The district has provided access for all students, with a 2-to-1 student-to-computer ratio in grades K-5, and a 1-to-1 ratio for grades 6-8. All students and teachers are issued a wireless e-pad in these middle grades, and students are given broadband internet access at home.
Including the e-pad devices and broadband access, the cost is just under $300 per student, per year, over a five-year acquisition cycle.
So far, the district reportedly has experienced improved student and teacher attitudes toward technology and an increase in student motivation. Attendance has increased, too, which, according to LaGace, has resulted in $100,000 in additional state funding for average daily attendance. Language-arts scores also have increased.
The e-pad is a web-based thin client with no hard drive. Because it doesn't have a hard drive, it can be ruggedized--meaning it can withstand a hard impact, such as a fall of four to six feet. Students experience a simplified interface, as well as textbooks embedded on the chip.
With textbooks on the e-pad, students can view animation and links, and they can read and hear in both English and Spanish. However, because of the need to view textbooks on the devices, Lemon Grove spent a little extra to have e-pads with a 10.4-inch screen.
The district worked with Interlink Electronics to develop its customized solution.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. You know what would be really cool? If there was a frickin' magazine or web site that actually covered this stuff in any detail.