Laptops as Tools

I trained our staff on how to use our laptop cart today.  (For those schools who are light years away from us when it comes to using tech tools, we must seem like we’re in pre-school.)  I was excited.  We did a pilot with the lab last week and it was fantastic.  The students were so well-behaved but, more importantly, they were totally engaged in the math lesson.  One student even looked at me and asked, “Can I stay for the next class to help them with the laptops?”  What a moment!

Since almost no one had signed up for the lab yet, we wanted to try to dispel the fears and get them familiar with how the lab is set up and how to set it up in the classroom.   It seems to me that there are several teachers who are terrified to bring the lab to their room because they don’t want the students to break the laptops.  That’s understandable but I saw in the pilot that if you train the students how to handle the computers, they respond because they are so eager to use them.  The test group was better behaved than I’ve seen students act in the computer lab.  Believe it or not!

I showed the “Did you know…” video.  The context I was trying to set was “the world is different than when many of us older folks were in school and change doesn’t stop so we need to change too.”  I hope it opened some eyes.

One thing I forgot to say in the heat of the moment that laptops and technology are tools.  This quote from Jerram Froese says it all for me:

The pencil is a tool, just like the computer is a tool. Just because a student receives a pencil to use in class, does not mean that they will score higher on a standardized test. Granted, they will be able to TAKE the test, but their score will only be impacted by the learning processes that they undergo while at home and at school. The same holds true for a laptop. It has no ‘provable’ impact on student achievement, only the teacher and how he/she teaches will do that. The difference that the laptop/computer offers (as a tool in a classroom) is that a teacher can now design LESSONS where students can output products never before imaginable, where students can locate information never before accessible and where students can develop social networks of knowledge never before possible. BUT, it isn’t the laptop that does that – it all comes down to HOW the laptop is used. It all comes down to the teaching.

My concern now is the teaching aspect.  We have a little more technology but do we have the know-how to use it and to create meaningful lessons that use technology as a tool?  Do I have what it takes to show teachers how to do this?

One thought on “Laptops as Tools

  1. Bravo, Lisa. This is a big step, not only for MMS but also for our school system. The possibilities with the laptop cart are endless. And yes, time and time again you demonstrate you have what it takes to lead the laptop revolution at MMS.

    Keep us posted…

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