themselves to this classroom
management model because each skills does not dependent on the others and
thus they make ideal activities for learning stations.
class: Groups of students rotate from one station to another (probably
4-5 students to a
station) throughout the entire school day or during a portion of the day,
such as in the afternoons for 2 or 3 days.
setting: In a situation where the class has a scheduled science period
every day, each of 5 groups would spend that class period on a given
activity, finishing all 5 stations by the end of the week.
Note: In either case, the computer is one of the learning stations and each
student is guaranteed computer access at least once a week.
assignments should relate to project or the curriculum area, so that
students don't perceive them as busy work or try to use the time to catch up
planning, take into consideration providing for a range of learning styles.
Each child should participate in at least one activity that appeals to his
interests or strengths.
activities that require minimal help and direction from the teacher.
using a different location, such as the school library, for a station.