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.