strategy

Improving access to computers for education

Implementation:
The University of Adelaide's Department of Mechanical Engineering has a pilot scheme which it hopes will eventually provide each student with his or her own laptop computer. The Department organizes a bulk purchase of laptop computers for direct purchase (at significant savings) and also acts as guarantor for a student rent-to-own arrangement. There is arrangement whereby one laptop will be donated by the vendor for every ten units sold through the scheme. These computers form a loan pool -- rather like a reserve book collection in a library -- which is made available to those students who cannot afford the direct purchase or the rent/purchase options. Complementing the student computers is a room providing access to the University network and power for 50 computers, printing, scanning and CD-ROM facilities. Similar schemes are being used in some secondary schools.
Counter Claim:
1. To make way in their budgets for the computer onslaught, many schools are choosing to cut back on field trips in nature, music, the arts, library books, and time for play or recess. But it is exactly these programmes that most benefit at-risk children. It is within the context of human relationships, play and interactions with nature that we socialize our children. Premature relegation of learning to computer interaction will rob them of both that civilizing influence and of their innate creativity.

2. The money spent on computers could be better spent removing lead paint from housing in poor neighbourhoods. When it comes to our children's readiness to learn, being unleaded is a lot more urgent than being online.

3. Research does not support the current and proposed expenditures of billions of dollars on technology in primary schools.

Subjects:
Education
Informatics
Reform
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies