Whilst we here at Stone think technology is probably the best thing to happen to the modern-day classroom, not everyone agrees. Ever since 2015, reports have emerged accusing technology, in particular mobile devices such as tablets and laptops, for the decline in handwriting ability and suggestions that computers in the classroom don’t actually improve results.
There’s no doubt mobile devices such as laptops are very much here to stay and are very much an everyday part of our lives. Two in three UK children use tech to complete their homework and British schools now spend £900m a year on edtech, so there must be some form of beneficial gain from integrating tech into the classroom – despite what those critics say who see it merely as a disruption.
The truth is, whilst most educators, parents and scholars have debated this for years, there is evidence to suggest that technology does in fact help students to develop particular skills, especially in maths. However, the learning outcomes you want from computers are only achieved by how you use it in the classroom. Laptops, in particular shouldn’t be a substitute for teaching, but rather an enhancement on education that allows young people to engage with lesson content and not become distracted. But what are the benefits to having laptops in class and which features should you be looking out for?
There’s so many benefits that come with using laptops in school. Lessons should be about teachers and students collaborating, and flicking through a textbook to find out answers just isn’t collaborative or appealing anymore. Pupils that enjoy lessons are more likely to actually want to learn, so it’s a good idea to keep interaction in the classroom fun and engaging.
Giving students the opportunity to get creative when finding answers through technology is a great way to start. Swapping the dated textbook sat gathering dust on a desk for a laptop where students can explore the web makes lessons all the more interesting, with access to resources they simply can’t get offline and even gather answers that are more up to date than what’s in a textbook. Pupils sharing laptops to conduct research encourages collaboration, studies of children working together using laptops to learn in lessons have been carried out and the results have proven to be effective in aiding the retention of knowledge.
Whilst sharing a laptop is excellent for encouraging teamwork amongst students, there’s also benefits to be seen in 1:1 schemes that have grown in popularity over recent years too. Teachers are able to get students to develop independent learning practices that prepare them for the working world, there aren’t many careers I can think of that involve having to share a laptop, therefore the implementation of this practice can only be positive. But not every school has the budget to facilitate a 1:1 scheme. Both learning environments, whether shared or 1:1, encourages some form of skill that will be important later in life.
Mobile devices are also seen to encourage otherwise disinterested pupils into taking part in class and becoming more engaged with content and lessons. More personalised than a textbook, lesson content can be tailored to suit the learning style of each and every student through the use of mobile technology (depending on the software you have accompanying it, of course). And it’s not just an advantage for students, teachers can benefit from laptops too. The portability of a laptop means it can be taken from class to class, offering the flexibility to teach from just about anywhere.
Introducing technology across a child’s education experience early on is important to help develop computing skills they’re definitely going to need in the future and especially if students don’t have access to tech when they’re at home.
It’s clear laptops enrich teamwork and enhance creativity, they’re an important part of the education setting for both teachers and students, as long as the right device is chosen to support the school’s needs.
The great thing about having the use of mobile technology within a class is you’re no longer restricted to just using desktops that continually need to be plugged in to a power source (which also isn’t very environmentally friendly). Whilst desktops still have a place within the classroom, as they’re needed for more demanding projects that a laptop just can’t manage, the great thing about mobile technology is that it’s portable.
This means that lessons aren’t just confined to the classroom, and more work can be completed elsewhere and make for an anytime, anywhere learning strategy to be adopted. With laptops, students have the opportunity to gain a new learning experience, not just in the confines of a classroom, and teachers can take students on field trips with a laptop at hand – something you simply can’t do with a desktop.
But with portable learning, you’re going to need a laptop that will give you enough battery power to last for at least the school day. There’s nothing worse than taking students out of the classroom along with a trusty laptop only for the battery to run out once you’ve got to your destination. Any laptop that can’t hold its charge isn’t a very good one. A battery that can last around 8 hours or over is usually the best option when choosing a laptop for schools.
One device in particular that has an excellent battery life is the Toshiba Satellite Pro R40. This durable laptop has up to an incredible 8 hours battery life so there’s no need for students and teachers to feel as if they constantly need to be close to a power source. Oh, and it’s also been built to withstand the daily wear and tear pupils usually put school tech through, which is always useful!
And as an added bonus, Toshiba have pre-installed Eco Utility software, meaning you’re in control of the power consumption of the EPEAT certified device and ticking that environmentally friendly box too.
Damage to Devices
Leading on from my last point, accidents or intentional damage happens in schools, there’s no getting away from that. So, what schools need is a robust laptop that’s tough enough to withstand the pressure of the more heavy-handed pupil.
Whilst the R40 is also a great choice when looking for this feature in a laptop, the Toshiba Satellite R50 could also be considered. With this laptop, you can be sure you’re getting something that’s robust enough to handle anything that’s thrown at it (within reason!). It’s even been drop tested to ensure it can cope with a little more than just wear and tear. Because Toshiba have made sure this laptop was built to last, it makes a great investment in the long run.
Probably the most important aspect when looking for a school laptop is the fact that it needs to be reliable. Whether it’s for students in the classroom or for teachers to put together lesson plans on the go, the Toshiba R50 or R40 is a perfect choice. It boasts high reliability and performance and is preinstalled with McAfee software to help protect sensitive student and teacher data as well as an advanced system that supports silent working and sharp visuals. Both the inside and the outside of this laptop have been designed and built to look and work like a sleek, high-end laptop but it doesn’t come with the high-end price tag, making it a laptop that should be a serious contender when choosing a laptop for schools.
Preparing pupils for the digital world is vital, eliminating technology from the classroom really isn’t the way forward if we are going to prepare them for what’s to come. Students need equipment that’s reliable enough and is equipped with the right features to assist with their learning. Mobile technology should be a serious contender when looking for reliability and performance and that offers a flexible solution to assist educators in their teaching, as well as student classroom activities.
Still in doubt? Take a look at some of the special offers we have on a range of Toshiba mobile devices.