One-to-One Laptop Programs Are No Silver Bullet

Feb11cover_blogTight budgets, ongoing maintenance costs, and concerns over student use: are one-to-one laptop programs worth the effort?

In the “Research Says . . .” column in this month’s Educational Leadership, Bryan Goodwin weighs the benefits and mixed results from one-to-one laptop intitiatives in schools. On the plus side, one-to-one programs are associated with higher student engagement, fewer disciplinary referrals, better technology skills among students regardless of socioeconomic status, and some cost efficiencies from reducing paper use.

In terms of student achievement, however, one-to-one programs have shown mixed or no effect. Bottom line says Goodwin, one-to-one programs are no silver bullet and may be only as effective or ineffective as the schools implementing them. For technology investments to be worthwhile, schools have to also invest in a broader agenda that includes thoughtful integration and opportunities for teacher learning and collaboration.

To read about a school where one-to-one laptops are successfully incorporated into a rich overall culture of inquiry-based learning and student empowerment, check out “Three Schools for the 21st,” by Mary Beth Hertz and Gerald W. Aungst.