As a technology director in a laptop school people contact me from all over the world to ask questions about our program. Our school was a very early program (1997), and remains one of only a few girls schools with a laptop program.
While you are thinking about all the glamorous things that can come out of a laptop program, let me give you some of the least glamorous tech support cases I have seen:
- Keyboard not working. Remove the keyboard and find some fake fingernails underneath. Reattached and keyboard worked normally.
- Cat tears apart student laptop by ripping all the keys out and scratching up the entire inner case. Obviously needs a new keyboard, but the cat’s hair is inside everything.
- Student eating sushi, working with laptop – you can imagine, but soy sauce on a motherboard just doesn’t work.
- Repeat example above with : water, coke, diet coke and iced tea. (students and teachers)
- Student takes out emotional frustration on laptop with expired warranty – family had to buy a new one, that hurts.
- Just last week: sheepish student comes to tell me that someone threw up on her laptop! Everything corroded on the inside. Thank goodness for Dell Complete Care warranty.
These are all true, so if you are thinking about a laptop program at your school, buyer beware. As someone in my office noted, what kind of laptop party was that kid at anyway?
Technology in schools creates amazing opportunities for learning, but the practical is, well, just that…practical.