Saturday, April 21, 2012

Visiting Price Laboratory School for Research & Development
We visited Price Laboratory School for Research &; Development earlier in the year, to observe the types of technology being used in classrooms. We first visited a physics classroom, where students were working with individual laptops in conjunction with the teacher's demonstration, happening at the front of the room. As the teacher showed students how different heights and lengths of a ramp would effect the distribution of weight when pushing something up the ramp. Using the computers while their teacher ran through the demonstration, students could  calculate their physics problems/equations straight into their worksheet for the day. The worksheet, because it was available to them in digital form, could go directly to their teacher when they were finished. I saw this as a great way for students to keep up with work during class, and also raise their accountability. Everyone had to complete the lab worksheet by the end of the lab, so I think being able to work directly onto the worksheet from a laptop helped students, especially when solving equations.

Even though laptops seem "old school" in terms of tools in school (the One-to-One initiatives have been going on for a while now, and many schools have adopted the program and continue to do so), they can still be seen as an important enrichment tool for the classroom. The students I observed at NU and PLS were more engaged in their lessons because of the computers. I also was impressed by the collective camaraderie between students. There was one student who was having trouble configuring her equations and setting up the calculations on her device. Several other students in the classroom talked her through the steps, in order to help her, and she finished fairly quickly because of their assistance. I was astounded by how friendly and willing to help each other these students were! The visit really made an impression on me, in terms of how technology can make the smallest transformations in the classroom, yet have a really big impact.

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