Category Archive1:1 Computing
I figure it’s just a matter of time before one of my kids gives me this excuse…
The last thing we want to do is put a program in place that causes someone to lose significant amounts of work. The second to last thing is to give kids yet another excuse when they don’t turn in work.
So why not just put [automated network backup] on the students’ Tablets and give them the same level of protection that [faculty] always have? Well, one factor is cost, though this could be built into the program or managed in any of several different ways. A bigger issue, I think, is what we are teaching the students. Or, more precisely, what we are not teaching them.
I have not, however, heard anything of a data backup plan from the IT people at my school.
One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is the project to bring very low cost laptops for children (likely elementary-age) in developing nations. According to Engadget (which has lots more info on the OLPC), this may eventually morph into low-cost laptops for children in developed nations.
Looking at the current hardware specs, this machine is a convertible tablet with touch screen (passive digitizer). The open-source Linux-based OS is apparently now available for download in live-CD form.
From the realm of I-was-too-sick-to-remember-to-post-this-morning…
Many cities’ municipal WiFi networks have been plagued with teething problems that vendors and local governments are trying to work out. While the public-private model most of these networks use means that these issues should get resolved, it’s been clear for a while that muni WiFi isn’t a magic bullet that suddenly makes a city “high-tech” or solves all sorts of problems.
This reminded me of the many conversations floating around unanswered at school about the impact on our students of the long-awaited free WiFi from the city. We currently impose a network blackout for several hours in the overnight to try to keep students from staying up all night every night online (whether or not this works is another issue), but it would be completely futile if all our students had WiFi-capable machines and free WiFi from the city.
Ted Beck, Aurora’s chief technology officer, gets about 30 calls a day from residents wondering when free wireless Internet will be available in their neighborhood.
He wishes he could give them better news, but the estimate is usually in terms of months rather than days. A number of factors have slowed the deployment of the network, although it continues to grow.
Three classes using Tablet PCs in a 1:1 computing environment with DyKnow Vision and there is some transformation in and active engagement with the curriculum.
On Monday in class I used a mostly blank DyKnow notebook and an open Adobe pdf file of my lecture notes. Using the screen grab of Adobe Professional 8 I copied as image page after page of equations as I displayed them in DyKnow Vision to all the students. I then talked about them and expanded on the notes with the pen. Students seemed to follow the presentation and for the first day I think the technology was pressed a bit into the background. Still one student kept losing connection (a wireless issue?) and I did not notice many students taking many digital notes on the screen. I will have to follow up and make sure that they are not only taking notes, but saving the notebooks and going back and referring to them as needed.
I was able to use the minute paper (inside DyKnow) at the end to check whether they felt like they were on track and after reading and commenting I returned all the student submitted panels. I think they truly followed the presentation based on their comments. What was remarkable is all 8 students wrote about only the econometrics and not a word about the technology. Have they assimilated DyKnow this fast? Or at least until the next issue. They seemed to remain engaged, following the presentation on the screen and asking plenty of questions about the econometrics.
We used the polling feature to great advantage. DyKnow Vision allows for the anonymous polling (exactly like clickers) within the software. I pick a polling screen, decide what the possible answers are (A-E, T/F, Yes/No, etc.) and press request answers. In seconds all the students have answered and I can display the results.
Because it was so easy and anonymous to vote I asked again whether their strength of preference to change the group was very high, that is vote yes if you REALLY want or need the groups to be changed. This time the votes showed 8 NO votes. Within a minute I know that while 3 of the 8 wanted to change groups, no one had a strong preference and all in a way to allow total anonymity of the students.
For some reason one student lost wireless connectivity and this created a bit of hassle towards the end of the class, but the most amazing thing of the day was the students wouldn’t leave. One was getting up and I said at least ‘he; was leaving and he said if h didn’t have another class he wouldn’t. So whether it is the Tablet, DyKnow or the task at hand, the word for today is engagement.
1:1 Computing Isaac on 29 Mar 2007
CDW-G, the government/education arm of CDW (located in the northern suburbs of Chicago; one of my preferred sources of computing equipment and the source of my X41 tablet), has a white paper on 1:1 computing (PDF) on their web site.
This paper profiles how 1:1 computing, using notebooks and Tablets on mobile wireless carts or individually assigning mobile PCs to students, helps improve student learning. Today’s students come to the classroom comfortable with technology. Therefore, they are good candidates to benefit from Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige’s vision of “digital age educational opportunities to match the expectations of digital-age students.”
Ocoee Middle School was the first public school in the nation to put Tablet PCs in the hands of students. During the 2002-2003 school year, we had a class set of Tablet PCs that the students on a seventh-grade team used every day in either math or reading. This was very successful. This year, we were involved in a national pilot with Microsoft, HP, and Holt, Rinehart and Winston. This pilot provided a Tablet PC for every student and teacher on one seventh-grade team. The 150 students on this team did not use textbooks. All of their learning resources were online. We have partnered with Florida State University to do some preliminary research on the impact on teaching and learning. The project has been exciting for students, teachers and parents.
(as seen in The Tablet PC Education Blog)
… I asked how many [students] expressed at the end of the survey that they wanted to have a Tablet PC for their own use in this class. Over half the hands went up immediately. Shortly after that we passed out the contractual loaner agreement for their signature and gave them exclusive use of a new Gateway M285-E Convertible Tablet PC for the remaining weeks of the term.
From this point forward the students will be able to use their Tablets in class as I use DyKnow Vision to complete the lectures and lead the discussion this term.
I want to know three things from this trial. (1) Does access to digital pen technology and supportive software enhance the students perception of learning. (2) Does this enhancement depend on the digital ink, or might laptops do just as well, and (3) should we continue offering Tablet PCs to students in class. In the last case, is it sufficient to have a cart of Tablet PCs to borrow during class or do the students have to have ownership of their Tablets?
I am particularly intrigued because he has this list of specific questions he wants to answer with this pilot, because he does not seem to be the type that always jumps on the latest tech bandwagon, and because of his earlier published works on technology use in teaching.
Pen and paper were scarce in Jen Donnalley’s classroom Friday at Greenwich Country Day School. The Upper School math teacher saw little need for the materials, even as she wrote down an algebraic equation and asked her eighth graders to solve for “X.”
(I can’t really let it go unmentioned that they probably should have said “solve for x” instead of “X”, though.) It seems that Greenwich Country Day School has been doing the one-to-one computing thing for maybe two years now and this article was looking in particular at their use of DyKnow in the math classroom.
I’ve been impressed with DyKnow’s software since I first heard about it. It sounds like the collaborative capabilities for the classroom are almost too good to be true. Used in combination with a Tablet PC it sounds like a real winner.
Of course, being the curmudgeon that I am, I couldn’t pass up this quote at the end of the original Greenwich Time article:
Headmaster Adam Rohdie said he has been impressed with how the technology has helped, although he qualifies his enthusiasm by saying it is the teacher, not the tool, that really counts.
“There’s no substitute for great teaching. This is another tool to put in the hands of great teachers,” he said. “It’s not technology for technology’s sake.”
The Rogersville Review in Hawkins County, TN reported that the school there is sending back a large number of Gateway Tablet PCs:
City school board members voted Tuesday to return the laptop computers, which have not yet been distributed to students, and terminate the lease agreement because of the company’s inability to provide maintenance as specified in the contract.
It’s good to see that at least some people take quality of service seriously. The last time I dealt with Gateway was way back in 1995, right when they first became big and couldn’t handle the increased volume of production, much less the increased customer service load. I have been hearing good things about their tablets, though.