A program launched this month by Dell Computer and Jostens Learning aims to make computer take-home programs easier for schools. The program, called Take Home Connection, pairs Dell Latitude laptop computers with Jostens Tomorrow’s Promise curriculum software to give students a convenient take-home solution.

The program’s special attraction, the companies said, is the assistance it provides to school technology managers. Support and services are built in to help get a computer take-home program off the ground, including a step-by-step guide for schools on establishing and managing such a program, professional development for teachers, a home guide for parents and students, and curriculum supplements tailored by grade and subject.

“This is really a comprehensive program,” said Jostens representative Karen Bowman. “We’re not just handing you computers and saying, ‘Here, send these home with your students.'”

According to the two companies, Take Home Connection offers a complete and flexible solution for schools looking to extend learning hours beyond the final bell.

“In today’s fast-paced society, it has become increasingly important to give children and their families tools for promoting at-home learning and the opportunity for academic success,” said Terry Crane, president of Jostens Learning. “Students are able to extend their learning day, teachers gain additional tools for individualized instruction, and families can better support their children’s learning.”

Software is available in one of six preconfigured bundles and can be customized further to meet a school’s or district’s specific needs. With a selection of 30 CD-ROMs, the program offers grade-level reading, math, language arts, spelling, science, and algebra curricula.

To qualify for the program, a minimum of 25 Latitude laptops must be bought or leased. Each machine sells for $2,160 per unit and has a Pentium II processor, CD-ROM player, mouse, and carrying case. Additional peripherals, such as modems, are available as well.

The laptops are backed by a three-year on-site warranty in most states.

“Dell’s Latitude notebook, coupled with Jostens Learning curriculum software, gives parents, students, and schools an innovative way to extend student learning beyond the classroom,” said Bill Rodrigues, vice president and general manager for Dell’s K-12 education segment.

The software bundles cost from $10,500 to $26,000 for up to 50 students. Included in this price are the school and home guides, one year of toll-free phone support for schools, one day of professional development training for teachers, and four additional days of professional development, during which teachers learn how to prepare parents for the program.

“We’re trying to make the implementation and training as complete as possible so that everybody–the students, parents, and teachers–gets the most out of this program,” Bowman said.

The venture builds on the companies’ existing relationship. Jostens has been an active member in the Dell Education Alliance, a consortium of hardware and software manufacturers committed to providing computing solutions tailored for the education market and for individual school districts.

Dell Computer


Jostens Learning