Chapter 5: School Environment
• At 37% of total, laptops are a fast-growing category in the schools of the Project RED respondents. 91% of respondents report that they have laptops in their environment. e distribution is more weighted to secondary schools—94% of middle schools, 92% of high schools, and 88% of elementary schools. • Only 5% of total devices reported are netbooks, with 13% of schools reporting some number of netbooks in their environment. e breakdown across grade levels is approximately 10% elementary schools, 10% middle schools, and 16% high schools. • Just over 2% of total devices reported are tablets, but the percentage of schools with some number of tablets is equal to that of netbooks at 13%. e breakdown across grade levels is approximately 8% elementary schools, 13% middle schools, and 15% high schools. All but two respondents completed the survey before iPads were shipped, thus understating tablet share. • Only 1% of total devices reported are smartphones, and 33 of the 144 schools that report having smartphones have only one device. When subtracting respondents with only one or two smartphones, the implementation percentage remains in the low single digits across all grade levels. • Only 1% of total devices reported are thin clients. e breakdown across grade levels is evenly distributed—approximately 3% of elementary and middle schools and 4% of high schools.
Demographic Highlights • Schools in the Southeast are significantly more likely than schools in the West or Central regions to report a 1:1 student-laptop ratio. • Schools with elementary grades are significantly less likely than middle or high schools to report a 1:1 student-laptop ratio.
The Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost-Effectiveness
Implications Instruction Mobile devices now constitute 45% of the computing devices used in schools (laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones). However, diﬀerent implementation levels may limit the benefits of mobile computing. e Michigan Freedom to Learn program, for example, saw high levels of usage in English language arts, social studies, and science and low levels of usage in math. e tablet PC seems to hold promise for increasing student usage in math. According to Petty and Gunawardena (2007), “e computer [tablet PC] becomes ‘intelligent paper,’ capturing the benefits of the digital environment and traditional paper.” e benefits seem to be equally shared by teachers and students, with the tablet PC providing a new level of freedom and interactive learning in the classroom (Olivier, 2005). Since the survey was conducted, the iPad, and soon many other competitors, have found strong acceptance in schools among early adopters. Given inevitable advances in technology, iPad-type devices will only grow in popularity. Ubiquitous technology programs face diﬃcult financial and philosophical challenges in today’s economic climate, in which superintendents and school boards must oen cut programs and lay oﬀ teachers. In an era of high-stakes test scores and teacher accountability, it can be diﬃcult to motivate teachers and administrators to move to more student-centered learning. And because the benefits of a ubiquitous educational technology program are realized over several years, many schools opt for short-term fixes and stopgap measures. Although traditional computer labs cannot provide continuous access for all students, they can enhance learning opportunities by providing access to online information, assessments, and daily classes scheduled by teachers. Computer labs are also being used eﬀectively to provide advanced placement opportunities and other online courses. Cell phones remain controversial in the educational setting. Very few schools are supplying smartphones to students. Schools oen require