Take a sledgehammer to your computer labs

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I’d like to introduce you to an unusual innovation tool for ICT: the sledgehammer. . . . we can use the sledgehammer to break up all the ICT suites that we find in schools. Those rows and rows of desks filling a room with large desktop computers can hardly be regarded as the cutting edge of ICT. Indeed, if we were to have a classroom with rows of desks, we would hardly be regarded as an innovative educationalist, so why do we tolerate such an arrangement for ICT? ICT suites, rather than being the ‘cutting edge’ represent a past and dying approach to ICT in education.

Doug Woods via http://www.dougwoods.co.uk/blog/the-sledgehammer-as-ict-innovation-tool

8 comments on this post.
  1. paul:

    …for bureaucratic & janitorial convenience.
    When we put in another lab several years ago i tried to lobby for “innovative”…hexagonal tables, standing desks, kneeling chairs, laptops & beanbag chairs…all of which was shot down…maybe the powers that be do not have vision for a “learning center”

  2. Tom Whitby:

    But if we did that, we would not have a place to do test preparation drills for a one to two month stretch……

  3. Doug Johnson:

    Hi Scott,

    I’ll make you a deal – if you can lift the requirement for online testing in Minnesota, I’ll buy the sledgehammer.

    Lovely sentiment; absolutely impractical.


  4. Scott McLeod:

    Doug, if every student had one, couldn’t your students take Minnesota’s online tests on their laptops instead?

    I’m empathetic to the fact that online testing requirements are sucking up technologies that were intended for learning and teaching, NOT just assessment… :(

  5. Doug Johnson:

    Hi Scott,

    A laptop capable of running the proprietary webbrowers connected via ethernet (not wireless) would work.


  6. Scott McLeod:

    Nice of the state to make it easy on you… :( Yeah, let’s run wires to every kid’s laptop… Good grief.

  7. @JRRockwall:

    Computer labs are no different than classrooms where the manager (be it the teacher, principal, etc) suffer from ‘functional fixedness’. I still have trouble seeing one-to-one being useful with so many in our profession suffering from ‘functional fixedness’ and thus just getting rid of the lab would not work.

    But while you’re at it, you may as well take out all the walls in the school as well. Hallways take up about 40% of the building and are used 7% of the day and require lighting and heating. We may as well renovate the whole space. “Can architecture inspire learning?”

  8. Doug Johnson:


    I love it – one giant library/media center!


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