I am sitting in a class right now. I am sitting at the back of the room watching and waiting to be needed. In the class, they are working on research for a sustainability project(I swear everything in this school is about sustainability). They are all on their computers. Most have ear buds or headphones. From my view, most are hard at work with the occasional flip to the source of their music to make some adjustments. Honestly, I’m in awe.
Here’s why. At my old school, we were also one to one with the computers. We provided those computers to the kids (a difference here is the parents have to buy them). For even me, as a special education teacher, those computers were the bane of my existence. I spent so much time wrangling students to return to their tasks or monitoring their work to make sure they were not on games or watching movies or YouTube or any of the thousand other things you can do with a computer. It was a constant battle, and it was exhausting to the point where quite a few teachers raised the idea of going back to no computers. It was more of a hinderance than a help in our case. It cost the school a big chunk of money for the start up. Then even more for the repairs. Teachers spent more time monitoring the students than they should have. It was ridiculous. We ended up purchasing a software that would allow us to monitor the screens from our own computers. We could shut down inappropriate material when needed. It was almost to the point where the computers were completely pointless because teachers stopped using them in an effort to keep kids on task because the computers were shut and put away.
Here is different. For the most part, except for a couple outliers, the kids are on task and working. I have just spent an 80 minute period as support in a classroom that really didn’t need the support because the kids spent that 80 minutes working. They were given the assignment at the beginning of the period and then turned loose to complete criterion B in the IB curriculum. Away they went too. They really hammer responsibility into the kids. If they choose to be off task and not do their work, there are hefty consequences come grading time.