1to1 vs. borrowed laptops

I’m teaching two classes this year in ancient history.

One class has kids with a variety of learning disabilities, but all have their own laptops.  The  other class has kids where some have their own laptops and others don’t.

The class where they all have their own understand much more clearly that their laptops are tools designed to boost their learning and communications skills.  Their parents bought them laptops specifically as leanring tools, and they treat them as such.  That’s not to say they don’t play games, or surf the net, or look for porn, but they think of their machines as learning tools and communication tools, rather than toys.

In the other class, about 60% have their own laptops.  Here there is much more of an attitude that these are toys rather than learning machines.  The use of games is much higher.  The number of occasions when they go ‘off-task’ to search for funny videos, or start playing music in class, is much higher.  The students that borrow laptops from the school in this class treat them as learning tools, and appear to be grateful to have them.  The students with their own machines seem to be much less aware of them as learning tools.

Has anyone else noticed a similar dichotomy?  How do you teach kids with computers who think of them as toys, to see them as learning machines?

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