Laptops & Google Docs

A Reflection of their use derived from my observations

My First Impressions

Prior to observing at Lexington, I had never been in a school that had classroom sets of laptops. At my own high school, we seldom used computers and if we did had to make a classroom appointment at the library. The classroom I observed used these laptops for a variety of functions, almost daily, and had many lessons incorporate a research component with them.


However, what really stood out to me was Google Docs and its almost seamless use in the classroom. Students had their own Google account and were able to receive assignments, communicate with their instructor, take tests, and do group work through the website. Not only was this incredibly convenient, but it allowed for several different types of lessons and some really cool interactive tools.

Unfortunately, there were some drawbacks.

I noticed that the laptops were not always treated with care, and a few often did not work as a result. I can imagine that laptop repairs can get very costly at some schools. Of course, there were also occasionally issues with the wifi or students not being able to log in, and this also created some issues.


The biggest problem however was the internet could prove as a great distraction. Some students would completely abuse their freedom to use computers, and it was frustrating turning around to see the same students on a different website time and time again. Though most students did use them responsibly, the students that already had attention issues really seemed to struggle.

Overall

The benefits simply outweigh the drawbacks so much that I would absolutely want a classroom set of laptops for my classroom. While I did experience some frustration that I didn't expect, the types of activities that can be used are simply mind boggling. With different programs being developed practically every day for education, I think there will be a time that computers will have to be standard in the classroom. While I think some still see them as a luxury, given the type of society that we live in, they really are quickly becoming a necessity. Though the issues I listed above are no doubt a concern and will be difficult to handle, I believe they certainly can be overcome.