UPDATE: Steve has some thoughts about this piece HERE
Interesting piece about several public schools who have decided to discontinue their programs that give/rent laptops to students. Title: "Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops" by Winnie Hu.
“After seven years, there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement — none,” said Mark Lawson, the school board president here in Liverpool, one of the first districts in New York State to experiment with putting technology directly into students’ hands.
No surprise there, really. The question is, as always, what are the methods of determining 'student achievement?'. We all know the answer to that: "Yet school officials here and in several other places said laptops...showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards."
That these schools would introduce laptops and expect them to increase 'achievement' WITHOUT AT THE SAME TIME REVISING THEIR MODES OF ASSESSMENT is no surprise either.
After all, it isn't as if students actually did SCHOOL WORK on these computers:
"The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did)."
I can maybe see how, several years ago when the laptop program was put in place, the school board/admin couldn't/didn't see this coming. But today, when Myspace/Facebook/Runescape/etc. fanboys and girls constitute the majority of students at schools like my daughter's public middle school, I honestly can't see ANY reason why anyone would advocate giving/renting laptops to students.
Do any (good) reasons for doing this still hold up?
P.S. Check out the pic which accompanies this article. Great PR for Liverpool High!