Edison Schools Get Cool Tech

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If the world of tablet computing is getting old, you need to watch the video below. It features one of the 16 table-size tablets that the Edison school district just bought for its four middle schools.

According to a news report, the touch-screen tables made by a company called Promethean are part of a plan that Edison calls the “Middle School of the Future”. The Promethean ActivTables–$7,000 apiece–have a 46-inch LCD HD display and up to six students can work on one at the same time. The kids in this video are working with incredible enthusiasm on a project on the periodic table.

Yes, Edison and its public school population are considerably larger than Verona: Just one of its middle schools has double the kids in H.B. Whitehorne. But the median income in Edison is well below Verona’s, which puts it in a lower education grouping for the state.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Virginia. I was wondering what point you were trying to make in the last paragraph above comparing Verona to Edison. It seems out of place, moving from reporting an interesting story and tool to making some kind of statement, though I’m not certain exactly what statement. Also, the state education groupings (A-I districts) are socio-economic, but your statement above seems to mislead people to believe that they correspond to educational performance. I think you should modify this article to make it clearer, possibly removing the last paragraph entirely.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Avron. But I think you’re reading way too much into it.

    My point in writing this story–and similar pieces that I have done–is that there is a lot happening in schools all around us that might be of interest to Verona parents. There has been a lot of talk around iPods and iPads in the classroom. These technologies have a lot of appeal here because they are what many of us are using in our homes. But I’d never seen anything like this and, since it was coming to a school in New Jersey, I thought it worth a look.

    Then there is context. And in the case of a machine that costs $7,000 a pop, the context is how many students might use the device and how its costs might be handled. So that means pointing out that Edison has way more students than Verona, which could make it easier to spread the costs around. They will take pennies per head from the budget and not dollars. It also is important, however, to note that economically, Edison seems to be at a disadvantage to Verona. Its per capita household income is a third less than ours. But if I referred to Edison as DFG group FG, I might cause a few eyes to glaze over among the readership. So I opted for a shorthand way of presenting the economic differences.

    John Quattrocchi has pointed out to me a factor that might help explain how Edison afforded the Promthean machines: It gets about $965 per student in state aid, while Verona gets about $392 per student.

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