Henrico poll finds students are using iBooks successfully

“Henrico County [Virginia] students are using their laptops successfully for learning, but they aren’t entirely convinced the computers help them do better in school, a new study says. The survey, commissioned by the Henrico School Board, is the first in-depth look at the results of the school system’s high-profile decision to give an iBook laptop computer to every middle school and high school student. It found most teachers use the computers and support the laptop initiative, even though they said it has added to their workload. Most parents also support the program, with 71 percent saying it is worth the money they pay for it, a $50-per-computer annual insurance fee,” David Ress reports for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Among the study’s findings:

• 88 percent of students surveyed said they bring their laptops to school every day, but less than half — 41 percent of middle-schoolers and 45 percent of high-schoolers — used them at home every day. Students do seem to use the computers at home some of the time, according to 91 percent of parents surveyed. They said use averaged 1.8 hours a week.
• Roughly one in four students who responded to the survey said they use their iBooks to play games at least twice a week.
• Just less than 20 percent of teachers said they use an iBook every day. Half of the system’s teachers spend less than a quarter of classroom time on instruction involving the computers, but 78 percent think iBooks make schoolwork more interesting for students.
• 61 percent of administrators said the filtering system on iBooks is not effective in keeping students from getting onto inappropriate Web sites, but 56 percent of parents said they are confident that the filters do work.
• More than half of students needed to have their iBooks repaired during the school year.

“The survey is based on completed questionnaires by 20,409 middle and high school students, or 80.5 percent of the county’s total for those grades; 81 percent of teachers; 69 percent of administrators; and on 7,102 surveys of parents,” Ress reports.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents – May 28, 2004


  1. Just a thought…

    Could it be that they use the iBooks less than everyone thought because they work so well?

    It’s amazing how much more productive you can be on a Mac.

    I guess since they don’t have to worry about daily anti-virus updates and scanning for adware and spyware, they only use the iBooks when they need to actually do something.

    Go figure.


  2. Hmm, Half needed to be repaired? Where are they getting off with that? Probably means more than half had a technical support question. I can’t see half breaking down. It puts the other stats they cite in a bit of speculative light since this one is so obviously off.

    And only 1 in 4 playing games? I kinda doubt that one too. I think the kids probably said they were not just to not get in trouble.

    The real acid test for a program like this will be the kids objective scholastic scores in something like the Iowa tests over the next several years.

  3. the main thing I am curious about was the comment regarding
    # 61 percent of administrators said the filtering system on iBooks is not effective in keeping students from getting onto inappropriate Web sites, but 56 percent of parents said they are confident that the filters do work.

    Sounds like the admin guys havent set up decent filters on their web servers to block innapropriate content being surfed/viewd since that has nothing to do with what your browser will allow you to see. Yes I know you can set your security settings and content settings for high but that wont stop you from looking at online porn it just makes it more of a fiddle.

  4. These numbers look great to me. I’m glad students are not spending all their free time on computer. 1.8 hrs a week sounds low, but that’s probably more time than I spent on my homework when I was going to grade school. Ok, I may have spent more, but I’m sure large portion of their homework do not involve computer either.

    “filtering system on iBooks is not effective..” What a insight…. They should have asked administrators and parents if they are satisfied with the filtering system. I would not have any confidence in filtering system, but I probably will be satisfied with whatever they provide.

  5. Are these G3 iBooks or G4? The G3 iBooks had the logic board recall where the video would go fritzy or out entirely. Maybe that’s why the quality is so low?

  6. Something smells wrong with this survey…
    1.8 hours a week of usage at home!?
    I don’t know about you but when I was younger it took me a lot of time to write a paper. Usually it took me two or three days to write a paper (book report, essay, etc.). And I also spent a lot of time goofing off on the computer playing games and surfing the internet. This would imply a higher usage time. I hope they are not counting 0 usage for those that don’t use it at home (55%).
    Math and science is hard to design around computer usage since it is easier for most children (and verifiable by teachers) to do math and computations using paper and pencil. As of yet, there have not been any reports as to how the students are using the laptops in school. And by that I mean what classes are using the laptop the most and for what tasks. Have computer assignments been introduced into the lesson plans?
    It seems people are vague about what is really going on, be it on Macs or PCs in school.

  7. “……61 percent of administrators said the filtering system on iBooks is not effective in keeping students from getting onto inappropriate Web sites,…….”

    Anyone worried about such things should check ..this.. out as a possible solution…

  8. The half that needed repairs were because of the logic board problem Apple acknowledged a while back. they have a free-repair program in place (I know because my wife’s iBook has had to be repaired twice — screen goes out and eventually won’t come back on).

    There is an article about the issue (and the school district’s machines) somewhere. I read it maybe 6 or 8 months ago.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.