laptops in the classroom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 14, 2014

    I have been against having laptops in the classroom since I worked at a 1:1 school years ago. I was so excited to see that some research has been done on this topic and that it supports my gut feelings.

    I have had students that claimed they NEEDED a laptop for note-taking. I have always suggested they use their pencils instead. I dread the day that I have a student with a 504 stating that they need both a laptop for notes and seating up front. The clicking would be way too distracting for me.

    Here is an article I just read:

    http://empathyeducates.org/the-case-for-banning-laptops-in-the-classroom/
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Jun 14, 2014

    I actually would love laptops in my classroom because I teach students on the other end of the spectrum. Very few, if any, of my students have personal laptops. The majority do not have computers and/or internet at home. Yes, the majority have cell phones, but they have no concept of the breadth of the internet, outside of Twitter and Instagram.

    I'd love the chance to get them actually working and learning that computers can do more than Facebook and the Microsoft Office programs that they learn in computer class.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 14, 2014

    I just found out today that my old district is going 1:1 for 3-12 next year. Some are iPads though, not laptops.
    I'm actually quite jealous.

    I can see the other side, too.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jun 14, 2014

     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Of course students are worth extra work.

    The thing is, I'm not convinced that laptops in classes ARE a valuable teaching tool. Especially for note-taking, which is where my personal distraction would come from. Tapping on the keyboard while I'm lecturing.

    And this article supports that idea.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 14, 2014

    I think it's a poor decision for an educator to only look at research that supports his or her opinion on a topic.

    That being said, a student shouldn't just have a laptop out for the sake of having a laptop out. I work at a 1:1 school and it's my 5th and 6th graders who mainly use them every day (maybe 4th will start soon too). They have to check my welcome slide when they come in to see if they need their laptops that day- that means there's an activity that we're doing on the laptop (using a web-site, writing a paper, etc). If it's not needed, they're not allowed to have it opened.

    I know technology can be a distraction to students (to ANY person), but there's so much a teacher can do on a piece of technology that helps to enhance a child's learning.

    And some students just work better on a laptop too. I was teaching one boy for 4 years now- from 3rd to 6th - and I always thought he had really poor writing skills. When he entered 5th grade, he started using a laptop and his writing automatically went up. What I found out was that holding a pencil was painful for him (a problem that should have been resolved but the parents didn't care to get therapy for him) and he would get frustrated during the editing process with how sloppy his work was getting (while with the computer he could more easily edit his work). I'm thankful that technology helped my student to really shine finally :)
     
  8. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2014

    My school has been 1:1 for 8 years, and I love it. It completely changed the way I teach, and I certainly have different challenges as the facilitator in the room, but overall, my lessons are much more engaging and relevant than they were pre-computers.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Taking notes for me is much easier on a laptop. I can type faster than I write. It also allows me flexibility in organizing my notes. The main benefit I see for my students is being able to read what they type. That's excellent for kids with poor handwriting.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Wouldn't it be better (outside of a medical disability) to simply give students more opportunities to improve their writing? Rather than providing them with a crutch?

    I have a couple of students that have bad handwriting. For a number of reasons we require that students handwrite a couple of assignments. It is amazing how much better their handwriting is when they concentrate and really try. It takes more time but all skills take more time until they are mastered.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My typing speed is approximately 4x faster than my handwriting speed. Saying that my note-taking is better using a keyboard than a pencil and paper is an understatement on par with saying that the Cubs have had a little bad luck.

    Most of the issues raised in that article would be fixed by occasionally moving around the room.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I think note taking is not a time to push those skills. My class is not heavy on notes, but for those that are, I can't imagine going slowly enough to give them time to focus on their handwriting. There's only so much time in a class.

    I find it much more beneficial for them to practice handwriting on things like homework where they can take as long as they need. Short in class work also can be beneficial. To be fair though even when they really concentrate and work hard, I've seen many with handwriting that is still a struggle to read.

    I also see much more of a need for computer skills. I would rather have my students be able to type well. Right now too many still use a hunt and peck method.
     
  13. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2014

    This. This. This.
    (Except we are in year 7 of 1:1).
     
  14. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm growing extremely weary of insults and bad behavior. Insulting the moderators, who volunteer to do this, spending our free time attempting to keep this forum pleasant, doesn't win anybody any points. If you don't like the mods here, go find another forum. My patience is gone. Consider yourselves warned.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Well said, BioAngel, from first point to last thanksgiving.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Two of my students produce, quite literally, next to nothing, when asked to write by hand. Writing is laborious and something gets "lost" between their brains and the end of their pencil. This term, one has done all of his "long" writing for me on his phone--essay, story, summaries of what he has read--he's done more writing for me, independently, the past 4 months than he has done in the previous year and a half. The other has begun to use speech-to-text software fairly frequently--either on his phone, iPad or on the computer. He finds a (reasonably) quiet spot in the classroom. I'll gladly trade any distraction they may cause (which is minimal) for the output.
     

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