Laptops In Schools? Good Idea/Bad Idea?

from the mixed-opinions dept

Should kids use laptops in schools? This San Jose Merc article looks at the issue. Mainly they just look at the various programs a number of schools are using to test out laptops or PDAs in classroom settings. Not everyone agrees its a good idea. It’s expensive, difficult to set up, and (in some cases) distracting. However, they can also be very helpful learning tools and it could be a way to deal with the “digital divide” question – by getting computers into the hands of people who might not be able to afford one at home. Personally, I have mixed feelings on this. I’m not sure it makes sense to buy every student a laptop. I kind of like the idea that one school had where they had a “roaming” computer lab. They just have a number of laptops in a cart that can be brought to any particular classroom, which can then get online wirelessly. This way, when the class needs computers, they can have them – but they don’t have to have them all the time.

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Comments on “Laptops In Schools? Good Idea/Bad Idea?”

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Austin Shau (user link) says:

Laptops in School = BOO

Bad idea.

Well, definitely bad for someone like me, who would probably stick “nap-repellent” on my laptop. What purpose would laptops give students in classrooms? Note-taking? (Sane) Professors provide lecture notes online, and students should have the foresight to download them before class and use them to take notes, or take notes during class and then transfer them to the slides. As the article says, too expensive, too distracting. On the technical side of things, imagine a hard drive crash in the middle of class.

As I’m learning in my Systems Analysis and Design class, you shouldn’t just computerize things for the sake of computerizing them…

Joe Schmoe says:

No Subject Given

I’d almost say “Let ’em bring their own” and then let their grades be the determining factor. It would spur personal responsibility and resourcefullness and free the school system of support. And then, if it turned out to be a detriment (per grades), that student would loose their laptop privelage…

Oh, yeah, you’ll always have the have’s and have nots’ – I know I’m not addressing that [intentionally]…

John Williams says:

Re: Welcome to the Real World

I don’t think this is really an automation or even a systems issue.
My daughter is in 8th grade and her private school has required all students to have a laptop for the last three years. The have a farily competent IS department and things seem to go pretty well.
The kids have heavily personalized their laptops, they keep all their homework on them, the teachers hand out assignments and other things electronically, there’s, of course, lots of music and pictures on everyone’s device. Reliability never seems to be an issue and the “I forgot my laptop” excuse seems to rarely come into play.
It seems pretty healthy and very appropriate to what they will find when they get out into the real world. I doubt it has affected grades very much but it’s still good training for the next stage in their life, and that’s probably more important than grades.

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