I've had lots of computers for the kids to work on recently, but there has always been this 1/2 on - 1/2 off dance that I've done to do to give all the kids equal access. This is clearly one of the biggest obstacles facing classroom teachers when they consider how they'll use their handful (if they're lucky) of computers. I've worked hard to have more than a handful lately, but I do remember those days. On the right is our ONE, in 1994....
On Friday I took a few minutes to outline three writing options they had. The goal was publication of articles on their blogs or comments on other blogs. So I sent them to their computers:
- 12 went to Dell multimedia desktops, nice ones
- 4 went to Dell Latitude laptops, wireless of course
- 5 went to XO laptops
The tough part was deciding which students should get the XO's. Most of the kids would like to use them, but I chose those who I thought could write the best off the tops of their heads, without being able to rely on pulling previously written work from their folders on our server, and without the benefit of all the help of MS Word - autocorrect, spellcheck, etc, etc. They almost always write in Word first, and then copy/paste to their blogs. The XO's do have a Linux version of Firefox, so at least they have a basic spellchecker...
So they wrote. They revised, they brainstormed, they drafted, they rewrote, they edited, and they published. Not a single pencil or piece of paper was used in the process. And they were in a third grade classroom in a public school.
I know this happens elsewhere, but I've got to say it was a rewarding time when it came to my classroom. I believe the kids get it too.
Although several kids also wrote about other things, these were the three topical writing options I gave them: