THAILAND: Do Tablet PCs Really Make the (First) Grade?

Many are speaking out against the Thai government’s “One Tablet PC per child” policy, which gives first grade students their own laptop at school. In an attempt to prove the soundness of their policy, the government chose five schools to partake in a pilot-study in which they were given 600 PCs to be distributed to 500 first and fourth grade students.

The study showed that the computers’ effect was more detrimental than positive. Opposition arguments claimed that first graders were too young to use laptops productively. Confirming this notion, the study showed that “74.9% of all computer time use was found to be for entertainment and only 25.1% for learning; mostly using a computer for visiting Facebook and playing Angry Birds.”

The study my not have been so fair and balanced, however. It was found that although the sample of pilot schools were supposed to be from different parts of the country, all of the schools were actually located in urban areas, obviously providing skewed methodology.

Given the uncertainty, Education Minister Woravat Au-apinyakul said that roll out of the project would continue. Before long more than half of all First Graders “470,000 out of 800,000 1st grade students will receive PCs, as will many grade 1 students in Thailand’s private schools.

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Bangkok Post

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