Excerpt from Smart Classroom by Catherine Wambach (in THE Journal)


Adam Fischer, director of information services and technology at Kent School in Connecticut, says his school has... moved... from notebooks to tablet PCs. The reason for the move can be seen in the classroom of veteran Kent physics teacher Peter Goodwin. Goodwin’s students solve physics equations on their tablets and e-mail their work to him. By reviewing their work step-by-step, Goodwin can isolate exactly where students make mistakes. He then works the problems out in class using the tablet and an LCD projector, posting both the problem and the annotated solution on the class website. Goodwin, after more than 25 years of teaching, has found that the tablets enable him to cover far more material with a higher rate of student mastery.

The transition from laptops to tablets was made possible, according to Fischer, by Kent’s diligent teacher training efforts. “Instead of dry tutorial sessions, we want teachers in 1-to-1 programs to experiment with the machines,” he says. “In addition to regular training sessions, we let our teachers take the tablets home on weekends and over the summer. By letting them ‘play’ with the tablets, the excitement of what the technology can do just flows.”

Los Angeles-based educator, author, and 1-to-1 computing advocate Gary Stager... adds that providing the newest technology to teachers has another benefit: It emboldens teachers, elevating their commitment to their classroom goals. “Teacher professionalism is enhanced,” Stager says, “when teachers are equipped with the tools of 21st-century professionals.”