Should Laptops Be Banned from the Classroom.

The world is rapidly progressing to a more technologically advanced era. Information and Communication Technology has influenced individual’s behavior, thinking skills and ability to fulfill daily tasks and responsibilities. As a result, the education system has incorporated technological tools into the curriculum. These tools include: radio broadcasting, computers, audio visual systems, the Internet, virtual learning centers, networks, instructional software, and projectors. Thus, the Ministry of Education’s philosophy (2005, p. 0) states that “Applying technology in education would enhance human capacity, dynamize the teaching/learning environment, promote creativity, innovation, critical thinking, decision making and lifelong learning. ” This predominant point suggests that laptops should not be banned in the classroom at the University level. Reasons are distribution, media, productivity, Internet, software, virtuality, management and environment. From the inception of the People’s Partnership government in 2010, an innovative approach has been implemented to endorse literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills.
The People’s Partnership (2010) acknowledged that, “Information Technology based learning will be infused in education at primary and secondary levels to support and complement other forms of teaching, learning and basic research. ” As a result, The Prime Minister declared that, “Every child going on to secondary school from the Secondary Entrance Assessment will be provided with a laptop to begin their secondary school education. ” (2010) With reference to this statement, I deem it necessary for laptops to be used at the University level.
Students spend majority of their time doing research, completing assignments, downloading notes from e-mails or the internet and most importantly, engaging in computer aided instruction at classes. A Laptop is an effective tool that facilitates learning to all students in and out of the classroom. The previously mentioned effective tool aims to change teaching to a student-centered process and make education more relevant. Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (2010). Laptops allow students the individual attention that fosters learning and provides effective feedback. Apart from this, lesson content are delivered through media in classes.

Projectors, speakers and laptops are some of the technological tools that promote teaching and learning. With regards to this, the Ministry of Education (2005) states that, The Ministry of Education recognizes the importance of locally produced ICT curriculum resources to support education reform in this digital era. As such, digital resources shall play a central role in integrating ICT into the curriculum, developing innovative practices and transforming the way students learn. To promote more effective use of ICT in the classroom, the MOE shall develop and supply quality digital education resources for teaching, learning and testing.
All digital content shall be relevant to the local curriculum and directed toward curriculum outcomes. (p. 26) Students are more motivated to learn and teaching is enthusiastic as students participate in lifelong learning. Additionally, students naturally gravitate to the most attractive mode of content delivery. The implementation of technological tools such as the laptop increases productivity. Students will develop a more positive attitude towards school and a more organized learning environment. Furthermore, students would be able to complete their work in a shorter period more effectively and efficiently.
The laptop enables students to use productivity tools such as Microsoft office which includes word processors, spreadsheets, databases and power point presentations. “At institutions where technology are fully integrated into the teaching and learning process all students are able to create output using a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. ” according to the (Ministry of Education, 2005, p. 19) This essential program aids students in their assignments and teachers in their lesson planning. With the use of the laptop, they can construct and create documents in meetings or anywhere convenient.
Productivity tools better prepare students for the workplace and foster creativity and innovation to benefit society. According to the (Minister of Education, the Honorable Hazel Manning 2007), “Let us seize this opportunity to use ICT across the curriculum. Utilize it for your lessons planning, utilize it for the delivery of your lessons. ” Simulations are software that enhances learning and allows students to experience real world systems. This makes learning safe and provides students the opportunity to experience the impossible. The Ministry of Education has received funding from the World Bank to support education, but that ICT are not funded. A 2006 IDB grant of US$67,000 was matched by US$45,000 from the government to jumpstart development of the country’s IT sector by increasing capacity in software development. ” (Gaible & Trucano 2009 p. 66). Courses at the University level use simulations and other software to enhance the lesson and learning. If students are equipped with laptops in the classroom, they can utilize this software while the lesson is being delivered.
Understanding of content is increased when students have access to this software. It compresses time, is cost effective and allows repetition so students can maximize learning. “Educational simulations have a number of advantages over other instructional methodologies and media. Students often find active participation in simulations to be more interesting, intrinsically motivating and closer to real world experiences than other learning modalities. ” (Alessi, & Trollip, as cited in Lunce, 2006). The internet is another technological tool that fosters learning and is a predominant tool in classrooms.
Laptops are equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities, which is a wireless function to connect to the internet. The internet is accessible in all educational institutions and is used in the classroom. Access to a pool of resources, use of course management systems (Blackboard), and e-mail are all primary reasons for internet connections especially for university students. The curriculum has been upgraded and assignments can be submitted online. “Internet Access will provide for further content. It makes available the vast knowledge and materials on the World Wide Web.
Where possible and necessary, the Ministry of Education shall provide high speed Internet access to all its institutions. ”(Ministry of Education, 2005, p. 31) If students are engaged in activities that requires research, they can access the internet from their laptops. Another predominant factor is that a student’s personal computer enables them to have their work at hand instead of using the school’s computer. Hence, any extra work that is done at school or during classes can be used when necessary at home. New information is presented every day and further research can always be done to better our understanding.
Tons of books and numerous handouts are usual tedious tasks for University students. Not only do you look studious, nerds are your best competition as you move around fully loaded. Luckily, the introduction of laptops has diminished this challenging capacity to store and manage information. According to Carter (2006 p. 10), “The technology is used to help students think and communicate effectively. The computer is a tool. ” Moreover, the University of Trinidad and Tobago has created a mission to “Go Green”, thus saving paper. This allows students to use online books and resources attainable from the features of a laptop.
Random access memory allows for this convenient ability for students to move around with everything at hand. Information can be added, modified or updated and even deleted. As time goes by, this collection of information can become frustrating since files may not be usable as it gets old or even misplaced. However, the laptop enables its users to data or information by naming each document or file and selecting its storage space for quick, easy retrieval. Students can store their notes for each class and retrieve them quickly when the teacher requests or mentions it.
According to Dr. Abshire (as cited in Lewin, 2009), At Cienega High School, students who own laptops can register for digital sections of several English, history and science classes. They don’t engage with textbooks that are finite, linear and rote. Teachers need digital resources to find those documents, those blogs, those wikis that get them beyond the plain vanilla curriculum in the textbooks. In conclusion, “As the Ministry of Education becomes more students centered and ICT driven, we know that greater use must be made of the global currency of information. (Minister of Education, Senator the Honorable Hazel Manning, 2007) Students develop higher cognitive skills and improve collaborative skills with the introduction of ICT in the curriculum. At the university level, students are being educated and prepared for the workplace. Thus, an effective and efficient technological tool is the laptop. If students are allowed to laptops in the classroom, school would be more interesting and motivating as lifelong learning and training cannot be confined to the traditional classroom. References Gaible, E. ,& Trucano, M. (Eds. ). 2009). Survey of ICT and education in the Caribbean Volume II:Country reports. Washington, DC. Lewin, T. (2009 August 8). In a digital future, textbooks are history. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2009/08/09/education/09textbook. html? _r=1&pagewanted=all Lunce, L. (2006). Simulations: Bringing the benefits of situated learning to the traditional classroom. Journal of Applied Educational Technology, 3(1), 38. Manning, S. (2007). Ministry of Education, Illuminant and Hewlett Packard: Increasing the use of ICT in education.
Newsday,p. A. 25 Ministry of Education. (2005, September). Draft policy for Information and Communications Technology in Education. Retrieved from http://www. moe. gov. tt/general_pdfs/moe_ict_policy. pdf The People’s Partnership. (2010, April), Prosperity for all manifesto. Retrieved from http://www. coptnt. com/ver03/media/peoples-manifesto-2010. pdf Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society. (2010). Laptops in schools programme. Retrieved from http://www. ttcsweb. org/articles/Laptops_in_Schools_Programme. pdf

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