Response to the Wall Street Journal Slam of 1:1 Laptop Initiatives

The latest storm in the edublogosphere is about the article the Wall Street Journal published last week dissing the efficacy of 1:1 laptop initiatives. The bloggers have been quick – and articulate – in their responses. Frankly, I find their articles much better written as well. As my school rolls out its 1:1 programme this week, I couldn’t resist posting this into our school’s communication server:

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Saying No to School Laptops”.

The “edubloggers” out there have made some excellent responses to the article and I would like to share those links with you. They have thought through this issue and write much more persuasively than I can! We need to have some solid arguments against the nay-sayers as we embark on our own initiative. I hope these responses will inspire you.

Wesley Fryer, who is completing his PhD on the impact of technology immersion (1:1) on student achievement, presents a response to the article in his blog post “School Reform Vision Needed”. I have to quote at least one small paragraph from his blog:

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it a million more times before I leave this marvelous planet– the only silver bullet for increasing student achievement is A GREAT CLASSROOM TEACHER. Curriculum offers no panacea, high stakes testing offers no panacea, neither do or will curriculum pacing guides, new textbooks, or any type of technology you can buy. TEACHERS are the most valuable instructional resource we have in the classroom.

You may want to read his blog to see his list of ingredients for a successful laptop initiative. Another blogger, Mark Van’t Hooft, added more ingredients to the mixture in his blog article, “We all need perspective”. One of his points that I appreciated was “a ‘just in time’ professional development program that supports continuing learning by teachers in the classroom”.

Wes Fryer responds to Mark’s post, “More Key Ingredients for successful 1:1 initiatives“.

Vicky Davis, one of my favourite edubloggers, also responded to the WSJ article in her blog titled “Laptop Campus: Bane or Boon?“. Here is one of her points:

This is a great article and right on the money! Schools who implement laptop initiatives without specific curriculum objectives for how they will implement the initiatives are doing a disservice. A study just came out that shows a direct correlation with “aimless” time surfing during class and lower grades.

This would be the same with aimless conversations or aimless anything. The aimless classroom is always the failing classroom whether they have a computer in it or not!

It is up to we the teachers to set the curriculum and design our courses so that our students are making the best possible use of these wonderful, though expensive, tools that we have given them.

4 thoughts on “Response to the Wall Street Journal Slam of 1:1 Laptop Initiatives

  1. I am amazed that there are districts that buy a tool (laptops for example) without a plan for using thing, without training for teachers, and expect that some how it will improve student learning. Laptops programs do work where the whole picture is understood and a plan is developed and followed. But the sad truth is that stories of failure sell more newspapers.

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