I have just been reading a blog post about Computer Labs (or suites as we call them here in the U.K.). (“Close The Computer Lab“). It made a very good argument for abolishing them as they were no longer appropriate for the modern classroom.
The author made a plea for computers to be set in classrooms so that students could have greater access to them throughout the school week.
I would argue that it is not computers that the students need in their classroom but the use of mobile technology. As I write this post sitting to the left of me on my kitchen table is my LG gc900 “Viewty” Mobile phone.
I often call this phone “the poorman’s iPhone” because it has a limited number of Apps. However it does have a number of useful features. It has a brilliant camera (which is what attracted me to it in the first place), it has a recording facility, a video camera facility, a calculator, a note taker as well as internet access.
Imagine if you will the ability of a digital native student to use a piece of technology like this in their classroom. Now I am aware that the LG gc900 is also a phone and therefore has a text facility that can be misused. I understand that access to the internet could mean students looking at inappropriate material…I know that they can cyberbully each other… but all of these things is dependent on one thing….IF THEY CHOOSE TO…. not all of them will do one or indeed any of these things. They can use the phone to find out information, take photographs, videos, make a calculation, make a recording of their discussion to play back later, make a note whilst investigating outside.
I agree with the writer mentioned above that we do not need any more computer labs… we probably don’t need any heavy P.C.’s. We could do with some laptops, or better still netbooks… but ideally we need little, highly mobile devices such as the LG gc900 that every student can use to make their learning possibilities expand greatly.