Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

DER Laptops for Teachers

On Thursday of last week, the phase one rollout of laptops for teachers arrived in our school – 24 of them – enough for approximately 30% of our teaching staff.  At lunch time on Thursday our school’s DER Team met with the principal to discuss allocation of them. As always, our principal had a well-thought out plan and there was no need for wrangling, angling or pushing biased agendas, instead we had a great discussion with some negotiations that worked for the team, and hopefully will be appreciated by the staff as a whole. I have read Stu Hasic’s post ( on his opinion of which teachers should get laptops and his suggestions for making the decision and the great discussion that post engendered (you can read it in the comments of his post). If your school has not yet made the decision as to staff allocation, I highly recommend reading his post.

Beyond that, let me say that my faculty (English) is going to be a ‘lighthouse’ faculty – pioneers if you will – leading the way forward into a teaching world with laptops.  As the Head Teacher of English then I now have a bigger responsibility to be a learning leader – to be positive in my approach, enthusiastic in my support and generous in my provision of ideas and resources. I am spending some time over the next two days preparing a one-hour professional development session for Tuesday afternoon that will cover the following with my staff:

  1. Where the DER is up to – timelines, philosophy, etc – including Stu Hasic’s line that ‘the money has already been spent’ so let’s stop arguing about whether they are a good thing or whether they will work, and let’s concentrate on making it a success.
  2. Quick familiarisation with Office 2007 – how it is different to 2003, where to find things, and more importantly, online tutorials so that you have somewhere to go to find things out when I am not there to ask.
  3. Resources, resources, resources: provision of learning activities ideas, websites for information, interaction and collaboration, etc.
  4. Importance of creating PLN (personal learning network) and of then sharing the information you receive.
  5. Discussion regarding Moodle and how that will come together with the laptops.
  6. Plan for regular sessions that address staff needs in regards to teaching with laptops.

Once I have created this session I will publish it to help any other teachers or Head Teachers who will also be introducing these ideas about the laptops to their staff over the next few weeks. I will also publish the results and reactions to the meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Who knows, maybe my faculty will post comments about it when I do!


June 28, 2009 - Posted by | Digital Education Revolution (DER), Laptops 4 Learning | ,


  1. It is appearing to be the case that a lot of English Departments, mine icluded, are going to be at the forefront of this L4L evolution. It appears we generally embrace change more readily than other faculties and that for many English teachers the prospect of having laptops to add to our teaching tools is truly exciting despite the initial time to be spent learning how to use the myraid of software etc as well as getting our head around Moodle and other online teaching environments.

    I will be interested to follow your experiences on this move into digital education.

    Comment by Paula Madigan | June 28, 2009 | Reply

    • As a fellow HT English I would be interested in what you do as well! Please feel free to share. Do you have a blog?

      Comment by mgiddins | June 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great post Mel and fantastic to see a faculty looking forward to the laptops! Having been through a transition from Office 2003 to 2007 before be careful it is slightly traumatic, but once you started using Office 2007 you will never look back.

    How are you hosting your Moodle? We have a psuedo site up and running currently (that is hosting a Region eGATs programme) and a few of my subjects, but we need to bring it internally.

    A good PLN is the most rewarding thing! It is fantastic to develop all these relationships with people encountering similar issues.

    Comment by Simon Borgert | June 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks, Simon. I myself have been using Office 2007 for quite some time (almost a year, I think?) and I remember the initial frustrations of not being able to find things so I am going to try to head that off at the pass a little with some information and orientation around the 2007 Office applications.

      Moodle is hosted on a website, I am not administering it (HT Teaching & Learning doing that one) so not sure of all the details – I just know it is web based so will work quite well for us with the laptops. I am setting up the Virtual Staffroom at the moment with all the resources for us. Next step will be setting up some courses for students that can act as models for the other teachers. We are not expected to be using it until Term 4 at the earliest, so I have plenty of time to set things up well.

      Comment by mgiddins | June 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. Can’t wait to see it. I like your approach: we are in this together! As a leading learner…again a deliberate act and thought process, I am sick of being reactive. Proactive…

    Comment by Troy | June 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Proactive is going to be my new middle name…

      Comment by mgiddins | June 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. I thinking this roll-out my introduce a new “digital divide”: the schools that get on board – and the schools that struggle.

    My school doesn’t seem to be doing much thinking or planning for this roll-out.

    Comment by Simon Job | June 28, 2009 | Reply

    • “I thinking”… geez… my bad grammar on an English teacher’s blog.

      Comment by Simon Job | June 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. Dear Ms Pro-Active,

    Awesome approach to a rather intimidating project… Given the recent technological handicaps experienced in our day to day working environment its been hard to embrace L4L in a holistic and positive way…..I am really grateful to the English and Maths faculty for pioneering this event.. Its very exciting. and the possibilities are endless.

    Comment by Heather Crawford | June 28, 2009 | Reply

  6. Its really a very nice blog you done here, thanx for sharing this awesome n interesting information with us here..

    Comment by Compare Laptop | June 29, 2009 | Reply

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