How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom

How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom – The New York Times.

Administrators at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 25th-largest public school system in the United States, have embraced the laptops as well, as part of one of the nation’s most ambitious classroom technology makeovers. In 2014, the district committed more than $200 million for HP laptops, and it is spending millions of dollars on math, science and language software. Its vendors visit classrooms. Some schoolchildren have been featured in tech-company promotional videos.

These marketing approaches are legal. But there is little rigorous evidence so far to indicate that using computers in class improves educational results. Even so, schools nationwide are convinced enough to have adopted them in hopes of preparing students for the new economy.
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In some significant ways, the industry’s efforts to push laptops and apps in schools resemble influence techniques pioneered by drug makers. The pharmaceutical industry has long cultivated physicians as experts and financed organizations, like patient advocacy groups, to promote its products.

Studies have found that strategies like these work, and even a free $20 meal from a drug maker can influence a doctor’s prescribing practices. That is one reason the government today maintains a database of drug maker payments, including meals, to many physicians.

Tech companies have not gone as far as drug companies, which have regularly paid doctors to give speeches. But industry practices, like flying school officials to speak at events and taking school leaders to steak and sushi restaurants, merit examination, some experts say.

$200 million in laptops, here’s how they were picked (PDF). It looks like these are from 2014, but I tried to get the text from the PDF…

Instruction Digital Conversion – Hardware
Department of Information Technology (DoIT)
600 Stemmers Run Road, Essex MD 21221

Devices evaluated for the Instruction Digital Conversion are scored on meeting the mandatory
standards as set forth by the Department of Information Technology. Two scoring methodologies are
used, one for mandatory standards and one for preferred standards. Mandatory standards are scored
to whether the device meets minimum standards whereas preferred standards include a score for
exceeding the mandatory standard. If the device does not meet the minimum score of 27 it will
automatically be disqualified.

Scoring Standards
Mandatory Standards
Preferred Standards
0 – Does not meet mandatory standard
0 – Does not meet mandatory standard
1 – Meets mandatory standard
1 – Meets mandatory standard
2 – Exceeds mandatory standard
27 Point Minimum
46 Point Maximum




Product Information
Dell Venue 11 Pro

Base Device Specification (Minimum 0, Maximum 4)
Hard Disk Storage
– Intel Atom, Core i3, Other
0 – Less than 256GB SSD, Non
– Intel i5 or Intel i7
SSD Drive
1 – 256GB SSD
2 – 257GB SSD or larger
Memory RAM
– Less than 8GB RAM
– 8 GB RAM or more
Base Computer Totals



Display / Camera Specifications (Minimum 0, Maximum 9)
Display Surface
0 – Standard Glass
0 – Less than 10.1″
1 – Gorilla Glass(TM) or equivalent,
1 – 10.1″ to 10.9″
2 – 11.0″ or larger
Touchscreen Surface
Camera Front (Display)
0 – Resistive Touch, Non-Touch
0 – Less than 2 Mega Pixels
1 – Multi-Touch Capacitive
1 – 2.0 – 2.9 Mega Pixels
2 – 3 Mega Pixels or larger
Touchscreen Stylus
Camera Rear (Case)
0 – Passive Stylus, No Stylus
0 – Less than 5 Mega Pixels
1 – Active Stylus
1 – 5.0 – 5.9 Mega Pixels
2 – 6 Mega Pixels or Larger
Display / Camera Totals

Revised 01/23/14

Page 1 of 4

Integrated Connectivity (Minimum 0, Maximum 6)
Integrated USB Port(s)
Integrated Wireless
0 – No Integrated Onboard USB
0 – 802.11 a/b/g or none
1 – 802.11n
1 – Integrated Onboard USB Port(s)
2 – 802.11ac
Integrated Wireless Antenna
VGA/DVI Output
0 – External Wireless Antenna
0 – No video output from Device
1 – Integrated Internal Wireless
1 – Onboard VGA or HDMI output
2 – Onboard VGA and HDMI
output (either onboard, or through
Integrated Connectivity Totals
Docking / Desk Connectivity (Minimum 0, Maximum 10)
External Track Pad On Keyboard
External Keyboard
0 – Mouse, non-track pad
0 – 9.9″ or smaller keyboard
1 – Track pad, supports tapping /
1 – 10.0″- 10.9″ keyboard
2 – 11″ keyboard or larger (Full
VGA Output
Monitor Options
0 – No VGA Output
0 – 23″ or smaller LCD Display
1 – VGA output capable (integrated
1 – 24″ Widescreen LCD Display
or adapter)
(minimum 1920×1080)
2 – 25″ Widescreen LCD Display
or larger
HDMI Output
USB Connectivity
0 – No HDMI Output
0 – USB 2.0 or no USB Ports
1 – HDMI Output
1 – 1-3 USB 3.0 Ports
2 – 4 or more USB 3.0 Ports
Ethernet Connectivity
0 – No Ethernet Connectivity or
requires USB dongle.
1 – 1000 Gigabit Ethernet





Docking / Desk Totals

Revised 01/23/14



Page 2 of 4

Power Capacity
Battery Life
0 – 6.49 Hours or less
1 – 6.5 Hours
2 – 6.6 or longer

Device Weight
0 – 3.1lbs or heavier
1 – 3.0lbs or less

Revised 01/23/14

(Minimum 0, Maximum 4)

External AC Charging
0 – No AC adapter (or requires
dock to charge)
1 – External AC adapter
2 – USB (or Micro USB) Charging
Power Capacity Totals


(Minimum 0, Maximum 9)


Drop Test Without Case Software Student Desk Height on hard floor
0 – Unable to function
1 – Able to boot to OS
2 – Able to fully function
Drop Test Without Case Hardware Student Desk Height on hard floor
0 – Device is unable to power on
or swipe capabilities will no longer
1 – Small blemishes are
noticeable but still functions
2 – No blemishes are noticeable
and the device functions properly
Drop Test With Case Software Student Desk Height on hard floor
0 – Unable to function
1 – Able to boot to OS
2 – Able to fully function
Drop Test With Case Hardware Student Desk Height on hard floor
0 – Device is unable to power on
or swipe capabilities will no longer
1 – Small blemishes are
noticeable but still functions
2 – No blemishes are noticeable
and the device functions properly
Accessibility Totals

Page 3 of 4

Software (Minimum 0, Maximum 4)
Operating System
Application Management
0 – Operating systems that do not
0 – Operating system does not
support windows domain logins
support Microsoft SCCM 2012
1 – Microsoft Windows 8 Pro or Mac
OS X compatible
1 – Operating System supports
Microsoft SCCM 2012 Client
Microsoft Office
Lightspeed Web Filtering
0 – Operating system does not
0 – Operating system does not
support Microsoft Office 2011/2013
support Lightspeed Systems Web
(or 365)
Filter Client
1 – Operating system supports
1 – Operating system supports
Microsoft Office 2011/2013 (or
Lightspeed Systems Web Filter
Software Totals




Grand Total
Final Score

Revised 01/23/14

Page 4 of 4

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