Do you think computers in schools should be in the lab?Do you think computers in schools should be in the lab?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I sure hope this moves to a discussion board because this topic is worthy of a lot different perspectives.

First, let's start with what research shows us: Technology in the classroom is no longer optional. Millenial learners and some teachers have a massive digital divide and, should we decide to limit our computer usage to one-45 minute session per week at the computer lab, our divide would be even greater.

Second, research also shows that students are getting more technology exposure at home than they are at school precisely because technology is reduced to menial tasks in the classroom. The fact is that technology is everywhere and it is a huge part of the lives of millennial learners. To reduce the use would be, again, to widen the digital divide.

Finally (to be more specific in my final answer), computers should be everywhere and be accessible and portable. This is the reason why there have been so many initiatives such as the $100 laptop drive "one laptop per child",or OLPC. This is an initiative that involves companies to donate a specially-made laptop to children in third world countries.

If this OLPC initiative is happening in third world countries, why not extend it to the US? There is NO excuse to limit computer usage in learning institutions nor to say that there is not enough funding to make technology happen. Technology is a result of social change. Computers should, therefore, be everywhere.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First of all, there is a great set of essays here on eNotes that discusses the role of computers in education.  You might want to look at it.  I am putting the link here in my answer because this question will probably get moved to the discussion pages and the links below will be lost.

In my opinion, it is useful to have a few computers in a classroom, but most of a school's computers should be in a lab.  It is good to have one or two computers available for student use in a high school classroom so that students can quickly look up information that they need without leaving the room.

However, it's best to have most of the computers in a lab so that they can be better maintained and monitored.  The teacher in charge of the computer lab can be much more technologically savvy and can give students much more help.  He or she can also be sure that students are not accessing things they should not be or doing things that will hurt the computers.  Also, having a large number of computers in a lab allows teachers to bring classes down to the lab every now and then when a lesson requires all the students to have access to a computer.

catd1115 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that computers are most beneficial when they are offered in both the lab and the classroom setting. It is WONDERFUL to be able to teach a lesson in a lab where every student has access to a computer and you can lead the students through sets of skill steps as well as allow them to work on their own and learn from each other. It is also very beneficial for a student to have access to a computer in the classroom for smaller tasks. This can be anything from word processing to internet research or finding images or small pieces of information for a project. The access in the classroom gives the student an opportunity to work on these skills independently and at their own pace. In addition that access allows slower students who may not finish a project in the lab, access to the technology they need to finish at a slower pace. Of course another advantage of the lab is that all students can be using the technology, but they don't have to be working on the same thing. It is an ideal situation for differentiated instruction. In a world where technology is the first necessity of a productive workforce, students need to learn computer skills in various situations.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Regardless of whether computers are somewhere else as well, I really think, depending on school size, that one to two labs should be available. Teachers should be able to take classes in to help them on special projects, but space should also be available for students to use the computers and printers. A great many people have computers, but not all, and those with computers may have printers or not.

I do think that the computers should only be used for school work and not for entertainment purposes. I know kids like to play (though many use their phones), but it's important that there are enough machines so those who need them are not turned away.

Having computer centers in the library is a good idea as well. If someone is doing research, and we want them to use more than just Internet sources, it is good to have them writing and researching where there are books available to them.

Our district does not have student computers in the classroom, so I can't really speak to that...expect we are lucky to have a computer in each room for the teacher to use.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think there should be computers in both places.  First of all, there are times when it is much more efficient to have a lot of computers in one place, with students working on them all at once.  In this way, you can circulate and help them as needed and you can also use the internet for research and review.  For example, students can review on a computer program or with a web site.

It is also important to have computers in the classroom.  You cannot always get to a lab, and sometimes you have something that one student needs.  For example, a computer in the classroom can be used for quick research or word processing.  While other students are working on things, one or two students can work on the computer.  It also can be useful for one on one tutoring of one student while you teach others.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The labs are practical and convenient, and usually more secure and cost effective than say, roving carts of laptops or those belonging to individual teachers.  Since almost all such labs are connected to the internet, then they are sometimes tied to servers and connections that cannot be routed to all classrooms, or it is too expensive to do so.  But these are practical considerations and the fact most are in labs does not mean that is the best thing educationally.  I believe I could be more effective as a teacher with computer resources if I could integrate them more fully and easily into my daily classroom instead of relocating 32 students each time.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another positive of labs is that the computers are more likely to be used to the fullest advantage in regards to time.  No one teacher is likely to need a lab every day of the week -- or even 3 times a week, but in the school as a whole, there is very likely the potential need to have computer access every period of every day.  It would be a shame to have unused computers in my classroom on a day that some other teacher has a great lesson and no access.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with other editors. There should be computer labs that are dedicated computing spaces, but I also like the way in which many schools and colleges are becoming far more flexible in terms of having roving laptops or desks with computers inbuilt that can be popped up. Clearly more and more learning is going to be computer based, so having more of both approaches will be necessary.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I actually tend to like this.  We have computers in the hands of every kid in the school, everyone has their own laptop.  All too often it simply serves as a distraction or a pacifier when the kids are in study halls.  Amazingly no one acts up, they just sit there absorbed in the screen.

So I think having them in a lab would be a really good idea.

enrisonjohnson | Student

It should be separated  and put in the lab. so that the students will not be tempted in playing the computers and to avoid damage of the computers, as we know students right now are addict playing computer games, unlike before . . .only solitaire. trilok ankle brace

kihiray | Student

I do think so because it contributes to the discipline of the student and a time socialise with fellow students other than the usual carrying of the laptops and locking up self in bedroom or dormitories.But once the computers are in the labs,there is a big cahnce that students will learn more both from collegues and the computer through the intermingle.

astanley50 | Student

There is no doubt that computers are here to stay. We are continually going through cycles with technology. One of the hot topics now is should there be computers in the classroom, Lab, or both. By answer is both, but the main use should be in the classroom.

Each room needs to be set up with pods of computer, betweer 3-5 of them that are connected to the network and have all the sofware on them that you would find in your school's computer lab.

Labs are great, and if you have software like "VISIONS", it becomes even better to use.But, I do not believe for a moment that the most of the learning should be in a lab.

If you have pods set up in your classroom, then the students you are working with can access the technology when they need it, not when the lab is available. Think of a routine in your classroom where you can have 5 students working on their current work for periods of 25-30 minutes each and every day. Once their time is up, simply have them move off and another student move in. They are using it NOW, when they need it. Technology is great, but needs to be available to us to use when we need it.

You can have 2 students researching a Social Studies topic, one writing a story and going through the editing process, one doing math equations, and one sending an e-mail to an e-pal in another country. This type of thing realy would not in my opinion be an efficient use of the full lab, but great in the classroom.

The lab can be used for whole class demonstrations.

prashant86 | Student
Do you think computers in schools should be in the lab?

Do you think computers in schools should be in the lab?

no it should be in classroom also....because at the time of teaching you can show them updated things...and they can learn more and know more....

coco85 | Student

I believe that computers should be available as much as the school budget allows.  Using them in the computer lab is good because the teacher can instruct the class as a whole about new programs.  Having a few in the class is effective because the teacher can use it quickly to research something that the students asked and allow students to type up their work. I also think it’s good for the teacher to be able to quickly create a worksheet made especially for the class’s needs and run it off in the photocopier.  It of course comes down to budget, but what is important is that computers do not become the only tool of research.

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