Oregon school computer labs overwhelmed by demands

It used to be students needed only a No. 2 pencil to take the Oregon state assessment, but now it requires a computer. At the same time, the federal government requires students to be “technologically literate” by the end of eighth grade. The competing demands have created a logjam for local schools, reports the Oregonian, as educators try to teach students about search engines, digital presentations, and internet safety—but find computer labs consumed for days or weeks at a time throughout the year for state testing. With little money to comply with the state and federal requirements, districts are trying out smaller, less expensive laptops and looking to their students for additional help. “Kids are powering down for the most part when they come to school,” said Carla Wade,  a technology specialist for the Oregon Department of Education. “In a classroom of 30, if 10 bring in laptops, you only need 20 more laptops. How can you use what kids are already coming to school with?” This school year, Oregon had roughly one computer for every 4.6 students. That number is virtually unchanged from 2005. Ten years ago, Oregon received about $6 million in federal funding for technology, but it has declined every year since, Wade said. Last year, it was $1.4 million, and this coming school year it drops to about $800,000…

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