Seattle private school to make laptop purchase and use mandatory
March 25, 2001 12:40 PM Subscribe
posted by thunder at 1:32 PM on March 25, 2001
(Linux appliances, where are you?)
That said, from reading the details, it looks like a retrograde step for the school: an attempt to replace pupil-teacher and pupil-pupil interaction with a system more associated with corporate workflow. And as thunder says, there's a visceral difference with writing things down longhand (and reading dead tree literature) that's important for the brain cells.
Anyway, I bet these posh kids don't travel to and from school on their own: muggers would have a field day.
posted by holgate at 1:46 PM on March 25, 2001
posted by Mick at 1:49 PM on March 25, 2001
"...rather than be occupied with machines, we want time on campus spent in interactions between teachers and students."
Part of education has always been about socializing students to be able to interact with people as well as with information -- and to make them good cogs in the future workplace machine. Mandatory laptop use seems to me to be a step away from human-to-human interaction, inevitable though it may be.
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on March 25, 2001
Is this just one school getting a jump on the future of education, or a corporation-driven attempt to lock in younger and younger consumers?Those are my choices?
posted by holloway at 2:14 PM on March 25, 2001
"Teacher teacher! Starduck's looking at pictures of heidi klum on the internet again!"
"Shut up or I'll h4x0r j00r report card"
posted by starduck at 2:34 PM on March 25, 2001
And since none of those schools had any big ruckus about mandatory laptops, I can't help but feel that something else is going on here, most likely some latent anti-corporate feelings on the parents' parts bubbling up to the surface. "Hmmm ... Our school has many big-time computer elite alumni, and gets much of its endowment from them. So this must be an attempt by them to brainwash our kids into using their products!!" Which is no different than blaming Mead for indoctrinating our innocent children into a lifetime of addiction to paper, note pads and binders.
It doesn't help that there appears to be little basis for these parental protests other than plain old fear of what they don't understand. "This is DIFFERENT. It's not how I went to school! It must be a plot!" Yeah, okay.
posted by aaron at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2001
as for the laptops themselves, i would go crazy in a classroom full of laptop-clicking kids. so noisy and obnoxious. and besides which, there will always be problems with one kid MUDding when he's supposed to be watching the teacher's broadcast about proper bibliography format. i don't know... it just seems rather unnecessary. i see the value in them, but required? i wouldn't have liked it very much, at least in 7th grade. well, i mean i would have liked it because i could spend more time dicking around with computers, but not educationally.
posted by pikachulolita at 4:31 PM on March 25, 2001
On the issue of kids not using the computers for school work, let me just tell you how far I went to get games from the internet entered into my TI-82 Calculator. That at least required effort. Now all they will have to do is pop in a CD.
I as well was issued a computer as part of my college tuition (blazing '486 dx4-100) in 1996. It was very valuable for school work, but not necessary in class, thats what the Mead's are for. Plus, this was college, not middle school. All through my educational career, my schools have always made computers available, but not necessary.
This, in my opinion is just a mistake, and the school will most likely see either a drop in attendance or just flat-out violation of their laptop policy. A better approach would be to first require access to a computer, (i.e. at home) and let the parents work it out from there.
posted by stew560 at 5:06 PM on March 25, 2001
Our parents pay $1000 the first year then $700 a year after that. This is the cost of a laptop, wireless network card, an insurance/warranty package that includes all repair work including broken screens, software packages (Office 2000 is used the most), and it supplements the cost of our network. The students get a laptop in 7th grade and then in 10th grade they receive a new one. They can return the older one (which will then go to a loaner pool or staff member) or buy out the lease.
The teachers are *not* required to use a laptop in every class but they are asked to try and use it 20% of the time. We are seeing much more use than this. The wireless network has been great but battery issues have required us to have several power strips in each room.
posted by spynotebook at 6:47 PM on March 25, 2001
Why? Unless school curricula have changed a great deal in the ten years since I left, there's precious little reason why 14/15-year-olds need the bloat of Office2k. I don't subscribe to the "that's what they'll need to use in work" theory, because the time they get into an office environment, it'll be Office XP+ with a yet-again-reworked UI, or .NET stuff with web-centric document management.
In fact, I can't think of anything less likely to encourage productivity than dishing out Office to teenagers. From personal experience, it's all too tempting to spend more time picking a font than on the content of a paper.
You're the one doing the study, so good luck to you. Buy I can't help thinking that you'd be better off handing out handhelds with portable keyboards. More robust, less to go wrong, exactly the kind of limited feature set that's useful for that learning environment.
posted by holgate at 9:02 PM on March 25, 2001
posted by spynotebook at 3:44 AM on March 26, 2001
posted by Twang at 11:48 AM on March 26, 2001
I've heard though that things have changed at my school (since I graduated less than two years ago) with an increased use of the school intranet for classes and extracurricular activities (There was already electronic submission of articles over the intranet for the school newspaper while I was there).
posted by dalryaug at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2001
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posted by a3matrix at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2001