The ideal school in the modern era of global education evokes dynamic and progressive thought to what exactly enables a student population to excel and succeed in life's endeavors. Truly, this is central to any discussion regarding educational reformation via school and classroom development. The critical component to these decisions is inherent to the leadership at the school to understand that, according to Cause & Chen, "the children's active use of technology in making decisions, technology resources in writing and drawing, and logical thinking programs to solve problems and illustrate ideas." (Cause, Chen, 2010)
The ideal school will therefore target the way young children learn and teach accordingly. According to Cause & Chen, an appropriate method to educate the young is to "offer pictures and sounds to support the natural ways that young children learn." (Cause, Chen, 2010) The importance of vision in this area is critical toward establishing a competitive advantage. This advantage will not just separate schools within the same district, municipal jurisdiction, or state lines; this advantage will enable the students to compete in a global economic environment, and is essentially, what will separate nations in the future. This competitive advantage is exactly what leadership is supposed to provide.
The school in its pursuit of establishing an ideal will seek to implement technology as a means to improve educational outcomes. The technology, integrated into the infrastructure of the building essentially creating a 'smart' learning environment. Leadership is a vision for the future of a country and to enable that vision by investing into the creation of an environment where the habits and the technology are there for facilitation. The inspiration is to provide all resources and integrate the learning with technology into a comprehensive approach, able to target the children at the time in their life where they are actively absorbing information about their world in an attempt to understand their environment better. This however, does not speak to the developmental process of reading from a book, and reviewing pictures that show emotions such as sadness, happiness, grumpiness, and so on. This is an area where leadership must facilitate a vision requisite to the adaptation of reading skills from print paper to the technological prowess.
Further evidence of leadership and vision is to advance with a laptop implementation programs as is exampled by the Laptops and Inspired Writing program that facilitated the use of laptops to all students in English language arts classes, attending the grades ranging from grade 5 through grade 10. Littleton Public Schools is the educational institution that is enabling this experience is seeking to inspire the students by facilitating the prospect of research to better enhance their writing skills. Warschauer states, "LPS's instructional program focuses on developing effective and powerful writers by exposing students to the intricacies of diverse genres, modeling good writing in those genres, and providing students with ample opportunities to write in these genres on topics of their interest and share their work with others (Warschauer et al., 2010)
The visionary leadership at Littleton Public School recognized the importance of the resources available on the internet to the development of creative writing and critical writing skills in a global environment. In the U.S. And abroad, colleges and universities are increasingly seeking students with the capability to display these skills. The job market expects these skills to be honed and mastered when one applies to a job at their organization. Therefore, in a state like Michigan, U.S., innovation and vision is a requirement to make that region more competitive to create jobs and train a workforce to grow against a globally competitive environment. To accomplish such a feat, a middle school in Michigan ran a sustainable laptop program.
Ash states, "Now, each classroom at the 900-student school in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District has a smartboard, and teachers have access to a myriad of technologies such as small videocameras called FlipCams, microphones, document cameras, and data projectors. About a third of the students take part in the school's 1-to-1 laptop program, while the rest make use of carts of laptops in the school." (Ash, 2010) "Although the school district emphasizes the importance of technology and several middle schools in it also have 1-to-1 laptop programs, each school runs its own initiative separately." (Ash, 2010)
Laptops for use as resources in modern educational institutional learning facilities is a novel approach to providing the necessary technology platform that students will undoubtedly use throughout their careers. Healy states, "Microsoft's Anytime Anywhere Learning Program (AAL) is considered the father of laptop programs in the United States (Healy, 1999), and recent figures suggest more than 65% of schools have instructional laptops (Market Data Retrieval, 2005). Studies do show that laptops used in academic environments may increase student centered teaching and enhance the students ability to use technology and its application. Considering the technological of our future world, the ability for students to use technology is indeed impactful to the growth and continued sustainment of economic activity.
Additionally, Dawson states, "Results suggest laptop implementation and professional development can lead to increased student centered teaching, increased tool-based teaching, and increased meaningful use of technology." (Dawson et al., 2009) Leadership in education has remained vigilant to find an effective methodology that enables classroom-based learning in a competitive environment where the number of students per teacher is increasing with conventional resources becoming increasingly scarce.
The ideal school, therefore, is a function of a variety of inputs that facilitate the learning process of all students. Notably, the leadership of a school is the critical variable that determines if a school will undertake progressive steps necessary to achieve the goal of properly educating its students. Schools that understand this is a responsibility and not a right will create the ideal school and enable the creation of the ideal classroom.
The state of Florida under the auspice of the Florida Department of Education has leveraged laptop use to complement current teaching practices and pedagogy to enable students in 11 Florida districts to encourage professional development. The program called Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT), is facilitated through funds designated toward the centric goal of providing laptops as a means to alter teaching practices using the convenience and resources accessible through laptop technology. The program supports the effective utilization of laptop technology to integrate a technological-based learning environment conducive to supporting the K-12 curriculum needs.
Dawson et al. states, "The Leveraging Laptops initiative continues Florida's strong tradition of educational technology excellence. Florida has been a leader in educational technology since the legislature funded the Florida Educational Computing Project in 1977 and made instructional technology a permanent division within the Department of Education in 1981 (Dawson, Swain & Baumbach, 2001)
Initiatives such as the aforementioned model in the Florida School System is reflective of the goal to create the ideal classroom. School administrators and other leaders in the school propose an environmental strategy to create a more competitive student body capable of exceeding the information demands inherent in the 21st century global economy. Educational systems are essentially requiring the use of laptops in a greater effort to even the playing field between more developed economies. Penuel et al. states, "Increased technology use and proficiency is the most commonly cited outcome of the laptop implementation (Penuel, 2006; Silvernail & Lane, 2004; Walker, Rockman, & Chessler, 2000)
. "Increased student engagement, motivation, attitude, and confidence (Gardner, Morrison, & Jarman, 1993; Rockman ETAL, 1998; Warschauer, 2006); better school attendance (Laptops for Learning Task Force,2004; Stevenson, 1998); and improved student organization, study skills, and study habits (Warschauer & Sahl, 2002; Warschauer, 2006) are other factors associated with laptop implementation
The ideal classroom will enable students to succeed in today's highly competitive global market that sufficient computing and technological knowledge is required to drive new business and innovation. Thangada et al. states, "As America becomes more deep rooted in technology, it is inevitable that computers will become a part of life, especially in the classroom. It is imperative that computers will become a part of life, especially in the classroom." (Thangada, Al-Dahir, 2009) The learning curve is ostensibly shortened when technology is used to buttress the lesson plan. This enables a greater percentage of students to understand, if not master, a greater percentage of the material that one is expected to learn. The role of laptops in the classroom is also a function involving the increase in the material that students are expected to learn as well as providing a link for students to access a wealth of information on any topic they wish under the direction of trained teaching staff.
The lucid fact is some school systems in varying economies elected to implement a laptop program in their school at a time when this type of investment was not appropriate. Since programs in existence are struggling to continue support of ostensibly, high level computing technology in the classroom, notably include laptops and networking capability, the idea that programs of this nature…