Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Truth about 1:1 Laptop Programs

During a rousing session lnight astwith Jeff Mao from Maine as the guest, the overall sentiment I took away about the Maine learning Technology Initiative (often known as their 1:1 laptop program) was captured in a chat messages stating that "educators have put off retirement due to this change - and a huge majority will now tell you they cannot teach without 1 to 1."  I heard similar things in Indiana with the "ubiquitous computing" efforts there (not laptops, but Linux thin clients), so I was definitely drinking the Kool-Aid.

Later in the evening, however, I read Larry Cuban's latest cogent missive.

A “Naked Truth” about Technologies in Schools? « Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
In “The End of Techno-Critique: The Naked Truth about 1:1 Laptop Initiatives and Educational Change,” Mark Weston and Alan Bain summarize the evidence and arguments of those who have questioned 1:1 laptops. Weston and Bain profile my writings as representative of the “Techno-Critique.” Except for a few critical points, I found their summary of my articles and books fair. Furthermore, their review of the evidence of laptop use and effects in Maine and Texas is far more damning than anything I have written.  [Emphasis mine]
It's worth reading the whole post, but let's just say it wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as the hour with Jeff had been.  I'm intrigued that there can be such a difference in perspectives.

This morning Sylvia Martinez announced the new 1:1 Schools group blog being organized by Scott McLeod.  With Sylvia being involved, I feel certain it will provide balanced perspectives.  I'll definitely be paying attention to this debate.