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Collection: Providing Access to Portable Tools

purple arrow (1137 bytes) NCIP Profile: Learning with Laptops

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Schools Address Implementation Issues

In an ideal world, students who need computers to write effectively would have them in their classrooms, at the public library, and on the kitchen table at home. In reality, schools must find ways to make a limited number of computers widely available for as many students as possible.

Student typing on laptop keyboard (9523 bytes)Because laptops can help students with learning disabilities write in different settings, some schools are implementing programs in which students are given access to these portable computers.

Portable laptop computers can provide students with disabilities access to writing in many settings. Once a school decides to establish a program in which students are given access to laptops, however, teachers and administrators must grapple with a variety of implementation issues. Three key questions that must be answered are: What criteria should be used to decide which students have access to laptops and for what purposes? What systems will be used for scheduling and managing the use of laptops so that they can be used in a variety of settings? And finally, How will the laptops be kept secure and in good working order?

The solutions will vary and depend upon a school's available resources, its organizational structure and curriculum, and the needs of its students. The story that follows provides an example of how one high school addressed these issues. Also profiled are other school programs that have successfully dealt with a variety of implementation issues that arise when students are given access to laptop computers.

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Lightweight and portable, laptops can be carried from class to class as easily as bookbags.


Examples of how several different schools are using laptops:


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.