Laptops in class

A few days ago I wrote about employing technology in classrooms and how we need to make sure that it’s appropriate technology and not being used just because we can.  I felt at the time that it probably wasn’t a good idea for students to have their own machines in front of them because of the many distractions present online.

Today I came across an article that discusses the scenario (i.e. laptops in classrooms) from both perspectives, and offers some insight into the issue.  I’m intrigued at the possibility that laptops and internet connectivity may bring some advantage to the classroom.

The one point mentioned in the article that resonates strongly with me is the use of the word “engagement”.  I’ve often felt that students in my classes aren’t actively engaged with the content and recently I’ve started to think about options in terms of encouraging that process.  The idea that managing the expectations of both staff and students is also a powerful factor that’s often left to chance.

I guess it comes back to the point I made in the first article.  It’s not enough to throw technology at learning / teaching and expect it to solve the problem (if there’s even a problem to solve?).  The use of appropriate technology needs to be integrated into the curriculum if it’s to make any positive impact.

Here’s the link to the article:
http://bwatwood.edublogs.org/2008/11/16/students-and-laptops-in-the-classroom/

And to a site related to discussions about the use of laptops in classrooms:
http://cte-laptop.wetpaint.com/?t=anon