Friday, November 16, 2007

Teacher desk, 2.0

Ok, I'll stop (soon, maybe) with this everything in the classroom 2.0 thing.... However, this physical change was so dramatic, the change in my daily work space so freeing....

See if you can tell which of the pictures here is 1.0 and which is 2.0:

Desk 1.0Well duh, right? My dog of a "teacher workstation" is now gone, replaced by a laptop. This was no easy thing to accomplish, and very few teachers where I teach are able to move away from these hopelessly outdated and underpowered beasts. They are, BTW, the only machines on which teachers are allowed to bypass the filter.

Desk 2.0My little laptop (which I bought through a grant I wrote) was reconfigured by a nice network analyst. It has more processing power and 4x the memory of my old teacher workstation - which I refused to use for anything but attendance. Oh yeah, it's also wireless, so my teacher desk is now mobile...

Two days ago I uploaded pictures to Flickr on it. I posted a blog article on that laptop.

From my teacher desk, for the very first time.

My kids have been web 2.0 for a long time from our classroom. It's fun to finally be a part of it with them. I wish my colleagues could do the same.


Anonymous said...


It is really interesting to see how your classroom is arranged. In the school I work at the teachers had a chance at the end of last year to choose laptops OR desktop machines for themselves and their students (4 student workstations per classroom). Second Grade, Fourth Grade and Fifth grade opted for mobile labs.

Laptop carts for a grade level make so much sense to me. One class can use all 12 and the classrooms are situated very close to one another so that it is easy to share or to plug the cart into one location and send kids to get a computer whenever they need one.

However, I have gotten a lot of complaints. Some teachers are used to fixed assets and have a mind set that the laptops are a problem.

Can you write about what you think of using laptops with K, 1 and 2 students? The teachers in my school don't think it is a good idea and would rather have desktops for them.

I think that it would be SO great if each of the teachers had a laptop to use rather than a desktop machine...


Ken Pendergrass said...

Mark- Wow! Is that really a SPS classroom? I hardly recognize did you get permission from on high to do such a radical thing...did you see Tom's post about this:

Mark Ahlness said...

Janice, laptop use is really tricky - so many variables involved. One thing that is rarely, in my experience, taken into account is the teaching style of teachers. If you're one of those linear types (I believe this fits most teachers), the arrival of a laptop cart for a few weeks means your schedule, routine, and environment - change. You work really hard to establish those things, and then you start all over. This is way easier to do with older kids. It can cause chaos with younger classrooms, and certainly requires a lot of extra work and effort on the part of the teacher. Then of couse when the cart goes away, the classroom goes through another big change. It's not like teaching a "unit", either, as the computers are just tools. I know people have had success with carts, but it sure has not happened where I teach.

Ken, those pics are indeed from an SPS classroom. All the equipment you see, and lots more out of the picture, is there because of a grant I got (Qwest and OSPI). Even the wireless access point. My wonderful analyst configured a laptop so it doubles as a teacher workstation. Yes, I did see Tom's post. It's tough, if not impossible, to get the perspective of the classroom teacher across clearly. Gotta be there. - Mark

Jeff said...


You've made huge leaps this year not only for your students but for your school and district as well. It have been fun reading about the transition that is taking place in your classroom...a transition that I hope the rest of your school district is watching, reviewing, and preparing for. Keep us the amazing work!