That’s the title of a most interesting article in ReadWriteWeb.  Written by someone in the trenches.  Here’s an excerpt:

If you were to visit the library on the campus where I teach, you would see students waiting to use outdated desktops in the computer labs and library, particularly around midterms and finals week. It seems odd at first, considering the school has a laptop requirement for all undergraduates. That means you have to have a laptop computer when you enroll, and presumably, as an instructor, I can require my students to bring them to any class.

But here’s the reality: laptops break, and students can’t afford replacements.

The mainstream media has sold us a myth of college still being the place for the ultra-elite, for kids who start compiling “brag sheets” in the fourth grade and have parents that shell out five figures to hire a college admissions coach.

But in practice, most college students these days are like the ones I teach at a four-year state college: they are, by-and-large, the first in their family to attend college. Almost all of my students work, and many work full-time or multiple part-time jobs. Some are parents. An increasing number are so-called nontraditional students and are enrolling after an extended break from education. These students often support families and, in many case, have college-aged children who need their own laptops.

Now factor in that the fastest growing segment of higher education are community colleges, which by-and-large draw kids from working class backgrounds or cater to people who have been laid off and are trying to get trained for a new career.

For a lot of students, replacing a broken laptop is a choice between skipping a rent payment or sucking it up and waiting in those long lines at the computer lab. Asking them to shell out for an iPad on top of the laptop just isn’t feasible for many college students, and that means its going to take longer to get everyone on board with the tech revolution in higher ed.


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