There was a recent discussion on the ISTE Community Ning regarding whether or not computer labs will become obsolete. This is a huge topic of discussion for Technology Specialists, teachers, students and parents. We are living in a world where technology is at our fingertips. Most of us use handheld devices and can access the internet at any given moment with a plethora of tools. Smart phones, iPads, laptops, etc, keep us connected with others, the world and information at the touch of a button.
Traditionally, most schools, if they’re lucky enough, have a computer lab. Throughout the past decade, classrooms have been fortunate to have one computer per classroom and a computer lab to take students to weekly or bi-weekly. However, most classroom teachers feel lost with 25 students and 1:1 computer activities and management. In most cases, it becomes “game-time” and a trouble-shooting session.
The image above is not a picture of my computer lab. However, it appears to be equipped with all of the gadgets and tools needed to bring kids into the 21st century. You can see that there’s a teacher (but we don’t know if she’s a lab teacher), an interactive whiteboard, enough computers for the class, informational bulletin boards and an inviting environment. But, when you think about the ability to collaborate and engage with one another, it would be difficult.
The biggest argument that I totally agree with is that by having computer labs as separate subjects, it implies that technology is something that is done outside of the classroom. I have a passion for integration. Technology is something that comes last. What I love most about what I do, is that I’m able to teach all subjects, all ages of students and I’m able to collaborate with faculty on fun and exciting projects throughout the year.
At Trinity, the Technology Lab has had a complete overhaul and has been re-named the Idea Lab. This is something very exciting and innovative in instructional technology. Our vision, is to have a space where students, faculty and staff can come together to collaborate and work in comfort in an inviting environment. The premise of the Idea Lab is that it’s not just a place where technology is housed, or used, but it’s a space where great ideas will take place. The room has one wall that is glassed in and open to the hallway so learning is seen by everyone.