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School Board Policy Choices about Mobile PC Learning

This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from a manuscript soon to be released. It’s a follow-up to the excerpt “What’s in it for me to use a mobile PC in school?”

An increasing number of board of education members and other responsible school entities around the world are authorizing educators to use mobile PCs in their schools. These policies reflect board members’ collective values and action about what instructional tools educators may use today and what consequences students will likely earn with these tools. Implicitly, school board policies authorizing mobile PCs in schools address the following distinctions from conventional instructional policy making:

1. They compare customary linear projections of instructional consequences for students with alternative procedures and tools. They concentrate on relationships among probabilities, their cross-impacts, and their possible implications of such influences.

2. They point to more alternative courses of action than conventional practice includes. They rank improved consequences for students above staying the course.

3. They anticipate and plan different concepts from using tomorrow an improvement of today’s educational practices and models.

4. They rely more heavily on the rational study of anticipated developments in technology and their consequences for student learning. This gives less attention to statistical projections of current practices and programs into tomorrow.

5. They give priority to reviewing the probabilistic environment in which alternative consequences and possibilities for learning before making policy decisions.

In sum, the focus in policy making is upon likely consequences for students with electronic instructional and learning tools rather than on refining past instructional policies.

Implicitly, users of mobile PCs and other advanced electronic technologies offer a comparison with conventional judgments and practices of educators offering traditional schooling.

Source of excerpt: Heiny, R., et al. (2007). Mobile PCs in Schools. (Released soon on TabletPCPost.com) (This is an unedited excerpt.)

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