Thursday, January 01, 2004

TimesDispatch.com | Laptop study in Henrico raises concerns: "Laptop study in Henrico raises concerns
Some parents say they fear reprisals if they criticize the plan; others allege conflict

Dec 20, 2003

Concerns about confidentiality and a potential conflict of interest are among the issues surrounding a study of Henrico's iBook program.

SRI International, a nonprofit research organization, is using a $1.1 million National Science Foundation grant to conduct studies of computer initiatives in school systems nationwide. The three-year research project is titled 'A Framework and Network for Evaluating the Impact of Ubiquitous Computing in K-12 Schools.'

Researchers began the study in April and expect to have initial results by Spring.

As a part of the study, 2,800 Henrico County high school students were randomly selected in early November to complete an online survey about their laptop use in math and science classes. At last count, fewer than 100 had responded.

Parents had to give consent before children could complete the 25-question survey, which asks for teachers names.

Among the reasons for reluctance is an unwillingness to single out teachers who don't appear to be gung-ho supporters of the $27 million iBook program, which is being pushed by the county's school administration.

Most of the parents interviewed for this article asked to remain anonymous. One said her daughter 'has a dynamite teacher who uses the iBook very little. The teacher gets incredible results on the AP exam. Do you think I would reveal his or her name? No way.'"
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