The Hidden Costs of Wireless Computer Labs
T.H.E. Journal Volume 33, Number 1, ISSN 0192-592X
Various elementary schools and middle schools across the U.S. have purchased one or more mobile laboratories. Although the wireless labs have provided more classroom computing, teachers and technology aides still have mixed views about their cost-benefit ratio. This is because the proliferation of viruses and spyware has dramatically increased number of computer maintenance hours, and laptops stored in carts can prove cumbersome to update and disinfect. The original goals for purchasing the labs varied among the schools, but the common theme was an improvement in the student-to computer ratio and flexible computing resources. Most schools already had a dedicated computer lab that was fully utilized, but they wanted a better alternative to the few aging desktop computers that typically were in a classroom. Multi-day checkouts of mobile labs further enhanced their usefulness by eliminating daily setup and shutdown times. The mobile lab also proved to be a valuable alternative for one school that lacked the room for a dedicated computer lab. Still, while space savings and an improved student-to-computer ratio was realized throughout some school districts, security and maintenance issues surfaced that were not always factored into the purchase decision. In this article, the author discusses whether mobile labs are ready to replace dedicated computer labs.
Daly, U. (2005). The Hidden Costs of Wireless Computer Labs. T.H.E. Journal, 33(1), 13-18.