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There are literally hundreds ( possibly thousands ) of schools in the US with 1 to 1 notebook programs and yet in Australia they are relatively rare. It has always been a goal of mine to see this occur at my present school ever since we started using iBooks over 4 years ago. The obvious problem is funding and more importantly sustainable funding.
A US document (and there are many ) on 1 to 1 programs cites this as their goals for having 1 to 1.
Different schools implement 1 to 1 learning for different reasons. In general, the goals driving most 1 to 1 computing initiatives fall into four categories:
• Improving Student Achievement
• Advancing Digital Equity
• Enhancing Teaching and Learning
• Strengthening Economic Development (Nation Wide)
A current challenge facing proponents of 1 to 1 learning is in defining success. While educators often cite goals other than student achievement, the formal evaluation of such projects is often based entirely on gains in test scores.

We can relate to the problem of measuring success especially where such large a investment is concerned. I have read a lot of papers on studies of recent programs and most of them show, in general, a slight improvement. It is admitted in some studies that testing often has little to do with technology or using technology and that the testing is not an accurate measure. However there are current research programs underway using technology for standardised testing and here you will see an example of this.
There are two main methods of funding these programs, parental funding (purchase or lease) and Institutional funding (eg school or government). Government funding has shown itself hard to sustain with some school districts in the US tapering their current 1 to 1 programs. Leasing notebooks to parents is the favourable method and is one way that my school has been exploring and close to implementing. There are quite a few issues as explained in this next extract on a district scale.
California’s Fullerton School District is revamping its one-to-one laptop program in response to parental objections and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit. In 2004-05, as part of an effort to integrate technology into students’ lives, Fullerton launched a pilot laptop program that asked parents to purchases the #1,500 computers for their children’s use. Financial aid and loaner laptops were made available to families with demonstrable needs. If parents opted not to participate in the program, students were transferred to classrooms not in the laptop pilot program. Sometimes that meant that a child had to transfer to a different school. The ACLU challenged the district’s policy, saying it favored wealthier families and stigmatized those who applied for a loaner laptop, for a fee waiver or for a transfer to another school. After four months of negotiation, a settlement was reached. Under the new plan, parents have more control over whether or not a school joins the laptop program. If 90% of the families in a school or grade buy a computer, the district will provide the remaining students with loaners. If fewer than 90% buy laptops, the district will provide loaners for the remaining students or discontinue the program in that school or grade. Low-income families will continue to be able to apply for financial assistance in buying a computer or ask for a loaner and be counted toward a school’s 90% threshold. More than 2,000 of the Fullerton School District’s 13,000 elementary and middle school students were using laptops at the beginning of the 2005-6 school year.

There is no doubt that 1 to 1 programs have larger management needs and currently most schools do not have the resources or staffing to deal efficiently with 1 to 1 programs. A small indication is the Maine Implementation of iBooks in their Middleschools support portal.
Most of us just want students to have access to technology when it is needed and at present this (1 to 1 ) seems to be one of the best solutions. Here are some articles and sites that have a lot of current information.
This first site techLearning has many articles on 1 to 1 notebook programs and many other interesting things.
A report on New Hampshire’s program and this site has quite a few other current articles.
This journal is a little hard to find from the above link.
This is quite an interesting focused use of laptops.
At Apple’s 1 to 1 information area you will find quite a bit of useful data but you have to remember it does not include many of the issues.
Each 1 to 1 program will be contextually different and that often means that one solution will not fit all. I would love to here of some options and other technologies that can give students access when and where they need it. Please also consider the near future when commenting rather than the past.

Steve Adcock