Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The End of School Computer Labs?

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about doing away with computer labs in schools. BYOD and one to one computers have been talked about and have been growing movements for a while. I wonder if the current situation will be the final tipping point.

My old school removed the computers from the computer labs. The work involved in constantly sterilizing and cleaning them was becoming too much. So students bring their own devices and now connect to virtual machines via the network. They have access to all the school’s licensed software no matter what device. This worked great when we moved to remote learning in the spring.

Besides the cleaning/sterilizing issue this means a lot of new flexibility. Of course it makes it easier if school has to close and students have to learn from home. But in school it opens more rooms for teaching. And if you have small rooms classes can even be split across rooms with teachers in one room, or even at home, teaching to several rooms with safety distancing.

I computer room can have a more flexible layout, perhaps with easily movable tables for group work, focusing on a lecture, or just plain spreading out.

Will computer labs now totally disappear? We’ll see. A lot depends on a willingness and ability to provide computers for every student. That’s easier in wealthy areas than poor ones. But it just may be the way things have to be.

1 comment:

Garth said...

I tore my lab down and removed half the computers in the library for spacing reasons. Students and parents were told BYOD. If we ever have to do a school testing I am not sure what we are going to do. How disappointing, no standardized testing possible.