Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Low-Price Laptops Tested at City Schools

I was just interviewed by The New York Sun along with my friend and colleague Lynette Guastaferro (Teaching Matters, Executive Director) and Bruce Lai (CIO-Chief of Staff) about Low-Price Laptops Tested at City Schools - September 30, 2008 - The New York Sun. The article tells of the upcoming availability of low-cost laptops (under $500) across NYC schools and in particular mentions two schools that are piloting Nicholas Negroponte's XO laptops at P.S. 5 in the Bronx and P.S. 20 in Brooklyn.

I had the pleasure of visiting P.S. 5 this week and met with the school's principal, Ms. Padilla and Literacy coach Ms. Leuzzi. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens at this school as they roll out this program in November with a focus on using the laptops to accelerate literacy achievement and engagement. As I shared in The New York Sun article, as a former literacy coach, I had the opportunity to work rather closely with Lucy Calkins at Teachers College, Columbia University who when I told her of my desire for every student to have a laptop asked why we should spend $1200 on laptops for kids. She asked, "Wouldn't that money be better spent toward purchasing books for every student??? As I explained to P.S. 5's literacy coach, the answer is a resounding, "No!" Providing each kid with a laptop not only connects them to endless information, countless resources, experts around the world and more, but it also instantly puts hundreds of thousands of books and texts in the palms of student's hands. When I told P.S. 5 Literacy coach about this conversation she asked, "How?" I explained and sent her the following resources which are posted at The Innovative Educator wiki.

Free Online Book Resources

  • Digital Book Index
    Digital Book Index provides links to more than 141,000 full-text digital books from more than 1800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. More than 100,000 of these books, texts, and documents are available free, while many others are available at very modest cost.
  • LibroVox
    Objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.
  • Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Books are available in multiple languages.
  • KidsClick!
    A website that provides resources for students by reading level.
Thanks to The New York Sun for sharing with readers an exciting possibility that has potential to positively shape the future of education where all students will have access to tools that will help them succeed inside and outside of schools.

City Public Schools Receive New Laptops for NY 1's coverage of the story.
Note the outdated video footage. It looks like it was taken at a school I worked at about 10 years ago in Harlem. You'll notice those are definitely not the kid-friendly XOs.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa

    CBS News reported on the xo project at PS 5. The coverage is good. I have included a link to the video.

    Katie Couric actually said “What a great program. What a great equalizer!” (not in this clip)

    Video Link on CBS http://wcbstv.com/video/?id=118380@wcbs.dayport.com

    Going Wireless: New York School provides free laptops, home internet.

    A New Vision for School in the Digital Age
    This fall PS 5 and Teaching Matters are piloting a new vision for school in the digital age; one where all members of the community can connect to learn at any time. PS 5 was selected as a pilot school for low cost computers (every child will receive an xo laptop). To ensure that ALL students can benefit from a computer that goes from school to home, Teaching Matters will work with the local community to pilot low-cost wireless internet access available to ALL students at home.

    Our hope is to marry low cost laptops to low cost community wireless access- making a new vision of school possible for all students.

    Low Cost Wireless Access — How?

    We found out that almost all students lived within a four block radius of the school. Our plan is to experiment with ten to fifteen apartments (to start!) and create something called a mesh network. This technology extends the reach of existing internet access. In a city where many students lack access to the Internet at home, it is critical that communities start getting creative.