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Laptops in schools: Crowdsourcing the argument(s)

One of the earliest and largest 1:1 computing initiatives in the United States has been transpiring in the Henrico County (VA) Public Schools(HCPS) for nearly a decade.  For the last X years, every student in grades 6-12 in the county has been issued a laptop.  The program began under the leadership of Dr. Mark Edwards and continued under the stewardship Fred Morton.  A new superintendent, Dr. Pat Russo, took over the reigns of the school system this year and now the county is holding a series of parent input sessions on the “Middle School Laptop Initiative.”  Given that the program has been implemented across all of secondary education, that they’re holding parent input sessions on the “middle school” initiative suggests that there is a real possibility that the program will be cut in the middle schools.

I have been working for a number of years to help educators understand the affordances for learning of technology in education.  I am also a parent of two not-yet-school-aged children in Henrico County.  Wearing those two hats, I intend to attend the last parent input session on Thursday, November 19 and I hope to offer my input.  I have a pretty good idea of the points I’d like to make, but I’ve built up a respectably large network of educators through my blog, through Twitter and through face-to-face meetings.  So, I’m modeling the power of social learning and I’m asking you to help me frame the arguments to the HCPS board. [Or, I’m outsourcing the work; you decide :-)]

I’ve started a Google doc where you can help me frame the argument(s).  Please click on that link and head on over there to offer your ideas.  Thanks in advance!