When pair programming, assign roles and computers to avoid unnecessary pair negotiations.

  • Students tend to prefer to be the driver. Assign which student will start in each role to avoid pairs beginning with a difficult negotiation. 
    • Example: "The partner on the left will be the navigator first."
  • Oftentimes, students want to use the computer closest to them, which means that both students in a partnership might want to use a different computer.  If applicable, specify which computer the students should use to avoid a negotiation about this.
    • Even when they change seats each class, students often want their pair to use the computer in front of them.
    • Throughout class, ensure that students’ chairs are positioned so that they can both see the computer screen.
  • Especially when there are more computers than pairs of students, tell students which computer they should use.
    • Instead of allowing the most assertive student to use their computer, specify which computer should be used.
    • Telling students which computer to use will stop students from spending time picking which computer to use.

See this and related tips as a Tip Sheet: http://csteachingtips.org/tips-for-pair-programming

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