The challenges found in research to date fall into two main categories: classroom management and hardware issues. Across school sites, researchers repeatedly observed teachers having to instruct students to close their laptops when not using them for instructed purpose. As one teacher has said, “ It raises management to a whole other level, if you let it.” And hardware issues: students forget their laptops, don’t have them due to repair issues or the most common problem, the batteries not charged.
Researcherssay in order to create effective learning environments, teachers need opportunities to learn what instudention and assessment practices, curricular resources, and classroom management skills work best in a 1:1 student to laptop classroom. Additionally, they suggest that policymakers must budget for the cost of well thought out professional development and management programs. Leadership should implement policies and routines that take the burden of distracting management issues, like dead batteries, off the teachers. This means additional costs for carts, electrical work, insurance policies, parent education programs, and school board approval.
Researchers raise further questions such as: How does testing influence the uses of laptops? How do expert teachers use this technology? Do ethnic, economic, or gender-based subgroups benefit?
In the wake of all this new technology, researchers are reminded,
Supporters of the 1:1 laptop programs hail the projects as the future of education, while critics contend these programs are oversold and underused, further stretching an already limited education budget and at worst, interfering with student learning.
As more and more schools adopt program initiatives of ubiquitous computing, researchers are documenting how laptops are being used to enhance teaching and learning. What are the added values?
So, let’s look at the top three ways teachers are using laptops in the classroom. The most frequent use by teachers and students of laptops are for online research in conjunction with productivity tools. A wide range of instructional approaches and student abilities have been observed. Overall, online research and productivity tools contributes to a more learner- and knowledge centered environment.
Drill and Practiceexcercises were the second most frequent reported use of laptops. Because the majority of websites and software programs have help features, self paced timers, scaffolded tasks, and frequent feedback, students receive individualized coaching and directing as needed. The teacher facilitates the activity but is freed from answering every question. Students are empowered to refine their own understandings.
The third most frequent use of laptops was online environments such as classroom websites and videos to disseminate information, enhance instruction and provide a venue for distance discussions. Given clear, step by step instruction, Ecommunications enhanced learning in ways otherwise impossible in the regular classroom.
Take, for example, a collaborative poetry writing assignment. Students used nicenet.org to observe the lesson, the teacher instructed the students to write a short poem and post it in the threaded discussion area. She then asked each student to read the poem of the student seated next to them, choose a verse from the poem, copy and paste it into a new message window, and create a new poem that incorporated the selected verse. Added value? Not having to decipher a peer’s handwriting, revising and improving thinking in a virtual environment, and a higher level of engagement. Additionally, parents and students alike can access the information, time is saved, paper is saved, there’s a permanent record and the overall process was more efficient.
A little comic relief.
Reading q, yes. Online research, productivity tools, drill and practice, and ecommunications , when used properly, enhanced individualized instruction, increased student interaction and collaboration, allowed for more frequent use of formative assessments and quicker access to materials and information.
1:1 Laptop Programs
The use of educational tools has always enhanced the science of teaching. It
is expected that in the next 10 years, an increasing number of students will
bring a range of computing devices into the classroom for learning. Ultimately,
these devices will become indispensable educational tools like pens, papers or
chalkboards are today (Liang, 2005).
• Will transform education
Supporters • Adds value
• Save time
Critics • Harmful
• Creates management
Researchers Ask…How Are They Being
To Learn? To Teach?
How Teachers Are Using Their Laptops
in 1:1 Programs
To Add Most Frequent
Use of Laptops
To Learning Online Research
Yahoo, Google, Microsoft Office
To Teaching Ask Jeeves Word. Excel, Pp
2nd Most Site
Common Scholastic Math
Use… Inventory Forum
Drill and Accelerated
Online • Classroom Websites
Environments • Online environments
• Disseminate information
• Facilitate communication
Online in Nice Net Collaborative poem writing
Did These Uses Add Value to Learning
and Teaching? Yes…
Increasing student interaction and collaboration
formatively assessing learning
Allowing more self guided pacing
Allowing more access to online resources
Enabling networked communication and materials management
Did These Uses Present New
• Tool becomes • Students forget
distraction • Repair issues
• Video, audio noise • Batteries not
• Unlimited internet charged
Training in 1:1
Technology is Becoming More
Affordable and Programs Are Growing
“It is not really about the laptops. It is
about what the 1:1 laptops enable in
terms of new ways to teaching and
learning.” –Dunleavy, 2007