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5 Questions to Ask About High School Laptop, Tablet Initiatives

Ask if your teen’s school has detailed plans for its one-to-one program and if teachers are prepared to use devices in the classroom.

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Parents should ask for detailed information about how individual laptops or tablets will be used in their high schooler's classroom, including which apps and software they'll use.

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"Some schools lock down the devices so tight that in-classroom use becomes frustrating for not only the students, but the teacher," says Fitzell. "Consequently, the devices collect dust in the classroom." 

Other schools put in too few controls and leave the devices wide open, she says.

5. How will students use the device? Laptops or tablets should serve a clear purpose in the classroom, one that teaches students 21st-century skills, but doesn’t neglect the information they need to succeed on high-stakes tests, Barnes says.

Schools should be able to tell parents exactly how newly added technology will be embedded in the curriculum, including what apps, software and digital tools the school plans to use, she says.

"Giving a student a device with no purpose does not create higher achievement or engagement," Barnes says. Giving students technology to create, collaborate or solve problems, she says, is what equates to learning.

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