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Mobility, Theft & Security

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The mobility of notebooks can be both a benefit and a challenge. While some programs take advantage of notebook portability to integrate computers into school and community activities, others perceive notebooks as prohibitively risky in terms of opportunity for theft. Both issues can have serious implications for the success of a project and for the willingness of local project personnel to take responsibility for equipment safety.

In the Digital Enhancement Education Project (DEEP) in rural schools of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, funded by the Education Department of the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the portability of notebook computers allowed for greater flexibility in achieving educational goals as well as in their storage and maintenance (Ref.). The notebooks were integrated into classroom activities during which groups of students took turns at the keyboard. Teachers carried the notebooks to a nearby hospital to have their batteries recharged, and used them outside the classroom on evenings and weekends. After school hours, the notebooks were moved for safekeeping to teachers’ houses or the principal’s home, rather than remaining locked unattended in the schools, where they might have been targets for theft.

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