Mr Barrett I have got glue on my laptop…

Although I may have led you to think that everything in the image is stuck to the laptop, I have to disappoint you! However I really like this image of my classroom because of just that sort of possibility. I want a learning environment for my class that blends the best tools for what we are doing – a blended tools approach. Whether that be a laptop and access to an online application, a headphone mic set or a gluestick. This is a natural picture of my classroom, it is not what you would see everyday, but the children think of the technology as just another tool. Long may the risk of glue on the laptops continue!

What does this image say to you? What sort of challenges do we face as educators in creating an environment that blends the best technology tools for learning and what is considered more traditional?

18th July – I have decided to change the image to a Voicethread, after I posted the image I realised it would be a much more effective way for people to comment on the image – please take a look and add you comments in which ever form you wish.


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  2. Although I still teach 3 mornings a week, everything is pretty much focused on “projects”. The one thing I miss about having a class full time is that ability to create an environment for learning. The picture chimes with me – I caught myself thinking the other day, “what gadgets and gizmos would I have in my classroom if I went back full time.” I love the idea of having technology “on tap” where children could decide for themselves to use it if they wanted. I was looking at online whiteboards the other day and actually got excited at how easy it would be for children to collaborate using this sort of resource for planning their ideas out on a laptop and saving it for later – the death of sugar paper?

    It almost makes me want to get back in the classroom fulltime. But then again, there’s SATs, planning, assessments, target setting….

  3. I love the idea of ‘blending’ technology. I’ve never heard that term used. I am always explaining to teachers that technology isn’t suppose to be something ADDITIONAL that they are doing, but something that may enhance what they are doing are even something that can replace what they are doing in a more exciting,student-friendly way. Everyone thinks that all this new stuff is just MORE to do. I’m trying to get people to understand to use it better. Good for you, Tom.

  4. well for one, a laptop is a lot less weight than the books that kids at my school are forced to lug about – just in case they are needed by their ‘just in case’ content spouting autocrats. The issue I think is not so much the ‘device’ but the cost of connectivity – running hundreds of devices over wifi means having heavy hitting ‘smart’ wifi AP controllers. So in effect if you run 100 laptops at $10,000, then you have to add another $5000 in APs and Controllers – assuming you have the bandwidth to support them. I’d love to see iTouch, DS, PSP in every kids backpack, and in fact on a good day, we get over 100 such hitting our network – we just can’t afford to cover the whole campus and every classroom.

    Is an N95 a phone or a networked device? PSPs are bullet proof and kids can use the keypad to write txt, faster than they can type. In fact – who’s still teaching keyboard skills and touch typing – seems we assume they can all type – they can’t but they sure a hell can text.

    Most wireless controllers support ad-hock connections these days. So if its behind your proxy server, then the surfing is still policed.

    But then the calculator was cited as an evil too not too long ago. With PCs out there at under $500 then they are if anything cheaper than smart phones. If Apple pulled it head in and did iTouch at Edu Prices, say $199 a pop, then they’d own the world. Or if you could actually get an iPhone for $199 (this years biggest scam), on wifi, then we’d use those. But they won’t work without a Sim, and they won’t sell you one for that.

    But we’re getting closer! – bring it on.

  5. I think it’s great. They are part of our classroom tools. I work with teachers who are apprehensive about letting kids use digital cameras let alone leaving laptops lying around. My 7 and 8 year olds took the digital camera home and carried my laptop everywhere (the only one we had in the class) and used it anywhere. This is how it should be. How long will it take to convince other teachers and management?

  6. This says to me tools. Ordinary tools. Stuff to make stuff with. A broad and basic teacher’s and learner’s toolkit. A range to choose from. Rather than the laptop, the digital, electronic kit being something separate, imbued with risk, requiring strict access and disconnected from the classroom, this image communicates the idea of choice and plenty rather than restriction and scarcity, of an equality across the media choices. This is an image of a desired ordinariness.

  7. Hey there,
    These classrooms we are talking about will become the norm, good on you for being an agent of change!

    I think that we will have dramas in our classrooms s we make the transition to 21st century classrooms, it’s inevitable. The trick is to train children to use them appropriately by playing and exploring using the equipment.

    Remember most children (over 95% at my current school) have access to computers at home, (this is actually more than the teachers, relatively speaking), so they will already have awareness and feel comfortable with these tools.

    The 5-6 year olds in my class have been using laptops, an IWB and desktops to investigate, play and create. There are the odd occasions when they get excited and misuse the equipment, but that becomes a learning experience and prevents it from happening again (well in most cases, but that’s life).


  8. It reminds me of what I saw at IST (International School of Toulouse) back in 2002/3. They’re funded by Airbus and by the time I visited had a few years’ experience of students with laptops.

    Although I didn’t actually see the students in action (I was there for a conference), I saw pictures and videos, and evidence around the place of how it transformed their world.

    This blended approach is exactly what I want to achieve in my school. We’ve now got a room with a 3D projector and class set of laptops in, but it’s still the case that you have to physically move the students to the ICT, rather than the other way around.

    Keep up the good work, Tom, and share with us what you acheive! 😀

  9. That image increasingly resonates with my experience in some classes at school.
    At the start of the year it would have been far from possible as the only people with laptops were the teachers (and not all of them!) but we have since welcomed two laptop trolleys of 15 laptops each in KS2. Although not everyone is using them, and the majority of use is for research, as we reach the end of term (Hurrah!) it’s much more normal for the kids to use them. they’re accustomed to the process of getting them out / putting them away, and scenes like the above are becoming more commonplace as staff become less ‘precious’ about them getting damaged. I’m not saying that we’re not being careful of them, but the almost hysterical worrying at the start of the year has dissapated as people become more relaxed about their use.
    Hopefully next year, the headphones and microphones will be a familiar sight too – once we gets some to replace the ones that mysteriously vanished!
    Lisa x

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