Why is it important for each student to have a laptop?
Just as it is not feasible to have students stand in line to share learning tools such as a pencil, paper, notebook, book, etc, it also doesn’t make sense for them to share a laptops. Students often need to work at their own pace in their own way. Laptops become a student’s assistant for thinking, drawing, writing, reading, analyzing, calculating, connecting, collaborating, producing, researching, presenting, and more. This does not occur if they are given only isolated pockets of time or have to wait until someone else is done. Their laptops provide anytime/anywhere on-demand access to information, thinking, learning, experts, collaboration, creativity and knowledge and more. As one student put it clearly, "When I can't use my laptop, I feel like a part of my brain is missing." Today's collaboration does not occur with two students sitting at one laptop. It occurs with students using their own learning stations collaborating and connecting with like-minded people, inputing, discussing, interacting, simultaneously not one at a time. Furthermore, those people they are interacting with are not just the student next to them, but could be a student, adult, or expert any where in the world.
To be truly effective laptops must be woven into everything that is done in the classroom. Jean Piaget protégé and artificial intelligence pioneer Seymour Papert explains it this way, "People around the world have opted to use the computer as the natural medium. They have found this is the efficient way to do knowledge work. So, if we want to bring the children of the world into the knowledge economy, knowledge society, the computer is the only means of doing that. One to one allows children to take charge of their own learning." True technology integration requires one-to-one access to technology that most of our society takes for granted outside of school walls and that our plugged-in world increasingly...
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