November 28, 2011: It was another milestone for Robert College! Lise Prep students started to bring their laptops to class just like their notebooks and pens. Technology will not replace the teachers or learning; it will enhance learning in the classroom, offering the possibility for more student-centered learning and more collaboration opportunities.
The first phase of the project started in 2004 by providing laptops to teachers. The Lise Prep students bringing in their laptops is the second phase, and the next step will be in place in September 2012, when all RC students will be using laptops for learning.
The increasing need to access online resources, information and academic resources triggered RC to plan, implement and start the project in the first year with the LP students. RC has been using Moodle, an online learning management system, since 2008, where teachers can post content (documents, presentations, links, photos, videos, etc.), assignments, and create blogs, forums and wikis for their lessons. The students can access lesson content, complete their assignments and participate in online forums. The use of the Moodle system has increased the need to use computers. RC currently has only three computer labs which cannot accommodate this increased need. A committee was established to work on these issues and devised the laptop project; the first year is a pilot project with LP classes and the second year will involve the whole school. As part of the preparation, groups of teachers attended laptop conferences, visited schools, attended workshops on how technology can best support learning and exchanged ideas with experts in this field.
Sub-committees were formed and have started working on the academic and technical aspects of the project. Faculty members, students, administrators and parents have contributed and this will continue for the next steps as well. Participation of all the parties in the process is the key for success. Community guidelines, responsible use policies and FAQs were prepared and shared with teachers, students and parents. Digital citizenship is being taught by the Computer Science and English teachers. All LP students will to pass a “driving test” to see how well they know the rules and key concepts.
RC upgraded its network infrastructure to accommodate the increasing number of student laptops and increased its Internet bandwidth to 120Mbit/sec (it was 20 Mbit/sec) to enable its students and teachers to access valuable academic resources with reliable, fast and redundant connections.
RC will be working with Educational Collaborators, which is a company known world-wide for school laptop integration projects, to optimize the output of the project.
We will keep sharing the updates with you as we proceed. We believe that with your support, this project will be a very useful addition to teaching and learning at RC.
If you would like to see what laptop classrooms look like at RC, please click here.