Can we afford to give every child in America a laptop?
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
at the TechLearning blog
A few back-of-the-envelope
calculationshere (estimating conservatively when in doubt)...
A. Number of students and teachers
millionpublic school students
millionpublic school teachers (full-time)
millionteachers and students
B. Cost per laptop (a regular laptop, not the OLPC laptop)
$1,993 average district cost per client computer per year [from the three One-to-One CoSN Total
Cost Per Ownership (TCO) Case Studies]
1.5 (I'm adding 50% just to
err on the safe side)
$2,990 average district cost per client computer
per year (let's call it $3,000)
C. Total cost to give every student and teacher a laptop
53.3 million teachers and students (see A above)
district cost per client computer per year (see B above)
(let's call it $160 billion)
D. Gross domestic product (GDP)
$13 trillion (United States GDP, overall)
(percentage of United States
GDP spent on K-12 education)
$442 billion (amount
in United States spent on K-12 education)
E. Percentage of GDP
$160 billion (see C above)
$442 billion (see D above)
36% of the overall United States K-12 education expense to
give every teacher and student a regular laptop
$160 billion (see C above)
$13 trillion (see D above)
1.2% of the overall United States GDP to give every teacher
and student a regular laptop
Obviously this is very rough, but hopefully it's also thought-provoking. It
is highly possible that my numbers are incorrect somewhere. If you think I left
something out or miscalculated, let me know. Also, of course, opportunities for
savings abound (e.g., open source software, bulk discounts, buying OLPC laptops
instead of regular ones) and those would have to be factored in as well.
So can we afford to give every child (and teacher) in America a laptop? You
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