Laptops and Teacher Transformation

Laptops and Teacher Transformation

Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch188
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Since the first 1:1 laptop program was introduced in 1989 at the Ladies’ Methodist College in Australia (Johnstone, 2003), there have been numerous studies conducted on the benefits of 1:1 computing with school-aged children. Bebell (2005), Fadel and Lemke (2006), Livingstone (2006), and Russell, Bebell, and Higgins (2004) have all reported on increases in student achievement especially in writing, analysis, and research while Stevenson (1999) has noted improvement in standardized test scores. In fewer than twenty years, 1:1 computing programs have thrived in North America, Europe, Australia, and South America. The clear benefits to the students using laptops have been well documented to the extent that the professional literature demonstrates myriad advantages to using laptops in the classroom. As this study will show, there has been little discussion in the professional literature on how using laptops in the classroom affects the teachers. To this end, this chapter will outline my research findings with 12 laptops teachers who are transformed through technology. For the purposes of this chapter, I will define 1:1 computing classrooms as learning environments where every person in the classroom has a laptop computer with wireless Internet and printer capabilities for at least fifty percent of the day.
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Research Methods

Using an adapted model of my previous research paradigm (Kitchenham, 2006), I conducted the study with the 1:1 computing teachers. I used three research tools: an on-line questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, and researcher field notes. The teacher questionnaire informed the semi-structured interview and my field notes filled in gaps among the other data instruments. That is, each data source added to and expanded on the other data sources so that the pooled data revealed significant results in relation to the degree of perspective transformation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Pilgrim: The new type of teacher who uses laptops in the classroom and exploits the power of the Internet who is neither Prensky’s digital native nor digital immigrant.

Meaning Perspective: Is “the structure of cultural and psychological assumptions within which our past experience assimilates and transforms new experience” (Mezirow, 1985, p. 21).

Disorienting Dilemma: Within a perspective transformation, a disorienting dilemma is the catalyst for perspective transformation. Dilemmas usually occur when people have experiences that do not fit their expectations or make sense to them and they cannot resolve the situations without some change in their views of the world.

Transformative Learning: A process of examining, questioning, validating, and revising perceptions which is based on constructivist assumptions of adult learning. According to Mezirow (2003, p. 58) it “is learning that transforms problematic frames of reference—sets of fixed assumptions and expectations (habits of mind, meaning perspectives, mindsets)—to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, reflective, and emotionally able to change”.

Meaning Scheme: Is “the constellation of concept, belief, judgment, and feeling which shapes a particular interpretation” (Mezirow, 1994b, p. 223). These beliefs, attitudes, and emotional reactions might change upon critical reflection by the adult learner.

Frame Of Reference: A frame of reference comprises a set of meaning schemes that encompass a habit of mind, a mind-set, and a way of understanding and interpreting one’s knowledge system. It is the problematic frames of reference that are transformed when one experiences a perspective transformation

Critical Reflection: Questioning previously-held beliefs and assumptions, resulting in the acquisition of a new perspective based on that action.

Perspective Transformation: Occurs when adult learners, through critical reflection, come to the realisation that new meaning structures need to be created and action needs to be taken in order to break away from constraining psycho-cultural assumptions.

1:1 Computing Classrooms: Places where every child in the class has a laptop computer with wireless Internet and printer capabilities for at least fifty percent of the day.

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