General discussion

Locked

Technological Harmony

By Warren Sever, MCP ·
Tags: Off Topic
blog root

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

11 total posts (Page 1 of 2)   01 | 02   Next
| Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by Warren Sever, MCP In reply to Technological Harmony

<p>I read an article in the newspaper this morning, accompanied by a photograph of Arizona school students, in a pristine setting, I might add, no paper, pens, clutter, in fact the laptop computers didn't even have a power supply plugged in, who were issued Apple iBook laptop computers instead of textbooks.  The school was touting their wireless networks and all of the factors involved with ensuring that the students would have none of the distractions of IM, and that the Internet and all network activity is tracked, monitored and restricted.</p>
<p>There are two fundamental problems I have with the above scenario, but first, I would like to say that I fully, completely endorse the "outside-the-box" thinking that put something like this into motion -- brilliant!  It's that kind of thinking that needs to be nurtured, encouraged and praised...but controlled.  Which brings me to the problems I mentioned above...</p>
<p>First, I hope that the school has addressed some obvious scholastic problems, and I admit I am not an education expert, but my computer experience raises concerns about all kinds of problems that having computers in a classroom setting bring about.  How do the students take notes?  Are they teaching typing, or do they assume that all kids will just learn this by osmosis, or do they encourage the "two-finger" method?  Will the art of writing be lost altogether, or will they address this by mandatory no-laptop classes with pen and paper only, to ensure that the students never forget how to write?  Ok, I admit that I'm probably a bit off base here, but those are the things that immediately come to mind.  Some of my concerns here spring from past experiences teaching adults in a classroom setting, logistical problems, computer problems, network problems, all which cause distractions, slow things down and impede learning...that IS what they're there for, right?</p>
<p>My other concern is the fact that they bought and issued Apple iBooks instead of PC based laptops.  Okay, I know that the hair on the back of the neck of you MAC addicts just stood on end and your blood pressure just went off the chart, but let's just be real here for a few minutes okay?  The numbers don't lie, <em>PCs rule the computer world</em>.  Windows is THE desktop standard, world-wide, and overwhelmingly in America.  (I think I just got the Linux advocates involved here now)  If we are to prepare our students for the <strong><em>real</em></strong> world, with <strong><em>real</em></strong> jobs and the computers that they <em>WILL</em> be using when they get a job, the "no-brainer" decision should have beem to purchase PCs, regardless of what Apple offered the school.  The fact that Windows and PCs are potentially a bit more problematic, opens a whole world of opportunities for the school to teach the students how to <strong><em>first</em></strong>, use computers and the Internet properly to avoid problems and, <strong><em>second</em></strong>, how to overcome problems in a controlled computing environment, like a typical corporation.  The school could set it up so students could earn extra credit for assisting the IT department, too.</p>
<p>All of these opportunities will groom our students for the real world.  With the iBook scenario, the students are being made comfortable with a computing environment that simply does not exist outside the walls of their school, yet one day, they'll go to the store, **** bent on buying an Apple computer, a brilliant marketing ploy by Apple, and to their credit, but to the detriment to the student and their future, not to mention all that extra cash they have to lay out for the Apple, the limited availability of software, etc...</p>
<p>I've got nothing against Apple, in fact, they should back up their school program by marketing a complete package for corporations, making it as irresistable for them to go completely Apple as it evidently was for the schools.  Just a thought...</p>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by wmjolleymcp In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

<p>Good article, with a lot of truths ... Apple and Linux, whilst they have their advantages over Windows, are not sufficiently used in mainstream corporations for students to be learning the real worlds' face of IT.  A suitably planned Microsoft based network would give them more experience that could be used when leaving school.</p>
<p>I also really like the idea of students earning extra credit for assisting the IT department.  When I was at school, the BBC B's were prevalent throughout English schools, having had a BBC B for a couple of years prior to the school, I was frequently asked to help solve little problems that the teachers couldn't, but English schools don't have any extra credit schemes available for this ... if there were, maybe I wouldn't have spent 5 years and a few thousand pounds in Law schools only to end up in IT !</p>
<p> </p>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by kevaburg In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

Having worked in a school for three years and watched students
handwriting and spelling deteriorate as more and more work was
computer-based, I concur totally with your assessment.<br />
<br />
Computers are a tool and do not and will not ever replace the
fundamental skills taught to us from a small age such as reading,
writing and arithmatic.  The problem is that all of these skills
become redundant as soon as you pick a computer up.  Programs can
read the text on a screen to the user.  Spelling and handwriting
skills obliviated by the keyboard and spell- and grammar
checking.  Spreadsheets deal with the arithmatic.  Manual
only classes are essential so that the skills learned on the computer
serve to enhance and not replace the basics.<br />
<br />
If the MAC's are being used for everything then MAC's were a bad choice
and PC's would have been better.  But the problem with that is the
fact that very few schools have the resources and funding to be able to
purchase PC's if they were the most expensive option so economics
becomes an issue.<br />
<br />
And what about backups?  Are the computers networked with a
regularly backup data facility?  What happens if the computer goes
down with everything on it and none of it was backed up?  And lets
not forget the students have to learn how to use the machine more than
likely at a time when they should be learning maths etc;<br />
<br />
And what if a student comes out of that school into a more conventional setting?  The questions go on................<br />

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

<div>Some of the private high schools here in Australia have been doing this for a few years, and some of the senior staff raised similar concerns when they started to issue computers. In some cases they even saw students not paying attention and doing other things on the computers in class.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>I can see a range of ways to deal with this and have suggested them to some of the staff that I know, don't know if the schools have taken up the suggestions or not. However, here goes with some strategies.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>1. Today you can get laptops where the screen turns around and can sit with just the screen up. Buy these and have the students have limited access through a light pen only for the purpose of refering to pre-existing notes and the electronic textbooks that have been downloaded to the computer. New notes are taken on a writing pad beside the PC.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>2. Have the first semester of the first year's computing classes centred around the use and care of the issued computers, then have later computer classes on the use and care of other computers - issue with PC and MS, later computer classes cover Linux and Macs or vica versa.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>3. Computers are locked down at time of issue and unlocked when students leave or graduate. This limits loading of non-relevant material.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>4. Text books provided electronicly and the students are responsible to download them from the approved school drive prior to the classes, the first day of each semester could be set aside for this activity or issued on CD. This would save a fortune in text books and simplify syllabus changes - and save many trees too.</div>
<div> </div>
<div>re your complaint about Apple, well this is one way for them to get a bigger market share - it is now up to Bill Gates to match Apple in this manner.</div>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by trule In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

As an educator who has spent well over a decade in the classroom - 6 years in high and middle school as technology co-coordinator - I have several isses with your point about requiring Windows because it is used in teh "real" world. If this were a technical high school, grooming kids for specific jobs, I would agree. HOWEVER - the majority of high schools are designed for 2 basic tasks: 1) give kids a basic knowledge base so they can function, and 2) teach them how to learn. function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
} class="khtml-block-placeholder">function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>The idea that teaching them Windows now so they can be computer functional is a patently illogical argument, for 2 reasons. First - the Windows they use now will NOT be the Windows they will use then. Secondly, it is FAR more useful to a student to be taught how to learn a "foreign-to-them" OS in a guided environment, because then they will know HOW to learn to work the computer. If all they see is what they already "know" (and many think they know more than they really do, others think they know nothing but are agiain wrong), then when confronted with a strange conputing environment they don't panic.function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
} class="khtml-block-placeholder">function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>Kids also are not exposed to computing in a networed invironment - which is a different animal than the setup they have at home. The idea of their docs being stored on teh server, for example, was difficult to get inside their heads at times.function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
} class="khtml-block-placeholder">function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>I used Macs iBooks in a wireless environment, and 2 Windows labs. I can tell you, I spent FAR less time teaching how to work the machine, and for MORE time teaching the subject at hand, with the Macs. It was ture when it was Win95/98 vs MacOS9, and it was still true with WinXP vs MacOS9.2.2. Unfortunately, I left before migrating campus to OS X.function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by peeyush_maurya In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

<p>Learning computers at a young age is very good, but what about the very basic of learning skill, what about them using their own brainpower rather than processor power. Thinking, analysing, taking desicions cant be practiced on a computer. How confident they will feel fillingup a form using pen and a paper. </p>
<p>Computer are very mush neccesary to learn these day to keep up new technoligies but we should not forgot the very basic.</p>
<p>Peeyush <br /><em>"Playing/practicing soccer on a computer and in a playing ground are different things"</em></p>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by DC Guy In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

<p>You're absolutely right that PCs rule the COMPUTER world. The point you seem to be missing is that only we geeks, and the hapless end users that we write software for, inhabit that world. The other six billion or so human beings inhabit the REAL world. And Macintoshes absolutely rule there. Go into any environment where the influence of geeks is overruled by common sense or by ordinary people having power of their own, and you will almost invariably find a Mac shop.</p>
<p>Most of the students in the school in the photo will not grow up to be software developers. They will enter occupations in which they will never develop the interest, aptitude, knowledge, or skill to spend an hour or two every day trying to figure out why their computer doesn't perform the way it was supposed to, trying to find the data they just stored, or trying to figure out why their entire menu appears to have been created BY technicians FOR technicians. (Need I once again mention the fact that we think it's as funny as a Monty Python skit hat you have to hit the START button to STOP your computer, whereas most people with regular IQs consider that a bloody DEFECT?) For all of those kids, PCs are utterly inappropriate.</p>
<p>For the one or two kids in each room who might grow up to be computer geeks, it will probably do them some good to get experience on computers that behave like appliances instead of oh-so-clever but not very practical lab toys.</p>
<p>As for writing skills, give me a break. The only reason anyone needs to learn to read and write cursive writing is that it's been the state of the art for several centuries. It's now obsolete. Two-finger typing is faster to create and easier to read, even with typos. For the occasional situation where you don't have a keyboard handy, everyone knows how to print block letters. When the power fails and the batteries all run down, we will not have lost the art of written communication. The whole focus on "handwriting" is so Eurocentric anyway. People in China, Japan, Korea, and many other countries "write script" that looks exactly like the characters on their computer screen.</p>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by joshnunn In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

Good points about the lost art of writing, and the nightmare of getting kids to listen and learn with the internet at their fingertips. As a Mac user though (and I am trying to be real), I feel the argument that the whole world uses PCs so lets keep using PCs is a little underthought. Inovation and change is partially driven by a consumers choice to buy the better product. Arguing that because everyone has a Windows machine that kids should be taught on Windows machines leaves very little room for change and growth. I live in Australia, and Macs aren't as wide spread in education as your article and the related comments seem to suggest they are there. What I see is kids being taught on Windows, go home to Windows and see their friends with Windows. Regardless of whether Mac is a better computer - these kids have no choice. If something were to come along that revolutionised operating systems, and blew Macs, Windows or Linux out of the water, I would be devistated to see it ignored because "Windows is THE desktop standard".function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>I would hope that the better OS could win because it was the BETTER OS, not because it was the better MARKETED.?function (match)
{
return match.toLowerCase();
}>

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by ligmania4eva In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

Good point about the scholastic problem.  I learned to type from a
typing class and without that i would have been a very slow working
computer professional.  It would also be hard for students to take
good notes if they couldn't type fast.  I tend disagree with you
on the mac issue somewhat, no i'm a Machead or Linux guru.  I
believe like anything a laptop is a tool and as a student i would want
to have the best tools available to me.  Although, its true over
90% of world uses a windows desktop it doesn't necessarily mean its the
best.  I used mac osx, windows, linux and unix over time; i would
have to say using the a mac was very easy.  Besides both have
gui's and ideas borrowed from one another anyway; if the students where
given ms-dos 6.22 to learn then i could see problem.  The real
world is very much a Microsoft Windows world, except for the digital
and animation realms where Macs are the majority; but i think its a
hard sell when you imply that students won't be ready for the real
world because they were using macs and not pcs.  I think its like
saying if you learn to drive using a toyota, you won't be able to drive
honda.  Learning how to use a computer has basic principles that
stretch across any OS; i.e. turn computer on, start writing program,
connect to network, save documents, etc.  Will these basic
principles be exactly the same across each OS, not likely but the
students won't be lost either.

Collapse -

Students Issued Laptops Instead of Textbooks

by joelgulick In reply to Students Issued Laptops I ...

<p>How do the students take notes?  Are they teaching typing, or do they assume that all kids will just learn this by osmosis, or do they encourage the "two-finger" method?  Will the art of writing be lost altogether, or will they address this by mandatory no-laptop classes with pen and paper only, to ensure that the students never forget how to write?</p>
<p>You know I see where you are coming from, but think of all the individuals that can't even read or write now. Taking away pen and paper has some good points. </p>

Back to After Hours Forum
11 total posts (Page 1 of 2)   01 | 02   Next

Related Discussions

Related Forums