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ICT rooms on trolleys

As technology becomes further entwined with curriculum delivery, the fair allocation of ICT resources between various classes remains an important issue. Providing sufficient ICT resources to meet user demand can put pressure on schools and colleges, many of which are hindered by a lack of space and limited budget. “Mobile” ICT classrooms can offer a solution.

For example, when North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT), a large college in Surrey, United Kingdom, was faced with the challenge of meeting the ICT needs of its students and faculty, it invested in a revolutionary mobile ICT room – a trolley with a suite of laptops – that has proved to be a flexible and effective solution which has greatly increased accessibility and availability of technology for students. Their “mobile classroom” is comprised of 18 Toshiba laptops, a wireless hub and an accompanying portable storage/recharging unit.

Apple has developed a similar mobile classroom which provides an affordable way to increase student access to technology and provides a cost-effective way to share technology among classrooms. In addition to the financial benefits and added convenience, schools can also regain valuable space by converting dedicated computer labs back into classrooms.

This versatile solution can be wheeled into any classroom at any time. Students simply undock a laptop computer from the trolley, return to their desk and log on normally. There are no cables, plugs or sockets, as the machines connect to the network via a wireless link, which then connects to the internet through the school’s main network. Once the lesson is over, students simply place the laptops back in the secure trolley, which is then returned to the school’s ICT room/department.

The following factors are important to consider if the use of mobile ICT classrooms is to be implemented successfully:

  • Staff and student training and acclimatization
  • Technical problems will need prompt attention
  • Printing capability
  • Physical mobility - laptop carts are heavy, especially when classrooms are located on different floors of the building
  • Responsibility for the key and booking procedures for using the IT trolley need to be clearly laid out for the staff

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