As technology advances faster than schools can keep up with, the question posed several years ago of one computer for every child could soon become a reality. There are now several schools across the world which can boast a computer unit for every student, but we are still a long way short of it becoming common practice. The question of course should almost be split into two. One is a question about resource, should we be able to provide a computer for every child to use for educational purposes? The second is one about the direction in which the world is going. How far away is the stage when notebooks and copying dictations by hand will all be a thing of the past; and every child actually works from a computer or laptop during lessons?
One such organisation doing all they can to make the former a reality is “One Laptop per Child,” a not for profit organisation set up to “oversee the creation of affordable educational devises for use in the developing world.” The organisation has already manufactured and supplied laptops to countries such as Peru, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Rwanda and has shipped over 2.5 million devices to date. The XO-1 Laptop which is being used by the charity recently became the first laptop to be awarded an EPEAT Gold level rating. The computer is not only non-toxic and fully recyclable, but also lasts longer, costs less and is more energy efficient.
Back in the developed world, schools and universities are facing new challenges every day due to changes in society, demographics and technology. In order to keep up with advances classrooms have to be more ergonomically savvy than ever before. When I was at school there was barely enough room on my desk for an A5 note pad and my pencil case, let alone a computer, monitor and keyboard. Of course, the rise of the laptop has meant you can work on a much smaller space than a few years ago and it is this invention that has made the computer for every child question possible.
The next decade will probably tell us how far we want to take the computers in school question. There are many arguments for and against using laptops and tablets as the main method of recording information. Whichever way the education system goes, there remains little doubt that our children will be using computers like second nature way before we did.