The Ballard Talisman

Desktop computers replaced by laptops in classrooms

Zoe Bodovinitz, Staff Reporter

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In a district wide change, the teacher’s old desktop computers were replaced with new laptops. According to Instructional Technologist, Harvey Wright, it was time for an upgrade, not only to keep up with current technology, but to adapt to new practices as well.

“It definitely is a shift, but it was required,” Wright said. “It is a new device and it is aligned with a different model of instructional practice where teachers can work with each other because they have a tool they can take to staff meetings, take downtown and go to professional development– they can walk around with and sit down with small groups of students and engage with.”

The reactions to the laptops have been mixed among teachers. Band director, Michael James, has found that the laptop has made his grading system more efficient.

“I like that they are portable and that I’m able to take them to the front of the class to put my grades immediately into the gradebook when I do tests,” James said.

The laptop has eliminated extra steps in James’ grading process, which pleases his students as well.

“I don’t have to transfer grades from one piece of paper to the computer and students can check the source immediately after they take a playing test,” James said.

Language arts teacher, Shari Sjogren, has had more problems than successes with her new laptop while trying to make the switch from her familiar desktop.

“For the most part, we do not have other options available to us to keep doing our jobs when our laptop docking stations stop working, our laptops stop connecting to the projector or our laptops stop turning on, all of which have happened to me already,” Sjogren said in an e-mail response.

While she believes the laptops are a good idea in theory, Sjogren thinks the execution of the switch could have been better.

“This seems to have been rolled out in a high-risk way without investing and ensuring low consequences,” Sjogren said.

The switch from stationary desktop to mobile laptop is something that the teachers will have to work to get used to. The idea is to give them more options for teaching as well as equip them with newer technologies.

“We want to make sure [teachers] are able to do everything they were able to do previously as well as understand the different features of this particular form factor,” Wright said.

At the heart of this change is the thought that students will benefit from the new laptops as well. As classroom procedures are changing, teachers need to be able to take students best interests into account.

“Education is shifting towards greater personalization,” Wright said. “We know students have different needs, different ideas, different outcomes that they are working towards in terms of their own personal goals, so being flexible and having tools that are flexible better enables classroom teachers help support individual student aspirations.

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Desktop computers replaced by laptops in classrooms