Laptop Program Survey Results

The following are some of the results from surveys of students, faculty and parents about our first year Middle School laptop program. The latest CyberNotes Newsletter is at

iBook G4We had 51 parents, 47 students and 7 faculty members complete the surveys.

On the first question concerning “most/favorite use,” parents (76%) and faculty (84%) saw “creating” as the most popular, but students (76%) felt that “communicating” was their favorite use.

As for more textbooks on the iBooks, there is also general approval from all three groups: parents (67%), students (67%) and faculty (80%), but the text comments were specific in noting that some textbooks would be better than others for use “on screen.”

All three groups believe the iBooks are going home almost every evening (Parents: 94%, Students: 96%, Faculty: 83%) and weekend (Parents: 96%, Students: 98%, Faculty: 83%). Most report that the iBooks are used 1-2 hours an evening (Parents: 72%, Students: 71%). On campus, 77% of students reported using the iBooks 1-3 hours a day. Several parents reported that they felt iBooks were being used too much at home, and we encourage them to set limits that they feel are appropriate.

In terms of usefulness, parents believed that writing assignments (74%) and online research (65%) were most beneficial. These two uses were also the highest rated by students, but they also had high ratings for increasing comfort level with computers (75%) and communicating with other students (70%).

In terms of usefulness, the highest faculty ratings were for writing and online research (both had 100%), communicating with teachers (85%) and comfort level (84%), as well as enabling new ways of doing things (86%).

As for the final question about continuing the program in seventh and eighth grade next year, 88% of parents approved, 91% of students approved, and 100% of faculty approved.

Some text responses from parents on the surveys:

[Best Uses] “1) Homework projects. 2) The exposure to a wide range of software tools – Communications to PowerPoint, Sharepoint and Excel has been excellent. 3) Exposure to the Mac Environment in general has been a plus.”

“The fact that there is no waiting or scheduling to use the home computer for homework. It also makes it easier for them to do homework in the car, or at some other stop before they get home in the evening.”

[Less Use of] “To the extent that it happens, I’d like to see less iBook usage during school breaks, such as lunch. A child working on a laptop is not available to socialize. Those that aren’t great at socializing can simply escape to their laptop. After school would be okay.”

“Teach more about the hardware. A computer is not a magic box that performs on command.”

“Have the faculty discuss and IMPLEMENT restrictions on how often the iBooks would be used in class.”

“I think it is a great program giving our kids a great advantage over other kids in schools that do not issue a laptop.”

Some text responses from students on the surveys:

“iChat has been very useful. Not only have I been able to talk to my buddies, but I have been able to easily send files for class. Audio chat also helps me chat and work at the same time.”

“It is SO wonderful to be able to take my work back and forth from school and home. I couldn’t imagine seventh grade without this laptop.”

“The laptops just make school more fun. The problems are generally minor and not bad.”

“Definitely!!!!! I love having a laptop. It makes a lot of my school work much easier. I really hope that we will keep up the laptop program next year.”

Some text responses from faculty on the surveys:

“Constant email with kids and parents and instant feedback–even while a student is home ill and then can have input to a class activity.”

“Using notebook layout in Microsoft Word to do sound recordings for Oral Proficiency tests in Spanish.”

“A couple of kids have accidentally dropped them, but so have teachers. As to abuse of iBooks, they quickly learned to stay off iChat at inappropriate times.”

“The laptops have created in spark in my teaching repertoire and it’s challenging and fun to think of new ways to utilize them in class.”

So far, so good…

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