Five years ago, federal “stimulus” dollars paid for laptops for every student at Hoboken Junior Senior High School. Now the school is throwing away all the laptops, reports WNYC.
Laptops broke. Laptops vanished. Students defeated the security software that was supposed to keep them away from pornography, gaming sites and Facebook. “There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Jerry Crocamo, who installed the software.
The computers were slow. They crashed frequently. “Often, there was too little memory left on the small netbooks to run the educational software.”
The $500 laptops lasted only two years and then needed to be replaced. New laptops with more capacity for running educational software would cost $1,000 each, (Superintendent Mark) Toback said. Additionally, licenses for the security software alone were running more than $100,000 and needed to be renewed every two years.
Worst of all, the school had no plan for how to use the new technology to improve teaching. Teachers received little training, concedes Toback, who wasn’t there at the time.
This has been a problem since the invention of the personal computer.
“Probably in the last few months I’ve had quite a few principals and superintendents call and say, ‘I bought these 500 iPads or 1,000 laptops because the district next to us just bought them,’ and they’re like, now what do we do?” said Allison Powell, who works for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
The district plans to pay a recycling company to dispose of the laptops. I’ve got to believe they could find a nonprofit to rehab and donate them.