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Posts Tagged ‘1:1

Recently I heard that another secondary school in Singapre has just adopted 1:1 computing for students. They didn’t use netbooks (which I blogged about a while ago) but got Apple systems instead. Good for them and what a way to feed the economy!

I have also heard from two sources that MOE might be setting aside funds for a few schools to trial 1:1. Isn’t that a bit late given how a few schools have already taken the initiative? But this should give principals who are thinking of taking this route but are low on funding some renewed hope!

1:1 computing puts technology in the hands of learners, which is a good thing. In theory. In practice, there can be lots of issues. So it was timely that Richard Byrne suggested 10 things teachers should know before they embark on this journey.

Added after posting: Buzz Garwood wrote a short article in Edtech magazine about things to think about when implementing a 1:1 programme.

I thought I’d highlight two trends: One not so new (OpenID) and another more recent (Netbooks).

Don’t know what OpenID is? Too afraid to ask? Read this wiki on OpenID. Here’s an introduction:

Imagine a web where you never have to log in again… OpenID uses a URL as your identity. The URL defines you. Whenever a site needs to authenticate you are who you say you are, it goes to the URL for that information.

Where possible, I use OpenID (this blog’s verified URL) to identify myself when I respond to my trainees’ blog entries.

On to the next trend. Mobile computing can come in different forms, e.g., notebooks, laptops, and ultramobile personal computers (UMPCs). My trainees would have handled UMPCs in the Classroom of the Future (COTF).

Anyway, some gaming-grade laptop computers have become so large they need to be hauled around in rollerbags, while others have shrunk to the size of UMPCs.

And now there are netbooks. Their use may be inspired by the “troubled economy”, but their low cost is a good way of putting technology into the hands of more users. But I think their rapid adoption is also inspired by the low cost computers offered by the OLPC programme and the Classmate PC. Both were created by the need to put technology in the hands of under privileged children around the world.

I’d like to see Singapore schools getting netbooks for every student. Each school has at least S$500,000 to spend over three years. Imagine each school getting 1000 netbooks at an educational price of S$400 each*. That would cost S$400,000* with S$100,000 left over for training, upkeep, outsourcing, sharing at conferences, etc. There is next to no need for software because of open source software and freeware, and there is a greater use of Web 2.0 tools too!

*Alternatively, consider a co-payment programme: Schools pay 50% or 75% of the cost while students/schools use their Edusave Pupils Fund or Grants to pay for the rest.

A few days ago, I blogged about what I shared with NIE colleagues on what I was doing with wikis during practicum. After reading some of my preservice teachers’ blogs, I realised I forgot to mention something else.

It was Vincent’s post in particular that jolted my memory. He had bemoaned the fact that:

“even at NIE, we as students do not get to use ICT for other courses like the way we experience for QED522… I wish NIE could start embracing ICT for its courses so that student teachers could learn through actual usage and experience the benefits in actual settings.”

I know of a few colleagues in other academic groups that are trying to integrate relevant forms of ICT, but I wish the same thing too. This is yet another reason we have e-learning weeks: To get teacher educators to think outside the traditional teaching box.

But in 2009, all faculty members in NIE may not have much of a choice. By the middle of that year, we expect to provide every teacher trainee with a laptop, probably a tablet PC. (I can share this now because one of my colleagues shared this information during the Fusion Learning event.) These laptops will accompany the trainees to schools once they leave NIE as full-time teachers.

The repurcussions of this move are huge. We will no longer need most computer labs (some are already being closed down). Preservice teachers should be able to access information and ideas anytime and anywhere wirelessly. This requires a shift in mindset of both the trainees and the teacher educators.

Will some of my colleagues continue to lecture when all the trainees are typing away? What exactly will trainees being doing with this new found freedom and power? How might this translate to practice in schools? These are just some of the questions a small group of colleagues and I intend to explore as part of a research project we are trying to get funding for.

On a separate note, I know that Apple Singapore wants to get back into the education arena. Why doesn’t Apple get involved and offer a tender for MacBooks? 😉


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