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Chart week – Length of student laptop loans

Today is the third day of Chart Week here at Dangerously Irrelevant.

Yesterday’s post on student

laptops and wireless classrooms

discussed how many public schools lend

laptops to students and the extent of wireless penetration in classrooms.

Today’s post extends those data to show the length of time that students get to

use the laptops that are loaned out to them. All data are from the

recently-released NCES report, Internet Access

in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2005


Maximum length of time of laptop loan to


NCES asked those public schools that said they loaned laptops to students what was the

maximum length of time of those loans. In other words, how long did students

have use of the laptops they received? Here is the chart:

As the data show, nearly half of the schools that said they loaned laptops to

students did so for less than a week. Only about a sixth of the schools surveyed

in 2005 said that they gave students laptops for the entire school year; this

proportion is unchanged from 2002. When combined with yesterday’s


, which show that only about 10% of schools even loan laptops to

students in the first place, we can see that few students in our country are

receiving the opportunity to work with laptop computers, even for only a few days at a time. One probable explanatory factor regarding low laptop lending by

schools (and thus low laptop usage by students) is that most

public school classrooms lack wireless Internet access


Schedule for the rest of the week

  • Thursday – technologies and procedures used by public schools to

prevent student access to inappropriate material on the Internet

  • Friday – professional development for use of the Internet in public
  • school classrooms


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