Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Technology That Won't Go Away

Miguel touches on one point about one-to-one laptop initiatives that I think is crucial:

Just because you add technology doesn't mean everything is going to change...in fact, it probably won't and result in entrenchment of anti-technology perspective ("See? We had the tech and nothing happened."). (emphasis added)

Let's imagine how this would actually play out. Say you buy a laptop for every kid in the summer of 2007, and you get the expected three years out of them in an initiative that, on the whole, doesn't work out so well. Even so it really plausible to think that in the 2011 school year that you're going to go back to having 5 desktops in the back of every room and a computer lab on every floor? Even if you do, for how many more years is that plausible? Will you be still doing that in 2015? How long will you have to wait before you try again with laptops? 2030?

The fact of the matter is, it might take that long, if nobody will produce an economical laptop for US schools. The entire industry is pretty much sitting around twiddling its thumbs until that happens, but there is no sense of urgency (is Project Inkwell ever going to publicly release their apparently completed spec?). We need laptops that are cheap and functional enough that nobody thinks they will go away, that we can afford whether or not they are being used perfectly.

2 comments:

Miguel said...

Personally, I am shocked that you are still reading my blog.

8->

And, I've written a bit more in response to laptops and 1:1 at http://www.mguhlin.net

Best wishes,

Miguel

Tom Hoffman said...

It isn't in my aggregator, but I check it out when I'm procrastinating.