|Home > Policy > National/EU policy > Netbook on the rise. European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools|
05 November 2010 I Valentina Garoia
Netbooks on the rise: European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools
The report Netbooks on the rise: European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools is now published on Insight. The report is drafted on the basis of the information provided by Ministries in the Country Reports and aims at giving a general overview of national initiatives providing laptops/notebooks or netbooks to schools as identified in a number of European countries.Background on 1:1 computing
The introduction and implementation of ICT in schools over the last ten years has generally taken place in three stages. First, computers were introduced in separate computer labs and used to teach ICT as a subject or for other subject-related purposes. Following this, computers were rolled out more and more in classrooms and in other parts of the school (e.g. libraries, computer corners) to ensure their integrated use and to reduce computer per pupil ratios considerably. In a third stage, with emerging technologies such as interactive whiteboards, handheld devices and netbooks, the latter two being lighter, smaller and more affordable, ICT integration now focuses on further widening access to ICT and using these tools to modernize classrooms and education systems.
Based on the belief that personal ownership of computing devices (e.g. netbooks, handhelds or mobiles) is highly motivating for students and also for teachers, the latest national ICT programmes increasingly focus on 1:1 initiatives by providing personal notebooks and netbooks to students, teachers and families. 1:1 computing is a new phenomenon in educational settings, indicating the ratio of items per user, i.e. one netbook per learner and referring to the current trend of low-cost computer devices, ranging from mobiles and handhelds to netbooks. Even though laptops are not a new phenomenon in educational settings, several European countries have started in the last years to invest further in low-cost computer devices, and netbook initiatives are developing more and more in schools and other educational contexts.
Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot
At European level, European Schoolnet, in cooperation with Acer, is involved in a netbook initiative, which started early in 2010. The Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot is aimed at understanding and documenting how learners and teachers can use netbooks in various educational contexts. The aim is to explore how the introduction of netbooks and 1:1 pedagogy in schools could change teaching and learning processes. Until June 2010 the pre-pilot involved 10 classes in 6 countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Turkey), while the full deployment phase runs from September 2010 to June 2011 involving 40 classes in each country (www.netbooks.eun.org).
European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools
The information provided in Netbooks on the rise: European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools report is based on European Schoolnet’s country reports for ICT in education, mainly from the 2009-2010 edition but also from previous years, issued by European Schoolnet for representatives of Ministries of Education. Other initiatives were identified through desk research and additional submissions by Ministries or responsible authorities. All initiatives were described according to a common framework and validated by Ministries of Education or the organization involved in the initiative.
This report aims to raise awareness of existing national initiatives in Europe and to gain a better understanding with a view to the implementation of the Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot. It is structured in two main parts:
- It looks at the scope of these initiatives, including their aim, target groups involved and focus.
- It analyses the organizational framework, including ownership, actors involved, and conditions for participation and It looks at the scope of these initiatives, including their aim, target groups involved and focus.
Some initiatives in focus aim to tackle digital divides (the access divide) and specific target groups, e.g. disadvantaged families, children in kindergarten or with special needs, and rural schools. Initiatives come with a wider package offered to schools including, more often than not, interactive whiteboards, wireless connections or Internet access projectors, specific educational software and educational resources and training for teachers.
Regarding the organizational framework, Ministries of Education are the principal initiators of these programmes. Sometimes national or regional governments, together with ministerial agencies also participate. However, some initiatives are run entirely at regional/local level or even at school level. Private enterprises are also involved in several initiatives since they are the main providers of laptops/netbooks: in the framework of the latest initiatives, public-private partnerships are becoming more and more common. Benefits can be assigned to schools, students or directly to parents and families. When targeting schools, the provision of laptops is in some cases class-oriented. Individual classes or schools can create a pedagogical project and apply for a grant to buy ICT infrastructure to use laptops in class. In other cases awards are granted to schools or classrooms with ICT competences.
These initiatives present new demands and challenges to schools: First, how to deal with the influx of technology in terms of infrastructure, implementation, everyday management (e.g. acceptable use policies and scalability of 1:1 computing) and secondly, how to integrate them purposefully into teaching and learning. The major question is whether these initiatives provide benefits in schools. Evaluation studies, particularly on 1:1 computing, have been carried out for eight initiatives presented here. Some of them are already completed, several are still ongoing. Results of evaluations including the research methods used should be further analysed and new initiatives should be studied in the near future.
All stakeholders involved in the implementation of laptop/netbook initiatives should be aware that they require explicit and commonly shared strategies to integrate such devices effectively into teaching and learning. The report introduces some laptop scenarios including different learning settings and learning approaches involved. Activities can include:
- teacher-led (frontal teaching) vs. individual or collaborative activities;
- online or offline activities;
- taking place inside or outside school;
- teachers as collaborators with learners as well as among themselves;
- group work around one or several individual netbooks.
- Download the report: Netbook on the rise: European overview of national laptop and netbook initiatives in schools, European Schoolnet (2010). Anja Balanskat, Valentina Garoia (pdf)
Web Editor: Valentina Garoia
Last changed: Monday, 18 April 2011
Last changed: Monday, 18 April 2011