In an article distributed by
American School Board Journal
reports that Henrico County, Va.’s iBook deployment is serving as a litmus test for other districts and other states that are considering implementing laptop distribution programs in their own schools.
The issue of “one-to-one wireless computing,” where each student has access to a laptop computer that can access the school’s local area network and the Internet, is a hot topic in schools around the country. While the scale of Henrico’s efforts is larger than most, Henrico superintendent Mark Edwards said that about 20 districts nationwide have sent teams to his district to view how the laptops are being used.
Edwards downplays a well-publicized imbroglio late last year where a small number of Henrico students were disciplined for security infractions using the new iBooks, including porn downloads and attempted hacking and cheating. “For a handful of students to get so much attention is not in balance with the fact that 99 percent of our kids have been responsible in their use,” said Edwards.
Henrico is working with Beyond Books to develop online textbooks in core subject areas that will largely eliminate paper textbooks, according to the report. Edwards noted that teachers who are reluctant to use the new technology better get on the ball. “… teachers who can use the technology will replace those who can’t because it’s here to stay,” he said.
The article appears in the July issue of the
American School Board Journal, an independent education magazine of the National School Boards Association in Alexandria, Va.