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Collection: Laptops

Purple arrow (1137 bytes)How Can Laptops Help Teachers Teach?

REFERENCE: Bank Street College of Education. (1993, May). Project PULSE: Laptop computers for students and teachers. News from the Center for Children and Technology and the Center for Technology in Education, p.1-6. The following is excerpted with permission of the authors.

We found that the laptops change classroom circumstances, making it easier for teachers to engage students in substantive, collaborative, project-based work. Laptops also made planning and group communication easier for the teachers we observed.

Laptops are portable. If a class is collecting data on weather conditions in a local park, how does that data get from the park to a data analysis program? Probably, someone writes it down and re-keys it into a computer at some other time in some other part of the school. With laptops, student research can happen anywhere in the field, at home, in the library and data analysis, notetaking, or journal writing can get done on the spot, preserving first impressions and providing immediate feedback.

Classroom dynamics changed when each student had their own laptop every day. Computer based work - such as writing and revising, printing, and sharing or collecting data became one of many activities happening in the classroom. Laptops also fit smoothly into group work for example, students collaborating on a written piece or sharing data can pass one or several computers among themselves, contributing to multiple aspects of a project rather than working on isolated units.

Teachers become more able to engage students in inquiry-oriented, project-based learning. The Project PULSE science teacher tried new kinds of projects with her students they conducted original research and authentic scientific experiments. Continuous access, for both teachers and students, to computer-based tools like word processors and data analysis programs facilitates this kind of long-term, in-depth teaching and learning.

Local telecommunications, always accessible from home and from school, provided an important mode of communications for the teachers participating in this project. They were able to build friendships, coordinate logistics, brainstorm new projects and reflect on their work by telecommunicating with each other.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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