Ron Canuel has produced a clever posting at the pulse concerning 1:1 computing. I posted the following response to see where the conversation will go. Hopefully we can get a debate rolling at The Pulse.
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Let me play the "pencils advocate" for a moment. (A role I am unfamiliar with.) While I found this posting entertaining, I think it still didn't address the reasons why 1:1 computing is so powerful. You refer to research on the topic briefly. You state, "The research on laptops has clearly indicated that, as in any educational tool (I refer to pens, texts, lab materials, paper), integration is the key." Sure, but integrating a pencils costs five cents. Is this not significant in a real-world of shrinking education budgets? (by shrinking I mean the portion of the budget used for instructional materials)
Send us the research links in your next posting. These would go a long to quieting your critics.
Here are some thoughts from a typical (fictional) tax payer.
1) "I had some great learning experiences that were engaging and fun without the use of lap tops. Shouldn't we use the money for staff development for better instructional methods and more hands-on experiences for the kids, or maybe we can use the money to reduce class size which should clearly improve achievement instead?
2) I work in a high-tech industry and didn't have lap tops in my school. Why am I doing well?
These types of responses are not from people who are afraid of change or who are luddites. These are reasonable people who Tivo shows, check their Blackberries endlessly, and maintain encryption on their Wi-fi networks at home.
Also, in my experience, when teachers resist the use of technology there are often good reasons. This posting may be an example of Cuban's "exhiliration / scientific-credibility / disappointment / teacher-bashing" cycle, particularly when you turn to blaming the lesson plan for the lack of lap top success in some settings. What do you think?