I asked all of my students today who among them had been a part of the
Laptop Initiative in Middle School, and how many of those students
had continued with laptops through High School. About half answered
yes to the first, a quarter of them yes to the second question.

I asked about the impact...was it good, did they like the
computers..what did they do, learn...and several other questions. The
thing that stood out was, most of them naively started off negative saying things
like, "yah, now I know how much I hate Macs," or "it was dumb, I just
constantly surfed"‑‑so then I asked how many felt as though their
computer use skills had improved, because of the laptops. A few said,
"well, yah, of course, you use it, you get good at it." Finally I asked,
how many in my class were getting an "A." All the MLTI students raised their
hands. I asked if anyone was struggling. Most of the others (non MLTI-the ones
who did not have laptops) raised their hands.

That class was introduction to Digital Imaging, taught using CS3 on
iMacs. I had almost the same response from my web development
class, taught in a PC lab. Interesting that they don't see right away
how much the laptops helped them. The questions about class grades and
who is struggling was so revealing!

Rachel Anne Guthrie, M.Ed
Communications & New Media
Southern Maine Community College