One of the exciting initiatives we are implementing next year is getting laptops to all teachers so they can all plug in and use the ACTIVboards around the school, among other things. It will be really exciting to have a whole staff that can have that quality access to a laptop that the current IWB users currently enjoy. I know that I feel really lost without my laptop which is currently out of action with a new motherboard on back order, but that's another story! So I'm shopping via our usual suppliers for laptops that are good quality, have decent features and a 3 year warranty for this purpose and I'm getting frustrated. Why?
The title of this post is a hint - nearly every laptop on the market (particularly in the A$1200 - A$1500 range) is a widescreen model. That's a frustration because as soon as you hook up a widescreen model laptop to a data projector, things get complicated in terms having the projector output match the screen of the laptop. Earlier, this year, we purchased some great Acer Travelmate 4202 LMi's that were ideal for projector use as they had a 15" regular dimension screen. (1024 x 768 pixels) Plug 'em in, turn 'em on and they were great. No messing around for the teacher and therefore more use within the classroom. But sadly, this is a discontinued model and everything is WXGA or widescreen XGA or SXGA and it adds another layer of complexity for educators, some of whom have never taken ownership of a mobile computing device before. I had a play with my deputy's personal Toshiba widescreen notebook to see if I could easily get common displays via screen and projector but either I'm not terribly bright or it's not possible. If I can't do it easily, what chance have our technologically challenged teachers got? I'm sure that the wider screen is driven by the DVD capabilities and maybe some of the newer games on the market but it is something that is proving hard to avoid.
I'll keep looking - but this is one initiative that is pretty exciting and poses the interesting question - what outcomes could be reasonably be expected in terms of student learning from this idea?Photo credit: Image: 'stillness'