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Providing Access to Portable Tools Collection
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Portable computers and other electronic writing aids can provide students with disabilities flexible access to word processing and computing across educational environments. Educators are beginning to learn how to manage the complex implementation issues that arise when schools provide their students with laptops.

These resources were compiled during NCIP's period of funding, 1992-1998.  If you have any questions about a resource, please use the contact information listed for the resource.  NCIP encourages the reproduction and distribution of these materials as long as the contents are not altered in any way, and credit is given to NCIP.

The following print and video profiles are overviews of this topic developed by NCIP:

NCIP Profile

"Learning with Laptops"

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The following resources contained in the Laptops Collection were compiled by NCIP.   They are grouped into the following categories: General, Practice, Products, and Research.


How Can Laptops Help Teachers Teach?

Highlights how the use of laptops made it easier for teachers to engage students involved in collaborative, project-based work.

Logistics of Using Laptops

Highlights some of the logistical issues involved with integrating laptops, such as power supplies, storage space, flexible work space, and project structure.

Student Reactions to Using Laptops

Reactions from students who participated in Project PULSE, which provided them with access to laptop computers at both school and home.

[Profile | General | Practice | Products | Research ]


Breathing Life into Reluctant Writers: The Seattle Public Schools Laptop Project

A summary of an article focusing on three different programs using laptops established in the Seattle Public Schools to improve the writing skills of at-risk students. This overview highlights different uses of laptops within the three programs, vignettes of individual students' use of the laptops, as well as some of general outcomes and benefits.

Empowering Young Writers with Technology

This article describes the use of laptops in 4th grade writing workshops. The school purchased forty inexpensive Tandy laptops, so that each student had ready access to a computer for writing assignments.

The Laptop Computer: A Bridge to Literacy for Students with Learning Disabilities

Describes a multi-year project in which a school for students with learning disabilities provided laptops for students to use at school and at home. This summary highlights some of the outcomes and benefits of this project.

Laptops - An Exciting Addition to the Social Science Classroom

Describes a project in a high school history class in which laptops were used to facilitate student-centered learning and writing across the curriculum. This overview summarizes the author's discussions of notetaking on the laptops, small group assignments via modem, laptop use in cooperative learning groups, and laptops as a research tool.

[ Profile | General | Practice | Products | Research ]



A description of the AlphaSmart Keyboard, an inexpensive electronic tool designed primarily for note-taking.


A description of  a portable computer manufactured by NTS Computer Systems.

Portable Computers Adapted for Power Wheelchair Use

A description of Synergy PC and MacSynergy, two portable computers specifically designed and engineered to address the multiple needs of individuals with disabilities who use power wheelchairs.

Profile | General | Practice | Products | Research ]


Laptop Computers and the Learning Disabled Student: A Study Of the Value of Portable Computers to the Writing Progress of Students with Fine Motor Problems

A summary of a research project involving seventh and eighth grade students with learning disabilities and illegible handwriting. Students in the experimental group were provided with laptop computers which they could use at school and at home. The benefits of full accessibility and portability are explored.

Project PULSE

A summary of Project PULSE, a research project in which students and teachers had access to individual laptops for the entire school year, for use at school and at home. The Executive Summary from the Final Report of Year One of Project Pulse is included.

[ Profile | General | Practice | Products | Research ]

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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.