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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction
Keeping Students From Losing Computer Work
Ed Clement

or

Teaching Disk Operating Systems (DOS) and Graphic User Interface (GUI)

Do your students put their floppy disks into the drive before turning on the computer? Do your students save their work onto the hard drive instead of onto their disk? Does it take you forever to get all your students to open the right program so they can get started on their work? Do your students keep corrupting their work and losing it? Do your students use the one-step-computer-shut-down procedure (simply turn off the power switch)? Well, my students used to do all these things and much more.

I think it is very important for 20th Century students to be able to turn a computer on and off properly. I feel it is also important for them to be able to get a computer program running properly, save their work, get it back, edit it, resave it and organize files so they can be easily managed. Unfortunately, most of my students don't have these skills. Most don't have computers at home and students are too used to computer labs where everything is already set up for them. So, one of the first lessons I learned when I started integrating computers into my lessons was that if you don't want to spend half your life reinstalling software and searching for lost files, figure out a way to teach students the DOS and GUI's.

Some of the things I tried that didn't work for me were: writing the steps on the blackboard (not enough blackboards); sending home study sheets (You have to practice these skills with a computer, and most of my students don't have computers at home. That turned the homework into a pure memory task. It just didn't work.); taping directions onto the computer (not enough computer space); and doing oral drills (took too much time away from the lesson, and besides not all of my computer's operating systems are the same as the students' systems, which just led to more confusion).

What did work, though, was to write up the lesson and include the computer steps within the written lessons. Then my only task was to make sure my students followed the steps. (That was almost as big a problem as the students not knowing the steps to follow in the first place.) But persistence won out, and students now rarely lose work or disable the computers they are working on.

Here is a sample of one of my lessons.

  • Write in the spreadsheet rounding formula in cells H7 and H8 of your DOME SPREADSHEET II.
  • Ask teacher to check DOME SPREADSHEET II cells F7,H7,F8 and H8 
  • Ask teacher to check off your spreadsheet II formulas.
  • Turn on the computer and the monitor. 
  • Wait until you see little pictures (icons) on the screen.
  • Ask teacher to check your computer screen.
  • Ask teacher if you don't know how to double left click the mouse button.
  • Double left click on the icon shown below. 



  • Ask teacher to check your work.
  • Put your computer disk into the computer disk drive.
  • Left click File 
  • Left click Save As.
  • Ask teacher to show you how to set up your computer to enter your file name
  • Type in your name or some other file name.
  • Ask teacher to check your file name. 
  • Left click the Save box.
  • Ask teacher to check your work.
  • Ask teacher to check off your PC spreadsheet file name.
  • Ask teacher if you should shut down your computer.
  • Ask teacher what steps you should skip if you don't have to shut down your computer.
  • Follow the steps in Appendix I and shut down your computer.
  • Ask teacher what you should do next.
  • Turn on the computer and the monitor. 
  • Wait until you see the computer icons on the screen.
  • Ask teacher to check your computer screen.
  • Double left click on the icon shown below. 


  •  
  • Ask teacher to check your work.
  • Put your computer disk into the computer disk drive.
  • Left click File 
  • Left click Open. 
  • Ask teacher to help you select the A drive.
  • Find your file name.
  • Left click your file name.
  • Ask teacher to check your file name selection.
  • Move the pointer to the center of the box with the word Open in it.
  • Left click the mouse button.
  • Ask teacher to check your computer.
  • Move the + to the middle of cell A3.
  • Click the left mouse button.
  • Ask teacher to check your cell A3 selection.
  • Get out your DOME SPREADSHEET II.
  • Type in the value that is in cell A3 on your DOME SPREADSHEET II.
  • Press the Enter key.
  • Ask teacher to check cell A3 on your computer.
  • Move the + to the middle of cell A4
  • Click the left mouse button.
  • Type in the value that is in cell A4 on your DOME SPREADSHEET II.
  • Press the Enter key

 

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