Three major obstacles can stop laptop/tablet rollout dead in its tracks:
- Lack of Vision
- Resistance to Change
- Teacher Apathy
Howard Levin suggests, “The person ‘at the top’ wields tremendous influence over his/her school, but relatively few have fully investigated what laptops mean beyond ‘tech tools.” Ensuring that all decision-makers truly understand and are committed to a 1 to 1 initiative is key. Next, schools must inspire and equip faculty so that they too are ready and willing to make the leap to laptops.
Karen Douse recommends:
- Offer them professional development on how to teach in a laptop class and not just software package training.
- Prepare them for classroom management issues that are different from a regular classroom.
- Allow them to collaborate and share challenges as well as successes.
- To really benefit from this expertise, sometimes virtual contact is not enough. Meeting with experienced laptop/tablet leaders at an upcoming AALF Leadership Summit, the Laptop Institute, or other similar events means there’s less room for a message’s meaning to be misconstrued in email or on a discussion board. In addition, having folks in the same room at the same time paves the way for meaningful, substantive discussions.
Dougherty notes, “Face to face provides for more interactive dialogue and team building.” After that initial meeting at a conference, however, there’s plenty of room for online extensions of discussions and collaboration. Moreover, as the new 1 to 1 initiative begins, new questions emerge and educators can then touch base online and receive prompt suggestions and advice. It’s not just contact with veteran programs that’s beneficial; working with fellow educators new to 1 to 1 means that one doesn’t need to know every question to ask. Sometimes it’s simply nice to sit back and listen to others as they share their concerns.
Websites about one-to-one laptop program initiativesEdit
Lighting of Laptop ClassroomsEdit
I haven't seen any research on this, but I have been tech coordinator in two schools with laptop programs. What seems to be most effective in most classrooms is to have a combination of natural and institutional lighting. I just finished teaching an English class in a room with exterior windows and a ceiling-mounted projector. While the projector was on, I turned off all classroom lights but left the shades open. When the projector was muted, I turned on half of the lights (we have every-other-bulb florescent lights so it just reduces the intensity of the lighting). The kids like it because there's little if any glare and they still get natural light. The class is a 90 minute block; we typically use the laptops for 30 minutes each block, depending upon the activity. I've also taught kids how to adjust the brightness on their laptops and to move the screen to reduce glare/eye-strain. I've done this with both Mac and PC laptops. Kids also develop their own strategies once they are given some general ergonomic pointers. In fact, you may want to do a brainstorming session with kids and/or faculty to make a list of effective strategies.