The Digital Pencil: One-to-One Computing for Children, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Digital Pencil

One-to-One Computing for Children, 1st Edition

By Jing Lei, Paul F. Conway, Yong Zhao


272 pages

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This book takes a serious historical and international look at the "digital pencil" movement to equip every student with a computing device with wireless connection. Using an ecological perspective as an overarching framework, and drawing on their own studies and available literature that illuminate the issues related to one-to-one computing, the authors present well-reasoned discussions about a set of complex and critical issue facing policy makers, educators, students, parents, and the general public.

The Digital Pencil addresses four key questions:

  • Is the digital pencil a good idea? The authors analyze the costs and benefits of one-to-one computing programs through consideration of multiple indicators and examine the evaluation reports of various projects within their analytical framework to present a comprehensive summary of outcomes of one-to-one computing projects.
  • What happens when each child has a networked computer? The authors analyze existing data with the goal of gaining insights and making suggestions and recommendations for policy makers, teachers, and parents.
  • What should schools purchase or lease – is there an ideal device? These authors examine the relative advantages and disadvantages of different devices and implementation schemes.
  • How do we know if one-to-one computing is making a difference? The authors review the evaluation plans of the various projects and propose a framework for comprehensive evaluation and research on one-to-one computing.

This book is intended for researchers, school administrators, educational technology professionals, and policy makers in the U.S. and around the world, and as a supplemental text for advanced courses in education, technology, and technological innovation.


"The book is worth reading and it constitutes a useful source of information for graduate students who are searching for various data and bibliographical information about laptop programs in schools. It is also likely to prove useful to policy makers and school district technology coordinators who can benefit from the various laptop computer experiences at schools described in the book." -- E-Learning (2008), Volume 5, Number 4

"The Digital Pencil describes the emergence and use of one-to-one computing programs within education. Written by three researchers whose combined laptop research touched 31,250 students, it is informed by research from 16 major ubiquitous computing projects across nine countries and six US states…The book is written to satisfy both the academic and practitioner audience with extensive citations to theory and research in addition to practical suggestions."-- Joan E. Hughes, Literacy (April 2009), Volume 43, Number 1

"For the educators among us who prefer to have a guide when they investigate new uses of technology for teaching and learning, this book serves as a source to understand the power and advantageous use of digital pencils, or portable, digital devices."--Susan Farber, Education Review, January 2010

Table of Contents

Selected Contents:

1 The Digital Pencil: An Introduction

2 A Historical View of Technology in Schools

3 Arguments for One-to-One Computing

4 Conditions for Laptop Uses in Schools

5 How Students Use Laptop Computers

6 Laptops vs. Handhelds

7 Parents and One-to-One Computing

8 Evaluating and Studying One-to-One Computing

9 Final Thoughts on Laptops for Children

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Science & Technology
EDUCATION / Computers & Technology