Teaching and Learning Physics in a 1:1 Laptop School

Zucker, Andrew; Hug, Sarah
December 2008
Journal of Science Education & Technology;Dec2008, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p586
Academic Journal
1:1 laptop programs, in which every student is provided with a personal computer to use during the school year, permit increased and routine use of powerful, user-friendly computer-based tools. Growing numbers of 1:1 programs are reshaping the roles of teachers and learners in science classrooms. At the Denver School of Science and Technology, a public charter high school where a large percentage of students come from low-income families, 1:1 laptops are used often by teachers and students. This article describes the school’s use of laptops, the Internet, and related digital tools, especially for teaching and learning physics. The data are from teacher and student surveys, interviews, classroom observations, and document analyses. Physics students and teachers use an interactive digital textbook; Internet-based simulations (some developed by a Nobel Prize winner); word processors; digital drop boxes; email; formative electronic assessments; computer-based and stand-alone graphing calculators; probes and associated software; and digital video cameras to explore hypotheses, collaborate, engage in scientific inquiry, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of students’ understanding of physics. Technology provides students at DSST with high-quality tools to explore scientific concepts and the experiences of teachers and students illustrate effective uses of digital technology for high school physics.


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