The 5 Cs of the 1:1 Laptop Environment

The 5 Cs of the 1:1 Laptop Environment

This conviction about the 5 Cs of the 1:1 Laptop Environment came to me when I was in New Brunswick last month making a presentation to teachers who were teaching to students who had just been given laptops. It comes from my own observations from teaching with the use of laptop myself for the last four years and in being in a 1:1 environment for two years.

Tonight I listened to Gary Stager’s presentation at Learning 2.0 in Shanghai (care of Wes Fryer) just last week. I agreed with MOST of his presentation. He stated that the most important activity the laptop permits is that of construction (creation). It is certainly a very important goal within that environment and, as a social constructivist who has been inspired by the work of David Jonassen, I would agree that this is an important goal in a 1:1 environment.

However, I would say that given today’s super-powered Internet tools and environments, that while we educators have done a fairly good job of fostering the ability to collate, create and construct, we have NOT done such a good job at providing opportunities to communicate and collaborate given a ubiquitous wireless environment which always accompanies a laptop environment. (I realize I somehow left out connect, but that sense is there, I think!)

It drove me CRAZY in the last few years that we would inflict digitally-based projects on our students, they would submit them (often over the built-in email service), we would evaluate them, and poof! that was it, they were gone. Unless the student self-consciously saved their projects themselves, usually the project was doomed to be flushed out at the end of the year because the server space needed reclaiming. No vision for sharing that project with a larger audience or preserving it as a portfolio artifact for the future. No sense of reflection about progress over a period of time. No idea that another audience existed who could benefit from this constructed knowledge.

I also believe there is a great deal of value in socially-constructed knowledge and even better if the collaboration has to include a distance education component to it. Many of our 21st Century learners will have to do this as part of their future education or employment – or just for pleasure.

I would love to hear from other educators about *their* opinions on this issue!

2 thoughts on “The 5 Cs of the 1:1 Laptop Environment

  1. Sharon, thanks for sharing the Learning 2.0 resources (I look forward to hearing Gary’s session) and your thoughts. I cannot imagine working with students where I can not foster an online learning environment and develop objectives for learning that include socially constructed knowledge. I know this is a clichy, however I will keep using it until everyone understands, the walls of the classroom can and should be flattened by using mobile computing, online tools (free) and creative, imaginative curriculum that includes reaching out to a global audience and including them.
    I am struggling in my new position here in the middle east with a school that has facilities but lacks knowledge on how to use 1:1 computing. Like you I have developed many strategies and use ubiquitous computing ideals to support learning initiatives…whereas I can see many of my colleagues are asking the students to put the laptops away because they are a ‘distraction’!!!
    The quest for a rational 1:1 approach continues…or should I say I am driving it along here this year.

  2. Sarah Kaminski says:

    I like the idea of the five Cs of the 1:1 laptop environment. They seem to fit well into Web 2.0 and all of the unique concepts associated with it. The ideas of collaboration and communication are under-stressed in the school systems, and there are such wonderful tools out there to assist with them. The problem seems to lie in getting permission to get to the tools that could be used. Part of the problem could also be teacher’s unfamiliarity with any other type of communication tools other than email. I believe it would be infinitely beneficial to both students and teachers alike to delve into these seemingly neglected concepts of collaboration and communication. If students are exposed to things such as wikis they would be able to use them for the rest of their lives. Instead of trading hundreds of emails, all information could be stored in one convenient location. The possibilities are endless, and the students to which we teach these new ideas would most likely be grateful to know them in the future. There are so many intriguing things that can be done with ubiquitous computing to benefit the 1:1 environment.

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