Tips For Teaching


To be most effective your Internet activities should be fun, engaging, and educational. Regardless of age, interests, abilities, and disabilities, all campers should actively participate. This section helps you realize these goals. While working with campers, be sure to adjust to different learning styles - in other words, the different ways in which students take in and process information.

The Internet offers opportunities to meet the diverse learning needs of your students. Some campers may be more comfortable using a site where they can manipulate objects right on the screen; other students might be more comfortable doing at least some work off-line. Lessons that use the Internet have the capacity to shift the focus from teaching to learning and place much of the responsibility for learning on the student. You can concentrate on individual learners rather than full class instruction.

Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles

[Picture of Anna with a braille printer] Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, has developed a theory of multiple intelligences, suggesting that there is great variability in types of intelligences that are developed at different times, in different ways, and to different levels. These natural talents or affinities make it easier for different people to learn different things. For example, some people find music easy to learn; some do not. Some express themselves best verbally; others do not. Gardner actually identifies eight such intelligences:

With its multi-media capabilities, the Internet is an excellent tool for a group of children with a wide variety of learning styles and intelligence strengths. For more information on learning styles and multiple intelligences, consult the following Web sites:

[Picture of Nguyen and Tony in the computer lab] Even if your camp is not specifically designed for children or youth with disabilities, you can assume that at least some of your campers will have disabilities - some visible, some not. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow programs to discriminate on the basis of disabilities and requires that reasonable accommodations be made to allow people with disabilities to participate. Although accommodations vary widely, a little advance planning on your part will allow you to respond appropriately and quickly to the specific needs of your campers. Consider both teaching and technical issues.

Following these guidelines helps maximize the participation of all campers. They reflect a sensitivity to the potential presence of a wide variety of disabilities including blindness, low vision, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, health impairment, attention deficit disorder, and specific learning disability.

Presentation

Many teachers start their lessons with a presentation to introduce new material. To best communicate with campers, regardless of abilities and disabilities, consider applying the following teaching tips into your presentation.

Discussion

[Picture of Sheryl and student in the computer lab] Allowing campers to share their experiences and discuss their ideas is important. The guidelines below can help you incorporate lively discussions into your sessions.

Certificates and Prizes

Prizes and certificates can add fun to your program and a sense of accomplishment for your campers. There is one rule to follow when prizes are involved - try to make everyone a winner! So, if a grand prize is awarded for exceptional achievement, have smaller prizes for everyone who participated. Younger campers always enjoy reward stickers; some older campers do, too. At the end of a comprehensive program, a formal certificate of achievement is appropriate. Try ending the program on a light note with funny awards (Who was the "Best Dressed" camper anyway? And, who was the "Most Persistent Internet Explorer"?).