Examples of and research around laptops used with Primary (Elementary) students

Image source by Lisa Parisi

I am incredibly fortunate to be working with a wide range of educators from around globe, and one (Linda Ojala), inspired by a video by Claire Amos: Welcoming laptops into the classroom: Tips and strategies, responded:

“I  liked Claire’s strategies and tips and will share some of these with the teachers I work alongside. I’d really like to know some great strategies for using lap tops in the primary sector where only 1 student in the class maybe working in this way.  I still find it difficult to get teachers away from the focus of using laptops only for games and publishing work.  I have come across that fundamental belief that is held which is that children should still be using pencil and paper, even if they find it difficult to manually record their ideas.”

So, I set out to see what I could discover. Interestingly a simple search brought up a few studies (listed below), but few concrete examples and footage. A bit more digging brought to light other examples, although often the focus was on the technology rather than what strategies were being used to engage the students and enhance their learning experience. I have listed below a selection of what I found, but would be really grateful, if anyone has some great tips and strategies they want to share, or know of other examples, please comment below 🙂

Image source by Lisa Parisi

There are a couple of videos that capture the student voice and opinions around using laptops in their learning, and 1:1 Learning @ St Albans Meadows Primary School (Australia) is an interesting one (with a nod, I think, to Michael Wesch). This video from Teachers’ TV captures some teacher opinions, as well as demonstrating some possible uses: Primary ICT – Laptop Pros and Cons.

For actual, concrete examples, Lisa Parisi (who teaches fifth grade on Long Island, US, using a collaborative classroom model…one regular ed teacher and one special ed teacher), has some superb ones. Lisa is a great reflective practitioner, and you may want to follow her blog to hear about her triumphs, trials, and tribulations (for example, Best Day Ever)! In particular the award-winning collaborative writing project regarding the book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg – you are able to visit the students’ wiki and see the stories that were generated by the students (aged 9 to 12, from 14 classes located in the US, Australia, and New Zealand). You can also hear Lisa interviewed, and watch a short video about the project. All the students used Skype conferencing, wikis, and a range of other strategies to build and share their stories…a great example of where the communication, collaboration and learning was the focus…and the technology just enabled the process.

Other examples include:

I’m sure you’ll be interested in the efficacy of using laptops in primary classrooms. Benefits and challenges of using laptops in primary and secondary school: An investigation at the Eastern Townships School Board is a very recent report (2011) covering research conducted in Canada to better understand the challenges and benefits of using laptops in primary and secondary education. The report looks at pedagogical uses as well as providing 10 key recommendations. There is much in the report that can be applied to education settings around the developed world.

About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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