Ditching the laptops

Okay so I’m working hard at trying to get closer to one to one computing. I’d also like to see teachers making better use of the desktops in their classrooms. So when I read this, I’m a little taken back.

We are abandoning the mobile laptop lab/cart paradigm and going back to a regular wired lab. Some of the reasons are:

  1. Slow connectivity speed.
  2. Class time is wasted handing out computers and collecting.
  3. Laptops are more difficult and time consuming to image (you have to set the lab up in order to re-image).
  4. They are more expensive for the same quality machine.
  5. Greater risk for theft.
  6. Poor utilization. Typically a laptop lab will be checked out to only a single teacher for a day, while a separate wired lab is used by multiple teacher throughout the day.

Dr. James Beal Director of Technology Somonauk Community Unit School District #432 Somonauk, IL 60552

I can’t speak to this from experience so those of you with some background (Wes, Cheryl,Will, Dan) maybe you could respond. This seems like a step backwards possibly as a result of some poor planning and support. But I really don’t know. … Read the rest

A challenge to the $100 laptop

The $100 laptop has certainly brought much discussion among educators. It seems it has also brought discussion among manufacturers.

Read the story. via Rick Schwier

Mexico has already signed up for 300,000. Why is it that Mexico, China, India, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, Nigeria and Argentina have all made committments to get the technology in the hands of children.

Maybe one day our country will be wealthy enough to afford this for our kids. 😉… Read the rest

Let’s ban the laptops…another lame response to disruptive technology

This post was last updated on April 2nd, 2006 at 06:22 pm

I’m working hard here at trying to introduce laptops in the classroom. This does not help.

In the article, Professor Entman says:

“My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing,“ Entman said Monday. “The computers interfere with making eye contact. You’ve got this picket fence between you and the students.“

Sounds like a management issue here. You can argue all day whether students should be more focused, whether they should be handwriting, the reality is the notebook is here and by trying to ban or restrict technology you are not addressing the more important question of how to take advantage of it. It’s often about engagment. If the professor is not engaging, students will find things that are more engaging. If the concern is about thinking and analyzing, there are many ways to facilitate that online as well.

Banning technology is always the easiest solution but it’s usually not the best.

Here’s a response from one student:

“If we continue without laptops, I’m out of here. I’m gone; I won’t be able to keep

Read the rest

Don’t call it a laptop project….Gary Stager

This post was last updated on April 2nd, 2006 at 09:37 pm

Last year at FETC, I came to one session early to hear the tail end of a session by Gary Stager. I remember thinking he was quite different from the other presenters. I’m not sure what his presentation was about but he certainly had a unique delivery. Quite irreverant and refreshing. Add to that his New Jersey accent, and you’ve got someone worth listening to. I remember one line he used. Paraphrased somewhat,

“there’s always one blowhard in the crowd that says, “it’s not about the technology”, then I say why are we at at technology conference instead of a Montessori conference”.

Something like that. So this year I was happy to hear what he had to say about one to one computing. He’s been doing it for 16 years. He’s passionate about using it as an “imagination machine”. Here’s a few of my rather scraggly notes.

It’s not a project. This is not an experiment. The laptop computer is the primary learning instrument of the day. Failed ventures often focus on increased usage and continuing with the same old curriculum. Must offer emotion and excitement for buy-in.… Read the rest