Why Putting Techology in the Hands of Schoolchildren May Not be Such a Good Idea

Maybe Speaker Becky Lockhart should look to the experience of one New Jersey school district before charging ahead with her initiative to put a tablet in the hands of every school kid in Utah.

Ars Technica reports the Hoboken School District dumped their program to give every kid a laptop because of extensive damage to the computers.

Jerry Crocamo, a district network engineer, told The Hechinger Report that despite his colleagues’ best efforts to keep the laptops in perfect working order, there was an average of six new repair cases every day. The issues varied: cracked screens, dead batteries, malware infections, and more.

“We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed.”

That’s a sobering thought because tablets, while lighter, are also much less sturdy than a laptop.

Another problem for the district was the inability to block offensive websites.

“There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo.