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One to One Computing

September 2008 / Education / Abell Reports

Linking laptop computers to increased student achievement.

In the spring of 2007, the New York Times ran a story that marked a turning point in the burgeoning education initiative to place a laptop computer in the hands of every student in middle and high school classrooms. The article cites several school districts that were abandoning their technology efforts in the face of security issues, inappropriate usage, bandwidth shortages, equipment problems, and little evidence of student progress. Despite the challenges of technology integration, many policymakers and educators across the country have exhibited a growing interest in what has been termed “one-to-one computing.” At least 33 states have implemented one-to-one computing programs, and the number is expected to grow. A 2006 survey of 2,500 US school districts found that 24% have implemented or are moving towards one-to-one computer applications. While the vision of every student reaching competency in technology and the notion of decreasing the digital divide are appealing, it remains questionable whether using laptop computers in schools is linked to increased student achievement.