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Laptops in the Classroom

Essay by   •  February 24, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,386 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,453 Views

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Laptops in the Classroom

Laptops increase student motivation and desire to become involved with lessons initiated in the classroom. Performance and motivation levels were increased due to laptops being used by students for learning purposes. Laptops increase the level of interactivity, engagement and interest students have towards course content. Their interaction with school work, peers and the teacher will increase as a result of having the laptop to use daily.

The involvement with multimedia presentations allows the student to be immersed with the development and execution of the materials to be presented. Students tend to remember and process internally the lessons taught.

Inter and intra group sharing of information takes place among students with laptops. Students are able to share large quantities of information and materials by sharing over the net. Laptops promote active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world situations. The use of laptops is essentially effective when it is merged into the curriculum and accepted across the board. Students are intellectually challenged when involved with projects that help them to acquire information, refine the information, analyze and synthesize all information made accessible to them. This can be done individually or in groups.

"The roles of both teacher and student are changed by the introduction of laptops into the classroom because laptops empower children in ways no other 'tool' has been able to. Such student empowerment is a fundamentally new way to organize the classroom. This is very different from the changes you might expect by giving children pencils or other traditional classroom tools like rulers, protractors or even calculators. Even though I don't object to the word 'tool' to describe a laptop, I firmly believe it is more than any other educational tool." (Nair, 2001)

Laptops need to be merged with the academics in the classroom. The teacher will become the facilitator in the learning process to promote student involvement which we are striving for in our classrooms. Laptops create more innovative approaches and processes to learning. Laptops are considered a classroom experience that falls within a constructivist approach to learning. The interactive exercises in the classroom promote collaboration to enhance the student’s ability.

“In the student-centered learning mode, students play an active part in their learning process and become autonomous learners who are actively engaged in constructing new meaning within the context of their current knowledge, experiences and social environments. Learners become successful in constructing knowledge through solving problems that are realistic and usually work in collaboration with others.” (Neo & Kian, 2003) Students are placed at the center of their own learning. The projects used that involve interaction with the students are authentic. While the students are engaged in the learning process with their laptops they considered cooperative, active cognitive learners. Student centered learning addresses the needs of the individual learners. Students experiment, explore and discover new information on their own via the laptop. In a student centered room students retain information longer. The students actually receive the information, process the information and work with the information. Activities must be designed to let them take the initiative to discover meaningful information on their own.

A survey was done on student centered learning.(Neo & Kian, 2003) “Students in this student-centered learning environment were evaluated through a 5-point Likert scale (N=46), with 1 for Strongly Disagree (SDA), 2 for Agree, 3 for Undecided, 4 for Disagree and 5 for Strongly Agree (SA). The items in the survey made up several constructs to measure many student-centered learning traits, such as problem-solving skills, collaborative efforts and teamwork. The results of the survey showed that all items measured yielded means of 3.83 and above (see Table 1), thus showing that the students were enthusiastic about the project and were very positive in their attitudes towards working on a multimedia project and in working in teams.”

Table 1 Means for items on survey of student projects (in descending order)(Ne0 & Kian, 2003)

Items Mean

1. Found the project challenging 4.17

2. Better able to represent concept using digital multimedia 4.15

3. Project allowed me to be creative in my thinking 4.15

4. Able to have creative input 4.02

5. Understood subject better after project 3.98

6. Project allowed me to be think critically about the topic 3.98

7. Felt very motivated doing this project 3.98

8. The group was able to achieve its goals 3.83

9. Able to learn more working with teammates 3.83

Dynamic learning environments that are permeated with authentic projects can yield the results above. Laptops allow the students to locate the information, share the information, collaborate concerning the information and collectively together process the information. The students are interested when the projects are challenging and interesting. They can put their thought processes together to design a multimedia presentation to share the project. The motivation of working together and individually on a project gives them the drive and determination to proceed. Laptops are designed to carry out all functions to achieve their goals.

“This multimedia mode of learning provides an alternative to the traditional teacher-centric learning and enables students to enjoy a richer learning environment. It empowers students to become active learners and display their ideas and information in terms of the multimedia format and use their higher level thinking skills like analysis, synthesis, evaluation and reflection while solving authentic problems.” (Neo & Kian, 2003) This constructivist method of learning provides an open door channel to tapping the hidden sources of learning with students. Technology has always been a method to stimulate the learning process and hold the attention of the students. Technology allows the presentation of information to be stimulating and innovative to the audience. Laptops store and retrieve all information

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