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Do We Need Teacher Computer Stations?

Instead of trying to sustain classroom computers for students, we’re toying with the idea of outfitting every classroom with a teacher station that includes a computer, a projection device, an interactive whiteboard, and a personal response system (PRS) with enough devices for each student. Teachers can use the equipment for instruction and to get feedback from students using the PRS. It will also be less expensive to keep up. What do you think?

I think a teacher station as you describe can be very useful. However, I’m concerned about it’s being viewed as a replacement for student hardware. Why? Because this configuration will reinforce the Industrial Age model of the teacher as ‘sage on the stage’ and make it difficult for students to master 21st Century Skills such as Information Literacy.

Direct instruction and immediate feedback on students’ understanding of basic concepts are certainly important; however, students also need ready access to technology tools when other instructional strategies are used, such as project-based learning. How will this be achieved? There are solutions: mobile labs and handheld PCs are two options that are less expensive than placing multiple desktops in each classroom, but will still afford access where students are taking charge of their own learning and gaining critical skills.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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