Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

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I decided not to teach Adobe Illustrator to Bernie, because of the comments at the end of this article.

AlGoresComputerFetishI have been intensively involved with computers, sometimes for a reason. I have a lot to say.

I read all the posts—unlike most of the ephemeral attention the information tsunami receives. All your comments changed my  mind—I was planning on teaching my 7-year-old granddaughter to use Adobe Illustrator to channel her constant drawing. Now I realize the mistake I was making. I’ll keep her as far as possible away from computers.

TODDLERS BECOMING SO ADDICTED TO IPADS THEY REQUIRE THERAPY

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10008707/Toddlers-becoming-so-addicted-to-iPads-they-require-therapy.html

Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment.

Are smartphones making our children mentally ill?

Leading child psychotherapist Julie Lynn Evans believes easy and constant access to the internet is harming youngsters

telegraph.co.uk/news/health/children/11486167/Are-smartphones-making-our-children-mentally-ill.html

INFANTS ‘UNABLE TO USE TOY BUILDING BLOCKS’ DUE TO IPAD ADDICTION

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10767878/Infants-unable-to-use-toy-building-blocks-due-to-iPad-addiction.html

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn that rising numbers of children are unable to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads.

SLEEP PROBLEMS PLAGUE DEVICE DEPENDENT CHILDREN

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/03/03/Sleep-Problems-Plague-Device-Dependent-Children

Cellphones and other devices emit the “blue light” that works against the sleep process by interfering with melatonin, the chemical in our bodies that promotes sleepiness.

Anecdote: When I was in the 10th grade in 1970, I shared a science-fiction short story I had read with my friends: Like the kids in Hunger Games, rural, disadvantaged kids lacking access to specialized calculating equipment were able to beat elite urban kids in math competition by using traditional paper-based cyphering techniques.

Life imitates art, as a recent news article shows: “FINNS BEAT U.S. WITH LOW-TECH TAKE ON SCHOOL”, Politico 5/27/14

http://tinyurl.com/lz8w69k .

“At the start of morning assembly in the state-of-the-art Viikki School in Helsinki, students’ smartphones disappear. In math class, the teacher shuts off the Smartboard and begins drafting perfect circles on a chalkboard. The students — some of the highest-achieving in the world — cut up graphing paper while solving equations using their clunky plastic calculators.” (Read More… http://tinyurl.com/lz8w69k )

I trace a lot of this confusion to the indubitable Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner. As Vice-President, he had enormous influence promoting the idea that the mere possession of computers automatically confers educational excellence. (Image: Al Gore as a traditional medicine man dancing with a little computer rattle. http://postimg.org/image/moxpm6ykz/ )

I’m very happy at Kim from Far Rockaway’s comments, contradicting what I am saying here. I would love it if every teacher were sufficiently conscientious and skilled to be able to ensure her students’ excellence. But I suspect that Kim would succeed with her students under any circumstances.

Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

wnyc.org/story/why-hoboken-throwing-away-all-its-student-laptops/

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Hechinger Report

By Jill Barshay : The Hechinger Report

Inside Hoboken’s combined junior-senior high school is a storage closet. Behind the locked door, some mothballed laptop computers are strewn among brown cardboard boxes. Others are stacked one atop another. Dozens more are stored on mobile computer carts, many of them on their last legs.

That’s all that remains from a failed experiment to assign every student a laptop at Hoboken Junior Senior High School. It began five years ago with an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington, D.C., and good intentions to help the district’s students, the majority of whom are under or near the poverty line, keep up with their wealthier peers. But Hoboken faced problem after problem and is abandoning the laptops entirely this summer.

“We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.”

None of the school administrators who initiated Hoboken’s one-to-one laptop program still work there. Toback agreed to share Hoboken’s experiences so that other schools can learn from it.

Despite tight budgets, superintendents and principals around the country are cobbling together whatever dollars they can to buy more computers for their classrooms. This year alone, schools are projected to spend almost $10 billion on education technology, a $240-million increase from 2013, according to the Center for Digital Education. Educational technology holds the promise of individualizing instruction, and some school systems, like Mooresville, N.C., and Cullman, Ala., have shown impressive student learning gains. But districts like Los Angeles and Fort Bend, Texas, which jumped on the tech trend without careful planning, had problems when they gave a laptop or tablet to every student and are scrapping them, too.

By the time Jerry Crocamo, a computer network engineer, arrived in Hoboken’s school system in 2011, every seventh, eighth and ninth grader had a laptop. Each year, a new crop of seventh graders were outfitted. Crocamo’s small tech staff was quickly overwhelmed with repairs.

We had “half a dozen kids in a day, on a regular basis, bringing laptops down, going ‘my books fell on top of it, somebody sat on it, I dropped it,’ ” said Crocamo.

Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still… teenagers.

“We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed.”

Crocamo’s time was also eaten up with theft. Despite the anti-theft tracking software he installed, some laptops were never found. Crocamo had to file police reports and even testify in court.

Hoboken school officials were also worried they couldn’t control which websites students would visit. Crocamo installed software to block pornography, gaming sites and Facebook. He disabled the built-in web cameras. He even installed software to block students from undoing these controls. But Crocamo says students found forums on the Internet that showed them how to access everything.

“There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo.

All this security software also bogged down the computers. Teachers complained it took 20 minutes for them to boot up, only to crash afterwards. Often, there was too little memory left on the small netbooks to run the educational software.

Hoboken math coach Howard McKenzie says he also had problems with the software itself.

“We wanted to run a program for graphing calculators, but it didn’t work very well; it was very sticky,” said McKenzie “We kind of scrapped it.”

Ultimately, the math teacher just showed it to the class on a Smart Board, an interactive whiteboard.

Superintendent Toback admits that teachers weren’t given enough training on how to use the computers for instruction. Teachers complained that their teenage students were too distracted by their computer screens to pay attention to the lesson in the classroom.

Michael Ranieri, a junior at Hoboken’s high school, aspires to be an electrical engineer. He said when he did use the computers for schoolwork, it was mostly for word processing and internet browsing. He would write an essay on the laptop for English class, for example, or research information using Google.

“We didn’t really do much on the computer,” said Ranieri. “So we kind of just did games to mess around when we had free time. I remember, really big, was Crazy Taxis that we used to play. If we found solitaire on line, we used to play it.”

Ranieri said he was relieved to be free of the stress of keeping track of his laptop. Families had to sign papers agreeing to be financially responsible if the computers were lost. Every week Ranieri roamed his classrooms looking for his.

“It was usually under my desk in English class,” he said.

Superintendent Toback inherited the laptop program when he arrived in 2011. At first, he tried to keep it going, but he faced skyrocketing costs, which hadn’t been budgeted for. The $500 laptops lasted only two years and then needed to be replaced. New laptops with more capacity for running educational software would cost $1,000 each, Toback said. Additionally, licenses for the security software alone were running more than $100,000 and needed to be renewed every two years.

And the final kicker: the whole town was jamming the high school’s wireless network.

“A lot of people knew the username and password,” Toback said. “So a lot of people were able to walk by the building and they would get wireless access. Over a period of years, you had thousands of people. It bogged it down, it made it unusable.”

Allison Powell said Hoboken’s headaches are not unusual. Powell is a vice president for state and district services at iNacol, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, where she works with school leaders on how to use computers to personalize instruction by delivering different lessons to each child.

But Powell said many schools continue to make Hoboken’s mistake of shopping for technology without a plan to make teaching in the classroom more effective.

“Probably in the last few months I’ve had quite a few principals and superintendents call and say, ‘I bought these 500 iPads or 1,000 laptops because the district next to us just bought them,’ and they’re like, now what do we do?” Powell said.

This summer, Hoboken school staff will go through the laptops one by one, writing down the serial numbers and drafting a resolution for the school board to approve their destruction.

Then they’ll seek bids from recycling companies to figure out how much it will cost Hoboken to throw them away.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Comment #532954 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:14 PM

I have been intensively involved with computers, sometimes for a reason. I have a lot to say. I read all the posts—unlike most of the ephemeral attention the information tsunami receives. All your comments changed my mind—I was planning on teaching my 7-year-old granddaughter to use Adobe Illustrator to channel her constant drawing. Now I realize the mistake I was making. I’ll keep her as far as possible away from computers. TODDLERS BECOMING SO ADDICTED TO IPADS THEY REQUIRE THERAPY http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10008707/Toddlers-becoming-so-addicted-to-iPads-they-require-therapy.html Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment. INFANTS ‘UNABLE TO USE TOY BUILDING BLOCKS’ DUE TO IPAD ADDICTION http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10767878/Infants-unable-to-use-toy-building-blocks-due-to-iPad-addiction.html The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn that rising numbers of children are unable to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads. SLEEP PROBLEMS PLAGUE DEVICE DEPENDENT CHILDREN http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/03/03/Sleep-Problems-Plague-Device-Dependent-Children Cellphones and other devices emit the “blue light” that works against the sleep process by interfering with melatonin, the chemical in our bodies that promotes sleepiness. Anecdote: When I was in the 10th grade in 1970, I shared a science-fiction short story I had read with my friends: Like the kids in Hunger Games, rural, disadvantaged kids lacking access to specialized calculating equipment were able to beat elite urban kids in math competition by using traditional paper-based cyphering techniques. Life imitates art, as a recent news article shows: “FINNS BEAT U.S. WITH LOW-TECH TAKE ON SCHOOL”, Politico 5/27/14 http://tinyurl.com/lz8w69k . “At the start of morning assembly in the state-of-the-art Viikki School in Helsinki, students’ smartphones disappear. In math class, the teacher shuts off the Smartboard and begins drafting perfect circles on a chalkboard. The students — some of the highest-achieving in the world — cut up graphing paper while solving equations using their clunky plastic calculators.” (Read More… http://tinyurl.com/lz8w69k ) I trace a lot of this confusion to the indubitable Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner. As Vice-President, he had enormous influence promoting the idea that the mere possession of computers automatically confers educational excellence. (Image: Al Gore as a traditional medicine man dancing with a little computer rattle. http://postimg.org/image/moxpm6ykz/ ) I’m very happy at Kim from Far Rockaway’s comments, contradicting what I am saying here. I would love it if every teacher were sufficiently conscientious and skilled to be able to ensure her students’ excellence. But I suspect that Kim would succeed with her students under any circumstances.

Comment #532943 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:16 PM

FOR MARY in NYC: – Students cannot check Facebook because it isn’t a permitted site on the NYCDOE server (You Tube is also banned). – Cameras are disabled to prevent selfies – I use formative assessments at the beginning of class with very specific questions based on the previous night’s work, usually in the form of a google doc or the app Socrative. I give 5 minutes for students to respond then readjust the form setting so it is no longer accepting responses – this prevents a student from scanning an article/text and guessing (I use short responses, not multiple choice). This work is graded as “class participation” and is configured into the final grade. – We work in triads so peer pressure is also a detriment – I walk around the room with my clip board and look at the screens – if you’re off task, I deduct points from your weekly conduct grade (everyone begins each Monday with 100%); all a student needs to do is stay on task and do the work to keep the 100%. – Scholars’ Academy is a gifted & talented 6-12 school – and very competitive; parents are highly involved and we post grades online so parents have access to everything

Comment #532938 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 3:55 PM

It should be noted that only one Hoboken school board member voted against this when it came up for a vote in March 2010. That was Maureen Sullivan and, citing studies in Texas and elsewhere, she made every argument against the laptop program made here, and many more. But politicians and bureaucrats are often distracted by shiny new objects. So Maureen’s cogent objections and sound reasoning were no match for the lure of shiny new laptops that could handed out to each student, followed by heaps of praise from their parents-and votes in the next election. But the board members were really just sheep following their superintendent, Peter Carter. He knew almost nothing about computers but was about to retire and wanted this “gift” to Hoboken to be his “legacy.” Well, Carter now has this fiasco as his legacy.

Comment #532926 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:54 PM

Waste in Hoboken?! Never! This story is no surprise to any resident here. We spend over $25k per student with poor results. It will be interesting to see what happens when we lose our Abbott status based on the 2010 census that showed median income over $100k here (Abbott schools in NJ were low income urban districts- hoboken is still urban but certainly not low income anymore). The hoboken BOE is a huge bureaucracy where everyone hires their cousin or sister in law as an “aide” or something. There are admins making $100k. It’s insane. This computer fiasco is nothing.

Comment #532923 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:31 PM

The failure here was deploying the technology without a plan for integrating it with any classroom curricula. Students latching on without a plan is just a matter of luck. The very briefest of google searches reveals that Hoboken DPW does e-waste recycling from 8am-4pm M-F. [Although, an enterprising IT technician would sell the easily recovered parts – RAM, batteries, CD drives, and especially the unbroken SCREENS on eBay for beaucoup l’argent.] The WiFi encryption key could be changed EVERY DAY as well. More hassle for the administration but it does solve the problem. Many networks permit guest access – just throttle down the available bandwidth so nobody would use it unless they had, too. Computers are no more magical than chalk and blackboards, pencils and composition books and typewriters. They do, however, take a lot more work to support.

Comment #532921 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:22 PM

I am the only member of the Hoboken school board who voted against this program back in March 2010. To me, it was clear that the superintendent and his deputy (both retirees working on an interim basis)had no clue what they were talking about. When I asked how our tech department (we have 1,700 students in K-12) could cope with 250 extra laptops, the superintendent explained that the kids could call the Dell help-line. When I asked what would happen when laptops started breaking, he said: “that’s what insurance is for.” The other board members were willing to overlook any possible problems because it was “for the kids.” We already spend about $25,000 per pupil (second in NJ in K12 districts) but it’s never enough – the board continues to raise taxes. I did not run for re-election in 2012.

Comment #532919 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:13 PM

We are a nonprofit United Way member agency that has been providing refurbished computers for kids to use for school for 15 years. Laptops/tablets and backpacks on a school bus just don’t mix. We firmly support the position that a desktop computer at school and at home is the most economical and sensible solution. We receive over 5K desktop computers a year from corporations looking to donate their equipment. We refurbish, load new Microsoft licenses (an issue for many)and provide to school kids and directly to schools for a nominal fee. The money saved is considerable. SO…Hoboken. We will come get all your computers…no charge. We will remove all data to exceed Dept of Defense specification…no charge. We will refurbish them and provide them to low income kids all across the country. Just go to www.computerbanc.org…contact me!

Comment #532918 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:13 PM

I agree with David Fowler with the donation idea, just don’t throw them out. Those laptops can still be used by some body out there that don’t even have access to technology. I’m currently using a 3 year old laptop and it works just fine, don’t throw them out, just give them to charity, if they still work and a two year old laptop is just fine for doing basic things.

Comment #532917 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:08 PM

We are a nonprofit United Way member agency that has been providing refurbished computers for kids to use for school for 15 years. Laptops/tablets and backpacks on a school bus just don’t mix. We firmly support the position that a desktop computer at school and at home is the most economical and sensible solution. We receive over 5K desktop computers a year from corporations looking to donate their equipment. We refurbish, load new Microsoft licenses (an issue for many)and provide to school kids and directly to schools for a nominal fee. The money saved is considerable. SO…Hoboken. We will come get all your computers…no charge. We will remove all data to exceed Dept of Defense specification…no charge. We will refurbish them and provide them to low income kids all across the country. Just go to www.computerbanc.org…contact me!

Comment #532913 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:42 PM

For Kim, From Far Rockaway, Is it possible that these students also surfed on the web and checked their Facebook during class. How do you monitor that? Also how did they demonstrate that they read the articles at home? I’m a teacher and I haven’t had too much success with students using their computers in the classroom. What subject do you teach?

Comment #532902 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:08 PM

This unfortunate scenario plays itself out all to often, not only in education or academic institutions but in business and commerce as well. Organizations don’t take an Architectural approach to technology in the organization. What problem are we trying to solve with computing technology? What are the requirements? What are the outcomes that we seek? How is the lifecycle of the devices and infrastructure handled. Are we buying the proper hardware to execute the software that we plan on using…do we know what software that we plan to use? Why are education and academic institutions trying to rely on software/hardware/infrastructure that was primarily design to help solve productivity problems in commercial/business/office organizations? Is there a niche industry that focuses on developing software and solutions for education? It is my opinion that classrooms and education have a unique set of problems that indeed can be solved using various types of computing technology and infrastructure. I don’t believe that it can be solved using today’s off the shelf technology components which were design for the corporate workplace. Education must venture forth and invest in developing tools and infrastructure that have been developed with it in mind. Until then, the return-on-investment derived by using computing technology will never be realized and perhaps can never be justified.

Comment #532880 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:26 AM

Teenagers are pretty bad at taking care of things that have no bearing on their own lives. Maybe next time the motivated kids can earn laptops by volunteering to do paperwork for their teachers or administrators, or to help out in the gym, cafeteria, or library. Something that will give the government-subsidized school computer enough value to not let your friend sit on it. Better yet, have a computer class that lets students earn a laptop by repairing an existing broken one. Break your current computer? Looks like you are staying late the next couple weeks learning the repair methods until the parts come in and you’ve fixed it.

Comment #532868 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:23 AM

I fought with the NYC school system for several years to get my child 1)permiszsion to use a laptop or computer in class, and 2)to have NYC DOE provide my child (who had been tested by the NYC DOE as well as their Assistive Technology team) with a laptop. My child has fine motor difficulties and it was recommended that he use computers rather than try to write out notes and essays, as keyboarding is easier for him than writing. He continued with physical/occupational therapy for years as well. It took 4 years for the school to finally give him a laptop, and then the Principal, tired of dealing with our family, just handed my son one of HIS child’s cast-offs! When my son was finally given a proper laptop, it was new but broken. It took them a month to repair it, then a week later the same issue arose. I insisted on a replacement, and the school wanted to know what my kid was doing that kept causing the problem. My son was able to research this model online and found that it was a chronic problem with this model, and you guessed it, all they had ordered was that model. I finally took out a loan and got him one that worked. Yes, teens will be teens…he didn’t always stay off the internet, and the school’s administrative password was “password” so he hit on it right away to enable internet while in school, we had to buy waterproof padded backpacks with laptop sleeves, but it is worth it to see my son write and write and write, when he was barely able to handwrite a legible sentence before. He’s in college now, and they have a free loaner laptop policy for while students are in classes during the day, so clearly it can be done. But maybe not by the large beaurocracies which run our school systems.

Comment #532861 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:05 AM

To all the commenters suggesting that the school district donate the computers to a “third world country” like Haiti, what did you learn from reading this article? Read the article again and replace ‘Hoboken’ with ‘Port Au Prince.’ If a major city in one of the wealthiest states in the U.S. can’t manage Internet access, loss, theft, damage, security, tech support, software upgrades, etc.–not to mention misuse and underuse–how do you think these issue will play out in present-day Haiti? What developing countries (as well as many U.S. cities) need is better teacher training and better social support for students and families–not money-sucking quick fixes like more “educational technology.”

Comment #532855 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:48 AM

As a teacher, I have seen technology implemented both effectively and ineffectively in classrooms across different schools. It ultimately comes down to the systems set up by the teacher or school surrounding the technology. If students have shown irresponsibility or carelessness, there has to be a penalty of some sort. The Hoboken program’s failure, in my opinion, is on the adults in the building for not setting the kids up for success. Without systems in place, a computer is a huge source of distraction to any teenager or pre-teen. If there are not teachers with a clear vision and training of how this technology will work to enhance their classroom, a lot of money and opportunity for learning will inevitably be wasted. A computer or iPad is not a magic hat to make learning appear, and to treat it as such is ignorant. To throw these computers away is only further justification of how inefficient our education system can be. Where is the accountability?

Comment #532841 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:13 AM

I agree with Bill Hart, why destroy these computers? They can be used in countries like Haiti! I know of organizations that could benefit greatly from these laptops. Seems like such a waste to just throw them away.

Comment #532831 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:55 AM

Bill Hart, you hit the nail on the head.

Comment #532792 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:25 AM

I have a suggestion for Hoboken`s “destruction” program. You can get a sledgehammer from Home Depot for $20.00 and release your frustration

Comment #532749 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:53 AM

viruses attacked? Have schools heard of Ubuntu Linux – close to none. It’s such a pity that teenagers don’t appreciate the gift of free laptops. If this school district had insisted on Linux they would have been able to purchase more items at cheaper prices!

Comment #532719 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:31 AM

I think this story is yet another example of government waste, and I’m sure the technology companies were happy to oblige, since the program represented sales to them. I think this situation boils down to the fact that kids can be irresponsible and tend to not fully appreciate what is given to them. I would think educators above all people would know this, but then again when you are spending other people’s money…

Comment #532686 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:12 AM

I am familiar with Scholars Academy and I have to say truthfully that all of the students that attend Scholars may be more motivated than others in the care and usage of these iPads. At any rate, it’s best to have the students use laptops in the school only. I say this because I know this to be true as a parent and an educator. Some schools won’t let students take certain books home because of loss so just imagine what would happen to a laptop or iPad.

Comment #532658 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:55 AM

My thought exactly!

Comment #532649 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:00 AM

My students received iPad minis this year and it has revolutionized my classroom. I have a google site which houses all of my materials, instructions, and student work (parents can access too). I do not need to go to school two hours early to copy materials for my 99 students anymore. Furthermore, I can facilitate questioning and extending the learning of my students as they navigate the web and the assignment. They are consumed with technology and love having access to materials, dictionaries, and thesauruses. Additionally, we added apps like Evernote so they don’t need paper notebooks; students share their work with me through google docs. I can have them flip assignments I post, so they can come to school prepared to work in groups – no time “reading an article”, then working. I have found that 97% of my students arrive prepared and 100% report that they love having their class online. Some even work in the car on their iPhones and parent communication has increased since it’s quicker to return an email than a phone call. We also have an online grading system, so both parents and students are up to date on grading. I also send weekly progress reports to my parents and they tell me they love getting them. Of course, we developed guidelines for use and grade iPad behaviors – it helps eliminate negative uses in class; and we created lessons that explained how to use the iPads in school – giving time to explore through planned questions plus free time. We are a NYC public school (Scholars’ Academy) and I give kudos to Principal Brian O’Connell for his vision, implementation, and support.

Comment #532644 on Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 4:04 AM

This is such a sad article. The huge opportunity for faculty and students alike was never intelligently addressed at any level apparently. Rather than throwing all this equipment away,and treating it as rubbish; perhaps the possibility of giving it away to a third world country, or to a school district in the US that will use the computers, repair the computers as part of a learning program in computer repair at the very least should be considered. Is the damage to all these computers to the extent that none of the equipment could serve someone somewhere that is more willing and able to utilize the potential here ?