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Education Portables Hardware

New Hampshire to Follow Maine's Lead 236

Timex writes "According to an article from the Portland [Maine] Press Herald, some seventh-graders in New Hampshire will be issued laptops in January. 19 school districts have been invited to submit proposals, and up to five of them will be chosen to lead the way in New Hampshire. Cabletron Systems co-founder and NH Governor Craig Benson is getting funding for the four-year project from corporate donations. So far, he's gathered about half of the estimated $1.2 million estimated cost."
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New Hampshire to Follow Maine's Lead

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  • by peen ( 161966 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:52PM (#6887807)
    Will they be iBooks though? :)


    • by H0ek ( 86256 )
      Not if the students want to learn anything...

      I mean, where's the struggle with one of those iBooks? Heckm they're so easy to use even the most non-technical person can be productive.

      No, what they need are cheap, noname-brand laptops with Gentoo Linux! Heck, even Gentoo makes it too easy. Make 'em to LFS!

      That'll teach 'em!
      • by Anonymous Coward
        In my day we got an Apple ][ system monitor prompt, a book on 6502 assembly language, and an hour to build our own operating system. If we didn't get it done we were summarily executed as well as given an F.

        Ah, good times.
        • by H0ek ( 86256 )

          Assembly Language! Hah! We were lucky if we were given 15 minutes to divine the hexadecimal opcodes for the 6502 instruction set before we were expected to write our own multiplayer FPS!

  • mommy. . (Score:3, Funny)

    by NetMagi ( 547135 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:53PM (#6887810)
    mom, can I go back to school please. . c'mon I'm only 25
  • Would be good if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blaine Hilton ( 626259 ) * on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:54PM (#6887821) Homepage
    The teachers knew how to use them, and the system admins know more about securing them then the kids that are using them.
    • But they dont, so let the porn flow like a mighty river into the vast sea that are these young minds.
    • by saitoh ( 589746 )
      They do for the most part.

      I work with the education program at my college and in the local school districts and their admins. The ibooks for the Maine program are locked down rather well, I'm still trying to tinker with one to get it to use something *other* then 802.11b. The only settings you can alter (other then the top row of Personal stuff) is keyboard, mouse, sound, and the universal access. Nothing else is even accessable. I can run terminal, but I'm also using a teachers image of OSX and not the st
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:55PM (#6887824)
    WindowsCHILD, WindowsNEWBORN, WindowsIMPLANT
  • Kid's and laptops. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:56PM (#6887830) Homepage
    I dunno. I can't see issuing my middle schooler a laptop. Not because I have any particular problem with their use in education, but because the kid has a tendency to drop stuff (and lose stuff). Seems to be endemic to the age group.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Don't know about you, but when I was in middle school my parents were essentially forced to buy or lease a $500-$700 trumpet so that I could participate in Band class. Didn't even particularly want that elective, but still I had to carry that thing around and try not to break it.
    • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:25PM (#6887990) Journal

      IAACGWAL ( I am a college guy with a laptop ) and I can honestly say those things are nearly useless during class. They require boot time, which is wasted time. They also require juice considering they don't run on air and a random day at college lasts 8 hours for me. I haven't heard of ANY laptop with an 8 hours battery life and the idea of 30 people rushing for the nearest electrical outlet every 2 hours is plain silly. Also, laptops aren't very versatile for writing down stuff in a hurry. The programs given are very limited and using them can feel very unnatural at times. That whole issue might be solved by those tablet PCs with the pen thingy, which is far more suitable for jotting down notes and what not.

      For college, nothing rocks more then a good pen and a good notepad with pre-perforated and lined paper. Though laptops would still rock, especially with WLANs. UT2k3 during dutch classes, anyone?

      • For college, nothing rocks more then a good pen and a good notepad...

        I prefer a mechanical pencil.
        Pens stain my pocket protector.

      • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:57PM (#6888157) Homepage Journal
        They require boot time, which is wasted time

        So, get an iBook. They are cheap and when you wake them from sleep, they are on almost instantly. No waiting.

        They also require juice considering they don't run on air and a random day at college lasts 8 hours for me.

        My 800 Mhz iBook ran for about 5 hours of constant use which is more than plenty for a day at school considering that you are not constantly using the laptop during your school day. If you were, you had access to a power outlet. Currently, I use an 12in Powerbook that has less battery life, but since I am not in classes anymore, I prefer it and the extra features.

        Also, laptops aren't very versatile for writing down stuff in a hurry.

        I can type much faster that I can write as can many, many others who generally prefer taking notes with a keyboard.

        The programs given are very limited and using them can feel very unnatural at times.

        I find a simple text edit program the easiest and fastest way to input notes.

        That whole issue might be solved by those tablet PCs with the pen thingy, which is far more suitable for jotting down notes and what not.

        I agree with you here. I have owned an Apple Newton 120 (they still rock!) and I have used some of the new Microsoft tablets, and by far, the Newton had better usability, although they are showing their age now by lacking modern I/O and networking. The Newton however was not quite ideal for notetaking. If you plugged in the additional keyboard they were O.K., but it needed a little more integration with the pen and keyboard. The current Wintel tablets are simply tablet versions of dekstop metaphors and simply, don't work very well. More R&D needed to go into interface design. I don't know if Apple will ever produce another tablet/subtablet type device, but it would certainly be welcome in many circles.

        • While writing simple text notes is indeed faster on a computer than by hand (at least for those of us who type well), writing complex equations is generally much faster by hand, especially if they happen to use symbols you haven't encountered before (which is not infrequently the case -- you are after all supposed to be learning things you didn't already know in these classes). No matter how proficient you are at LaTeX, it's not very fast to write down formulas filled with stuff you've never seen before, w
          • Re:do you only take humanities classes?

            To answer your question, no, I have a Ph.D. in retinal neurophysiology with many years of statistics, chemistry, biological science, bioengineering, anatomy and the first two years of medical school under my belt. :-) However, that said, I agree with you and the other poster. That is why I said that hybrid technologies with pen and keyboard would be good. The tablet stuff from the Microsoft camp is not where it needs to be right now for this to happen and much of
      • When I was in college we didn't get 8h of class per day, but maybe that's just me. My iBook doesn't need boot time, it wakes from sleep in 2s.

        OTOH the Newton had all these properties and excellent handwriting recognition.
      • by dasunt ( 249686 )

        I've thought about the usefulness of laptops during classes, and the best way that I've seen to make them useful would be to set up a tiny direction microphone pointed at the lecturer, set up a small webcam, and record.

        Years ago, when my mother went back to school, she did a similiar setup with a cassette recorder. Works well for review, if your professor does not rely on blackboard diagrams. Else, an audio/video recorder is the way to go.

        Then again, it would only take one person to do this and jus

    • They should do all the math in their head because they might lose the pencil or drop the calculator!

    • When Maine did this, didn't they use the old Toilet Seat iBooks? Those things where durable like no other. Too bad they dont' make 'em like they used to...
  • by blueworm ( 425290 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:56PM (#6887832) Homepage
    I help support the laptops here in Maine and the program is a complete joke. Schools don't do much more than post information on the Apple run FirstClass mail server and have students use search engines with the things.

    Now if a REAL computer curriculum were to be developed around the Unix aspects of Mac OS X that would be something, but integration with the classroom itself isn't going to happen. I don't know how it could really without losing the attention of students who resort to web browsing during dull (and meaningless) lectures.

    High School/Public School education is a joke in the U.S. Student's don't even know algebra by the time they graduate with A's in math.
    • > Student's don't even know algebra

      Looks like you didn't pay much attention in school either...

    • by NiKnight3 ( 532580 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:14PM (#6887925) Homepage
      I'm not sure where you are in the state, but please don't generalize and say that the laptop program isn't working throughout the state.

      I live near Bangor, Maine, and I did a college photojournalism project at my middle school to see how the laptops were working. Not only did the students seem more engaged in their learning, but they used them for almost everything: they wrote journal entries, found clipart for multimedia presentations, and then researched information for a speech. And that was all during one class. Students in social studies the next period spent time researching current headlines on msnbc.com and informed the teacher of the latest development of the war in Iraq (I visited this spring). That's right, they were telling her the latest news. What better way to engage students in education than by letting them be the teachers? Every study I've ever seen has said that two-way learning is much more effective than reading from a textbook or listening to lecture.

      While some districts in the state may be less excited about the program, its important to note that the laptop program in Maine is still supported and still working. While expensive, this program introduces students to technology at a fairly early age. It's very possible that Maine students will be much more tech-savvy once they leave their middle and high schools.

      • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:24PM (#6887981) Journal
        What the poster was trying to point out is that simply throwing a bunch of laptops at schools isn't enough... Schools and teachers need to support the use of these things as well, and teach students how to use them.

        As he pointed out, the schools in his area were hardly making good use of the machines. In your example, I bet that the distribution of laptops in Maine was accompanied by an education programme to teach how to use the laptops for school assignments.
      • I absolutely agree that the curriculum needs to endorse and support the laptop program in order to be successfull. However - the expectation cannot be that teachers can do this overnight.

        When we implemented a laptop program for graduate students in 1990 at UC Irvine's Graduate School of Management, it definitely took some time for faculty to understand how to best use the new technology for their curriculum. Obviously, some professors took to it faster than others, some may never take advantage of the fa
      • found clipart for multimedia presentations

        Will the teachers give an "A for effort" when the kids produce cute pasted clipart and sampled audio instead of a coherent well-written presentation?
        Are they focusing on substance or just the fun of being able to mindlessly browse menus? Do they teachers even know the distinction?
    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:16PM (#6887936) Journal
      I agree... schools, and the education system in general, need to figure out 2 things:
      - How to teach using computers, and when teaching without them is better.
      - What to teach about computers.

      Both these issues are not being addressed or even recognised in schools over here (Holland). In rare instances you see an enthusiastic physics teacher giving classes on computer science, and even in those cases they have little if any teaching materials to back them up.

      Buying computers for schools or giving laptops to kids is not the way to improve education.

      Oh, I can sympathise with your sentiment about education. Here in Holland, per-capita spending on education is about 2/3rds of the amount spent in the rest of Europe. It scares the hell out of me to see my country dumbing down, visibly.
    • Now if a REAL computer curriculum were to be developed around the Unix aspects of Mac OS X that would be something

      Why would a 7th grader need to know anything about Unix? Seriously.
    • First off, why the hell couldn't this have happened 6 years ago when I was a NH highschooler! Though I guess that laptop would have been pretty worthless now anyway... More importantly, thinking back I can't imagine my high school taking very well to an insurgence of laptops. In my day no faculty or staff member knew a damn thing about computing (except maybe the IT lady), and half of them were deathly afraid to let us use the machines the school had. Christ, I remember my friend getting kicked out of t
    • I did not have a real computer curriculum until high school. Fortunately I did have computers to play with in middle school. And play I did. Basic and games on the teletype. Other stuff on some proprietary micro machines.

      The reality was I did not understand anything. I did not understand what a computer really was. I did not understand what i was really doing when i was using one. But I did understand that these things were very cool and I needed to learn and understand. i needed to get comfortabl

    • The funny thing is, there's already at least one school in New Hampshire that integrates laptops in its education program quite well. Some friends of mine work there; it's a private school, grades 9-12, called Brewster Academy [brewsteracademy.org] in Wolfeboro. This school is very forward-thinking in its computer-enhanced curriculum [theendeavourgroup.net] and is constantly being written up [thejournal.com] in journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. for it.

      I wonder if the NH school folks have consulted with, or researched about, Brewster? It'd be nice to think they
  • Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ignorant Aardvark ( 632408 ) <cydeweys@gma i l . c om> on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:56PM (#6887833) Homepage Journal
    What a waste of money. Laptops aren't the answer to better student performance, as anyone who's been through college recently can attest. Laptops simply add more distractions - games, instant messager, PORN ... and aren't really more efficient than old fashioned pen and paper. That $1.2 million should be spent on something that really matters ... like new textbooks?
    • Thats for sure (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mycroft_514 ( 701676 )
      The same money could buy more desktop units, and could be used to teach the kids how to actually program.

      I was taught that one needed to know the math before one could use the appropriate functions on the calculators or computers. This is a prime reason there are so many garbage "scientific" studies out there. Nobody recognizes the stats for the baloney they are.
      • Re:Thats for sure (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 )
        I would agree with that, except for the fact that most schools I know of have plenty of computers. There's lots of money for that. I constantly hear about "X school got Y million to upgrade their computer labs." You never hear "X district got Y million to raise teachers' salaries," or "X school got Y million to replace 30-year-old textbooks." Buying new tech sounds more impressive, so that's what happens.
        • Also, computers are produced by companies. Companies like to give discounts or free tech to little cute school kids. Its good advertising. Theres no such private-sector motivation for donating to top off teacher salaries.
        • The mindset I have encountered more than once in high school (both studying and working there) is an ill-placed faith in software. Given the choice between a $20,000 license package for something that purports to be an out-of-the-box cure-all, and that same 20,000 going towards better or more faculty, the heads of the tech dept. always, always go for the software.
      • The same money could buy more desktop units, and could be used to teach the kids how to actually program.

        Yeah, lets teach kids how to design and build cars before we allow them on the roads!

        Kids need to be taught how to use the computer as a tool. Not everyone needs to know how to code, and I'm not too sure what would be gained from making all kids learn to program. There are far more efficient ways of training people to use a PC as a tool, as it should be.

    • Or they could do something really useful with the money, like issue vouchers. Then parents could actually afford to send their child to a nongovernment school.

      Throwing money at public schools isn't going to result in better education, takign the government out will.
      • Yeah, government institutions are always sucky. You know, poorly funded, not enough resources, can't seem to attract the top teaching talent with decent salaries ...

        If I were you, I'd always vote in favour of giving the government less in taxes, and then demand that they should pay you to put your kid through a private school. You know, what with their inability to provide adequate resources for education for some strange reason.
        • and then demand that they should pay you to put your kid through a private school

          They pay?? That's a joke...

          There are many people out there that have 6 figure incomes but can't afford to send their children to school. Why?? Because they're forced to give up 50% of that income.

          Studies have shown that more money into public schools doesn't equate better education. Most everyone could afford a better private education if government didn't tax the hell out of us...
    • Porn isn't as much a distraction as much as it it self-torture. Have you got any idea how cruel it is to bring porn to college, watch it, get all randy of it and then look around you an realize you're spending the better part of the day with 28 sweaty geeks and a girl whose mass is only rivaled by the mass of the Eurasian tectonic plate? Of course personality is more important then looks but if I'd start about her personality she'd be off WORSE. So all in all, porn at college isn't the brightest idea. Howev

    • ....That $1.2 million should be spent on something that really matters ... like new textbooks?

      It'd be nice if the a student's laptop doubled as the textbooks for ALL his/her paper-based textbooks, having them all on CD/DVD. Those stacks of books get heavy when you try to carry them home with you.
  • $1.2 million ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @12:57PM (#6887838)
    Could buy an awful lot of textbooks.
    • Are you suggesting that these school districts should donate the money they are raising to schools that actually need the money?

      Doesn't that, I dunno, kinda smack of socialism?

      These are districts that already have good textbooks, I wager, and the parents and involved citizens want their kids to get an additional advantage, in this case computer literacy and submersion from an early age.
      • The school district I went to had computers all over the place. The labs were upgraded every couple years to state-of-the-art machines, most of which went unused.

        And yet, we still had to deal with textbooks that were falling apart at the seams because they had been in use since the 70's.

        It's nowhere near a sure thing that they already have decent books. In fact, I would be willing to bet that a lot of them don't.
    • $1.2M could buy an awful lot of dead trees.

      On the other hand, the information contained in those textbooks can and will be largely out-of-date in a decade, particularly where the fields of natural sciences and engineering are concerned.

      Back in the days before the web, when I was in the K-12 system, I was handed textbooks that were decades old.

      If I wanted to write a paper with current information, I would have to travel to the local college library, which had a budget sufficient to pay for today's periodi
      • The web is a good resource, but it's not a replacement for textbooks. If you've ever tried to take a class using the web for information rather than buying the textbook (pretty common for us starving college students) you'd know that looking up uncommon subjects is rather difficult, requiring you to try dozens of different places to piece together a complete view of a topic, as well as sorting through tons of misinformation and contradictory statements. Online textbooks are not a solution: you've got to h
    • Funny how corporate donors are never forthcoming when you want to buy books
  • well, if there is no proper supervision it could lead to problems rather than improve learning. my accounting class was in a computer room, all we used to do is play multiplayer shockwave games and hearts
  • It just works... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:01PM (#6887860)
    I am a teacher in Maine and I have to say that the program in Maine works. It received some criticism early on but now the program is in full force and it works. You can trash Apple as much as like but the bottom line is this. Imagine training the number of teachers necessary and then handing out laptops to very enterprising middle schoolers. Also imagine the headaches that could arise when all these middle schoolers get their computers infested with Windows worms and viruses and then expecting the teachers to fix the problems. It is a disaster in the making. The bottom line with using Apple laptops is that they are simple to use and maintain with a big emphasis on maintain. You can quote all those crappy TOC studies you want about Windows vs Apple but again, the burden on day-to-day maintenance is on the teachers themselves! I hope this is clear to all the Windows pundits. For what the state of Maine needed these computers, Apple simply worked better. I wish my neighbors in NH the best of luck in setting up their program. I hope they will take what we have learned thus far in Maine and get their program off to a good start.
    • I think the important question is whether they need laptops at all?
  • Whatever.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Absences, tardiness and disciplinary trips to the principal dropped significantly in one Maine school with the laptops, Benson said.

    "If that doesn't tell you this works, nothing else will," he said.

    I think it's because the laptop is more like a gimmick that keeps kids occupied. Back in my days, we stopped playing pencil break because we were busy making ASCII porn on a TI-82.
  • by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:18PM (#6887949)
    No, they aren't training kids to be programmers or Unix dudes or whatever: so what. What they are doing is ensuring that the entire educated populace in maine is comfortable with technology. And whether you like it or not, that is still becoming more and more a fundamental requirement of any form of employment, even if it's just on the administrative end. Hell if you want to work the cash register at the pizza place next to me you have to know the basics of computer usage.

    The last story on this in maine highlighted greater attendance, fewer discipline problems, and greater attentiveness in class as easily spottable trends after the implementation of this program. The laptops stay with the classroom, not the students as they move on. But when the students move on they will know how to use the internet as a research tool, how to use spreadsheets and databases and word processors and such, in short they will be able to utilize technology.

    In a state that is trying to update its workforce to keep pace with the times, that alone is a big step. Frankly, I think an educational system that IS NOT addressing the ever growing prescence of technology and its uses in our lives is woefully inadequate.

  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 )
    this is just another of those sounds good, feels good ideas. i taught seventh grade for seven years, and now teach high school. the whole "computers in the classroom" is nonsense. there has not been one definitive study to show that technology aids in learning. now if these were part of a technology program, fine. but are these going to motivate students? no. are these going to increase learning? no. are these going to make the students more critical thinkers? no. it isn't the computer, it's what
    • If you're a schoolteacher why didn't you capitalize your sentences?
    • Obviously not an english teacher....
  • by devphaeton ( 695736 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:27PM (#6888004)
    In the late 1980s i got busted in the 7th grade using my C= Plus/4 to do my algebra and geometry homework with. I was removed from both classes and had to make them up the following year.

    My principal's famous last words:

    "You need to learn to do this without a computer. When you grow up and get a job, is your computer going to be there to do your work for you then?"

  • tech for tech sake (Score:2, Insightful)

    by miraclemax ( 702629 )
    I think it's a great idea to provide all kids with regular computer access, so long as it's access to something. What I mean is, just handing out computers to kids and hoping osmosis or something will take over and they'll suddenly start weaving technology magic and make the kids learn more is useless and a waste of money.
    If they're providing the technology for access to more technology enhanced curriculum or integrating something useful, then It's a very good thing.
  • I live in the silicon valley, and I went to a middle school that issued all the 6th and 7th graders laptops(for some reason, not the either graders, so I was screwed). The problem with that kind of system is, it ONLY trains the students to be entirely helpless end users, and nothing more, but there's really no way to fix that. The thing is, when you own your own computer, it's YOURS. You can do what you want: install software, put in another OS, set it up as a webserver, program, etc. However, all of that
  • by pbooktebo ( 699003 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:31PM (#6888037)
    As a teacher who used a mac in teaching music, I think that they are amazing tools when used in moderation. I do support the use of computers in classrooms, but it is also true that the only technology that really revolutionized education is the blackboard. In the past 100 years, grandiose claims were made for record albums, film strips, movies, TV in classes, etc. Often, the claim has been that teachers will become obsolete.

    Larry Cuban, a professor of education at Stanford, has written a book on the subject, "Computers in the classroom: oversold and underused," which is available in .pdf form here:


  • Book Covers (Score:3, Funny)

    by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:35PM (#6888051)
    And will they be issued paper book covers, too? I mean, if they put those things around $20 textbooks, man, they better put them on $2000 laptops...

    'Cuz, they gotta turn them back in, right?

  • This has serious potential of being a serious nuisance. can you say, students not listening. -browsing -games -music -INSTANT MESSENGING! plus the possibility of some guys running exploits on other students machines . id take windows off ... nix (and wine if necessary) ... nonetheless ... i like the idea
  • by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:39PM (#6888071) Homepage
    This is a pet peeve of mine. Why do we think that technology is the way to go in the classroom? More than anything else, it puts a barrier between students, because instead of concentrating on the teacher or on their own little games (which don't help them with school subjects but are equally important in that they help to develop personality) they are watching a screen. The current school environment involves learning both as a group (when the teacher is talking) and individually (when you're at home, reading the textbook). This is a balanced approach. It works. It is not broken.

    With that said, as a practical matter, laptops are a bad idea. They are easy to steal. They suffer a lot of wear & tear and break (all you road wariors know this). Anyone ever had an LCD crack? Laptop batteries, just like all other batteries, can only hold a charge for so long. And repairing/replacing them (all the parts, not just the battery) is expensive.

    Now, I recommend that instead of trying to fool with all this fancy technology (administering these laptops would be a pain in the ass, too), students just take a pad of paper and a pen. We are really losing something important if we teach these youngsters to be dependent on technology to learn.

    • The ACTUAL results in Maine do not agree with your preconcieved notions, at all.
  • populations (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) * <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:40PM (#6888078) Journal
    The 19 school districts are: Mascenic Regional; Allenstown (4800); Colebrook (2600); Franklin (8400); Monadnock Regional (23000); Winnisquam Regional; Farmington (6000); Mascoma Valley Regional (12000); Somersworth (11600); Haverhill Cooperative (4100)(Warren, Orford, Haverhill, Bath); Wilton-Lyndeborough (3300); Lisbon (1700); Stratford (900); Milton (3700); Wakefield (3200); Andover (1900); Hillsboro-Deering (4600+1900); Weare (6800); and Thornton (1600).

    hi, nh kid living in an actual city here... just like to point out those are like... really small. did it even say how many laptops they're getting? 1.2 million over 800 bucks a laptop is 1500 laptops. the above list adds up to just about 100k people, so how many of those are 7th graders? 1.5 percent?
  • I think it's a good idea to put computers in schools, but I see giving some students laptops as opposed to having a compter class with maybe twice as many desktops stations as a real mistake (analogous to the NEA giving 10 artist $1 million instead of 1000 artists $10,000). It just seems like won't really address the fact that ALL students are going to need to have a computer education and if they don't they might as well get a shoe shine kit now and get to work.
  • A competent teacher can teach give a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a textbook and an eraser. Money for education should be used to support a highly trained teacher profession who has excellent grasp of the subject matter to be taught.

    Most primary and elementary school students need to be educated in the basics before they are able to
    tackle the literate medium of the Internet.

    We used to produce many engineers and scientists and put men on the moon when we weren't falling into this PC trendy educational ex
  • Efficiency (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swtaarrs ( 640506 ) <swtaarrs@comcast . n et> on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:52PM (#6888136)
    I've seen lots of posts with people complaining about how laptops aren't any more efficient/better/sexier/etc than pen and paper, but let's look at the facts: In today's instant messaging filled world, many kids can type 50wpm or more. Show me someone who can write at 50wpm. No matter how fast you move your hand, it's just not physically possible to form letters using a pen as quickly as tapping the letters on a keyboard. For this reason alone, kids could spend more time thinking about their ideas and less time writing them down/typing them.
  • Danger! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @01:55PM (#6888149)
    I wonder what kind of laptops will be issued. Physical fitness classes are on their way out and we wouldn't want the kids throwing their back out lugging around a Dell.
    • Heh. Actually the IceBook-style iBooks are pretty light and easy to carry around. The same can't be said for either the PowerBook I own (Code named "Wallstreet PDQ," officially called a PowerBook Series II G3) or the Thinkpad 365X or the PowerBook 145b and PowerBook 150 that I had before it. All four of these notebook computers have weighed about 7 pounds or so. The original iBook weighed in at about this much too...the "fruit flavored" ones with the handle and which John C. Dvorak characterized as being "e
  • by Dodava ( 697614 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @02:16PM (#6888289)
    School districts picked to apply in New Hampshire are in towns with high property tax rates and whose sixth-graders did poorly on the state assessment test, he said.

    Attention all sixth-graders everywhere: If your parents pay a lot of property taxes, make sure you do poorly on your tests. Maybe next year you'll be rewarded with a laptop!

  • then I'm for it. Seriously, why shouldn't textbooks be replaced with PDFs, HTML, or something similar? Publishers could charge a small semester/annual fee (make it a course fee for colleges), students would always have the current edition, it'd be a LOT cheaper... other advantages are just gravy.

    I say this having just spent over $600 on books for college classes this semester. When the fsck did these things get so expensive? You could post the books on the class website for registered students to downl
    • I say this having just spent over $600 on books for college classes this semester. When the fsck did these things get so expensive?

      No offense intended, but apparently there are enough people willing (or stupid enough) to pay $600 for textbooks- it's a consumer problem, and the blame lies squarely at their feet. It's the same dynamic that provides the RIAA with funds it needs to continue its encroachment on fair use. Keep paying for it, and they'll keep doing it.
      • No offense intended, but apparently there are enough people willing (or stupid enough) to pay $600 for textbooks- it's a consumer problem, and the blame lies squarely at their feet. It's the same dynamic that provides the RIAA with funds it needs to continue its encroachment on fair use. Keep paying for it, and they'll keep doing it.

        If you know of a way to pass college classes without buying the textbooks that professors require I'd like to hear it, especially if it's legal. We're not talking about luxur
  • by tomem ( 542334 ) on Saturday September 06, 2003 @02:57PM (#6888518) Homepage Journal
    Good grief, people! I can't believe I'm reading this reaction here at Slashdot. You all seem to think that your kids should have to earn the right to use one like you did! What's with that? Today a computer is not a computer at all, but rather a communicator. Only a subset of kids will have an interest in the inner workings of a communicator, but everyone has an interest in communicating with others and being able to use the resources on the net.

    This has nothing to do with teaching kids how to use a keyboard and mouse, or about binary and hexadecimal data storage. It has everything to do with empowering them to use the intellectual tools of the trades in our society. And one laptop contains every textbook you or your kids will ever need, and always in the most up to date version. The entire MIT undergrad curriculum and much of the grad curriculum is now online, along with most of world literature. Do you think this is mistake that will soon be corrected with a back-to-basics movement? Give me a break! This is the vehicle through which our kids will progress at their own pace, rather than being held to the average abilities in whatever class to which they may be assigned.

    Give a human a fish and you feed them for a day. Give a human a fishing rod, and teach them how to use it, and you give them the means to feed others as well as themselves.
  • by El ( 94934 )
    What route do these kids take home? I could stand to pick up a few new laptops!

    As a general rule, giving expensive equipment to kids is a bad idea. They don't know how to take care of it; chances are half of these will be broken, lost or stolen. Who is going to pay for it when that happens? Can every parent afford to shell out $1000 when their child's laptop comes up missing? I predict incidents of child abuse will go way up, as parents find out their kids used a computer as a football or a sled...

  • Don't you just love the goons who rush in here to tell you what will happen without even bothering to look at what _has_ happened with other similar programs?

    Just loooove to hear themselves type.......

  • Band/Choir and non sport related after school activities that promote communication with real people were cancelled from lack of funds.
  • ool. I went to a private school in australia that introduced laptops to the classroom in 1995 (fifth grade for me)... heres what I can say. It was extremely useful for work, and helped a lot with that. It got me interested in programming (BASIC, logowriter, html (way back in 95 or 96 I made my first web page...)) MORE importantly, it provided a distraction - games, games, and, uh, games. Why is this more important? first off, i had to find a way to connect to the network without using my proper ID and such

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama