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08 May 2007

Students use school laptops for nonschool things! Yeah, I know, more laptops-for-the-students junque, are they necessary, blah blah blah. But I love what the middle kid in the picture is wearing.
Ha, I use my work computer for non-work things! I use my home computer for work things! Dear God, technology isn't a magic wand for instant productivity!
posted by muddgirl 08 May | 08:45
You've just been goatse'd!
posted by danostuporstar 08 May | 08:53
Hah, I have always said computer-driven education should be limited to honors programs. Basic education, average students and technology do not mix; hell, teachers cannot control what students post on the blackboards.
posted by mischief 08 May | 09:30
Michief, the problem is that honors students either already have access to a computer, through their parents, or have the drive and means to seek a computer out, at the library or whatever. The point of the program is to reduce the "digital divide" between families that have personal computers and families that don't. (Ugh, I'm not implying that all honors students are rich, but that honors students are more inclined to seek help from any and all sources, including digital ones, without prompting. Hence the honors placement).
posted by muddgirl 08 May | 10:07
Oh, I know the "point" of the program is conquering the digital divide, but that particular issue goes much deeper than mere access to a computer, more like a cultural divide. Let's just make everybody take metal shop.
posted by mischief 08 May | 10:25
The other issue I have harped on in the past concerning ubiquitous educational computing was the long anticipated obsolescence (that is now occurring pretty much on schedule) of the laptop-browser appliance in favor of talented cell-phones or living room entertainment centers.
posted by mischief 08 May | 12:10
I love what the kid next to the kid is wearing - pearls, polka dots and noir pout. It seems like the only kid they could quote to say that the laptops going is a good thing is the *outgoing* senior who already got to play Super Mario in study hall for however many years they had the laptop program...I think its better to wait and buy one for college, he said. I wonder if they could just use the laptops (locked down) for in-school homework labs (probably for more schools, too, as you wouldn't need 1-1) instead of getting rid of them altogether.
posted by PY 08 May | 13:51
The word "laptop" has lost all meaning.

Laptop laptop laptop laptop
posted by occhiblu 08 May | 14:26
'eh. There's some shenanigans at work here, though. So, their standardized test scores don't go up, but, as far as I know, the standardized tests don't measure computer literacy.

Also, H4X0ringk the school firewall and spreading the instructions sure as heck helps teach a lesson about living in the digital world, but nobody wants to admit that adolescent rebellion and boundary pushing provides universal and worthwhile lessons.

Me and my nerd friends swapped graphing calculator games back in the day to play tetris and Super Mario Bros. clones during class, which eventually led to me toying around with Z80 assembly code which was specifically beneficial in university classes.

Of course, I was destined to be a geek regardless of ZShell, but I can't help but think that the popularization of technology increases the ratio of geekdom and gives existing geeks additional opportunities to thrive. Or maybe it just drowns us all out in the wannabes. Shrug.

That being said, providing the tools but not the structure or lesson plans is asinine. You wouldn't buy a shop lab full of drill presses and circular saws and metal lathes and expect the kids to figure it out for themselves. The dearth of math, science and technology minded teachers in public education and administration means that current technology will always be misused in these settings. This will work itself out as the technology becomes more mainstream and more understood. The generation of kids that klutzes around with laptops in the classroom today will be the generation that figures out how to actually use them to effectively teach the generation that follows.
posted by Skwirl 08 May | 14:51
that particular issue goes much deeper than mere access to a computer, more like a cultural divide. Let's just make everybody take metal shop.

My high school (actually the entire district) did just that. We had to take one semester each of Metalwork, Woodwork, Sewing and Cooking in eighth grade.

posted by Mitheral 08 May | 19:23
Mine required a series of shop classes for the boys and home ec for the girls. For most of the guys, it was a complete waste of time, but then so is most school. I liked shop because my father was the type who viewed a circular saw like a sculptor's chisel and my technique was way beyond anything school could teach me.

Still, those classes weren't for everyone.

One other thought I had on the laptop issue, this country also has a weapons divide, so schools should issue handguns so students can practice at home.

What?! A strawman you say? Yeah, so is the whole digital divide in the first place. Heheh! Gotcha!
posted by mischief 08 May | 23:28
What about the notebook/laptop divide? Huh? Who's doing anything about that?
posted by stilicho 09 May | 02:26
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