Chaparral Elementary School in Ladera Ranch, CA is opening next month and implementing a laptop program later this fall. Principal Kevin Rafferty has asked parents of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders to send their children to school with an iBook, which they’ll use for word processing and storing assignments.
“At our opening, we will have approximately 150 computers purchased by the school district in addition to the laptops that are purchased by the parents,” Jeff Guffey of the Chaparral Planning Team told MacCentral. “Our vision for the program was developed when Dr. Rafferty, Chaparral’s principal, and I attended a laptop program conference led by Clovis Unified School District in Clovis, CA.”
Rafferty expects about half of the 150 students to bring a laptop when newly opened school starts Sept. 6, according to the
Orange Country Register
. The principal told the newspaper that the laptops won’t change the curriculum. They’ll be used like notebooks, but instead of writing in pencil, students will be developing computer literacy that they will need as they advance in school and life, he said.
Computers aren’t uncommon in Orange County classrooms, where there are about eight kids for every computer, slightly below the state average, according to the Register. Students use computers for everything from research to virtual field trips, from homework assignments to monitoring their grades.
However, in most cases, the computers are given to all the students in a class, often donated by businesses eager to promote their product. Some experts say that in a world where the brand of shoes kids wear sets them apart, a laptop could give some students status other kids can’t have, according to the Register. This has caused some controversy over the Chaparral plan. Read the Register article for more details.