Wireless in the Classroom: Part 2,376
Laptops and teaching value is a fav topic at Laptopical, in large part because it is fast becoming a real issue in the educational world. Many teachers are out there improvising and innovating with notebooks on university campuses and in high school hallways. But many more teachers are terrified of wireless laptops. We came across an interesting discourse on this dichotomy-big words to show off for any professors perhaps reading this-on a Web site for Southern Connecticut University, or SCTU.
The English department there had formed a tech committee a few years back to fight an administration push to teach courses online. That push never materialized, and instead the committee became a major supporter of professors who were experimenting with computers in the classroom.
The author of the piece, Bob McEachern, who teaches technical writing at SCTU, also goes into great detail about the four experiences he’s had using Wi-Fi enabled notebooks in classrooms, going all the way back to 1991. The ultimate purpose of his little notebook life story is to show how computers can be used the wrong way, and the right way.
The right way is to use laptops, he says, to promote interaction between the students, and between the students and the teacher. The bad way is to seal off students at computer terminals, with their backs to each other and their brains locked. Wireless laptops, he says, are nothing but the right way, allowing students to sit in groups, talk and type, and allowing the teacher to set up a teaching environment basically any way she feels fit.
Plus, Wi-Fi notebooks have a high Technology Cool Factor, he adds, that even nerdy literature professors can appreciate. Students definitely will. Kids now have been practically using wireless technology their whole lives-so NOT letting them use it in the classroom would be almost as bad as taking away their cell phones and forcing them to dial on an old rotary phone.