The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Online Research

My class gets to use the computer lab at least once a week on Tuesday mornings. However, yesterday we had to leave early in order to get together with our art teacher for Arts Infusion. I knew that my students really enjoy using the lab and I felt bad that we didn’t get our full time yesterday, so I scheduled us for some extra time first thing this morning.

Before going into the lab, I had the students think about questions they may have about ecosystems and/or the animals they are researching for our Great Lakes project. Students shared some of their questions and then we went to the computer lab to get started.

For the next thirty minutes, I had 22 students hard at work. Using Google search results, resources on the Destiny Catalog, Wikipedia articles, and sites run by the various Sea Grant programs and state Departments of Natural Resources, my students interacted with the information they found, shared it with others, and asked fantastic questions of me and my student teacher. They also used the headphones I purchased for the class to watch videos related to their topics.

This was definitely the most productive period of time that my class has had in the computer lab. While my students enjoy going to FunBrain and other educational game sites, it was wonderful to see them using technology to learn more about topics that are of interest to them! We won’t be able to use the computer lab every day, of course, but during this research project we will use the lab more frequently than usual.


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