Question 1: What do you find attractive about teaching in a computer-supported classroom?
Sue: One of the things I like best about it is that if there's ever any dead time, or if our discussion dies sooner than I think it's going to, I can always have a task in mind for them do to on the computer or they can always start working on their drafts. So there's really not any wasted classroom time. And I like that I can do most of the handouts on the computer. So it saves trees, and it also makes it easier for me. It's less time-consuming.
Kathy: I guess I see the students being more willing to write. They seem to just go at it and not hesitate so much. I don't see too many of them sitting there thinking and putting off putting words down--they seem to just dive right in--so that's an advantage because you're going to get more from them to evaluate or to help them with.
Beth: Just that I'm not the center of attention. I know myself that that's my weakest point. I'm not a good oral communicator in big groups, so for me to be able to send them to the computers and go around one-on-one is much more comfortable.
Sue: I think it's easier to get the students on task for doing freewriting or DAILY assignments.
Kathy: I think again it's that you don't have to be in that spotlight position. They can be busily doing what they need to do, and you don't have to be in charge or in control all the time. There's a lot more freedom in this; you give them their assignment and they go ahead and do it.
Question 2: What do you see are benefits for you and your students of being in a computer classroom?
Sue: I think, for my students, they can type up some of the collecting type work in class--group work--and save it on computer, and then when they come back to write their drafts, it's right there. They don't have to shuffle through a bunch of paper in their notebook and, if they lose something, then it's on computer.
Sue: What I really like is that I have everything on computer disk that's labeled "class #" this or that. It's just there: I don't have to carry papers around; I don't have to worry about having folders that can be lost. And the DAILY assignments I give them--if something didn't work I can delete it, and it's not a big deal; it's just like it never existed.
Beth: Everyone is excited, they write tons, and I haven't had any complaints about the volume I'm asking them to produce. I always hated that when teachers said, "OK, take out a piece of paper and do this...." So it's neat to see that my students aren't reacting the same way: "Why are you making us do this; this is totally stupid." I don't know what it is about the computers versus taking out a piece of paper and a pencil. Maybe they're just psyched about the technology.
Kathy: Well, I can see as they're working--it's easier to see what they're doing. I see that as an advantage, that you can go around and you can troubleshoot and help people and talk to them, almost more privately that you would be able to if they were just writing at a desk, or bringing in something they've been doing at home.
Sue: Instead of coming and talking to me about it, then going home and writing, I can see them writing and thinking about it as they're composing