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ERIC Number: ED518627
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
Is a Laptop Initiative in Your Future? Policy Brief
Pitler, Howard; Flynn, Kathleen; Gaddy, Barbara
Learning Point Associates / North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)
Research indicates that thoughtful technology use can positively influence learning process inside and outside the classroom, and one-to-one computing has been gaining popularity. Although some view such initiatives as passing, others look at the mounting research and see opportunities to reshape the nature of instruction and learning. This brief examines benefits, costs, and issues related to providing students with much greater access to computers. For example, research has shown that as a total program, Maine's Learning Technology Initiative, which provides each student and teacher in grades 7-12 with a laptop and wireless network access and also offers professional development and technical assistance for teachers, may be effective in raising test scores. Research in other states shows similar academic benefits. For states struggling economically, one-to-one computing programs are being viewed as a way to restore and maintain economic viability. In Michigan, policymakers see ubiquitous computing as a strategy for diversifying the state's industries in a tight economy. Improvements in instructional practice and the overall environment of schooling have been associated with Maine's laptop initiative. In a survey of Maine middle school teachers, over 70 percent agreed that such technology made them better able to create instructional materials meeting state's standards. As a requirement of the Missouri-based eMINTS program, teachers participate in a structured two-year professional development program involving training sessions as well as mentoring and classroom visits by instructional specialists. Teachers are provided with new teaching strategies that use multimedia, and they learn how to "optimize their local curriculum through inquiry-based teaching practices" aligned with academic standards. In successful initiatives, technology is a catalyst for change, professional development is applied in a long-term and collaborative manner, and the goal is to change the learning environment itself. While funding is a major barrier in the minds of many policymakers, a 2004 survey of key decision makers in K-12 public schools stresses the importance of "visionary leadership," which drives change in the most technology-intensive schools.
Learning Point Associates/North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. 1120 East Diehl Road Suite 200, Naperville, IL 60563-1486. Tel: 800-356-2735; Fax: 630-649-6722; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9; High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Education
Authoring Institution: Learning Point Associates
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Maine; Michigan; Missouri; Virginia