Stories From Main Street: Montvale School Ditches Books, Chalkboards For Laptops

MONTVALE, NJ (WCBS 880) – Times are changing. Technology is everywhere at the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in northern New Jersey. Forget about the chalk and blackboard.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams in North Jersey

In this district, teachers don’t say “Open your textbook.” They say, “Open your laptop.”

“Basically, in every class, we’re using laptops to take notes on Microsoft Word. It’s more organized,” says Andrea, a sophomore.

Seven years ago, while Andrea was still in elementary school, Pascack Valley became the first high school district in New Jersey to give every student a laptop.

“Before, without the computers, I’d have to carry around a lot more textbooks and stuff. My backpack weighed 50 pounds. Now, it’s like five pounds of notebooks and stuff,” says Andrea.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories from Main Street

“I’d say the vast majority of our subject areas have broken away from textbooks,” says Erik Gunderson, director of curriculum. “We have our teachers collaborating with one another in the various school buildings that we have. And so they’ll either Skype or video conference.”

The students, too, are making internet connections with their laptops.

“Students in a molecular genetics course, they’re conducting authentic research in the classroom and they’re communicating their findings with graduate assistants and professors at the Rutgers Waksman Institute [of Microbiology],” says Gunderson.

Another sophomore, Annie, says, “In math, currently, we’re working on sketch pad, which is … a program where you can design different shapes and things like that and learn about medians and centroids.”

“If you were to walk around our classes, you’d see students using Google Docs to share documents, to peer edit their papers. You’d walk into a science classroom and they may be using a Wiki space so that they can their data that they’re getting from an experiment,” says Gunderson.

Do you think all schools should take up the same practice? Sound off below

Laptops link to sensors and collect data in science experiments.

He adds that students also videoconference with others around the world.

“Now we’ve had students that have been collaborating on projects with students in Taiwan, China, and we have an Italian class that holds class very early in the morning every Friday morning with a school in Italy,” says Gunderson

Matthew Kutolowski teaches Chinese. In his class, the flash cards are digital.

“They never lose the cards. They never get beat up. The dog never chews them. They don’t forget to brind them to class. They always have them,” says Kutolowski. “And these are talking flash cards.”

Students also learn digital photography, video editing, and web design.

“We’re using our laptops to film workout videos of us using the machines and we’re importing them into iMovie and editing them to show our class,” says Andrea.

Recently, the National School Boards Association even visited for a tech tutorial.

The Pascack Valley Regional High School District operates both Pascack Hills High School in Montvale and Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale.

More from Sean Adams
  • Liam R.

    There is so much negativity in these comments because this story got posted to Drudge. In other words, a flood of rural hicks have arrived to tell us what a stupid idea something they can’t afford is. Fact: Rural areas of the US have the worse schools in the country. Inner-city schools may perform poorly in general, but that is an issue with the student’s attitudes. Out in the boondocks where Drudge’s readers live they can’t get a decent education even if they are 100% focused on their studies. The credits necessary to graduate are the equivalent of just 3 years of high school in the suburbs of big city areas. So instead of showing up here to bash teaching from laptops, i suggest you fix your own schools.

    • Quinientos

      That would explain why my friend from Wells, NV with a graduating class of 26 is now a PHD in nano physics. You are the naive one here.

      • Liam R.

        Outliers in rural schools are an exception to the rule, as are failures in great schools. Your statement discredits mine as much as someone saying lions are okay to play with because this one guy has one as a pet. Besides, my statement was more-so directed towards midwestern and southern rural high schools with their huge redneck populations that are so damn stupid.

    • Anna

      Liam, Every point you made in your comment does not apply to me. I dwell in the suburbs, have money and education, love technology — AND, I read DRUDGE all the time. Your stereotypes are cliche and are often used about conservatives, Christians, or those not agreeing with you. Seems like profiling … just saying.

  • Derran Reebel

    Besides the obvious electricity consumption and health risks from looking at a monitor all day long then going home and doing it again with TV, Facebook and Video games, there are several other problems with this scenario.

    1. Data backup. God forbid any one of these computer’s hard drive failed or were dropped/damaged. While it’s nice that they don’t have to buy overpriced books or carry heavy books, if the data is not backed up and ONLINE also as a redundant backup, there could be serious setbacks for them if and when a problem arises.

    2. Cheating. Tests had still better be done on PAPER unless these tech savvy smart kids learn a way to IM or text under the radar the answers to each other.

    3. Battery power. Is it really possible to have a laptop for 30 kids in just one room all plugged in at the same time? That’s just one room too! If they are relying on battery power, it better have 15 hours of life!

    4. Along the line of cheating, schools, if they do pursue this, had better have a LOCK on what can be done and looked at on the laptop. A dedicated IT department with a dedicated network at some workplaces sometimes cannot always stop things employees do to waste time on their computers, who is to say a teenager in high school would be any different?

    While the ability to tap into other resources and communicate around the world or with a lab project is an obvious benefit, the cons far outweigh the pros with this scenario. Perhaps a better application for this type of environment is at university where textbooks cost ALOT more along with the education and perhaps we could hope that the student would take their studies a bit more seriously.

    -Derran Reebel

  • TX

    And people wonder why kids today can’t write much less barely print… I can see the future now, if computers die there will be picture drawings again. I think kids should use computers in school but not in replacement of pen and paper.

    • Student from Hills

      Hi “TX.” I am currently a sophomore at this school and your comment is wrong. We don’t JUST use the computers. This article just happens to be focused on that one form of utensil at school. In my math class, we rarely ever use them. And what about our art classes? I took Drawing last year and we didn’t use them!

  • Brad Skidmore

    Why stop with Lap Tops?

    How about we realize the world is now a connected collective of knowledge and expertise….

    Education is at the fingertips of everyone… Degrees are obsolete… The establishment is obsolete. Knowledge is setting us free from the grasp of status quo.

  • Tom EE

    Technology, although very important in today’s society, is not a substitute for the school’s responsibility in basic education. All we have to do is look at schools in many if not most developed countries. Children in America are way behind what is expected of their counterparts in most countries.
    Get rid of the cell phones, video games and cars and get back to education first! Get rid of the absurd “proficiency testing”. Failing students shouldn’t be allowed to have drivers licenses. Kids spend more time playing video games and using their cell phones than studying! Giving them laptops is a joke!!!

  • MikeS

    I think the person who wrote this article needs to go back to school.

    “You’d walk into a science classroom and they may be using a Wiki space so that they can their data that they’re getting from an experiment,” says Gunderson.

    “They never lose the cards. They never get beat up. The dog never chews them. They don’t forget to brind them to class. They always have them,” says Kutolowski. “And these are talking flash cards.”

  • Alex

    Children today are going to spend their entire lives in front of a screen. Now that is sad.

  • lykeit is

    optomerists and eye glass palces love this

    • Dennis

      One Chalkboard = No electricity
      One Chalkboard 100 dollars

      Thirty Laptops 15,000 Dollars

      I thought Al Gore emphasized energy conservation??

      • James

        Sadly, since they are talking Macs here, $30,000-40,000 would be a more accurate number for thirty laptops.

  • idiotmitten

    This would be somewhat plausable if the laptop batteries would last an entire day.

  • Charles

    One more thing – want to know why the US is so much lower than then most of the rest of the developed world in math and science. Too much emphasis on Liberal Art courses. Can we get rid of those silly requirements ?

    History is what we remember it to be – want to learn something about it look up an old book on the subject it will always be more accurate than something newer. Someone might have their feelings hurt by the real truth.

    Philosophy is perhaps the biggest joke courses out there – Great = you get to learn about nothing more than someones opinion on some topic. You can get that at any water cooler,

    Pollitical Science – skewed to the instructors definition of the topic at hand. Better off educating yourself on the topic and learn the facts not some two bit pencil necks opinion on events.

    Hey I have an idea – you want to go to college and study Liberal Arts – how about making them take calculus, Physics, Chemistry so they too can be well rounded – as they claim those majoring in real courses are required to do with there silly learn nothing wast my time and my money courses. .

    • mike

      As Albert Einstein once stated, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I believe that you can teach all the Physics and Chemistry, etc. there is, but without art, poetry, and philosophy serving as catalysts for the imagination, your knowledge will not progress to its full potential.

      • annoyamouse

        Supply and demand is a natural process. Where innovations in the sciences are needed they can be naturally supplied by the pursuit of the entrepreneur. The very same can be said of the arts. There is just as much structure in art as there is science it is just an issue of perspective. There is just as much form in science as there is art it is just an issue of perspective. So why bother creating a definition of a scientist as a person with a degree defining him as such? Surely his achievements in indenturement or apprenticeship is much more definitive than a series of course work and tests. Education is fundamental but education comes from our families, the city streets, nature, teachers and pretty much everything we experience in the course of our lives. Is it really that valuable to create an artificial structure to conserve centrally managed and designated education?

        So if you really love education and imagination let people pursue it on their own terms without compulsory imposition.

    • ditchdigger2

      Logic, not in this world. Hold liberal arts accountable for anything, and they will be learning to drive nails and change diapers , which requires an outcome. Many would fail.

    • Raul Presas

      couldn’t agree more.

  • Charles

    This is a bad idea.

    1. reading from a computer screen all day will kill your vision.
    2. I think the textbooks we had 20 years ago are just fine especially for math – which is the universal language of the world. and far to little emphasis is placed on it in the schools.
    3. we lugged all our books around just fine – and we did not even have back-packs when I was in school

  • omg

    This comments thread has opened my eyes up to how much old dumb people hate technology they don’t understand.

  • jeff

    we dont spend enough on education… my skinny rear end. blow other peoples hard earned money and at the end of the day stand rock bottom in math and science among the rest of the developed world.

  • D Schwarz

    While technology should be embraced, student still need to obtain the underlying knowledge that the technology performs or supports. We have kids who cannot do math without a calcuator; what about if the electricity grid goes down and the tecnology is not available…we need students who can br resourceful enough to handle the challenges ahead, not jut be totally depndent on technology for everything.

  • Stone Age

    We need to throw out the laptops, throw away the “SMART” projector boards, exchange our fancy ball point pens for feathers and ink, turn off the fluorescent lights (aka: I want to control your life by removing the good ‘ol incandescent bulb) and bring out the candles instead, sell off the school buses and make kids walk a few miles each day (even in the snow, it’ll make them stronger), and let kids stop school after the 5th grade so they can work in the coal mines like a real worker instead a wussy accountant or “scientist.” Do it with ya hands!

  • Donald Mitchell

    I may be a dinosaur, but I do not believe computers should be allowed until the student has demonstrated a full understanding. I would also ban pocket calculators until the student demonstrated proficiency in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Of course I was out of high school before I had a pocket calculator, but I had an excellent slide rule (excuse me for using obsolete terms unknown to modern generations) of which I was very proud. Of course, while it could be used in a science class, I never had a math course where its use was both helpful and allowed.

    When I was trying to hire people I was considered unreasonable because I needed exceptional circumstances to even consider an individual who could not do basic math with pencil and paper. Imagine my surprise when I found that the reason that a considerable portion of high school graduates wanting to take employment applications away from my location was that they could not read and write well enough to fill them out without assistance-indeed often to have them filled out by someone who had not wasted their youth with time spent learning.

    There is mention of the benefit of being able to peer review papers. I have vivid memories of a college professor whose final examinations were take home, unlimited time, and open book including reference books. When he was asked if it was OK to collaborate with other students, he assured us that it was, but did warn that a grade of 100 distributed among three people was far from a passing grade.

  • Geary Quinn

    This is BS. Who is paying for this? If the parents want to buy a laptop for their kids for use at home great! Pay attention at school, listen and watch the blackboard!

  • Buddy

    Is this really the best way?

    • Sammy Laptop

      I think the issuing of laptops to students will really tick off the working class tax payers. They’re still stuck in the old days before the non-math, non-critical thinking labor oriented jobs were shipped overseas for cheap labor to do. Those days are gone. The working class folks who used to have those jobs still have the same mindset, an anti-academic mindset. Anything that is new that clashes with “building something with your hands,” even something as simple as not using a pen and paper, is different and therefore bad. We’re moving into a new world and need SCHOOL CHOICE. We need to allow the

      • Sammy Laptop Continued

        Continued. We need to allow the parents who want their kids to be ready for technical careers, thinking careers to have the CHOICE to support schools like the one in this article. Give the sweat shop labor kids their choice too. Give the working poor a CHOICE to go to a school with slide rulers and papyrus scrolls. Let them bend sheet metal or something like that.

    • TWC

      You think this is bad. Natrona County wyoming has beed using laptops for at least 5 years. Its not just in the high schools but also in the middle schools. Not just one school but both high schools and four middle schools.

  • t mobile

    I just checked this school’s website, I don’t think a single one of these students will ever do an ounce of real work. Bunch of silver spoons.

  • instructivist

    It is hard for outsiders to understand but education school ideology is anti-knowledge. The products of these education schools in a position of power have been waging war against textbooks for a long time. Textbooks have the advantage of systematizing knowledge and gearing knowledge to specific grade levels. Instead, these charlatans who make curricular decisions advocate a hodgepodge haphazardly gathered from the Internet often taught by teachers with a tenuous grasp of the subject matter. The lights are going out. We may as well close shop.

  • Mike

    Florence High School in Arizona has laptops for every student and it is a VERY successful program because Dr. Tim Richard implemented it. This guy is the real deal school leader of the next century

  • J. Dermody

    I do believe all kids should stay home and use computers. Hook them up
    to a robot teacher. We save money on all kinds of things like all the teachers
    we need now, buildings called schools, jainitors, consolers, school buses and school bus drivers, etc.
    Great for the economy. Mom might have to stay home and watch the little
    boogers or she could hire a tutor to make sure the darlings are really working
    on their computer.
    I say go for it.

  • Asian view

    Students need to learn how to write with a pen. In addition penmanship, a segment of studying English, has not been part of the curriculum of the US public school system. Present day computers cannot teach these lessons, nor could they handle questions that require paragraph answers.
    In my opinion the old method of educating children should stand along with the new introduction of the computer and never be replaced by the computer.
    Educating a child should involve the participation of a human to that child for at this moment it is only humans that can explain a complex question in a human manner.

    • Charles

      in the near future all documents, even all information, will be digital….teaching an obsolete craft such as penmanship would be a waste of the students’ time that could be better spent preparing them to compete in the real world

  • sandyjo53

    What’s the point of having teachers,might as well have an online school teach them, eliminate the real time teachers jobs and save the taxpayers a ton of money!

    • Rod

      GREAT IDEA! Then we can have hobo teachers! Man, you’re a genius!

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken


  • jerseyjoey

    If Computers are an Aid to your job or Higher learning Then so be it, Have my support as long as its not tax payer funded or thrust upon me by my Arse School System. As Im starting to see it: the schools, teachers and school Board members along with every one else is becoming Computer dependent , That is what will bring us down, Morons in Morons out. It is a Lame excuse that kids cant learn without Computers, I learned Just Fine, GPA4.0 did it the old fashioned way, I Earned it with a pencil ,paper and books.

    • frank zippa

      good for u, a** h***. U must be smart

      • Mike Burkart

        Or they worked very hard….. Or they are smart and worked hard as well.

        I believe the name you called them may fit you.

    • Rod

      While I do believe that computer dendency is terrible.. Rejecting the fact that the world continues to advance technologically and denying kids a chance to learn with computers is terrible. Hey Bubba, who do you think will be paying taxes a few years from now? Yup, the kid you wanted to be mr pencil and paper. Guess he won’t really be able to compete against Mr. “turns out I was taught how to use a computer and very damn well” living in China, or Japan, or India, huh?

  • Mike M

    Abject stupidity. NONE of the people who invented calculators and computers had them when they went to school. Gee, they were forced to … USE THEIR OWN BRAINS!

    Now that calculators and computers are doing all the hard ‘thinking’ in the classroom these days maybe the graduation certificates to go to them instead of the button pushing students who don’t have clue how they work let alone a chance of ever improving them?

    • wasatchboy

      You probably had calculators and keyboards though the generation before you didn’t have them. Technology isn’t the enemy, it is a tool for learning. All those concerned with saving money should be for this 100%. What better way to help train the next generation then to have them use the very tools they will have to know about when they get a real job.

      • detfan

        How exactly does it save money? Textbooks are $60 and last for six years. Laptops are $500, and you have to replace them in five years. Plus another layer of administration for all the IT staff to keep it running. How about the cost of internet into the schools. It just cannot be made to be cost effective.

    • DC

      None of the people who invented the machines for mass production of products had them before they invented them either. So maybe those plants should go back to people using manual labor to manufacture goods. Most jobs that require math don’t have the people using pen and paper. You can still THINK and use your brain, but just get to the solution MUCH QUICKER using computers/calculators.

      Most of these schools that want to implement laptops also do so in HIGH SCHOOL. I would think that the basics and fundamentals of math using pen and paper have been learned WAY before then. The same goes for grammar, writing, etc. Calculators and computers at the high school level are used more as TOOLS to speed up the process and develop more skills, rather than to be used in the place of actual knowledge.

      • Rod

        Agreed. I don’t see how I would be able to do a chapter in my pre-calc book without my calculator, ha. Thank you for not taking the extreme sides of “yes, lets give TWO computers to every student” side or the “Throw that damn contraption in the garbage can and give him a quill!” side.


    HMMMM… It must be nice to live in a school district that has soooo much extra money.

  • David Stacconi

    We’re supposed to feel sorry for schools who have to cut programs to keep up? BULL!!! They don’t need to migrate to laptops and provide every student with one for the primary reason of keeping notes. They can have laptops as long as the parents pony up at least 50% of the costs. I’ve been paying astronomical property taxes for many years, the majority of which are school taxes. I don’t kids, nor will I ever have kids, so I’d rather not pay anything…


    Bad idea!! My son was given a laptop in 8th grade by the school and now he is a horrible speller because everything is spell checked and we just found out he is live chatting role play sex and sharing porn pics with his buddies on his school laptop that is supposed to have a great firewall… these kids can find ways past these firewalls.

    • galzu

      how is that the technologies fault ??? turn off spell check … control the chat -that can be disabled also — the laptops that i have seen being developed for clasroom use keep track of all activity on the device and that information can be checked everyday along with the homework and exactly how much time was spent on actual school work and reading — they can also be updated at will and there is no need to wait an average of 15 years for an update in data as with print books … there is a place for both — don’t blame the laptop for your lack of supervision

  • DZ

    School is like navigating a city with the help of signs, lights, arrows. etc. You must be obedient….a follower. Dropping out of school like the millionaires is like going through a wilderness with only your ability to notice what is important. Which of these will be more creative? The best thinker?

  • Mountainman

    I wonder about maintainance. Have you seen text books after a year of high school use!!! Do they expect the laptops to last 4 years with high school students hauling it around everyday?

  • Dave


    Most people type faster than they write. Combine that with easy to organize outlines in MS Word and your point gets harder and harder to make.

    Everyone here is afraid of technology. Sorry that the babyboom generation refuses to accept that younger students learn in ways that are different than what previous generations were limited to.

    • Mike M

      Show me how letting calculators and computers to do all the difficult work does ANYTHING to exercise the brain of a student? Pushing buttons does NOT enhance thinking skills (though it may improve their ability to work at factories in China assuming they can find it on a map…).

      • Tatiana Hoover

        Um, as a high school student, I want to clarify something – computers and calculators are NOT a copout. In my AP BC calculus class (basically second semester college calculus) we are problems on the AP exam that are far more complex than the problems that we on the exam even 15-20 years ago because we have calculators. Also, there are sections of the exam where calculators are not allowed.

        My teacher has us learn how to do everything with and without calculators. As far as this “good old days” mentality, that’s ridiculous. Like it or not, computers are a part of our society. Learn how to use them or get left behind.

    • Fudd

      The decision to question whether or not introducing new technology into our lives is not a matter of fear, it’s actually a very wise thing to do. For everything new we introduce into our lives we give up something else. GPS has left us unable to read maps, which is fine until your mobile phone doesn’t work. The transition from libraries to the internet as the repository of human knowledge has contributed to turning us from communal beings to isolated individuals.

      Technology mandates tradeoffs. One of the biggest problems we may run into is that we’re going to transition poor teaching habits into new teaching mediums. Static visual lectures will remain so no matter what medium the information is being communicated on. The limitations don’t come with paper and pencil or with MS Word and Windows, the learning limitations we are subject to comes with our students and our teachers, and people are much harder to change than laptops and software.

  • Houseguy4

    I like computers for research and presentations. But if you really want to in-grain something into your brain, write it out. Typing it does not have the same impact on the brain.
    There is something about writing a thought/facts in our own handwriting that places it into our brains. Keyboarding does not do that.
    Keyboards burn up a lot of time & thinking during class for “editing”.
    Keyboards limit thought. If you can’t type it, it gets left out. Computers are 2 dimensional – up & down or left & right. Can’t easily go diagonal. When I take notes, I circle things, underline, star items, draw a line from one item to it’s related item across the page, go back.
    My teenage students can barely write a sentence because their handwriting is so bad. They will avoid writing something because they don’t feel comfortable with the act of writing or comfortable with the appearance of their handwriting..

  • riffenberg

    The US spends over $10,000 per year per student. Thta’s ,more than most every country in the world . and… it’s not money well spent. It’s wasted.

    • Adonis JonnyPu

      That’s it? Honestly? Private school is over 20k. One Laptop Per Child is just about $120 per laptop now. Uruguay afforded every student one laptop. So, you’re saying a poor-ish (though ‘rich’ for South America) country can afford it and we can’t? I mean, my mom’s from Uruguay so I’m not trying to diss the country, but they are in no way comparable to the United States economically. They have almost no natural resources, especially compared to its neighbor Brazil. They have a high (though decreasing) unemployment rate. Yet….their education system is one of the best. And yes. Their teachers get paid well in comparison to most jobs (they actually recognize them as important. Who wouldathunkit?!?)

      Yay for forward-thinking!

      • Adonis JonnyPu

        And before you say it: I went to private school. It sucked. Biggest waste of money ever. We didn’t even learn algebra in high school and barely covered basic chemistry (forget labs).

        And yes. I do know that my particular high school was terrible, but that was due to the tuition being “only”$7k a year. The ‘good’ private schools that were not subsidized by the government or some religious organization were $20k+…some as high as $30k.

        And for what? So you can say “Ooh look at me and my posh school. We have tea and crumpets every lunch. AND I have a monocle!”

      • riffenberg

        I don’t want to hear it. Teaching is the easiest major other than PE. Teachers get paid well . I know because I used to teach. Teachers in many places make more than the average citizen. Some high school football coaches make $100,000 here in Georgia 15 years ago teachers were making upwards of $85,000 in Mass.and the avg. citizen in Mass doesn’t make that much. The US spends over $10,000 per student. That’s more than any other country other than Swiz. Maybe Ecuador doesn’t have teachers talking abt. self-esteem and the environment all day. maybe they teach math and science.

      • riffenberg

        Yea, well you paid for private school out of your own parents pocket and your parents paid for public schools too. It cost your parents $20,000 because your school was private and the school wasn’t open for the fun of it. The people who owned the private shool you went to were trying to make a living to feed their kids. Private schools try to make a profit. Public schools don’t try to make a profit. Joe Blow can’t afford to pay more taxes for everyone’s kid to have a computer unless it is cost effective.. Yes, 10,000 is it and that amount is way above any other country other than Swiz.. BTW. I bet the test scores for the students at your private school are higher than the public school students. I know people who went to private schools and they had great contacts and have good jobs. If I had children I would homeshool them. Home shooled children have the highest SAT scores etc.

      • Feed Up Fred

        You mean a teacher with 6 years of college (Bachelors and Masters) should get paid more than the average worker??? I think the average worker with a high school diploma selling furniture should get more than the teacher! I mean think of all the skills and hard work it takes to be able to sell something!!! The teacher should only get minimum wage, okay maybe $!0 an hour if we allow them to be spit on as they enter the building.

      • Adonis JonnyPu

        As an FYI to Riffenberg: I sadly had the highest SAT score of my high school peers with 1120/1600 (and I’m not counting Writing because I did horrible and no one cared). Most couldn’t even get to 800. Most could not even pass a basic Regents exam.

        Bash public schools all you want, but let me tell you that it took me a loooong road in College to catch-up academically. Not because I was stupid, but because I was simply not taught even close to the standard of education necessary to attend college (I got in to a decent state school because of how shoddy my school was, so I guess congrats on me for that)

        And you think teaching is easy? Deal with us hooligans for more than an hour, and I promise you will go insane.

  • wri7913

    If the kids are paying for and bringing their own laptops, I have no problem with them being used in schools. If the schools are providing the laptops for them to keep, who the heck is paying for it? It doesn’t mention this in the article and I would be concerned about that issue since we are in a huge financial mess with our government at this point in time. It’s nice idea but unless its paid for out of the students own pockets and not taxpayers, then I would have issue with that.

    • Alain

      Seriously? Do students pay for their own textbooks? No. So if laptops replace textbooks, why would they be expected to pay for the laptop? E-texts still charge a licensing fee but it is cheaper than normal textbooks. Laptops in bulk can easily be purchased for $100-$300

  • Joef

    This only makes sense. Get used to the idea that we’re going digital. It should be much cheaper to use ebooks than hard copy textbooks. Used well digitized information and laptops should increase learning, make it faster and more convenient, greatly enable the whole process, and cut costs. Ever pick up your 7th-grader’s bookbag? If it’s got all his textbooks in it, it’s easily thirty to fifty lbs.

    • Ryder

      See, your focus is only what “should” be… Not what is. This is why we have the problems we have in education today… People making grand assumptions about things, based upon nothing than the whimsical meanderings of their minds… Instead of actually checking first. If NASA had your attitude, we never would have made it to the moon. They got there by checking, and rechecking everything they proposed, and built. Nothing was approved unless it was tested, with clear proof that it worked. This lackadaisical approach to education is SO telling.

  • Gino Arcaro

    Research has proved that handwriting boosts brian power. As a former cop and former college law enforcement professor, I saw the alarming decay of written and verbal communication skills to an extent that the vast majority of our students were not employable. Lots of luck, people. There’s a huge mess that’s been created. If you don’t believe it, experience it for yourself. There’s a crisis – students can’t read, write, and more importantly, interact with humans outside the mind-numbing world of social networking.

    • Adonis JonnyPu

      Interactivity >>>>>>>> Writing on a sheet of paper in the background

  • Mark

    People posting here are showing their age. As an Illinois teacher, it is great to see students engaged in technology.

    And yes, these kids know how to use a computer. They aren’t as stubborn and can grasp technological concepts much better than their parents [and people posting here]

    • riffenberg

      Well then what is the point of a teacher. Let them learn at home.on a computer. At least at home they can focus on math and science instead of self esteem .
      Whose idea was this anyway with the computers? Bill Gates,,Steve Jobs?

    • Ryder

      You are focusing on the wrong things, Mark. It’s ALL about education… Not feeling good, as you do, about seeing kids with technology. Who gives a rats a** if kids have technology in their hands, if it doesn’t produce a clear result? That you are so easily distracted from the actual purpose of education is very very instructive as to the basic problems in schools today.

  • thibaud

    The goal behind use of classroom technology should be to scale, ie, do more with less: more instruction and advancement, less money spent per student.

    There’s no reason that a technology-enabled classroom can’t attain superior results with 35 students. Moving to this model– and btw, the highest-achieving nation in K-12 education, South Korea, has 36 students on average per class– would improve educational outcomes while saving us hundreds of billions annually. Currently, we have the worst of both worlds. We spend vast sums of money and have far less to show for it than any advanced nation.

  • Hedley Lamar

    What utter rubbish. These people would rather die than teach our children hard math and verbal skills.

  • ecradio

    I don’t even understand how this is controversial or even an issue. The entire state of Maine has been doing this with all of its middle schoolers and most of its high schoolers since 2003 and it’s been working phenomenally. I’m surprised half the Luddites on here have the computer literacy to actually write a comment on this board…

    • Ryder

      Actually, it’s not. They’ve spent millions of dollars they don’t have, and student achievement / scores have not budged.

  • Illogicbuster

    Total waste of $ unless, they are ONLY given AFTER the child has complete mastery of the 3 “R’s” and it is to train in science & ACTUAL relevant computer skills.

  • Steve Nail

    I hope educators are considering that all students will need to be trained to use the computers they are given. Young people are capable of using texting and social interacting sites but what about the suite of Microsoft tools. Some children grow up with computers others do not have access to them. What if a promising student is not
    yet computer literate when he hits high school for economic reasons or some other
    obstacle. This article seems to assume that every student is already competent in this area. Training should come first!

  • steve

    Why not dump those instructors, close the district and let the kids learn at home with instructions streamed or fire those teachers and stream the lesson and have the testing done by tutors? Either way it will cut costs. You know the teachers are excited more for themselves getting the laptops than their students. I bet they are using Macs because Apple has been pushing the idea around in schools and sort of paying off technology directors to use their products. You want to use computers in schools? Use them in computer labs and the librar, don’t distract learning with stimulation. You can tell them to put away the laptop but as long as it is near it will be the first thing on their mind.

  • J

    Of course technology isn’t evil, but the internet also isn’t a substitute for understanding. Sure I may forget a mathematic equation and do a quick Google to look it up, but I can only use it because I learned to do it the hard way in the first place. If not, essentially people just become parrots that can regurgitate whatever Google told them is the right answer but they can’t think or reason on their own. I’m a programmer myself. Can I code a q-sort algorithm without looking up the details? No. But I understand the basic principles, so when I do look it up I know what the heck I’m writing.

    And lets not even start on the validity of a lot of the information found on the web. If students don’t understand the principles or how to do the math, how are they going to know if what they look up is even correct?

  • yikes -

    there is something fundamentally wrong in doing away with a book. nothing compares to it. just being able to sign one’s own name or scratch somewhere in it and stack it in your home library for your grandchildren to see some day is worth it.

    but the bigger picture is what happens when some genius comes along and finds a way to erase much of the content on these computers, etc.
    the potential problems i see with this far, far, far outweighs the benefits.

    you can snuggle up with your written work always but can you do that if your computer goes caput? what next? instead of progress we go backwards?

    c’on people, get real in here.

  • Bruno Behrend

    There is no reason to react so negatively to such innovation. Read the link below to see just how well this could work out.

  • lada

    excellent point, imo.
    this kind of disassociation also alienates humans from reality and an inability to co-exist especially when they cannot get their own way.

    very, very, bad idea. this is a lazy exercise and the one thing we must never do in this country is second-class education to the young and curious. i find it insulting. and where are the intellectuals speaking out against this?

    how about we cut the amount of money we toss to any foreign country if they have to blow their noses?

  • lada

    this is a bad idea and it will come back to haunt these students in future years.
    that is absolutely too much eye contact with a computer.

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