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District 54’s iBook program is modeled partly after one in Henrico County, Va., where 44,000 elementary, middle- and high-school students are using the machines. High school students there last year recorded their highest SAT verbal and math scores ever.
The article also mentions “there have been conflicting studies on computers and education, with some arguing that technology isn’t a proven way to help kids learn, especially given how much it costs.” The Schaumburg, IL program has a total budget of $6.6 million which includes the iBooks, wireless Internet access for the classrooms and 21 digital video cameras.
I’m trying to figure out how having a laptop with wireless internet access on every desk actually helps kids learn (although the way my friend David is using iBooks and OS X-based software/technologies at Copenhagen Business School is pretty impressive). Sure, it gives them access to a nearly unlimited amount of knowledge (some fact, some fiction, some hard to tell), but I’m curious as to how they are being integrated with the teachers’ lesson plans. Are they distracting? Are kids listening to the teacher, or just staring at the screen? Do they respect what the teacher has to say, or do they just “listen” to the internet? Are they being taught how to filter information on the net? How are they actually using the machines? As typewriters and web browsers, or in more progressive ways? Has anyone had any experience with this? Any teachers out there? Parents of students with laptops in schools?