Posts tagged ‘Laptops’

Intel unveils new Classmate PCs

New low-cost laptops, now targeted to U.S. schools as well, have larger screens and more storage

Intel’s new Classmate PCs–slated to go on sale this month for between $300 and $500–reflect the company’s growing efforts to sell computers equipped with its own chips to schools in developing countries, a battleground for technology companies because of the millions of people there just coming online.

But the target market for these low-cost laptops has expanded to include kids in the United States, too, as potential users of cheaper, stripped-down machines.

Author: eSchool News staff and wire service reports, 3rd April 2008

Full article available here.

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April 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Technology Immersion Turns Around Texas Middle School

Take a Title I urban school with fewer than 50 computers for some 850 students and a staff that wasn’t strong in technology. Add an ambitious plan to roll out a new technology program that gave a laptop to every teacher and student. Sound like a recipe for problems? Actually, it wasn’t.

The school, Marvin Baker Middle School, part of the Corpus Christi Independent School District in Texas, faces challenges familiar to many urban schools. The student population is diverse; the mobility rate is rising; and 80 percent of students receive a free lunch. However, Baker also houses the district’s Athena Program for gifted and talented students; about a third of the school’s students are part of that program.

Author: Linda L. Briggs, T.H.E. Journal, 27th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Laptops in class: Life-saver or distraction maker?

Laptop computers have found their way into the daily lives of many people.
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Computer science sophomore Jordan Wesolowski is an employee of the Computing Commons technical support staff. He says he thinks students should be able to use laptops “as long as it isn’t interrupting other people.” /issues/style/703591
Sam Nalven / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Computer science sophomore Jordan Wesolowski is an employee of the Computing Commons technical support staff. He says he thinks students should be able to use laptops “as long as it isn’t interrupting other people.”
 
/issues/style/703591
Sam Nalven / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE

As more people invest in these machines, they can be found at the office, on almost all forms of transportation, at restaurants, coffee shops and especially on campus.

ASU’s student body is riddled with these sleek expenditures. Students get to class, take a seat, power up and tune out.Laptops can be both a distraction and an aid, but it is up to the student to decide which road to take.

ASU’s Involvement

At ASU, laptops are everywhere.

The buses connecting campuses are now equipped with Verizon Wireless’ “Broadband to Go” program.

ASU also started the 1:1 Computing program in 2006.

Vice president, university technology officer and professor in computing studies Adrian Sannier says the program started because of surveys of students revealing that more than 90 percent of students were bringing some kind of computer to school. He also noticed the trend of laptops outselling desktop computers.

“It was pretty clear that students had started to look at a portable computer as an important educational device,” Sannier says. “What we wanted to do was begin to understand how the University could help students get the most out of the investment that so many of them were already making.”

The program is split between Apple and Dell. The laptops provided are university-recommended and come as a bundle of computer technology through the ASU 1:1 program.

These bundles include the choice of a new Apple or Dell laptop, discounted software, a three-year service warranty and on-campus service.

The on-campus service includes access to the Technology Studio, located in the Computing Commons on the Tempe campus. Students can receive tech support for their laptops, help setting up and answers to general questions.

Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and the West campus also have their own Technology Studios.

The program has sold $4 million worth of machines, according to Sannier.

Sannier says the students who have participated in the program are happy, not only with the machines and the prices at which they got them, but with the convenience of the service and support.

ASU is also looking to place personal laptops at each desk space, as they have in some of the classrooms in the Coor building, Italian professor Chiara Dal Martello says.

Laptops on the Rise

The “Los Angeles Times” reported in January of 2008 that overall prices of notebook computers are at an all-time low.

Within the worldwide market, the average price of a laptop has fallen 20 percent, and laptops are expected to comprise the majority of computer sales in 2008 and 2009.

Laptop sales have risen about 21 percent in the United States to $31.6 million in 2007 from 2006, but desktop sales took a 4 percent dive, dragging up only $35 million in sales.

In 2008, even U.S. corporations are expected to make laptops the majority of their computer purchases.

According to “The Daily Telegraph,” laptops are now the No. 1 choice for consumers in the market for a new computer.

It might have something to do with the latest laptops meeting most of a desktop’s specifications in terms of processor speeds, random access memory (RAM) and hard-drive storage.

Sannier says the revolution of readily available technology is at hand.

“That kind of information in your hand all the time is a major change in the way information is available,” Sannier says. “In the past, you used to have to go to information. You had to go the library, you had to walk to class, you had to go to the bookstore and buy the book.”

Sannier says the ability to obtain information with the click of a mouse is an amazing change.

“It’s hard for me to see how that’s not going to shape education billing forward.”

Instructor Standpoint

On the opposite side of the issue are the instructors, who must look at the outside of a laptop instead of their students’ faces.

“At first, I thought they were just used by the tech savvy, responsible students,” philosophy professor Aaron Holland says in an e-mail. “But more recently, I think they are becoming distractions and I’m considering not allowing them in class.”

Holland says while some students do use laptops for quietly taking notes, others have loud keypads and use them for Internet access instead of listening to a lecture or participating in discussion.

“The loud keypads are no small issue,” Holland says. “I say a few words, followed by a rap-tap-tap-rap-a-tap noise. Then I stop talking, and the noise stops. Then I say another sentence, rap-tap-tap-rap-a-tap. It is just as annoying as having a squeaky shoe on your foot.”

Professor of English Keith Miller agrees.

“I don’t permit any students to bring laptops to my classes,” Miller says in an e-mail. “I tell them they have to leave their laptops, beepers, cell phones, radios, TVs, DVDs, CDs, iPods, IMs, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, electric banana peels and all other electronic devices at home.”

Miller says some students would take notes with laptops, “but I have seen students in class use laptops to cruise the Internet or send e-mail during class,” he says. “That’s why I tell them not to bring in their laptops.”

Mary–Lou Galician, a journalism and mass communication professor, does not allow laptops in her classrooms, which are usually large lecture halls, unless the students are willing to sit in the front row. However, she says no one takes her up on it.

She says laptops can be a great aid, but that “in my classes, at any rate, I find them to be a distraction.”

Galician says in a smaller classroom where students are obviously doing class-related exercises, laptops can be a wonderful educational enhancement.

But Galacian says the number of students who would likely use their laptops for noneducational uses is her biggest concern.

“If they don’t want to get the most out of their educational dollar, that’s their business,” Galician says. “But not when the other people behind them have to be looking at this, and then sometimes groups of people are looking at the same screen. That just doesn’t work when the only (real) purpose is for note taking.”

Galician recommends that students take notes the old -fashioned way and later transfer them to other applications, which results in a double dose of the lecture.

On the other hand, Dal Martello feels as though laptops act as an aid to students.

“In Italian, or at least in a foreign language classroom, it’s useful because you can open a dictionary and have it there,” Dal Martello says. “To me, students using laptops in the classroom has been very useful.”

Dal Martello finds no correlation between students’ grades and whether or not they bring a laptop to class.

She says laptops do not seem to be much of a diversion in her classes, but that occasional mishaps to occur.

“I mean of course it happens every once in a while, you know, ‘you’ve got mail,'” Dal Martello says.

She notes a time in which she asked her students to get out a pencil and paper, but one student was only equipped with her laptop. Dal Martello says this will happen more and more as time goes on.

“I think we need to keep an open mind because that is what it is going to be,” Dal Martello says. “It’s just a new tool that we need to accept and give it its own value.”

Sannier says laptops in his classrooms have been beneficial.

If he forgets a concept during a lecture, he can request that a student find it on the Internet and then share it with the class, Sannier says.

“In the courses that I’ve taught, I’ve been able to use that … to enrich a lecture experience,” Sannier says.

Student Standpoint

Biology freshman Amanda Ventura doesn’t bring her laptop to class. She says she would rather take notes the old-fashioned way.

“A lot of the professors don’t like [students bringing laptops to class] anyway because kids go on Facebook and stuff during class time.”

Ventura recalls a time when a crowd had formed around a laptop in her religion class within a lecture hall.

“There was this one time where this guy was actually playing these Michael Jackson songs on YouTube in the middle of a movie,” Ventura says.

Overall, Ventura says she feels her laptop would definitely create a distraction for her if brought into the classroom. “I would check my email eight times per hour,” she says.

Biochemistry and Spanish freshman Adam Leighton does bring his laptop to class, but only to take notes. He says he never strays from the lecture because his laptop is at hand.

“I only use it in classes where it’s convenient to take notes on a laptop,” Leighton says.

He says other students’ laptops aren’t a distraction to him, but they are a distraction to some students.

“Some kids are playing Halo or some other 3-D shooter on their computers and not paying attention at all to the instructor,” Leighton says. “I don’t know if they’re learning subliminally but I couldn’t learn while playing a shooting game during class.”

Overall, Leighton says he enjoys having a laptop because it keeps his course work better organized.

“I like written notes for most courses, but I guess it’s easier to keep track of things on the computer,” Leighton says. “On my floor at home now, all my papers are thrown on the ground because I was looking for something.”

Leighton says, more often than not, laptops are a tool that can help students with their grades, both inside and outside of the classroom. “All in all, it’s probably a good thing,” he says.

Computer tech at the University Computer Commons and BIS senior Shannon Scotten says his laptop is definitely not a distraction.

“I’m a terrible student in general and since I got the laptop, I’ve gotten better grades,” Scotten says. “I am more motivated to show up for class when I have my trusty laptop with me as opposed to just sitting there, you know, sleeping.”

Scotten only found other laptops distracting before he got his own.

Benefits like seeing a PowerPoint slide on his own computer are another reason Scotten says his laptop is beneficial to his grades.

Psychology and business senior Justin Dudek says he does not think an instructor should tell students to put away their laptops.

“I think it’s kind of foolish to eliminate such a powerful tool, especially in a classroom,” Dudek says. “Ever since I started bringing my laptop to class, which was about two years ago, my GPA has just gone up dramatically.”

Dudek says his GPA increased because he was able to take more organized notes right on the spot rather than having to sift through notebooks and papers later on.

“Personally, I don’t have the best handwriting, so it’s a lot easier for me just to type it out,” Dudek says. “If the instructor just took that away, I don’t think they realize what kind of impact that would have on students.”

Author: Lauren Cusimano, 13th February 2008

February 29, 2008 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment


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The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
Location: UK

Email: info@gamingandlearning.co.uk / alex@gamingandlearning.co.uk

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