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I spent a few days with my aged parents this past week. Both Mom and Dad are over 80 and getting a little fragile. My father makes a great effort to keep up with computers. He is a big user of the Internet and has a cable modem. When I went up to visit I took my laptop and a wireless hub which I plugged into his small LAN. This gave me full Internet access from anywhere in the house. My parents have had trouble wrapping their heads around the whole idea of student laptops. I think, until this visit, they tended to think of our laptop program as something of an affectation of a wealthy independent school. What changed this time was that I was able to show them, with a wireless laptop, some of the vast resources laptops make available to our students. My mother was amazed at all the music I had on my laptop. I explained that not only did I have all my own music CDs ripped to my hard drive but that I could buy most music from iTunes. My father said, "Can you get Big Noise From Winnetka?" I opened up iTunes and within a few seconds we were listening to Bob Crosby's version; we also could have chosen from versions by Bette Midler, Henry Mancini and Chico Hamilton. After showing them iTunes and instructional videos by a math teacher and audio recordings by language teachers and SketchUp they were starting to understand my enthusiasm for student laptops. I think many people, like may parents before my visit, are simply not aware how powerful wireless laptops connected to the Internet have become.
Because of my Dad's cable modem I was able to watch Apple's March 17th webcast on One-to-One Learning. (The webcast should be available for rebroadcast soon according to Apple's website.) Rae Niles, Director of Curriculum and Technology for the Sedgwick public schools in Kansas, was wonderful. The other participants much less so. Rae Niles was first up in the webcast so if nothing else watch her part of the rebroadcast to pick up some inspiration and ideas.
At one point during the webcast an Apple representative was talking glowingly about the iBook's six hour battery life. Since the webcast software had a text feedback field I asked about the issue of battery degradation over time. I know the answer but I was curious whether the moderator would be willing to deal with this question. I'm pleased to report that they did take my question and addressed it fairly and honestly. Overall, I thought the webcast was a decent effort on Apple's part. Not a bad first try but they could certainly do better...with the exception of Rae Niles. best cryptocurrency to invest
Still on schedule! Five more pages to go. Still looking for a publisher. For what it is worth, I think the book is coming together quite nicely.
Page 16 will examine software changes that would make student laptop programs more effective.
Pages 17 and 18 will provide "how to" ideas and lists for student laptop programs.
Pages 19 and 20 will provide resources for those interested in student laptop programs. If you have resources you would like to see included please let me know.
Michigan has started awarding grants to school districts for laptop programs. The Herald-Pallidium Online reports about one district here.
BBC News reports here on a developing 200,000 student laptop program in England. If implemented this would be the largest one-to-one program in the world.