Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1:1 Learning, Laptops in the Classroom

The world is changing as it always does and we as educators need to change with it. That is why I am a strong believer in the 1:1 laptop programs seen in such states such as Maine. They have purchased laptops for their students and the program has been very successful. Yet they are not alone, The Reed Union School District in San Francisco has also adopted the 1:1 laptop use and have found both positives and negatives, deciding the positives outway the negatives and the laptops will indeed stay. As one teacher states:
I'm not lecturing at them anymore," Jeffrey said, as her students worked on reports about discrimination and the civil rights movement. "This kind of assignment becomes fun for them; they're finding their own information, building it as they go along, instead of having me read it to them".

Isn't this what the new thoughts in education are all about, allowing students to synthesis information? Another article I found from Apple brings home this point nicely. They have helped to bring laptop programs to many school districts including Shoreline School District. This district has a laptop for each student and teacher in grades 5 -12. The results have been impressive, teachers communicate more which helps with curriculum mapping. Students are able to work on assignments and do research when they are not at school. It is also helping with academic assessment, making it easier and more efficient. As the principal of Ecko Lake Elementary school observes:

“With the Apple notebooks, the actual act of teaching is quicker, better, and much more accurate.”

It is enlightening to see a school district and community that views technology as absolutely essential in education, and understands that notebooks offer the tools students need to succeed in today’s world, a highly technical world.

For a great video on the one to one initiative viewthe video by MIT professor, Nicholas Negroponte titled "What if Every Child Had a Laptop".

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