Our district was part of a great project that put netbooks into the hands of all students, grades 7-12. Woohoo. Great idea in theory but in reality, it has become many issues that are inhibiting teaching and learning.
For some teachers, the netbooks have not changed their teaching. Other than having students type a paper here or there, nothing innovative or engaging has been done on the netbooks.
For other teachers, they have tried to explore new ideas for effectively integrating the netbooks into their classes, using various applications or projects. The actual effectiveness of these efforts varies from teacher to teacher. Some are using wikis with great success to encourage students to communicate with each other collaboratively. Some of using interactive programs to engage students in math, social studies or science.
Some classrooms boast they are using the computers for research, but in reality, students are just cutting and pasting content from online sources without understanding reliable sources, plagiarism issues, etc...
But the most frustrating part of the program is the LACK of responsibility on the part of students to bring their netbook to school every day, charged, ready to go. A teacher that WANTS to use them effectively, who has a great plan, still finds 10% of the students without them on any given day. We've had parents take netbooks from students as a punishment. Some can be convinced to let the student bring it to school to use only for educational purposes. Others simply insist the netbook will stay at home. Wait... it is school property. Well, how do we fight THAT battle??
Students, for the most part, are usually fairly responsible about what they are doing online, but unfortunately, in many classes, students are facebooking, skyping, playing online games, etc.. instead of doing their work. Some teachers try to monitor but it becomes a constant fire fighting expedition to keep track of what every student is doing every single moment.
I love technology. I love using online experiences to engage students. I just feel a sense of waste in the amount of funding being used inappropriately, ineffectively.. right now.