Pair programming in the classroom
- If you can, it can really help if you actually have "pairing stations." Those are desks with two monitors and two keyboards, but the keyboards both control the same monitor. That makes it impossible for students to accidentally start working on their own computer. Assuming pairing stations aren't in the budget, then you can approximate them by shutting every other monitor off.
- On the first day that you introduce pair programming, talk about what it is and why we do it. You can use this slideset to do so:
- Either pre-select the pairs or ask students to form pairs. It might be better to pre-select, so you don't end up with a pair of two students that are at too low of a level together. Get the pairs to sit at a station. To make sure they bond and feel like a team, give them 10 minutes to come up with a team name and team chant. Have each team introduce themselves to the rest of the classroom.
- Begin pairing! Start a timer so that you can yell "Switch!" after some amount of minutes, to make sure the pairs actually alternate.
- Either continue with the same pairs for the rest of the class or switch them for every project. Some pairs work better than others, so pay attention to whether there are problem pairs that need changing up.