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The Teaching-Engine, Custom Built for Schools

Years of experience with school computer teaching has contributed to the design of the program. With particular emphasis on literacy and efficient use of limited computer time, a system of guiding the student through computer exercises has greatly contributed to the effectiveness of the program in the school environment.

Make the Best of Limited Computer Time

Most schools have to share the use of the computer lab amongst all the students. Typically a student is lucky to get one hour a week of time using a computer. Therefore, the management of the student's use of the computer is extremely important because in a half-hour session, much of that time could be squandered with getting oriented and started and then closing down. Much of the time can be wasted on confusion about what program to open, what lesson to start, not remembering how to do certain operations, etc. With 30 plus students in the class, one teacher cannot personally guide each of the students use of a computer, so often many students just sit in front of the computer, waiting for assistance.

A Very Efficient Computer Lab System

If you were to watch the opening of a one half hour session with the Teaching-Engine, you would see students going directly to any computer, signing on with a personal code, and clicking one block to open the assigned exercise. If that lesson was left unfinished from the last session, it would automatically start the current session where it was last left off. It is normal for a student to actually begin productive academic work in less than a minute from walking into the computer lab.

The Carrot and the Stick, Motivating for Good Work

The teacher has a supervisory screen where she can see what students have signed on and at what time. She can see what lessons were opened and the results of any tests taken. Thus halfway through the session she can see if some students have not been working on the assigned lessons, and can go to those students to remind them that certain work must be completed before the end of computer class.

That's the stick. The carrot is that when a student obtains typically 80 percent or more on a test, the program automatically credits that student with computer game time.

Experience has shown that this earned game time is held very precious by the students, like money in the bank. The teacher has control of the access to the computer games, and when she opens it, students can use their earned game time. The teacher can also open game time to all students regardless of time earned which is usually done at the end of the term after exams have been taken. This system has proven to be an excellent motivator and is directly responsible for very committed work from the students.

Test Results, Presentation and Analysis

The Teaching-Engine program automatically collects a lot of data from the student operations. This data is associated with each student and can be viewed summarized as part of a class or as an individual. (See Test-Results) There are charts and graphs showing marks over time making it easy for a teacher or parent is observe trends. Much detail is also available including how each student misspelled a word or how a student selected an incorrect sight word. These details can provide clues as to what are the student's weak areas and therefore what to remediate.

A Universal Educator

Because the Teaching-Engine comes with a complete lesson editor, it can be used for just about any education purpose. For instance it has been used to test students on their knowledge of Microsoft Office operation. The Comprehension module is used as a multiple choice test and the test results are automatically marked and can be printed out.

Also a very productive use would be for remedial lessons. A remedial teacher could tailor make lessons for special education and bring into the computer lab 30 students needing remedial help. They can be assigned different lessons according to their needs. Detailed results can be printed out for the remedial teacher's expert analysis. (See Remedial)