Johnny Carrera, a veteran in the classroom of 20+ years and now one of TestOut's Instructional Designers, discusses his approach on helping students learn and practice from the TestOut labs.
Getting Students To Do The Labs
- In person delivery
- Online delivery
- Combination of both (Hybrid)
- Students will not do the labs.
- Students don’t see the value of the labs.
- Students get frustrated doing the labs and don’t complete them.
- Students start the lab, hit grade, then use the steps to do the labs again.
- Students spend so much time on a lab they don’t complete other parts of an assignment.
Things I've tried
- Assign the labs to be done in class and expect them to just get through them.
- Assign the labs but tell them “if you can’t get through the whole thing, it’s OK”
- Put students into teams and have them work together to complete labs.
- Assign the labs as homework so class time is for lectures and assessments.
- Only use TestOut labs.
What seemed to work with in class delivery:
- I print out instructions for the labs.
- We go through the labs as a class together using a projector.
- After going through the lab together, the student uses the printed directions (if you want to save paper convert to pdf files and place in LMS) and do a first pass with instructions. Then a second pass without. If they get stuck, they are allowed to use the notes.
- Convery the importance of the labs. (Don’t be a paper tech)
- Try to have actual hardware to duplicate the labs.
Did I do all the labs?
It depended on one of two factors: Training-For-Certification or Not-Training-For-Certification.
- If training for certification and short time frame, focus on labs that reinforce objectives.
- If training for certification and longer time frame, include more labs, even those not focused on objectives.
- Few to no labs during test prep.
- If not training for certification it’s up to you. (I never had a class that certifications were not the focus)
What seemed to work with online delivery or in a hybrid setting
- Same as live delivery.
- Duplicate TestOut labs in the classroom (if you have time):
- Old computers to tear apart.
- Routers and Switches to program. Ask your district for old out of service stuff like networking gear and servers.
- I’m just going to say it, Packet Tracer to duplicate labs.
- Find old working PC’s or laptops and dual boot them with Linux (Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Centos) and Windows.
- Free Windows resources:
- Create a closed network in your class.