Low Cost Computing: It’s Here! Now What?

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Monday, November 2, 2009 - 8:35pm

Laptops are getting cheaper by the minute. In setting the bar to deliver the world’s first $100 laptop, Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of One Laptop Per Child, inspired the development of an entire class of low cost machines now available to schools. Low cost laptops from $200 to $350 are now hitting the market. Furthermore, one developer is now promising a $75 unit by 2009.

With one-to-one computing fast becoming an affordable reality for schools, it is essential that we carefully consider what has and has not worked in prior implementations so we do not repeat past mistakes. Teaching Matters is in the process of piloting low cost laptops. We are carefully monitoring and documenting (via an online blog) what is and is not working for classrooms.

One-to-One Computing: Does It Even Matter?

The jury is still out on the benefits of one-to-one computing. Many educators believe that until we seamlessly integrate technology into schools, we will not adequately prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. Others see technology as largely irrelevant to student achievement. It is in fact true that when new technologies are introduced into classrooms their use is often emphasized above learning. Goldman, Cole, and Syer (1999) note that “the technology learning curve tends to eclipse content learning temporarily; both kids and teachers seem to...