Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

A Computer For Every Student

“One-to-one programs” are popular in private schools, and the governor wants them in all the public schools, but the jury is still out on their effectiveness

(page 3 of 5)

Laptops or Tablets?

In one-to-one programs, choosing a device is a huge initial decision. With the new advanced tablets, laptops may no longer be the obvious choice.
This school year, Mid Pacific Institute started a one-to-one iPad program for all students in grades 3-12, with K-2 students having access to iPads at certain times during the school day.

Bob McIntosh, technology director at Mid Pac, says the iOS 5 operating software expanded the capabilities of Apple’s iPad, making it more relevant for education. That’s one of the main reasons the school chose it. The popularity of earlier iPads on campus, plus the lower cost versus laptops, made the decision easier.

“We asked, ‘Do kids need a laptop to do what we really truly want them to do with the device, knowing that we’re always going to have the high-powered (computer) labs?’ ” says McIntosh. “I think that’s when we realized they don’t and made the decision that, well, the cost (for tablets) is less, too, so we can do this, grades 3-12, in one year.”

Although tablets are gaining popularity, many one-on-one programs still use laptops. The decision often depends on what teachers want the devices to do.

“We considered the iPad,” says Amy Kimura, assistant principal at the high school of Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama Campus, “but our teachers have been learning and preparing to integrate things into their curriculum with a more robust laptop capability and if we switched it now to an iPad, they would have to rethink all of that. It does a lot, but it doesn’t do everything the laptop can do.”

Here’s a look at some educational benefits of laptops versus tablets:

Laptops (not netbooks)

  • Portable, so students can take them to and from school, though heavier than tablets
  • Full-size keyboard that is optimized for word processing
  • Large, easy-to-view screen (13 or more inches for laptops vs. 9.7 inches for iPad 3s)
  • High-capacity processors that can multitask and perform complex tasks quickly and easily
  • Built-in CD/DVD drive, so students can use software from a disk
  • Batteries that usually run up to five hours nonstop


  • More portable and compact, and lighter than laptops (iPad 3 is 1.44 pounds whereas a 13-inch MacBook Pro is 4.5 pounds), so even young students can carry them easily
  • Touch screen provides a more natural, hands-on experience
  • Cheaper than most laptops
  • Optimized for ebooks and etextbooks
  • Battery life of about seven to 10 hours, so students can use them throughout the school day without a charge

– Marcie Kagawa


Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Old to new | New to old
Nov 2, 2012 04:55 am
 Posted by  miriam

There is a great website for apps,, which specialises in educational apps for young kids, parents, students and teachers. It is the one I always use when I want to find an educational app, and also the main store for my friends to buy good apps for their kids.

This has been flagged
Mar 11, 2013 07:09 pm
 Posted by  Mel

It's a great idea to supply every student in the State of Hawaii a Laptop Computer or a Tablet. Will the state also provide internet connections for these stuents when they take hope these
computers or tablets home.

Will these Computers and Tablets have the capabilities to playing games, downloading music, playing music, going on Face Book, other scocial networks, email, etc.?

Students without personal computers now will then be able to do all the above things. Will it help or hurt?


Mar 11, 2013 07:21 pm
 Posted by  Mel

If all public schools are issued a Laptop Computer/Tablet, what happens if the student lost, broke, or sold the item and refused to pay fore it. Who would be held accountable? The student, the parents of the students (both refusing to pay for the item), or the teacher.

With mentality of Governor Abercrombie who wants to hold the teachers accountable for student learning, it would be very easy for him to hold the teachers accountable for the computers/tablets.

Mar 11, 2013 07:29 pm
 Posted by  Mel

How can teachers who have little or no control over students be held responsible for their learning?

There are students who don't come to school at all, some with sporatic attendance and some who come to class but refuses to do work or turn work in. Calling parents can be frustrating -- they will tell you they have no control over their children and their children will not listen to them.

Explain now. How can teachers be held accountable for students like this?

Mar 11, 2013 07:46 pm
 Posted by  Mel

How to have a more effective public school system -- "Invest In Your Child's Education".

Collect $200 and up to a maximum of $10,000. Run the school like
private schools. Monies invested is returned to the parents w/interest if the student passes all classes with a "C" or better at the end of the academic year.

Parents will get back their original investment w/out interest if the child is withdrawn from school in good academic standards.

No refund if student is expelled for academic or ..

Add your comment:


Don't Miss an Issue!
Hawaii Business,November