Inspired Classrooms - a 1:1 alternative?

INspired Teaming

So, about 5-6 years ago, I started brewing this idea of how to use computers more effectively in my 4th grade classroom. Seeing a picture of a classroom setup of Paula Barnard’s classroom (a 4th grade teacher in Washington State) triggered me to start exploring the potential of students having access to computers throughout the day. Just as my excitement for my new classroom design (and how I was going to implement it at the beginning of the following year) was peaking, I moved out of the classroom and into a campus instructional technology position. But - that didn’t stop me from pressing forward. I found an eager teacher at my new campus who shared the same enthusiasm for this new design, and INspired Teaming was born. The whole premise for designing a classroom this way was to move the computers off of the wall (where they typically sat in a nice neat row), and in front of the students where they could use them throughout the day.

I put together an 8 minute video at least 4 years ago, so feel free to take a look at how the classroom design got started: VideoInspired Classrooms

You might be asking yourself ‘why are you bringing this up, Jerram, 6 years down the road?’. Well, the answer is that while we have seen a number of classrooms (mainly elementary) move forward with this physical setup, the tools have changed drastically in the past couple of years.

Darren Wilson, Instructional Technology Specialist at Hanes Elementary is bringing new life to this concept. While he is working with teachers to provide the necessary hardware for setting up the classroom environment (Inspired Classrooms!), he has also setup an Inspired Classroom Wiki to share the design.

While this blog entry is simply designed to introduce the concept, I would (and probably will in the near future) argue that this setup is close to being as effective as a 1:1 laptop environment. You see, what we have discovered in our 1:1 laptop program (and it makes perfect sense) is that it comes down to how you teach, not whether you have a computer or not. (This is backed up by the LoTI concept that we are working hard to bring to the fore of our 1:1 program.)

Inspired Classrooms prime the learning environment for a teacher that already knows how to engage students. I love the word ‘prime’. I always think about our 2-cycle Lawn Boy mower that I grew up with (with a 22″ deck), mowing 2 acres of grass every third week of the summer. I had to push that white, rubbery priming button to inject gas into the engine so that when I pulled the starter cord it would fire to life. THAT is how I think about technology. Just imagine what happens when we prime a good teacher with the right tools! I can picture them roaring to life in their classroom…somewhere out there where the left lane ends.

One Response to “Inspired Classrooms - a 1:1 alternative?”

  1. Megan Stanistreet Says:

    Interesting ideas presented here. At my husband’s school they have a similar set up. They use “jiffy poles” to deal with the wiring issues.

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