What Fla. schools can learn from one laptop per child

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It’s family literacy night at Holmes Elementary School in Liberty City, and first grader Adam Redding is reading a poem about plants while he absentmindedly tips dirt out of a plastic cup and onto a laptop.

In this classroom, dirt on a keyboard is okay. The green and white computer is a rugged little machine from One Laptop Per Child, the organization best known for trying to put an inexpensive computer into the hands of every child in the developing world. Adam’s cup of dirt is part of a lesson plan that involves researching plants on the laptop, reading a poem, and seeding a corn kernel in a cup.

Welcome to the one-to-one classroom. One computer for every student.As Florida schools prepare for a state mandate that requires half of all learning materials to be digital by fall of 2015, state policymakers are trying to figure out how to get an electronic tablet or laptop into the hands of every schoolchild.

“I believe that the only way we’re going to achieve what they need to achieve in the state of Florida is we’re going to have to have a one-to-one environment,” says Gary Weidenhamer, director of educational technology for the School District of Palm Beach County.

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