Anywhere, anytime…


Where are you now? Oh, I see you. On the couch reading. Feet up. Using your laptop with a small snack by your side. Lights low. Music going, telly in the background. Did I just see you get up to get a drink?

With Information and Communication Technology (ICT) becoming more prominent in classrooms since I was in school (and most parents of our students these days) the physical layout has had to change somewhat to accommodate computers. In my experience I have seen a variety of ways that teachers and administrators have decided to arrange the technology in the classroom.
When I returned to teaching in 2000, computers were neatly positioned at the side of the classroom and students would sit facing the wall to do their work independently as part of rotations.

Then as a school we moved to positioning the computers at each table cluster. There was normally 4 table clusters in a room. This meant the students would have a computer at their table without having to leave. They often worked in pairs or in groups.

In my last classroom in this school I was lucky enough to be part of the pilot for laptops in a classroom. We had four laptops in my room and they no longer needed to be neatly set up against a wall or positioned at a table. They were free to roam around for learning to take place anytime anywhere! And boy did it!

I would have to say that when we moved from computers fixed to walls to becoming mobile units that could be used anywhere in the room to anywhere in the yard, then this was the time learning took off in my classroom. My Grade 5 students would pick up a laptop just like they would pick up a pen or a book. If they needed to research, look up a word, publish or even create a music piece the laptop j0397502.gifjoined them wherever they were.

So that’s where the computers are!

“Wow. My classroom never looked like this!”

It was the first day of school and my classroom was a buzzing hype of excitement and awe. Small groups were forming, chatting pointing and smiling about the way the room was arranged.

classroom 2“A couch! Cool. Looks like a lounge room” says a wide-eyed newbie to the room.
“Check out all the cute stuffed toys,” says her friend.
“My classroom never looked like this,” joins in Sam.
And these were just a sample of comments coming from the parents!!
You can imagine the pleasure I felt when I could hear these positive comments, and the affirmation that this may have been the beginning a great learning environment. Hesitantly the parents left their children’s classroom and my year began with a new group of students.

I have to thank the forward thinking leadership in one of my schools for supporting teachers in their questdisplays-and-eq-12-copy.jpg for creating learning spaces that were appealing and inviting to students. As teachers we were given a small budget at the beginning of the year that was purposefully for establishing a learning environment. This supplemented what we as teachers often spend ourselves creating the classroom we would want to spend time in if we were students.

What can I buy this year? Hmm lets see –
• Floor cushions
• Dr Seuss stuffed toys
• Oils and a new oil burner
• Stable tables for floor work
• Colourful table covers

Now what have I got from home that I can use –Classroom
• An old but comfy couch and recliner
• More stuffed toys my kids no longer want
• Floor rug
• A pink CD player
• Bean bag and scatter cushions

“Now kids, what can we do to make this our room?” I ask.
“Can we paint the tables like Mrs M’s room?” ask the kids.

So we set off on our first inquiry of the year…
How do we create a great place to learn? How should we paint the tables? What colours should we use? What sort of designs would promote thinking and learning? How do we decide the groups we work in?

Now where are the computers?