|Grade span:||8 to 12|
Description:Students don't need to be "stuck" when working on assigned projects or problems. With a computer with Internet access, you can provide your students with some online help and as well as some technology experience. Using "ask an expert" Web sites, set up a cyber study center where students ask online experts questions related to their assignments. For example, two eighth-grade boys are struggling with a geometry problem about "perimeters." They log on to a math mentoring Web site and search the forum archives for questions and answers about "perimeter." They find some messages for most of their problems but remain stumped on two questions, so they post questions to the online math expert and log on the next day to see what additional help they have received.
- Complete and turn in homework on time.
- Correctly address homework instructions.
- Evaluate information provided from online sources.
- Express questions in writing accurately and responsibly.
- One teacher computer with Internet access and projection to large screen or interactive whiteboard
- One student computer with Internet access
- Bookmarked list on homework help sites
- Prepare a list of the best "ask an expert" sites. Following are favorites:
- Arrange for an adult or older student volunteer during homework help time to assist students with the "ask an expert" process.
- Instructors should be familiar with any software or equipment used in the lesson or enlist the help of a volunteer who does.
- Remember to talk with your students' day school teachers to find out for which topics students need to consult the experts.
What to Do:
- Engage students by telling them you are going to show them how to find answers to their most challenging homework questions. Show students the list of "ask an expert" Web sites and how to access those sites.
- Review rules on "how to ask" that are common to most of these sites. Remind students these experts will not do their homework for them but are resources to help them do their own work and to learn from that effort.
- Cite experts' contributions as appropriate to projects or papers written by middle school or high students.
- Post a copy of your schools's Internet usage policy and rules close to the student computer.
- Begin the activity by having the student computer on and ready with bookmarked expert sites ready for the students to use. If several students have the same question, allow them to work as a team to get an answer from the experts.
- Assign an aide to monitor and help with this new resource.
- If you have more than one online computer available for student use, consider broadening the scope of your "cyber study center" by stocking additional computers with appropriate, high-quality learning activities. Check with regular day teachers to see if computer enrichment games are available with the textbooks students are using during the school day. Web sites such as Fun Brain and Gamequarium provide links to many fun, free online learning games.
- Another important addition to this center would be a computer dedicated to homework sites such as: B.J. Pinchbeck's Homework Helper, Homework Spot, and Kidbibs Homework Help.