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K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Tony

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Thanks for your perspective, Tony. There are probably a number of ways, as you describe, to ameliorate the issue of furniture and room layout when using computers. I actually am not a proponent of desktops in classrooms, but if there were a need for a powerful desktop in a lab setting, I love the idea of being able to remove the computer peripherals from the equation when necessary.

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Ivana

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I agree, Ivana, that there is a huge issue with inequity in schools. However, I wouldn't call it "unethical" to expect all classrooms to have access. I would consider it "unethical" that all classrooms don't have access. The truly unethical part of this problem is that the existing funding gap in schools is only growing larger and larger.

I commend all of the educators I have met and know who find ways to be innovative and use technology in unique and creative ways despite their lack of access.

We also need to move beyond the concept that spending $4000 on an interactive whiteboard is a smart investment when that same money could buy 10 mobile devices/netbooks for a classroom.

Junior Business Education Major in College

Even though there are cons to

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Even though there are cons to Computer Labs in schools, I believe they are a necessity. Ideally, schools would have a 1:1 technology initiative where students would be able to carry a laptop computer with them to each class. If this is not possible, schools may look into a mobile lab, where there are multiple laptops on a cart. But, if the only technology available to a school is a computer lab, flexibility must be required on the teacher's part because integrating technology into any classroom is important.

Primary French teacher from Ontario Canada (Kitchener)

“This is a great blog, and I

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“This is a great blog, and I commend you on your years in the field as a technology teacher, constantly searching for new ways to accommodate your lessons and the space you have for the benefit of your students. My comment will soley be around one of your ‘cons’ related to removing technology from the classroom. “When students have to travel to the computer lab, it means that technology is not truly integrated into the curriculum.” Although I understand why this is in the cons section, I don’t agree with the fact that technology is not ‘truly’ integrated into the curriculum unless you have direct access to computers at all times. Teachers must face the realities of the school culture and adapt to work with what they have. This does not mean we cannot be creative and still integreate technology as do teachers that have all the necessary tools right at their fingertips. Having said that, I am still trying to remember if I have ever been in a classroom where every teacher has all the necessary tools and gagets to ‘trully’ integrate technology and make it a part of the students’ everyday lives. Most classes I’ve had a chance to see (and I’ve seen quite a few having been supply teaching for a few years) have one, or two computers at most. Some if they’re really advanced have a smartboard and digital projector as well. It is unethical to assume that every school will be able to afford to place a computer or other digital tools in every classroom. There are many communities, where parent council donate a lot of money for new Ipads and other gagdets, where other schools might focus on providing their students with breakfast programs every morning. It would be ideal to see every classroom becoem equipped with all these great tools, but we must be realistic, and recognize that society does not work that way, and as teacher I will work twice as hard to be creative and resourceful and find ways of integrating technology despite the lack of necessary tools.”

Teacher, Computer Programmer / Engineer, and Educational Technologist

8 Years Teaching Computers in a Lab

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+2

And I agree with much of what is said here.

I have acknowledged, time and again, that it is really a better paradigm to have technology readily available within the classroom and integrated into all of the learning. It's a tool -- much like pencils, or paper. We integrate those into the classroom, so there's no reason not to update it with the digital equivalent.

I have also acknowledged that, in such a utopian paradigm, my job should theoretically not even exist. However, in reality I (and my lab) are needed because the vast majority of teachers do not have the technological know-how and computer literacy to use them in their classes. Thus, students can come to me and get some integral techno-skills... or they can not receive them at all.

My hope is that the days of labs and specialized "computer teachers" (aside from programming and other highly-technical, vocational skills) will soon be numbered, and simply being a "classroom teacher" will automatically mean you are also a "technology teacher"

Member of a company that designs technology furniture for education

There are solutions to the cons...

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Great points. As someone who works for a manufacturer of technology furniture for educational uses, it’s great to see this view from the inside.
There is probably no one good answer to the cons you put up, but one solution may be a “self-storing” computer desk. These are desks that have storage capabilities for the computer and peripherals – monitor, mouse, and keyboard – taking them out of the way when not needed. This does a couple of things for an institution. By using the self-storing desk, a room is now multi-functional and can be used as both a computer lab and a lecture classroom. This puts the students in the classroom and when needed, in the computer lab.
Room layout is often a big challenge whether in a computer lab or in normal classroom settings. However, there are solutions for this, too. Collaboration tables with single large displays can be used with a single computer connected, or multiple computers or mobile devices. Alternatively, there are also collaboration tables with the same type of self-storing capabilities so the table can be used as a collaborative table with and without a computer.
So, there are solutions to your cons, but not all will be appropriate in every situation.

co-founder of feynlabs

How will next generation computing labs in schools look like?

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partly inspired by this article and our work (see my other blogs on edutopia) - I wrote this blog
i.e. its a gedankenexperiment of how such a lab could look like ..
http://www.opengardensblog.futuretext.com/archives/2013/01/next-generati...

technology coordinator, e-learning specialist

As a technology educator, who

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As a technology educator, who taught in a designated computer lab for eight years, I have one more comment to add. A computer lab is a great place for students to integrate technology in their learning when the classroom teacher is unable to present this skill. All too often, the classroom teacher does not have the expertise or knowledge of 21st century learning tools. It is then the technology teacher/coordinator/specialist who should impart this knowledge and opportunities for the students and the classroom teachers.

TeacherGraph

I agree. The lack of access

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I agree. The lack of access to technology can be an issue in many classrooms. At this point, computers/laptops are becoming more affordable. If schools are open to change, we'll start seeing more technology integrated into the classrooms over the next few years.

Sincerely,
Tony
http://teachergraph.com

Big time PROS and Cons!

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I definetly Agree that teaching students in the Computer Lab can have may Pros and Cons. The number 1 problem i believe is getting the students attention and if so do they understand clear instructions? I also agree with the effect of the way MOST computer labs are layed out! Usually computer desks are up against the wall and teaching in a computer lab your pretty much on your own for each individual student. Group work is indeed hard! However, i guess when you look at it, you could monitor students more on a personal level. Confidentiality or privacy of student work would be hard . But on the other hand i agree with Pros and Cons of a computer lab..As technology is thus moving on, most students have their own access to their work through their own gadgets, i phones or laptops.

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