|Posted on 25 April, 2013 at 21:35|
As the final DER laptop rollout is upon us, schools were required to select who would own the laptops; the school or the student. May schools have opted for the laptops to remain at school and be pooled by classes rather than giving them to their year 9 students for sole ownership and use. Whilst this option has its advantages such as providing the entire student body access to these devices that contain softwares that many school desktop computers may not include, a new set of concerns have emerged. The main concern surrounds charging these laptops securely and safely whilst making them readily available for the next class in the next period.
Some schools are purchasing laptop trolleys to secure laptops and connect them to a main power source in each classroom for charging, classroom teachers are still finding that obstacles of flat laptops or malfunctioned laptops exist when trying to execute an ICT based lesson. So, the big question in this instance is….who is responsible for charging laptops or fixing laptops? Is the Technology Support Officer (TSO), is it the Computer Coordinator, is it each and every teacher who uses the laptops or is it the Head Teacher of Technology? Depending on your school, one or many teachers may be responsible for this, however, as many teachers experience, whilst we all try to do our best with technology, many teachers are out of their depth when using laptops and its softwares or feel overwhelmed at the end of the lesson with the amount of work needed to do to pack up a technology lesson. Sometimes, it is simply not possible to be able to end a lesson, check that all of the laptops still work, shut down the laptops, pack up the laptops and connect them to the charging station (laptop trolley) whilst overseeing the actions of every student in your class.
In order to overcome such obstacles, other schools offer teachers and students with online booking services such as School Online Booking System (www.sobs.com.au) that permit them to ‘book’ resources such as a laptop or a group of laptops. These schools are also electing to have a central charging station where all laptops are charged and stored in a safe domain (typically within the library). This provides students to complete their classwork or assessment tasks should they lack computer access at home as well as give ownership to one person or a group of people to oversee the laptops. Further, it also gives students ownership of a laptop whilst it is in their possession, regardless of which year group they are in.
This model is proving successful in many Western Sydney Schools as overall they have recorded fewer incidents of damaged laptops, and fewer incidents of flat laptops. It also leads to increase in school retention, student ownership and collaborative learning whilst facilitating 21st century learning such as the Flipped Classroom or Project Based Learning.