In-class computers vs. labs

Summary:Most of our decisions have come together fairly well on our elementary/middle school tech refreshes, particularly in terms of platform and software. However, there is some debate about using computers in several small lab stations in individual classrooms vs.

Most of our decisions have come together fairly well on our elementary/middle school tech refreshes, particularly in terms of platform and software. However, there is some debate about using computers in several small lab stations in individual classrooms vs. using one or two consolidated computer labs.

For example, do we create a whole classroom devoted to computing with 25-30 workstations or spread those workstations out so that every class gets 3-4 computers that students can use anytime (instead of when teachers can sign up for the lab)?

I see value in both, as there are times when individual students could make use of a computer while others are engaged in other activities. The full labs, however, tend to be utilized all the time. Perhaps this reflects my high school experience more, but our labs are in use almost 100% of the time as teachers sign up for them and use them every period of the day.

Computers in the backs of classrooms just don't see as much utilization. My kids report that, with the exception of a few teachers, they didn't make much use of banks of 4-5 computers in the back of every class at the middle school. They weren't enough to support a whole class activity and the short periods prevented much differentiation in what kids were doing (i.e., the entire class tended to be engaged in lecture or a particular activity).

So share your experience with this debate and take the poll below.

[poll id=68]

Topics: Hardware

About

Christopher Dawson grew up in Seattle, back in the days of pre-antitrust Microsoft, coffeeshops owned by something other than Starbucks, and really loud, inarticulate music. He escaped to the right coast in the early 90's and received a degree in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University. While there, he began a career in health a... Full Bio

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