Ken's Project Blog

January 4, 2011

Detroit Public Schools to hand out 40,000 laptops

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ken @ 10:46 am

School officials in Detroit have accepted $49 Million dollars in Federal Stimulus monies to finance the purchase of 40,000 laptop computers, over 4,000 printer/scanners, and about 5,000 new desktops, with the laptops targeted for each student in grades 6 thru 12. What is not mentioned is who will absorb the on-going support and upkeep of the 40,000 laptops, and how this initiative will be funded going forward once stimulus monies are gone…

Buying laptops is only the first step. Next you have to integrate their use into the classwork, then you have to purchase the applications needed to use the laptops effectively, you’ll also need to teach the students proper care & maintenance of the laptops, and provide replacements and maintenance in case of damage.

Forty-five thousand new computers, including 40,000 that will likely be going home each night with the students will introduce a huge number of issues into an already troubled school system which just last year scored the lowest test scores EVER in the history of the standardized Math test of fourth and eighth graders just one year ago…

The Detroit Public School System is in need of deep, systemic reform, and a “Hail Mary” effort like adding laptops to the classroom may make sense to some, but I’d like to see some evidence that giving a failing student in a troubled school system an $800 laptop will actually improve their education, rather than simply give their school district the appearance of “keeping up with the Jones’s” (the richer, more successful school districts, like the Lower Merion School District outside Philadelphia, PA) and tossing new challenges out to the current teachers…

On a related topic, here is an interesting blog post on the use of laptops in college in a New York college, where there is a debate on forbidding the use of laptops in the classroom.

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog post about college students using laptops in class. I’m not sure why you think this happened in Colorado, though. My college is in New York.

    Comment by Carolyn — January 4, 2011 @ 12:41 pm | Reply


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