I’m sitting in the airport in Memphis, and thrilled to find six power outlets in this one gate. This is a real rarity, as people want to get a little more word done before they get on the plane, hopping to have a full battery charge. The Laptop institute was a real treat and my final roundtable session was most instructive. The issues that were discussed were pretty exclusively limited to laptop and tablet concerns, so I learned a lot. I also recorded the entire discussion, so it may appear as one of my future podcasts.
There seemed to be much interest in tablet PCs for a variety of reasons. One interesting comment that was made referred to the fact that laptops, raised on the desk, cause a sense of separation between the teacher and the student. I suspect that this not a trivial issue, because I have heard to concern not only from teachers, but also from business people who object to the separation. With tablet PCs we’re putting work back on the desk, instead of against a wall. At any rate, there seemed to be two fairly distinct schools of thought here.
Finally, I had a conversation on the bus this morning with two educators who teach in New Brunswick, Canada. Their school was one of three English schools in that that province and three French-speaking schools that have been equipped for 1:1 teaching and learning. They told me that although the final report for the pilot is not due until August, the province has decided to begin phasing in laptops based on preliminary findings. I think that giving students and teachers ubiquitous access to contemporary information technology will happen. It’s a matter of when, not if. The sooner the better.
Here is a link to the New Brunswick press release, sent to me later by Jeff Whipple.
“2,900 Students to have Notebook Computer in Fall 2006.” Communications New Brunswick. 22 Jun 2006. 18 Jul 2006 <http://www1.gnb.ca/cnb/multimedia/display-e.asp?id=682&num=1>.