A Tablet or Laptop for Every Student

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Different school districts have embarked upon the ambitious plan to fulfill the goal of a tablet or laptop for every student as a means of fulfilling technology education.  The results have drawn national attention — for both their embarrassing failures and their successes.

Now Baltimore County is moving ahead with a five-year, $150 million rollout that will make it the first large school system in the state to plunge into the ambitious and potentially risky initiative.

School leaders nationwide argue that they must keep pace with their tech-savvy youngsters and provide students more equal access to technology. Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance says his district’s program, which will start in some elementary schools in the fall, is designed to personalize learning and “allow our students to be learners 24/7, which is how we will prepare globally competitive graduates.”

Expensive Technology Initiative

But across the country, some high-profile initiatives have turned into expensive disasters this school year.

A Tablet or Laptop for Every Student

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Just days after Los Angeles distributed iPads in a number of high schools last fall as part of a $1 billion technology initiative, 300 students had broken through the security wall to do what teenagers do naturally — use social media. Schools in Guilford, N.C., were so plagued by equipment failures, including broken screens and overheating chargers, that the district recalled all 5,000 of the devices for safety reasons.

Seeing these missteps and others, Miami-Dade, Fla., school leaders put their technology purchases on hold and said recently that they will implement their program more slowly than first anticipated.

Officials with the 113,000-student Baltimore County system are undeterred by the problems elsewhere. The county can “learn from the frustrations and challenges of those who go before us. We are starting at the elementary level. We are doing that very deliberately,” said Ryan Imbriale, the district’s executive director of digital learning.

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A Tablet or Laptop for Every Student

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