Magazine article Technology & Learning

Launching a Wireless Laptop Program

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Launching a Wireless Laptop Program

Article excerpt

The technology director for East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Conn.. a federal government test site for laptop learning, shares his secrets to a successful implementation.

1 BUILD A WIRELESS FOUNDATION

The first option for creating a wireless infrastructure is to mount access points on portable laptop carts. The second, and better, choice is to strategically place access points throughout the entire school building. In addition to making it possible for special education students who are routinely pulled out of their regular classrooms to use their computers, providing 100 percent wireless coverage also ensures maximum flexibility in emergency situations--when the heating goes down in a classroom, for instance, and kids have to relocate to the library or cafeteria.

2 CHOOSING A LAPTOP

Please do not choose the cheapest model out there because of budget constraints! This can backfire. The following are essential technical requirements: a brand-name computer with a 3-year warranty; 512MB; built-in wireless cards; durable construction (magnesium alloy case); long battery life; clear and visible screen from all angles; and lightweight for ease of use.

3 THE CORRECT CART

A sturdy and durable cart for housing your laptops is crucial. Another way to think about it: With laptops costing $1,I00 to $2,000 each, one cart protects over $30,000 worth of school assets. With that in mind, the model you choose should offer secure construction with the strongest possible locks, built-in charging capabilities with surge suppressor, fully welded construction, long power cords, and reconfigurable module shelves. …

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