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Re: [K12OSN] Fwd: of interest regarding ICT use in schools

Big surprise.  I figured kids would be doing all that.  And yes,
maintenance on laptops is indeed quite costly.

Yes, LTSP pretty much solves all of those problems.


Krsnendu dasa wrote:
> NY Times May 4, 2007
> Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops
> LIVERPOOL, N.Y. — 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).
> Scores of the leased laptops break down each month, and every other
> morning, when the entire school has study hall, the network inevitably
> freezes because of the sheer number of students roaming the Internet
> instead of getting help from teachers.
> So the Liverpool Central School District, just outside Syracuse, has
> decided to phase out laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of
> other schools around the country that adopted one-to-one computing
> programs and are now abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.
> Many of these districts had sought to prepare their students for a
> technology-driven world and close the so-called digital divide between
> students who had computers at home and those who did not.
> "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. "The teachers were telling us when there's a one-to-one
> relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the
> way. It's a distraction to the educational process."
> Liverpool's turnabout comes as more and more school districts nationwide
> continue to bring laptops into the classroom. Federal education
> officials do not keep track of how many schools have such programs, but
> two educational consultants, Hayes Connection and the Greaves Group,
> conducted a study of the nation's 2,500 largest school districts last
> year and found that a quarter of the 1,000 respondents already had
> one-to-one computing, and fully half expected to by 2011.
> Yet school officials here and in several other places said laptops had
> been abused by students, did not fit into lesson plans, and showed
> little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of
> increased pressure to meet state standards. Districts have dropped
> laptop programs after resistance from teachers, logistical and technical
> problems, and escalating maintenance costs.
> Such disappointments are the latest example of how technology is often
> embraced by philanthropists and political leaders as a quick fix, only
> to leave teachers flummoxed about how best to integrate the new gadgets
> into curriculums. Last month, the United States Department of Education
> released a study showing no difference in academic achievement between
> students who used educational software programs for math and reading and
> those who did not.
> Those giving up on laptops include large and small school districts,
> urban and rural communities, affluent schools and those serving mostly
> low-income, minority students, who as a group have tended to
> underperform academically.
> Matoaca High School just outside Richmond, Va., began eliminating its
> five-year-old laptop program last fall after concluding that students
> had failed to show any academic gains compared with those in schools
> without laptops. Continuing the program would have cost an additional
> $1.5 million for the first year alone, and a survey of district teachers
> and parents found that one-fifth of Matoaca students rarely or never
> used their laptops for learning. "You have to put your money where you
> think it's going to give you the best achievement results," said Tim
> Bullis, a district spokesman.
> Everett A. Rea Elementary School in Costa Mesa, Calif., where more than
> 95 percent of students are Hispanic and come from low-income families,
> gave away 30 new laptops to another school in 2005 after a class that
> was trying them out switched to new teachers who simply did not do as
> much with the technology. Northfield Mount Hermon School, a private
> boarding school in western Massachusetts, eliminated its five-year-old
> laptop program in 2002 after it found that more effort was being
> expended on repairing the laptops than on training teachers to teach
> with them.
> Two years ago, school officials in Broward County, Fla., the
> sixth-largest district in the country, shelved a $275 million proposal
> to issue laptops to each of their more than 260,000 students after
> re-evaluating the costs of a pilot project. The district, which paid
> $7.2 million to lease 6,000 laptops for the pilot at four schools, was
> spending more than $100,000 a year for repairs to screens and keyboards
> that are not covered by warranties. "It's cost prohibitive, so we have
> actually moved away from it," said Vijay Sonty, chief information
> officer for the district, whose enrollment is 37 percent black, 31
> percent white and 25 percent Hispanic.
> Here in Liverpool, parents have long criticized the cost of the laptop
> program: about $300,000 a year from the state, plus individual student
> leases of $25 a month, or $900 from 10th to 12th grades, for the
> take-home privilege.
> "I feel like I was ripped off," said Richard Ferrante, explaining that
> his son, Peter, used his laptop to become a master at the Super Mario
> Brothers video game. "And every time I write my check for school taxes,
> I get mad all over again."
> Students like Eddie McCarthy, 18, a Liverpool senior, said his laptop
> made him "a lot better at typing," as he used it to take notes in class,
> but not a better student. "I think it's better to wait and buy one for
> college," he said.
> More than a decade ago, schools began investing heavily in laptops at
> the urging of school boards and parent groups who saw them as the key to
> the 21st century classroom. Following Maine's lead in 2002, states
> including Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota helped buy laptops for
> thousands of students through statewide initiatives like "Classrooms for
> the Future" and "Freedom to Learn." In New York City, about 6,000
> students in 22 middle schools received laptops in 2005 as part of a
> $45-million, three-year program financed with city, state and federal
> money.
> Many school administrators and teachers say laptops in the classroom
> have motivated even reluctant students to learn, resulting in higher
> attendance and lower detention and dropout rates.
> But it is less clear whether one-to-one computing has improved academic
> performance — as measured through standardized test scores and grades —
> because the programs are still new, and most schools have lacked the
> money and resources to evaluate them rigorously.
> In one of the largest ongoing studies, the Texas Center for Educational
> Research, a nonprofit group, has so far found no overall difference on
> state test scores between 21 middle schools where students received
> laptops in 2004, and 21 schools where they did not, though some data
> suggest that high-achieving students with laptops may perform better in
> math than their counterparts without. When six of the schools in the
> study that do not have laptops were given the option of getting them
> this year, they opted against.
> Mark Warschauer, an education professor at the University of California
> at Irvine and author of "Laptops and Literacy: Learning in the Wireless
> Classroom" (Teachers College Press, 2006), also found no evidence that
> laptops increased state test scores in a study of 10 schools in
> California and Maine from 2003 to 2005. Two of the schools, including
> Rea Elementary, have since eliminated the laptops.
> But Mr. Warschauer, who supports laptop programs, said schools like
> Liverpool might be giving up too soon because it takes time to train
> teachers to use the new technology and integrate it into their classes.
> For instance, he pointed to students at a middle school in Yarmouth,
> Me., who used their laptops to create a Spanish book for poor children
> in Guatemala and debate Supreme Court cases found online.
> "Where laptops and Internet use make a difference are in innovation,
> creativity, autonomy and independent research," he said. "If the goal is
> to get kids up to basic standard levels, then maybe laptops are not the
> tool. But if the goal is to create the George Lucas and Steve Jobs of
> the future, then laptops are extremely useful."
> In Liverpool, a predominantly white school district of nearly 8,000
> students, one in four of whom qualify for free or reduced lunches,
> administrators initially proposed that every 10th through 12th-grade
> student be required to lease a laptop, but decided to make the program
> voluntary after parents protested. About half the students immediately
> signed up; now, three-quarters have them.
> At first, the school set up two tracks of classes — laptop and
> non-laptop — that resulted in scheduling conflicts and complaints that
> those without laptops had been shut out of advanced classes, though
> school officials denied that. In 2005, the school went back to one set
> of classes, and bought a pool of 280 laptops for students who were not
> participating in the lease program.
> Soon, a room that used to be for the yearbook club became an on-site
> repair shop for the 80 to 100 machines that broke each month, with a
> "Laptop Help Desk" sign taped to the door. The school also repeatedly
> upgraded its online security to block access to sites for pornography,
> games and instant messaging — which some students said they had used to
> cheat on tests.
> Maureen A. Patterson, the assistant superintendent for instruction, said
> that since the laptop program was canceled, she has spoken to more than
> 30 parents who support the decision and received five phone calls from
> parents saying they were concerned that their children would not have
> technological advantages. She said the high school would enlarge its
> pool of shared laptops for in-class use, invest in other kinds of
> technology and also planned to extend building hours in the evening to
> provide computer access.
> In a 10th grade English class the other day, every student except one
> was tapping away on a laptop to look up food facts about Wendy's,
> McDonald's, and Burger King for a journal entry on where to eat. The one
> student without a computer, Taylor Baxter, 16, stared at a classmate's
> screen because she had forgotten to bring her own laptop that day.
> But in many other classrooms, there was nary a laptop in sight as
> teachers read from textbooks and scribbled on chalkboards. Some teachers
> said they had felt compelled to teach with laptops in the beginning, but
> stopped because they found they were spending so much time coping with
> technical glitches that they were unable to finish their lessons.
> Alice McCormick, who heads the math department, said most math teachers
> preferred graphing calculators, which students can use on the Regents
> exams, to laptops, which often do not have mathematical symbols or allow
> students to show their work for credit. "Let's face it, math is for the
> most part still a paper-and-pencil activity when you're learning it,"
> she said.
> In the school library, an 11th-grade history class was working on
> research papers. Many carried laptops in their hands or in backpacks
> even as their teacher, Tom McCarthy, encouraged them not to overlook
> books, newspapers and academic journals.
> "The art of thinking is being lost," he said. "Because people can type
> in a word and find a source and think that's the be all end all."

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