Mobile Electronic Classrooms
For Washington & Lee University

(version of 9 Oct, early afternoon...)

Computer labs don't make good classrooms. Most are configured with an instructor's station operated from an LCD projector or linked by wires to student machines, but the lab's main instructional activity --teaching the use of hardware and software-- generally takes place at individual workstations as students work independently. The instructor talks to serried ranks of the backs of computer monitors and over the hum of cooling fans, and the setting is not conducive to discussion.

In lecture halls computers can be little more than high-tech overhead projectors. The vast range of Internet and software resources certainly augments the possibilities for illustration and demonstration, but instructors are addressing passive audiences in darkened rooms, in a one-way top-down mode of communication.

New paradigms for the classroom use of computers as communication tools are beginning to emerge as students and teachers become more adept with machines and software. Developments in wireless networking make it possible to move the machines (as laptops) to seminar room settings, which combine the possibility of face-to-face interaction among class members with access to the whole range of electronic resources for all participants. Instructors can explore much more varied classroom scenarios, combining lecture and discussion with hands-on writing and other exercises, and incorporating networked software and the full range of Internet resources. Integral use of computers as learning tools, by instructor and students alike, creates the possibility for new ways of interacting with a group of people in a classroom. A collaboratory model for the exploration of course material is one such implementation, appropriate to some subjects.

Here's what I'm imagining, and inching toward constructing into a Proposal to fund as a Project, uniting *Teaching with Technology, *Information Fluency, *Networking Evolution, *etc.:

It's interesting to consider how this mobile computer environment changes teaching and learning:

Some examples of courses that would seem obvious users:

...and others will occur
Some links to materials on wireless networking AND classrooms, still to be sorted and evaluated for relevance:

Wireless Computing in the Classroom from U. Kentucky, and third and fourth and Teaching in Realtime Wireless Classrooms (***!! --especially worth careful reading)

material on wireless classrooms from Harvard Provost's Office, with links to MIT, Stanford, RPI parallels

Wireless Networking Directions transcript from CREN TechTalk series for the fall of 1999

Future Computing Environments from Georgia Tech

Cornell Hotel School: Wireless Network

A mobile wireless computer lab has been created, which is capable of being rolled into any classroom space in Statler Hall within a specified distance of a wireless network receiver. It consists of a Novell server, two Proxim wireless network receivers, twenty laptop PC's with wireless PCMCIA network cards, and a printer. Students run and learn from hotel-based applications downloaded from the server to the laptops. Internet connectivity also exists for accessing Web-based resources.
Classrooms get technological make over to expand the range of teaching and Cornell Classroom Examples

points from a Lucent presentation

The Experimental Wireless LAN Testbed at Worcester Polytechnical Institute

Symbol Spectrum24 wireless network

Clovis Unified School District wireless implementation

Framingham State College Goes Wireless with a Solution from Data General, Microsoft, and PROXIM

Operating Instructions for the Classroom of the Future (Franz Kafka Lives...)

Future Computing Environments from Georgia Tech

Discourse GroupWare ("Most educational technology removes students from the teacher. Students sit alone, in the back of the room, using the computer. The teacher is never sure what kind of learning is taking place. By contrast, Discourse connects students to the teacher. It is truly a teacher-oriented tool")

Some additions, 12 Oct:

New Prospects for Portables from PC Computing

The Third-Generation Gap from Scientific American

Arizona State University West's Wireless Mobile Classroom

Franklin & Marshall's iBook-based program

Emerging Mobile and Wireless Networks (Upkar Varshney and Ron Vetter)

Mobile and wireless networks represent the next wave of networking because of their usefulness in assisting an emerging mobile workforce in a growing information-oriented society. However, mobile and wireless networks also present many challenges to application, hardware, software and network designers and implementers.

PinnacleLink Mobile Classroom

Wireless Internet On Campus Deployed At Wake Forest University: Laptops With Symbol Technologies Wireless LAN Capability Allow Students High Speed Access