If you could build your dream computer lab, what would it look like?
I posed this question to my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders earlier this week, and I just loved some of the results that I got back as to what would be included in a new lab:
- Massaging chairs
- high top tables
- Wii’s and/or Xboxes
- circle tables
- flat screen TV’s
- Two SMART boards (one in the front, one in the back)
- Brightly painted walls
- Windows that you could actually look out of (as opposed to my painted windows now)
- New, faster computers
- Wall and ceiling murals
- Foot massagers
- Touch screen computers
- A way to hide all of the wires
I thought some of their ideas bordered on the crazy at first, but after sleeping on it, and after attending an architectural pitch meeting where NO LAB was presented, I started to think that these ideas (some of them, anyway) weren’t so crazy.
I’m fairly sure that our district is moving towards a more 1:1 approach with technology. If each student HAS a computer, what would the need for a dedicated lab be? What if we envision a more collaborative work space? That would make some of these student ideas not so crazy. Let’s bring in some of those circle tables in the middle of the room, maybe some desk/counter space around the walls. Let’s make sure there are plenty of power and internet hook-ups. Why not add some flat screen TV’s? Students can plug in and share their screen with others in their group. Let’s create a more collaborative work space.
Ok, great, we have a new collaborative work space. Two questions now come to mind:
- Where do the primary kids learn? Kindergarteners have a hard enough time logging on to the computer; will this space be too overwhelming for them?
- What will be the evolving role of the technology teacher? Will we continue to be a special, or would our special time with the students be strictly for integration purposes?
We talk about teaching our students 21st century skills. We’re 13-14 years into the 21st century, where I think we’re just realizing what it means to be a 21st century learner, as well as educator. Philosophies are changing, common core is being debated, but how about the technology teacher? It really will not be long before the position of “Technology Teacher” goes extinct. As new teachers come into the profession with an idea of how to infuse technology into their curriculum, with that come teaching the basic skills needed for navigating the computer. If we can teach students to work together in a collaborative setting and still teach them the skills they need, they’ll be much better off with each successive year in school that gets them closer to the work force. A lab that will offer those ways to teach real-world skills, even if it has foot massagers would be pretty cool.