Tech Alternatives for the One Computer Classroom

This week I am away on an offline vacation. Rather than let the blog be dormant or rerunning old posts I decided to give some other people a chance to share their experiences and ideas with you. I hope you enjoy the posts.

you have been ordered to integrate technology in you classroom. Only
problem is, you only have one computer. There is light at the end of the
tunnel.  Here are 10 ways you can use your one computer as an
invigorating learning tool.

  1. Presentation Tool
    The first (and simplest way) to use your computer is to present notes
    or information to your students. To do this project your computer screen
    onto a presentation screen or smart board. If you don’t have one a dry
    erase board works just as good. This also requires the aid of an LCD
    (Liquid Crystal Display) projector. The best way to do this is for the
    teacher to walk the room explaining the notes and making sure students
    are on task while a student works the keyboard.
    • ExamplePresent a power point on the steps of solving a quadratic equation.
  2. Game Show Host-
    There are a ton of interactive games, note taking techniques, and
    simulation activities on the internet. Allow one student to direct
    activities projected on the screen or fill in a graphic organizer on the
    dry erase board and another student to make the movements on the
    computer. Students can be grouped to increase competition.  
    • Example- Go to
      and search for games based a lesson you will be teaching.  Divide
      students into groups of 3-4 and allow them to compete against each other
      in a game. One student will operate the computer and be the score
  3. Competition Tool
    Play the games or competition listed above (in #2). However, make it a
    competition between classes to get the whole class involved. The results
    can be calculated on the board or tracked using an excel spreadsheet
    with a bar graph.
    • Example–  Have students compete to identify the battles of the Civil War of the parts of the body on
  4. Learning Center
    Setup learning centers in your classroom. Create an activity where
    groups of students move through various learning centers with one of the
    centers being a computer learning center.

  • Example-Create
    learning stations about the stages of mitosis. Have a one station where
    students take notes, have another station where they color diagrams on
    the stages of mitosis, another stage where they interact with a
    simulation on the stages of mitosis (such as  , another where they create a model of mitosis, and another for assessments.

  1. Computer as the Peak Activity (Pre-search, Research, Post-search) – Have
    a group assignment where students have a before the computer part (or
    parts) of the assignment, on the computer part of the assignment, and an
    after the computer part(s). This allows each group to prepare for what
    they will do on the computer as well as evaluate what they did while on
    the computer.

  • Example
    Students prepare to write a debate on abortion by writing a thesis and
    creating an outline, get on the computer and research information about
    cell phones in school using , and then use the research information to formulate their debate.

  1. Jigsaw Puzzle
    By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the jigsaw method. It breaks a lesson
    down into parts and groups of students work on different parts of the
    lesson. Each part of the lesson will equal one piece of the puzzle. One
    of those pieces will be a computer group.
    • Example
      When teaching a lesson on China, I jig sawed the lesson into a language
      group, a culture group, a religion group, a history group, a customs
      group and a geography group. While the other groups used the textbook
      and other resource books , I allowed the geography group to use my
      computer to map famous places using Google Earth
  2. Students-Teacher
    Allow students to become a specialist on a particular topic and they
    can create a PowerPoint or other activity to teach the rest of the class
    about the topic
    • Example
      As an end of the year review, students can pick a war (i.e. World War
      I) and create a short 3 slide PowerPoint on the topic to present to the
      class. Other students can be busied doing their research in a textbook
      or creating a multiple choice quiz about their PowerPoint.
  3. Post Master-Allow
    students to work on an activity at their desk. When they get their part
    correct, they can go type it into a master list or Power Point
    projected on the board.
    • Example-
      This is a great “Get to Know Your Classmates” activity for the
      beginning of the year. Have each student come up and make one PowerPoint
      slide about themselves and present a master PowerPoint show entitled
      “Getting to Mrs./Mr. ___________’s class”
      1. For fun make it a quiz, where the student puts a weird fact about themselves and the class has to guess who it is.
  4. Scavenger Hunt- Have students complete an in class scavenger hunt that allows students to get on the computer for only part of the answers.
    • Example-
      Have students answer questions in the different resources in the room
      (textbook, encyclopedia, classroom books) about the Civil Rights
      Movement and for one of the questions have them listen to Martin Luther
      King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on
  5. Tutor
    Use it for struggling students for remediation or enrichment for early
    finishers. This is also a great for students who need some extra credit.

Kimberly Scott has more than six years of teaching experience. This includes middle and high school, both in the traditional and online environment. She has done numerous trainings, designed several innovative curriculums, and developed end-of-course assessments. She specializes in innovative teaching techniques, curriculum design, and integrating technology in the classroom. For more information, visit her blog


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!