Giving every student a laptop is a hot idea. But some schools that were the first on the bandwagon are jumping off, reports the New York Times. Laptops don’t improve achievement, administrators say.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. â€” The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did).
Scores of the leased laptops break down each month, and every other morning, when the entire school has study hall, the network inevitably freezes because of the sheer number of students roaming the Internet instead of getting help from teachers.
The district, outside Syracuse, is phasing out laptops.
â€œAfter seven years, there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement â€” none,â€ said Mark Lawson, the school board president here in Liverpool, one of the first districts in New York State to experiment with putting technology directly into studentsâ€™ hands.
A study by educational consultants found one quarter of the 2,500 largest school districts give a laptop to each student; half expect to have “one-to-one computing” by 2011.