There’s been quite a bit of discussion around the place about the value of laptops in classrooms.
A recent report published by Educause titled Miracle or Menace: Teaching and Learning with Laptop Computers in the Classroom provides a study of integrating laptops into classroom instruction which claims to have found statistically significant improvements in student learning.
I found the section at the end of the report: “lessons learned”, with its list of management techniques and dangers and pitfalls most interesting. Among the ‘dangers and pitfalls’ identified was ‘instant messaging’ – indicating that many of the students were choosing to go online and communicate with friends instead of getting on with ‘real work’. Interesting how something like this is still regarded negatively, instead of being harnessed for the potential it offers education.
It’s interesting to read the results of this study and compare with what is happening in NZ with projects such as the Notebook Valley project, one of the digital opportunities projects commissioned by the Ministry of Education. A literature review for the evaluation of digi-ops projects published on the MoE website contains further information for those wanting to understand the value of laptops in classrooms. The final research report from the Notebook Valley project is expected to be published on the NZCER website later this year.
4 thoughts on “The value of laptops in classrooms”
“Among the ‘dangers and pitfalls’ identified was ‘instant messaging’ – indicating that many of the students were choosing to go online and communicate with friends instead of getting on with ‘real work’. Interesting how something like this is still regarded negatively, instead of being harnessed for the potential it offers education.”
I found your thoughts interesting in light of the fact that so many people were doing exactly this during keynotes. I remember the days when I was practically the only person to be seen taking notes electronically. At this conference it was very common. What interested me was that the people with iBooks and airport cards were able to access the intranet or the internet during keynotes, or other workshops, and even to chat with each other. So, when the going got a bit boring, they would flit off into cyberspace to check things out there, whilst keeping one ear on the speaker. I found it quite fascinating.
Some nice points Carol. What I found interesting for me in the “Miracle or Menace: Teaching and Learning with Laptop Computers in the Classroom” article was that it just looked at talking head kinds of tuition. The experiment didn??t seem to include a constructivist approach i.e. students lugging lap tops to class and taking notes? Why? Give me the electronic notes if you need them I can sit at home and do it? I will read the NZ articles and post another comment. I found this approach extremely disappointing.
One of the links doesn??t work but in the digi ops bit it seems to me in my humble opinion that again poor planning and implementation lead to technology rather than pedagogy driving the projects. How tragic.
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