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Why You Should Ditch The Computer Lab

30 Sep 2014

Many elementary schools still have one room dedicated to computers- rows of computers faced toward the front of the class. With over a third of elementary students owning a mobile device and 97% of university students own laptops today, is this the most effective model for integrating technology into the classroom?

Mobile learning is not only transforming learning but the classroom landscape. Instead of learning technology in a vacuum, students should be using it the same as paper and pencil. How can administrators and educators start changing the landscape?

Mobile carts that store and charge laptops and tablets have become a popular alternative to rows of computers. With more school districts providing wireless access to the internet, mobile learning is a viable and needed option for students. One mobile cart replaces a computer lab, thus freeing up an entire classroom. This simple change makes sharing and using technology easy. Laptops have become an affordable alternative to desktops, thus making the mobile cart option expandable to every grade level.

Still have the old computers that are stationary? Think outside the box and split the computers up into classrooms, in pairs or small groups. Older computers are a great addition to the younger grades where internet is key but heavy programs are not. Mobile learning carts can be prioritized for older grade levels. Ideally, teachers and students would have access to a mobile cart at each grade level.

The important thing is to get teacher buy in for whatever your vision is. Survey them- would they rather have a computer lab or computers in their room they know they can use and count on every day for student learning? Think about how you want student interacting with technology. Will they go to computer labs in high school? College? What are we preparing them for? Does the lab foster creativity and collaboration among students? Don’t be afraid to ditch the lab and put the technology into the hands of students wherever they are.

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