Tablet PCs Go to School

For years educators and computer vendors have explored ways in which technology could aid with learning. Back in the 1980s when PCs first became affordable, technology was considered something to be taught, but now is considered an essential medium by which students learn. Starting in January, one Ontario elementary school took this quest a step further by commencing a six-month pilot project with its grade eight students to see if Tablet PCs--a technology new on the market for about a year and a half--could improve the way these students learn.

Northern Lights Public School in Aurora, Ontario, part of the York Region District School Board, partnered with several technology companies to bring Acer TravelMate C110 series Tablet PCs to the classroom. "[It's about] taking technology and making it part of the instruction," says Jim Forbes, school principal. Students were tested in September 2003 to determine a baseline by which teachers could compare their progress throughout the school year. The students will be tested again at the end of the year to see if their ability to learn improved more than students in previous years. Forbes says Northern Lights was a prime location to start such a project because it was newly built, having just opened in September 2003. When a new school opens in the York Region District School Board, it receives a budget of about $174,351 for new technology. However, the Tablet PCs were purchased outside this budget for approximately $1575 a pop after the board received a 30 percent price reduction.

News source: PCWorld

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