Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lessons Learned About Providing Laptops for All Students

A growing number of states are supporting one-to-one student-to- computer ratios by purchasing laptop computers for all students and teachers in particular schools or at particular grades. Maine has been a pioneer in the ubiquitous computing movement, providing computers and wireless Internet access to all students in grades 7 and 8. About one-third of Maine’s high schools will also be providing laptops to their students in the 2004–2005 school year. I

ndiana supported one of the earliest one-to-one initiatives. Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico Texas, and Vermont are also experimenting with state-supported laptop initiatives, as are many individual school districts throughout the United States, including Henrico County, Virginia, the largest district-funded laptop program.Ubiquitous or one-to-one computing environments are different from what one traditionally fnds in most school settings because they offer all students and teachers continuous access to a wide range of software, electronic documents, the Internet, and other digital resources for teaching and learning. Policymakers’ goals for laptop initiatives include increasing economic competitiveness, reducing inequities in access to computers and information between students from wealthy and poor families, and raising student achievement through specifc interventions, such as improving students’ understanding of algebra through the use of education software.