laptops in the classroom

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

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    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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    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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    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 Aficionado

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  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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    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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    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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    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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    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.
     
  17. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    To me the simple fact is that the kids in our classrooms will go into a world as adults that expects and requires them to be computer literate. I think we have a responsibility to try and help them get there.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm in favor of having laptops for students for use in certain projects. i.e. We use them for physics simulations, to create powerpoint projects, or to do research. But we break them out probably 3% of the entire school year. The rest of the year they remain locked up. Are they useful to have? Absolutely. But I agree, doing the majority of our work on them would have an adverse effect.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think a better way to do this would be to have mandatory typing and technology classes, rather than trying to shove technology into subjects where the pacing is already packed as is.

    Besides, once they learn the basics in the tech classes, the subject teachers would just have to explain the assignment and they should know how to complete them without the teacher having to explain and provide a full lesson on how to use a particular technology.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I teach third graders, and I find it to be overall quicker to just have some assignments done on the computer, even WITH the tech explanations involved. I haven't fully delved into Google Apps yet, but I can tell it is going to make my life much easier when it comes to any type of writing assignment.
     
  21. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    I completely agree with this. I graduated high school in 2003 (and feel like people around my age were amongst those "growing up" while technology was "growing up", if that makes sense. Anyway, my high school had a mandatory typing course that everyone had to pass in order to graduate. At the time, it felt like torture. I remember typing "ju ju ju ju ju" and "fr fr fr fr fr" in our tiny little computer lab. HOWEVER, it's definitely one of the most useful classes that I ever took.

    As for computers to take notes.... I wish I had been given that option in high school. My notes were always such a mess! Also, I feel like that is the way the world is headed, whether we like it or not.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It's rather funny, because I remember being required to take typing classes in elementary and middle school, and it seems to not be the case anymore. Students are lucky if they start typing by High School. That's way too late! We require typed essays in many of our classes in Middle School and most teachers do some type of powerpoint projects or website design projects and these are impossible for students who only know how to search and peck.
     
  23. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    In a perfect world, I agree, but small districts, where budgets are stretched paper thin, there is no money for a tech teacher. It's either integrated into subjects or it is ignored.



     
  24. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Electronic devices are a tool. Like any tool, they are only truly useful if there is a foundation of basic skills established before using them. They have their place, but over reliance and excessive use is detrimental.

    As for note-taking, orthographically creating words on paper is a deeper cognitive and kinesthetic activity than typing, and reinforces memory.

    Typing is just pushing buttons. You can train a parakeet to do that.
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I feel like the difference in retention between the two is rather negligible. However hand-writing is perhaps an even more important skill than typing (though with the evolution of technology in society lately, we will see).

    I will say that I tried to hand-write everything in college and did not get far. Professors talk far too fast! I realized that I was able to get down a lot more notes and review more when I typed instead.

    Though this would only help a student if he or she had established typing skills and the self-control to stay focused on the lecture.
     
  26. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I guess one of the reasons that I've felt it's been so successful in my classroom is that I rarely, if ever, lecture while they take notes. That's simply not how my class is structured and it's certainly not the primary purpose of having laptops. My students create with their computers... They research, they question, they challenge, they collaborate... all in ways I could not do in a setting without the technology. I'm not saying those things don't happen when computers aren't in the room, I'm just saying my students do it differently and in ways that I think much more closely match what they'll see in the adult world, and in ways they are more comfortable with because they've been raised around it.
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I graduated in '06 and took a mandatory semester of typing in middle school. It was absolutely one of the most valuable classes I had. I hated it at the time too, but I can't imagine making it through high school having to use the "hunt and peck" method.
     
  28. Rox

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    I'm with you here. If a teacher is just lecturing, then students will not be getting as much from just taking notes. Some teachers have been able to adjust their teaching style to take advantage of the opportunities that technology provides, such as the ability to collaborate, create, and become autodidactics.
     
  29. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I think the problem is that a lot of kids just don't know how to take notes. Not everything the teacher/professor says needs to be written down and not everything that is in the media presentation needs to be written down.

    Taking notes is a skill. And it's a skill that a lot of students don't have.
     
  30. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Exactly! I should mention that it was a freshman class at my high school. I might be wrong, but it seems like these sort of classes are becoming less common, which I really don't understand. I think they should be taught in elementary schools everywhere.
     
  31. PinkCupcake

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    Technology like any other resource in your classroom should have clear expectations and rules. It's important to model what the technology can be used for in class. Why not let students harness the power of having a laptop in class?
     
  32. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    My situation is probably different, since I now teach at the college level, but I encourage the use of smartphones, iPads, laptops, and any/every other electronic device in existence. It's not just notetaking, which I personally prefer to do with my hands and a pen but to each his/her own - it's the searching for information, during class and, yes, during tests. I set my tests up so literal answers can't be found, but clues can be. I love helping my students discover that a smartphone is good for way more than texting and playing games and storing music. That's a powerful little computer they're holding in one hand and I want them to use it as such. As for being distracted by the clickety of a mouse. . . . there are silent ones out there. And fingerpads. Then again, I wasn't aware that a classroom was to be set up for the convenience of the teacher; I thought it was to be set up for the convenience and best interest of the students. I don't mind the clicks. They sound like learning to me.
     
  33. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Haven't read the article…. My students have laptops. Some struggle with using them productively but at my school they either learn it or they don't succeed. We do try and monitor it but we cannot see what every student is doing all the time. We are a magnet school and many of the students that just don't get it end up leaving.
     
  34. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I teach note-taking starting in 3rd grade, but it's the paper and pencil type of note-taking. As for typing, normally we're still teaching children how to hold a pencil or pencil correctly up until 4th grade about. My school does have students start working on typing during the summer before 5th grade (since they have their own laptop in school), but it is done at home. With the demands of what and how much we have to teach, the skill of typing isn't a high priority among teachers or parents.

    (Plus there's an issue with what kind of technology tools kids are growing up with now. Many of my students struggle to learn how to type because they use tablets and you don't use the same method of typing on those)
     
  35. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I started taking computer classes in first grade (1995). It was one of our specials. We learned typing through Mavis Beacon. I hated it with a passion, but I'm so happy I learned it now!

    My cousin in 5th grade is expected to type reports on her own at home. Not sure if she's ever learned typing though.
     
  36. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    I would be very curious to see if there is any research on the difference between handwritten notes on paper with a pencil, and handwritten notes on an iPad with a stylus.
     
  37. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I would be there wouldn't be much difference at all. In terms of student learning.
     

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