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In the fall of 2007, the College of Education at University Park announced a new notebook computer requirement for the Elementary and Kindergarten Education (EKED) program. This initiative was planned to provide important opportunities for teacher education students to learn to facilitate meaningful teaching and learning in a variety of settings.

The requirement was part of a new program, titled Exploring Directions in Ubiquitous Computing and Teacher Education (EDUCATE). Juniors who entered the Elementary and Kindergarten Education (EKED) or Secondary English Education (SECED ENGL) majors in Fall 2008 were the first to participate in this program. For the past several years, students in the College’s Professional Development School (PDS) have been involved in a pilot program to investigate the benefits of using notebook computers throughout their senior year and while they served as interns in classrooms in the State College Area School District.

EDUCATE is the expansion of the prototype program. Many PDS interns have reported very positive learning experiences both in and out of formal classes because of the digital tools they used. Students learned how to use and create digital media such as video, audio, and print-based texts. They also were able to collaborate across distance and time efficiently with faculty and peers. 

After extensive research, the College of Education faculty has determined that students should purchase an Apple MacBook, with Mac OS X, and the iLife suite of software. The College has determined the following minimum specifications for the required laptop:

  • Apple MacBook 
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 
  • 2 GB RAM 
  • 120 GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm 
  • Superdrive 8x (DVD/CD) 
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook

Elementary Education majors at Berks will be expected to have a notebook computer that meets the minimum specifications when they enroll in Arts and Literacy Block beginning in fall of 2010. 

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