Saturday, April 30, 2005

Bridging the Digital Divide with Laptops

From the Wired Campus Blog comes word that the University of Wyoming is considering a plan that would require new freshmen to purchase a university-approved laptop computer. The motivation is to level the playing field by ensuring that every student goes to class equipped with identical technology. Ah, but the real question is what would students be doing with those laptops?

There's nothing in the posting to suggest that faculty training in how to effectively utilize laptops is part of the plan. It's easy for universities to provide hardware and then assume that users will figure out how to use it in pedagogically sound ways. As you might guess, that assumption is usually wrong. The digital divide among faculty is probably wider than among students. When I directed my university's Teaching and Learning Center, I came to find out that some of our faculty didn't know how to use email, while others had already surged forward to effectively use Tablet PCs in their teaching. Now there's a digital divide to bridge.
Link

2 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

I'm an online professor, however, when I worked on campus, our university migrated to being and IBM laptop school. Each incoming student is charged their first semester the cost of a new IBM computer. They use the computer throughout their degree program for in and out of the classroom. The campus does provide free tech support, hardware and software maintenance, etc. The campus all provides wireless Internet.

I remember the faculty had many concerns about using PC's in the classroom. They had a difficult time, as it would mean changing their class time to integrate computer use.

I don't know how the program is going, but I suspect not everyone is as happy as the university would like us to think.

I do know that as a former business computer professor, who taught in a PC lab, students often "surf", "IM", and "email" in class. Bottom line..it was distracting for everyone...including me. And...that was a computer class!

In a nutshell, I can't say I support computer use in most traditional classrooms.

3:00 PM  
Blogger jon said...

calculus textbook are so expensive. I agree, We have been looking for calculus textbook all night for a new calculus textbook class but havent been able to track down used calculus textbook that I can afford. Anyway, I enjoyed looking at you calculus textbook blog...

jon

11:39 PM  

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