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2005 First Year Evaluation Report. Fullerton School District Laptop Program

Date: October 2005
Author: Dr. Mark Warschauer and Douglas Grimes
Affiliation: University of California, Irvine
Keywords: engagement, multimedia, writing, projects


The Fullerton School District in Orange County, California launched a one-to-one laptop learning program at three schools in the 2004-2005 school year. In spite of the logistical challenges of the first-year implementation, the program has had important successes, especially in promoting the kind of learning skills required for the 21st century. The program is highly popular with participating teachers, students, and parents, who in their strong majority believe that it contributes positively to student learning. With some variation by school, grade level, and subject, students in the laptop program improved in test scores from the prior year at about the same rate as other students in the district.

The district's decision to expand the program, while continuing to evaluate the results, is merited. Important challenges the district faces include raising sufficient funding so that all families who wish to can participate and developing sufficient parental and community support for the program to expand.

Key Findings are grouped as an analysis of the benefits and challenges of the laptop program.

Key Findings:


* Promoting 21st Century learning skills.

* Engagement thorugh multimedia. Students in the laptop classes enjoyed constant access to the information available on the Internet. They thus got a great deal more practice finding, evaluating, and using such information than do students in the typical classroom. They also got a great deal more practice working with and understanding diverse forms of digital media.

* Increase in both quantity and quality of writing.

* Opportunities for deeper learning. Laptops allowed students multiple angles to investigate the same topic. It thus facilitated project-based work that allowed students to dig deeper into the subject matter.

* Easier integration of technology in teaching and learning. Teachers were able to flexibly use technology on a daily basis, without worrying about having to schedule a computer lab or mobile laptop cart.

* Laptops also provided much greater opportunity to individualize instruction, as students had a wider range of learning material to choose from for more individualized assignments.

8 Students gained a great deal from having their own personal computer as opposed to sharing computers in the classroom or laboratory. They could keep their own notes on their laptop and refer back to them as necessary, create study materials and access them, and keep and organize all their files for ongoing work at school and home.


Though the overall evaluation of the laptop program is positive, the researchers also note five important challenges the district faces as it continues and expands the laptop program. These involve:

* technical support,

* scheduling and implementation,

* teacher development and collaboration,

* mathematics instruction, and

8 financing and community support.

Source Article: http://www.fsd.k12.ca.us/menus/1to1/evaluation/FSD-laptop-year1-eval.pdf