Charlottesville Schools are looking at providing a laptop to every middle and high school student, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Daily Progress. They already provide enough computers in the schools to have one for every two students—this would instead provide one dedicated one for each student, doubling the number of computers. The idea is to gradually roll them out, rather than introducing thousands all at the same time (because then they all age out at the same time). It would cost between $500,000–$1,000,000, though it’s thought that much of that cost would be offset by the reduction in textbook expenses, by moving to electronic texts. Superintendent Rosa Atkins told the school board that some of their vendors are moving to exclusively electronic texts, and that Charlottesville students will be left behind if the city schools don’t change with the times.
Whether they’ll go the Mac or Windows route isn’t decided, but I hope they go with both. Though there’s no such thing as a Mac virus, making it their total cost of ownership much cheaper, establishing a monoculture is just looking for trouble. Best to let kids pick from the two, going with whatever they’re already comfortable with.