Who needs OLPC? Just get the 'C' bit involved...
In a school where students bring their own laptops
Originally uploaded by Edublogger
I've enjoyed yet more hospitality at Pine Crest School today, but what takes me aback the most is the confidence of the youngsters at this albeit pretty exclusive school.
In the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence we are aiming for 'Confident Individuals', and at Pine Crest they have been there some time. Nothing solely to do with being a private school, nothing solely to do with having everything they need. It's everything to do with the way the students are seen as active collaborators in their learning, and treated by teachers as teachers would hope to be treated by each other. There's a kind of mutual professionalism between student and teacher that we see being described in Chris' Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. It's exemplified in the way that the young people helping my colleagues and me here today have taken the initiative in everything from designing directional posters, organising trade stand materials, preparing web materials and PowerPoints. They even took part in an impromptu call to Tess to show off how they were using ICT. (For the purposes of expansion on this notion, they're not just excellent secretaries: I've also seen some impressive displays of art and musical talent, film-making ability, digital storytelling et al.)
Students are given large doses of trust and responsibility - they can just bring in their own laptops and gaming devices and hook them up to the wifi network that runs throughout the schools. The result is what you see in the picture with this post; I've been in plenty of schools where mobile phone bluetooth connections can be made in their scores, but this is the first time that my iTunes network has been significantly expanded with large amounts of Ashlee Simpson, Nelly and Franz Ferdinand.
When it's not just a laptop, but your laptop, learning with the technology really does just seem much more successfully integral to learning, rather than a rather 'fake' add-on attempted on the school premises.
Above all, where so many school districts continue to dither on whether they should allow those who do have laptops, smart phones and games consoles to bring them into school and hook up to the school network, this is yet another example showing that it can be done. Not all students do have handheld computers at their disposal - using their means this school has provided free rental of handheld devices to students who need it (just like Glasgow Caledonian University have done). There is an expectation that computers will be used for learning, an expectation from all that this is a norm.