Good marks for laptop initiative




After a year in the middle schools of Pittsfield and North Adams, it is clear that the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative is living up to its billing. An assessment team's report prepared for the Massachusetts Technology Collective found that the laptop computers in use in grades six through eight offer teachers new ways of illuminating subjects and enhance the learning experience of students, many of whom are technology-oriented before entering middle school. Problems with using the computers inappropriately are few and may become fewer as the novelty of the laptops wears off. It is too early to judge how they affect student achievement, but if students and teachers are generally happy with the laptops, it can be said that the first phase is a success. The business community, understanding that an investment in education is an investment in the community, has donated more than $1 million to the program. Its support and that of educators will enable the initiative to expand, allowing more students to participate in a cutting-edge teaching program of considerable potential.