An innovative way that I integrate the use of the computer into my classroom programme is through developing digital learning centres (DLCs). These learning centres are produced on a Powerpoint Show platform and can be designed specifically to cater for the learning needs and strengths of children in my class. When creating a DLC there are three main types/functions:
  • as a maintenance programme from teaching and learning
  • as a portal to new learning
  • as a portal to new learning with guided digital experiences related

When my school had a visit from the Education Review Office (ERO, 2007) they wrote the following in their report:

"A particular feature of the school is the use of digital learning centres (DLCs) to support learning. These digital resources are designed and created within the school to complement literacy programmes, learning across the curriculum and to support the inquiry learning approaches that are used in all classrooms. They enable students to access on-line teaching resources for reinforcing class work and to explore selected internet sites that provide further opportunities for interactive learning and/or the sourcing of new information for project work."

I was really pleased that ERO acknowledged the use of the computers at my school in this way. Although it is only one way that we integrate ICT into our programmes, it was great to see that they consider it important enough to note in the actual ERO report for the school.

The handout for my slides from my presentation that I have done at the Learning at Schools Conference, TUANZ and at the Bucklands Beach ICTPD Cluster meeting are available for download. This has instructions on how to make your own DLC.

The following are examples of DLCs that I have used. They are examples of how a DLC can be created to maintain what has been taught in the classroom programme. It is most important to save these as a Powerpoint SHOW, in this way the show will open automatically and is easy for young learners to operate.

A great little character which links to resources.

the links to the 6 thinking hats on this DLC will not work as you need a supporting file set up, however you can make your own thinking hat questions and link these using the templates below. This type of DLC is an example of use for topic studies, to be a portal to new learning (and with guided digital experiences). It is a safe way to bookmark and hyperlink the sites that are appropriate for children to anwer their own inquiry questions.

The template for the six thinking hats can be downloaded from here.

I think it is important if we are using sources on the internet, we should collaborate and give back to the net as well. At first I introduced them into the classroom programme, these were tasks set on the reading and maths taskboard. As the children have become confident, they are emailled home for home learning.

PLEASE have a go and use them and post back to me your response, OR visit my blog and post a comment - If you make any DLCs of your own - please share these on the net - as teachers we often re-invent the wheel and waste time. This is a good opportunity to network and share resources.

To save these to your own PC computer (there are various methods) if it doesn't just download you will have to take the following steps:

Go to the file menu and press save as... then save as a powerpoint or try the following method...
  1. right click on the file (once it is open)
  2. select edit slides
  3. copy all slides
  4. paste into a new powerpoint presentation
  5. you will have to change the background from white on your new presentation to ensure that all the typing shows
  6. then you need to save your new presentation as a powerpoint show (to do this - when clicking "save as" you select the type of file you wish to save the file - you NEED to save it absolutely as a POWERPOINT SHOW - in this way the children are directed to the open show and don't have to go through opening up powerpoint presentation and then clicking on the start show button - saving as a show is direct and fast).
  8. to exit out of a DLC you need to press the Escape button.
On a MAC these files usually go to your download folder.