Associated Press reports that a pilot program in Pittsburgh suburb Sewickley, Pa.’s Quaker Valley School District has run into some problems, although school officials remain committed to the plan.
In 2001, the Quaker Valley School District began a pilot program that put 1,800 iBooks into the hands of students in grades 3 – 12. Teachers and students alike have found access to the laptops helpful, according to a report produced by the Rand Corp., although the program has run into problems with technical support and logistics.
50 percent of students in sixth grade would forget to have their laptops available specifically when they were working on technology-based projects, according to focus group conversations. And a limited amount of formal support from the school district left teachers to develop lesson plans using computers on their own.
School board officials plans to continue the laptop program which has cost the state and the district about $6.1 million since inception three years ago, according to the Associated Press. The school board President, Joan Murdoch, likened the pilot program to Lewis and Clark’s pioneering exploration of the North American continent — “… we did not know how any of it would turn out,” she said.