The response to that question can run the gamut from “what a great learning tool for advancing a child’s education” all the way to “what a colossal waste of our taxpayer dollars.” I have to say my own reaction when I first heard about such ideas — like the ubiquitous obsolete-upon-completion ”computer labs” that were opened in high schools across the nation — was largely skepticism. Couldn’t that money be put to better use? Because that’s what it’s all about: not the bells and whistles and dollars thrown at education but how we spend our money on our students, right?
So when I heard about the problems plaguing the Los Angeles program to equip each child with an iPad (they’re now considering a switch to laptops), I wasn’t surprised. Most teachers in LA did not support any more money being spent on the program, one commenting that there aren’t even funds to pay for custodial cleaning services for the classrooms. A similar program in Fort Bend County, Texas was suspended after it failed to meet expected goals.
But lost among those stories of failure is a project that is making a phenomenal change where it has been tried.
Here is a video of the success story in Mooresville, N.C., that started in 2009.
The program, which leases the laptops for much less than the Los Angeles program did, started with laying off about ten percent of the county’s teachers and increasing class sizes. You can imagine how that would go over in many school districts. But if it truly is about educating our children — not keeping jobs for union bosses and their members — all administrators should take a closer look at this shining example of what technology can bring to the classroom.
Read more about the Mooresville program here.