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Make Parents Pay for School Tech?


Interesting discussion happpening here in Chicago today about getting the most out of your IT budget at EdWeek's Smart Ed Tech Strategies for Tough Times conference. One very interesting question was raised during the discussion about how schools might shift the cost of student tech tools like low cost laptops from schools to parents. What do you think?

And if you would like to hear more about this issue and other ed tech matters, consider attending our next live ed tech event in Jersey City next week. More on that event here.


I think it's an interesting idea, but in my district, we have many parents that struggle to provide food for their kids, let alone "low cost laptops." "Low cost" is a very relative term.

Considering that in affluent communities you often see tax increases toward education voted down, it wouldn't be the worst idea...that is, as long as students whose parents can't afford to pay have the costs either fully or partially subsidized. Otherwise all you'd be doing is exacerbating the already yawning digital divide.

I work at Killeen ISD in Texas. I run a credit recovery lab using a Moodle database, and a curriculum constructed by Class.com. I invite all students to use the lab after school, not just credit recovery students. I have thirty iMacs spread in an array around the room and so far everything has been a success.

In our community parents also struggle to provide for their families, and "low cost laptops" are out of the question. My point is that our students, although not able to afford laptops, are afforded structured exposure to technology for educational purposes. The key benefit here is "structured exposure." Unleashing a child, even a high school student, on the world-wide-web without structure can lead to unintended results. I thing educators should stop focusing on the "low cost laptop" option and concentrate more on providing labs they are well managed and easily accessible.

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