What can be learned from educational experiences where all students in certain school districts have been given computers?

The lesson learned should be lack of effective direction and control in implementing the plan. I remember from IST 601 that we should control technology, reverse should not happen. As wise users of technology, we should devise clear plans as how technology will be used, especially when it is to be used by kids. If we would have done that, things would have been far better.

I would suggest XO model laptops which are tailor made with the specific usage in schools and by kids. There should be restriction on the kind of websites or URLs that could be visited using the limited web capability of the device (A firewall which allows only listed websites, is a good choice). I am not going into detail how we can secure the unintended usage of web and multimedia.

I was just hearing the news on TV which showed a school in US that encourages students to use drugs and do sex. If the standard in schools drop to this level, there is no surprise that there is no proper control over usage of laptops which were intended for academic purposes. What I mean here is that it is the facility or the management or the party who implement the technology program, should make sure that it is well utilized.

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