My year 7 has had laptops now for a few weeks. The class received 12 laptops, which is a costly investment. A colleague once wisely said if that much money was spent you should be able to walk into a classroom/school and notice a difference. You should be able to visibly see that investment’s impact on student learning. So I asked myself exactly that question – Is the learning different in my classroom now? Is the learning better in my classroom now?
I’d like to say yes, and here’s my evidence:
-Students now use their laptops in small groups to demonstrate their understanding, often with higher order thinking skills. Today we explored the properties of magnets. Instead of doing the prac activity from the textbook and writing a prac report, students made a photo story to explain to other year 7s the magnetic properties they have discovered. This took 2 hours. Minimal editing was involved as I wanted the students to focus on the explanation of science, not on fancy video transitions.
-Laptops are used to differentiate learning. Year 7s have been learning about area of composite shapes and expressing area and perimeter through algebraic expressions. Students had to self assess whether they needed more practice in composite shapes or were ready to move onto algebra. Students who selected to refine their skills in composite shapes worked on a self-marking quiz on the laptops while the rest had small group instruction on algebra.
These are just 2 activities where laptops have enhanced learning. When you walk into my classroom, you can see, hear and feel those thousands of dollars making an impact.
Are your thousands of dollars of investments visibly making a difference?
Hi Alice, I really like this post. It’s great to read about the visible evidence of learning happening in your classroom. It’s something we all need to think about – are the resources we spend $$$ on making a visible impact on student learning, and if not, why not? Thanks for the inspiration.
This afternoon my 1/2 class made grass heads as part of a science/maths experiment. While I called students one at a time to make their grass head, a group were working with online art programs to create a visual prediction of what their grass head might look like when it groups. Another group were using iPod touches to record the steps required to create a grass head and a third group were using the IWB to create the recording sheet for the growth of our grass. Yes, I can see the thousands of dollars at work – the thing that I’m not as impressed with is that I have had to spend a lot of money in order to put the technology into my classroom. I can see the value in it, I just wish the government would too and start to focus more funds this way!!
The learning in your classroom sounds amazing. The way you’re using technology, especially the IWB, is a way that maximizes the benefit of technology. Like you said, you can walk into your classroom and see, hear and feel the technology has made a difference 🙂
Your classroom sounds like a fantastic place for students. Having devices available for authentic use as needed is so much more powerful that computer labs. It’s great to see the focus on learning rather than the technology.