Schools debate over whether to keep computer labs or distribute the computers to classrooms. Some that have opted for mobile devices, such as iPads in the classrooms, have done away with traditional computer labs, but others maintain labs for use by students for work that cannot be accomplished easily with mobile devices. Many schools are keeping their computer labs because they do not have enough technology devices or mobile labs to give all students computer experiences. Even though students may only be assigned to computer labs once or twice a week, the labs provide a place where students can get instruction and practice with technologies and receive 1-1 experience with computers.
One school (Northfield Community School in New Jersey) decided to transform its K-4 computer lab to a K-4 STEM lab complete with QX5 Computer microscopes and other tools for STEM learning. As with the schedule for the computer lab, students will come with their classes once a week, but they’ll engage in inquiry-based learning that emphasizes the STEM subjects. The lab teacher and the classroom teacher will team to work with the children as they Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve. Even though they won’t have traditional computer lab lessons, as they engage in inquiry, they will be learning the digital skills they need.