Wireless Classrooms: Mobile Laptop Labs for Schools

Wireless networks in schools is not a new thing but it's rare to see the wireless network used to it's full potential.

Technology with out wires gives the teacher the ability to bring the technology to the student instead of the whole class going to a computer lab.

Wireless mobile laptop labs can be used for many purposes:

o Wireless Streaming Video 
o Research
o Report Writing
o Teacher Guided Instruction
o Report writing
o Typing

What ever a student can do in a wired lab they can do with a wireless laptop mobile lab.

What are the features of a wireless mobile laptop lab:

1. Wireless Laptops - Laptops for schools should meet the following specs. First they need to have at least 512 mb of memory. Anything less will cause educational software to crawl. The laptop should weight about six pounds, a heavy laptop is about eight pounds plus and a light laptop is about 4lbs. The ultra light laptops are over $2,000 each and too expensive for schools. So six pound laptops are easy enough for schools to carry around. Now some people will tell me I'm wrong but school laptops don't need cd-roms or DVD -roms. Why you ask? It's because they will be the first thing to break and all software will run off the hard drive. The case needs to be a slim case so students can have proper hand placement when typing. Bluetooth devices are becoming all the rage so built in Bluetooth will be something to think about also. Hard drive size should only be about 30gig because nobody is going to download music or large media files.

2. Mobile Laptop Carts - They need to be easily moved, easy enough to take out and put in the laptops, and have a built in power strip for charging. Laptop carts can hold any where from 6 to 30 laptops at once. I recommend using laptop carts of 15 or smaller and spreading them through out the school.

3. Access points and printers - If you school can not afford permanent wireless access points have a wireless access point mounted on the card and plug it into a network port when needed. Also the cart can have a printer on it if needed, but I recommend network printers not desktops.

Studies have shown that students who use laptops in classrooms are more focused and have an easier time typing. Wireless networks free students from their desktops and frees them from having to go a computer lab to work with technology.