T.H.E Journal has an interesting feature in its October issue: “Educators Dream Up Their Ideal Mobile Device.” Most of the ideas are variations of smartphones and tablets, but more rugged and with better battery life. I really liked this “iDesk” idea from Kyle Ross, an assistant principal at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ (go Giants).
Imagine a glass-top student desk that is like a larger version of an iPad–a touchscreen computer desk connected via WiFi to a school’s network. Using cloud computing, students would sit down and log into their desks, where they can respond to teacher prompts, complete and submit work, and connect with other students–all without needing additional computers or mobile devices. As smartphones evolve more into full-function computers, students’ mobile devices can be linked to the iDesk.
I had a good time staring at this artist’s mock-up and imagining what it would be like to have these in the classroom. And while it might just seem like fun, far-off fantasy, I probably would have thought the same thing 10 years ago if someone had shown me a classroom full of iPads. Or 20 years ago if someone had shown me a classroom full of laptops. So who knows?
Of course, by the time this is feasible, touchscreens might not even be engaging to kids anymore since they’ll be so used to them. But at least we’ll be able to tempt them with the privilege of using the antique pencil sharpener as a reward for good behavior.