Posted by: crudbasher | July 30, 2014

How Not To Do One Laptop Per Child

On Monday I talked about how difficult it was to give each child a laptop and make the system work. Here’s a story that perfectly illustrates that.

H/T Arstechica

One school district in Hoboken, New Jersey has decided to abandon its one-to-one laptop program for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. Ultimately, the Hoboken School District decided the scheme was more trouble than it was worth—even when supported by federal grants.

[...]

Jerry Crocamo, a district network engineer, told The Hechinger Report that despite his colleagues’ best efforts to keep the laptops in perfect working order, there was an average of six new repair cases every day. The issues varied: cracked screens, dead batteries, malware infections, and more.

Also in the article was the revelation that there was only one user name and password to access the school network. This meant anyone nearby who had it could access the network.

Ok I have said this many times but let me spell this out.

Here is what you have to do to implement laptop in schools (in order of difficulty)

  1. Secure funding for laptops.
  2. Distribute the laptops.
  3. Create a robust and secure network infrastructure. (large corporations do this all the time)
  4. Create sufficient resources to maintain the devices and loan replacements.
  5. Create lessons based on apps and programs every student will have access to.
  6. Modify the way classes work from lecture based to a more flipped learning model where laptops in class are relevant.
  7. Teach something the students actually want to learn so they would rather use their laptops for the lesson rather than messing around in class.

Those are what you need to do. Notice though that once the first step (the easiest step) is done the politicians can pat themselves on the back and say they support education.

It’s nearly an impossible task. My hat is off to any district that is making this work.

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