Why GMS is contemplating a one-to-one (one student, one laptop) program
- The technology array at The Girls' Middle School is aging and needs to be replaced in the relatively near future
- Given the technology array at GMS, it is not easy for teachers to use technology in a transformative way for teaching (not all classrooms have computers because not all doors can be locked; some of the display technology is incompatible in some classrooms; glare/light control in some classrooms
- GMS now tacitly require families to have a computer at home (we provide one for families that can't afford one)
- There is now a reasonable choice between desktop computers (as we have now pretty much) and portable computers (laptops)
Well, we need to do something. But I have some reservations about further integrating computers into the classroom.
Here are two vignettes:
In my intersession class, one of the things we did was to compare different honeys (compare and contrast appearance, scent, texture and taste). We also talked about where honey comes from (are bees wild or domesticated animals? How do you keep the different honeys separate? How do you get the honey separate from the comb? Is honey fresh from the comb as pretty as this jarred honey? One of the girls had a lot of sage honey on her plate (she didn't like the flavor) and she started playing with it, like finger paint. We determined that last year's honey is thicker than this year's, and this year's has a better texture for playing.
One of my friends who is a back country ranger in Yosemite says they've been plagued by hikers depending on GPS systems for navigation. The GPS poops out, the hikers have no paper maps, they call on their cell phones to be rescued!
I don't want the GMS experience--curriculum and interactions between students--to become so techno-centric that we scorn actual real-world experience. I don't want the GMS worldview to become so dependent upon electrons to understand the world.
That being said, I am in favor of computers in education.
Here's some additional information, from:
Teaching with Laptops
This interactive website is from a larger website entitled, "Laptop Learning Challenge." Sections include: Introduction; Laptop Rationale; Classroom Management; Things to Remember; Exemplary Lessons; Teacher Preparation and Development.
Learning with Laptops
This site is meant to be a source of honest and independent information about student laptop programs. It is run by educators for educators. Resources include: News and Reports; Guidelines; Reflections; Web Sites of Interest; Open Source Software; Learning/Teaching Tools; Wireless Networking Information.
Laptop Computers in the K-12 Classroom
This informative report is structured thus: Introduction; Emergence of Laptops in Schools; Transitions to Laptops; Portable Alternatives; Classroom Experiences; Does Research Support the Use of Laptops?; Equity Controversy; Summary; Bibliography and Further Reading.
The effect of using laptop computers on achievement, attitude to science and classroom environment in science
This lengthy report resulted from a study that was part of an evaluation of the effectiveness of laptop computers in grades 8 and 9 science classrooms, in a sample of Australian independent Schools. The report contains the following sections: Introduction; Classroom Environment; Methodology; Results; Conclusions; References.
Evaluation Report --Year Two
This evaluation report describes Year 2 of the Laptop Notebook Project in middle schools of the Beaufort County School District, South Carolina, USA. It provides an in-depth look at the successes and failures that occur with the implementation (and lack of implementation) of laptop initiatives for the student populations.
Laptop Lessons: Exploring the Promise of One-to-One Computing
This article provides a good journalistic overview of schools' experiences with student laptop programs. Sections include: Introduction; The Results are In: Laptops Improve Student Performance; Getting Started: A Question of Vision; Money Matters; Protecting the Equipment; Getting Staff Up and Running; What's Ahead?.
Learning with Laptops in Education
This website contains articles and resources for laptops and learning resources. For example, this article, Laptop Schools Lead the Way in Professional Development staff development innovations and suggestions for successful technology implementation are described.
In this website, Microsoft details the Anytime Anywhere Learning program, which helps schools provide 1:1 access to technology through the use of notebook computers. At this site, the educator can read about what other schools are doing to successfully implement their technology programs and access online program support information to help schools implement a laptop initiative of their own.
Wireless, Handheld and Laptop Computers in K-12 Classrooms
This website contains an extensive list of articles, reports, and resources on wireless, handheld and laptop computers in educational contexts.
Mobile Technology: Handheld Computers, Laptops, Wireless Networking in Education
This website is divided into three sections, one each for handheld, laptop, and wireless solutions for the classroom environment. Each section provides articles for further information, as well as specific and general resources for that particular technology.