Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

Laptops 4 Learning – Day 2 Reflections

A week after the event, having recovered from a nasty bout of gastro flu thingy (technical term), I find myself unable to let go of the forum and move on to talking about something else yet.  The second day of the forum the format was changed so that we all had the majority of the day in our KLA groups.  This was an incredibly valuable experience. We started by hammering out a rationale which really forced us to look at what we wanted to achieve and why we were doing it. We worked with the syllabus to look at how working with laptops in English would help us to meet the syllabus outcomes: better, easier, faster and with more student engagement. It was really important to do this from a syllabus perspective focussed on meeting the syllabus outcomes, and looking at the laptops from the perspective of how they could help us meet outcomes kept the discussion real and focussed on the business of the classroom.

Next we looked at what our role in this would be – okay so we were at the forefront of this thing, but what did that mean, and how could we help the average teacher in the average classroom.  Obviously, units of work that could be picked up and run with by a teacher were a priority.   I must admit to pushing my idea about how hard it is for teachers to imagine different ways to use technology in the classroom when they are unfamiliar with it. As a group we looked at the idea of a ‘technology toolbox’ that explained the ‘how-to’ of various technologies. We took that a step further and thought that coming up with a toolbox of individual activities was just as useful to teachers as full units of work.  I talked about the fact that when those laptops hit schools in Term 3, a lot of teachers will be ‘wounded’ by the process and what we need is triage. Treat the worst wounded first with bandaging then there will be time for surgery once the patient is stabilised.  What I mean by this is that a whole lot of teachers will need activities that can be slotted into existing units of work, they will need ideas that they can pick up and use immediately and will need to have a source of information for classroom management tips and troubleshooting ideas.  The surgery then is the professional development that each school will do for their teachers across the next year(s). When we hit Term 4 schools can plan to include the lovely units of work that will be created by the L4L group into the program for 2010, however we have to be aware that in order to meet all syllabus outcomes for a year or Stage, schools may not be flexible enough in their programs to start using the units of work immediately.  This means that teachers will need help that is more immediate and more flexible. Hence, the idea for triage, for activities that can be used in a variety of ways – we give you the activity, the resource you need to use, the syllabus outcomes it meets and then provide a model of the activity.

So now the hard work begins. We are creating units of work, individual activities and looking at resources that should go into the technology toolbox.  And we have to have it all done by the end of Term 2. There are eight of us, three of us still trying to do normal school at the same time, and all of us feeling the pressure to get things ready in time. Good resources that are useful and helpful and will serve teachers well, both in the initial roll-out phase and then on a more long-term basis is our goal.

So if any of you out there have any ideas for learning activities using technology (both offline and online) and would like to throw them our way, please feel free to add them!


May 17, 2009 - Posted by | Laptops 4 Learning

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Melissa

    Hope you are well over the gastro thing.

    Thanks for sharing your follow up to the L4L forum. I’m using the Grapevine site to try to pull some of the great ideas from people like yourself together for anybody who may be interested.

    Comment by Roger Pryor | May 17, 2009 | Reply

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