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2001 Evaluation Report High School Laptop Computer Program: School Year 2000/2001

Date: 2001
Author(s): Kenneth R. Stevenson
Affiliation: University of South Carolina
Keywords: laptops, evaluation, planning, assessment


During school year 2000/2001 the Liverpool Central School District initiated its high school Laptop Program. Students in the tenth grade at the high school could elect to participate in the new program through the lease/purchase of a laptop computer. The student's computer was intended to provide a new and exciting tool for learning and teaching. In this regard, the computers contained hardware and software supporting word processing, spreadsheets, graphic presentations, databases, and electronic communication. Students could use the computers for work at school, and homework, as well as access to the internet during regular school hours. The Liverpool Central School District, through this project, sought to pioneer an innovative initiative using laptop computers and related technology to a) expand and enhance learning opportunities; b) improve student achievement, creativity, and motivation; c) seamlessly integrate advanced computer technology into classroom instruction and learning at home; and d) better prepare students for a lifetime of success in a technology-rich world.

Key Findings:

Some of the main findings from the study:

* Students said that the program should be less expensive and available to all students.

* Parents of students not in the program suggested the program be discontinued or made available to all students, regardless of cost.

* Expectations and reality were not correctly aligned at the beginning of the program.

* After the first year, many teachers had yet to internalize the laptop as a integral component in their teaching pedagogy. Until this change occurs, the effectiveness of the program is in question.

Recommendations included:

* Continue the program - year one was just part of the "growing pains."

* Continue to provide staff and professional development for educators.

* Explore ways to expand access and equalize the program within a grade.

* Define clear expectations at the district level for the program.

* Seek through special effort to increase laptop use in mathematics.

* Purchase more durable machines.

* Continue monitoring and evaluating the program.

* Explore the impact of the program using outcome measures, not just attitudinal and self-reporting data.

Source Article: http://www.liverpool.k12.ny.us/files/163/LaptopEvalYr1Final.pdf