Hello there!

I was posed with an interesting question here the other day and I thought that the answer could best be answered by everyone on classroom 2.0.

Are there any of you out there who have classrooms with laptops or students who use laptops in their instruction who have seen the gains for students in education? Were there problems in getting laptops for your classroom?

The 'powers that be' stated laptops would be useful in a one to one application. I am not sure exactly what that means but I know that technology integration is a growing concern in our division and I would hate for my students to be at a disadvantage when moving into their next level of education.

I know everyone here will have something to say on the subject but I certainly want to hear your views and experiences.

Thanks in advance,

Lee

Tags: Laptops, education, necessary

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Hi,
I have worked in a school where there was a laptop program and one where it was proposed to introduce tablets. The advantages are that each student has a computer to work on and that the students very quickly become skilled in using the applications. When the laptop is owned by the student, more care is taken with the machine.
The disadvantages are battery life, power cords and if the machine crashes through software/hardware failure, then there is disruption to the student's learning. Another disadvantage I have seen is that often the students fill their machines with "stuff" that slows the processing.
Then there is the consideration of what age group you are targeting.
Are the students capable of carrying the laptops?
Is it safe for them to have a laptop (physically and outside the school environment)? - this includes considering EMF and wireless radiation & theft
Are the texts available on CDROM or interactive?
Will the school require a particular brand an pre-loaded programs?
What sort of user agreement does the school have?
What are your expectations in delivering a laptop program to the students and are all the staff sufficiently skilled in order to be able to deliver this program?
Well Meg, it certainly is a lot to consider. At the schools you worked at did you find the quality of work was enhanced or did the students demonstrate an increased understanding as a result of having access to tools like this?

I know my principal is eager to get on board with laptops and our IT dept has their reasons for not wanting laptops. I wanted to know because I want to put forth a solid proposal for using them at our school or at least piloting the program at our school.

Thanks for the reply!

Lee
I found the students really run with the program. If they own the machines, obviously they are more motivated to maintain them. At the first school I mentioned, it was decided that a flat battery, forgetting the computer or not being able to provide backed up work was not an excuse from the outset. The school had a technical centre and the technicians were contracted from outside to service the machines. There were backup machines available for things like cracked screens or repairs that took longer than a day.
The students actually taught me heaps and they are always far more relaxed about trying something new.
At both schools, I found that I could suggest an outcome and they would (often very creatively) come up with some brilliant work. A colleague at the latter school (who has also moved on) has done some brilliant work with Middle School Maths.( http://stepbystep.com.au/SimonBorgert/)
Hey, I am a student, 10th grade, at a one to one laptop school, Science Leadership Academy. Laptops are great to have, they're definitely a powerful tool for education and hopefully one day they will be available to all schools, however, I feel like a lot of people who come to my school, like visitors and stuff, feel that this technology is the end all be all in education... and it really isn't. TO me, the real end all be all in education is teacher student interaction, so yeah, if you can get your hands on laptops I mean, who wouldn't want them right? But like... I don't feel it is a big priority in terms of education...
I work in a middle school where technology is integrated quite significantly - interactive whiteboards throughout, course management software for all students (accessible at home), many computer labs, and a pilot 1:1 laptop program in one grade level. The pilot has given me an opportunity to compare environments with the laptops to those without. There are so many more possibilities in the 1:1 classroom. Differentiation is seamless and has endles possibilities because of ubiquitous access to materials. Student production increases because of higher engagement and, our students report, because it is so much simpler to type than write. The degree to which students and teachers collaborate is significantly higher in the laptop program because the technology offers so many ways to do so.

Interesting to me, however, is the crux of the question about whether there are gains for the students in such a program. The interpretation of the question is critical here, because the way most students are measured (by states' tests and the like) are not where people will likely find the gains. Laptops in the classroom allow students to go beyond the standard curriculum. It allows them to explore items not originally on the teacher's agenda, to pursue a depth on a topic not prescribed by the state or school corporation. It allows students to use a wide variety of tools, to use creative thinking and problem solving skills, to write for an audience, etc. These are all measurable things, but the tools that schools typically use to measure growth likely may not capture the gains described above.
We have a 1-1 laptop program, all faculty and students get a laptop for the duration of their time on campus (we are a boarding school so they have them 24/7). I'll see if I can dig up some of the gains/losses in educational value.
A bit dated, but does have some information on gains... http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/casestudies/622_K12_CS_Culver.pdf
I've been a couple of different schools where laptops have been used with varying results. One of the schools trained the teachers on how to use them appropriately and guide them to appropriate resources for teaching. Laptops can be a good resource if the teachers are comfortable enough with them. It's difficult to see success if the teachers are too timid regarding the use of technology in the classroom.
on a slight tangent, does anyone see virtualization, cloud computing, and the rumored G-drive as providing alternative 1:1 solutions to laptops? what would an implementation plan look like to get computing capabilities in the hands of all students using those tools?
This came across in email today - http://newbay.ebookhost.net/k12/intel/3/
Hi Larry! Thanks for all the info and I will include it in my proposal to the board. Thanks again to everyone who replied to my question

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