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2007 One-to-One Laptop Initiatives: Powerful Hubs of a Distributed Student Learning Network?

Date: 2007
Author: James P. Gunner
Affiliation: Graduate College of Bowling Green State University
Keywords: teaching, Students, One-to-One, Observation


Recently many school districts have implemented one-to-one laptop programs where a group of students or all students receive their own laptop computer as part of the instructional process. Proponents of laptop programs hope when all teachers and all students have a personal computer of their own to use twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, student learning will be increased. Preliminary research on laptop programs has indicated teachers and students perceive an enhanced learning environment with greater enthusiasm for learning. This study explored whether the introduction of laptop technology changed the positive interactions between students, teachers, parents, and the resources for learning. If the connections between these key components of a learning network are modified by the introduction of ubiquitous laptop technology, the effect could be a potential transformation of the overall learning system. This study examined a junior high school laptop program during its third year of implementation. Five teachers and three student-parent dyads were interviewed multiple times over a six-month period. All teachers and students were asked to draw personal learning networks to describe a learning experience that utilized laptop computers. Data demonstrate changes in student learning networks and teacher instructional networks with the introduction of laptop technology. Teachers expanded their professional connections both within and outside of their current instructional environment. Extensive resources beyond the educational institution broadened the learning network for both students and teachers. There was an indication that the institutions media center became less relevant in the learning network of the students and teachers.

Key Findings:

* There was evidence that the introduction of a one-to-one laptop program at Forest Hills Junior High led to changes in the personal learning networks of teachers and to a lesser degree the students.

* Teachers' personal learning networks exhibited numerous new connections to electronic resources that would not have been available without access to a computer and the Internet.

* Without this infrastructure of laptop and Internet, few, if any, teachers expanded their instructional learning networks to include electronic resources.

* Yet, it was the combination of ubiquitous access to both the laptop and wireless Internet along with extensive professional development that provided the foundation for a fundamental change to the instructional learning networks of teachers.

* These foundations of laptop, Internet, and professional development and support were necessary before teachers collectively pursued a change in instructional methodology and more 166 importantly, instructional practices.

* Teachers pursued professional growth opportunities that included graduate coursework after over thirty years of previous experience as a teacher.

* Technology, both hardware and software, became new avenues for individuals to demonstrate their expertise. Students were asked both formally and informally to teach each other and the classroom teacher various technology skills and concepts.

* The library or media center at Forest Hills became a limited or in some cases a non-existent resource for instruction. Teachers and students alike indicated that the media center was no longer used. It was no longer of importance as a resource to learning. There were many more resources available on the Internet, and these Internet resources were more current and more varied than those that could be housed in a physical media center.

* If the technology was removed from the student-learning network, there was no network-- only a disjointed set of unconnected nodes for learning.

Source Article: http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi/Gunner%20James%20P.pdf?bgsu1178899152