Laptops in schools. What's your opinion?

Discussion in 'Community' started by DVW86, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. DVW86 macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2004
    Washington State
    I had to smile when I read this guys post. Personally I don't think that there is anything wrong with teaching kids how to use a computer or how they work, but teachers do get carried away. Our local school was teaching kids how to use Microsoft Excel. There would be nothing wrong with that except it was for science class. Anyways, here is his post.

    "I think it's kind of useless (kids having laptops in school) now. In Maine you can't bring the computer home [to write reports], which would be the only real use. Here's an excerpt from what the students do with theirs at school. It's nice and all, but imagine how much time this wastes in order to make the Bill of Rights "fun." Come on it's only 10 amendments to learn. The opportunity and dollar cost of stupid c**p like this is why our school system is in the crapper. That and hypersensitive parents and the school administrators who listen to them.

    To the original poster: get an iPod instead (unless you have one). Save the computer for college.

    It’s election time again, where our democracy takes center stage. In keeping with the season, at Boothbay Elementary School the Eighth Graders in teacher Eric Chamberlin’s Social Studies classes are studying the Bill of Rights. They are breathing life into those hallowed words by producing video vignettes of the different Articles, to be edited into a movie and posted on the school’s web site. Scripts are written, costumes and props gathered. The actors rehearse their lines one last time, and then it’s lights, camera…. Learning."
  2. Spizzo macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2004
    Pacific NW
    If i remember right, i think the great state of maine voted to have the state pay for a laptop for each elementary school or middle school child. (i cant remember which) at the same time the state is in financial trouble. i think what the poster is refering to is the state droping all this money for each kid to have their "own" computer, instead of spending the money where it could have been put to better use. my facts may be a little wrong as i'm not a maine citizen, and it really didnt effect me, but i still thought it was a bad choice to spend thousands of dollars on laptops for kids to use at school. Just MO.
  3. Dippo macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    I just don't know how much learning can be done on a laptop.
    Even in college we done most of our work with paper and pencil.

    Unless they are all going to be computer programmers, I am not sure they need them.
  4. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    iim all for it, i used them a lot in high school made taking notes and organizing work so much easier.
  5. howard macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2002
    boy thats a tough one...i would get EXTREMELY imagine how quickly they would break!!! also all teachers would have to be competant in using them..i know plenty that weren't at all when i was in elementary and high school.

    plus they would have to implement them so that there was software the students had to use to turn in assignments..or do lab experiments on and what not. i don't think they should raise taxes however, unless of course everyone in that area supports it.

    i think there are better ways to spend the money on decent teachers!! and actually paying the good ones that they have!!! its really ridiculous
  6. Dippo macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    There just doesn't seem to be a large enough benefit to balance the cost and other issues.

    Most teachers wouldn't do a good job using the laptops to teach, and I think for some that they would get in the way of learning.

    Now if I was a student at the school, I would be all in favor of it, but as an outsider I think it is a bad idea.
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I think it depends on the classroom and the teacher. I used to teach writing, and I had a lot of trouble getting the students to do any writing at all in class--they were all used to using computers, so writing things out on paper seemed like a waste of time. When I taught high school science, about the only time students were engaged was when they were doing hands-on things--whether in the lab or on computers. They didn't have the patience for lectures. I imagine wider use of computers could help those students as well, and learning something like Excel in class would make them feel like they were getting a valuable skill.

    On the other hand, if the teacher doesn't know what he/she is doing, it can be a waste of time. My understanding of the Maine program is that the teachers are getting extensive training, much of it provided by Apple. It sounds like a pretty good program to me. Money spent on education is only wasted if it doesn't help *educate*.
  8. mj_1903 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    I think its fine. I used one and look how I turned out. :)

    Although it has made a significant impact on my grammar because I am used to short sentences from IM's (I guess that would have occurred anyway) and of course my handwriting but who really needs to use handwriting in this day and age?
  9. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    i guess it could be fine. i learend enough using pencil and paper and i never get out my laptop in class, first being i would feel like an idiot and 2 being i would play bubble trouble or some cheezy shareware game. now i do think macs will benefit in the labs and multimedia classes and things like that, but i dont know if its necessary for every class. I can understand elementary students wanting to learn more having a neat computer in front of them and preparing them with keynote and powerpoint for jr high and high school.

  10. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    kids should be encouraged to use any technology they can, whenever they can. these kids are going to grow up in a world 100 times more advanced than it is today, moving ever faster and faster. as adults these people will be left behind if they're not quick enough to move with technology. it would do our children a tremendous disservice to limit their use of computers in any way, and i firmly believe that.

  11. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    It is very important for the students of today to learn using computers. It would seem that all the computers would be linked to the teacher, so that everyone would be viewing the same subject matter. It would enhance their learning.
  12. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    I'm a tech director at a school district, and I completely disagree. Before we started to explore 1-1's, I was the sceptical one, and one of the only ones. As time went on, and keeping my mind open to the possibilites, I changed my direction 180 degrees.
    I never take as gospel anecdotal data. That is, someone saying "Seems like they help our kids learn" or "They're GREAT. My kids are doing better!" is just not proof to me, nor should it be to any responsible educator.
    As time went on some REAL data rolled in, and to make a long story short, there IS valid data that PROVES that a laptop in a student's hands, coupled with a curriculum that uses it responsibly, GREATLY improves student grades. Maine is satisfied, and they just announced that now high school students will get them.
    The days of paper and pencil are not over. The days of "just books" are not over. If I have learned anything, I've learned that it's not "either/or"; it's "and/both". Schools, along with "rote" work, MUST be diseminators of information. That is why our library has over 100 computers itself.
    I would invite any educator out there to contact me if they have any educational related questions.
  13. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    I went to elementary school and high school in a school with only 4 students, and 2 teachers. I was home schooled :p
    Parents had a computer, and the kids had an iMac (rev B mind you). In a small case like this, it worked out great. All papers were done on the computer, and sent over the network to mom to check. There really is nothing like writing on a computer, and editing your own work (and I don't just mean the "check spell" button).

    Now both parents have a computer, and I bought myself a PB for college next year, everything is smoother than ever. Granted, not every teacher is as computer literate as my parents are, nor is ever student going to embrace computer learning the way the 4 of us have. But then that's why I chose to be home schooled, so I could learn in a way best suited for me, and not in a way tailored for Billy.

    Thought I'd input a small case example of computers working for the better...


    I'm an 31337 Math head, plees pay no mind to mi por gramer :(
  14. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles

    I do the same right now, and have been doing so starting from middle school.
    It's a great tool, I only wish my friends would stop bashing macs until i pulled my iBook out...then they'd drool at it...and while everyone was plugged in I'd be running off my battery. My friends laptops had awfully short battery life...
    THe teachers at my school in our program are split on the laptop issue though, half of them are all for it and even recommend laptops (especially for history class)...on the other hand (esp my spanish teacher last semester) sort of disapproves because he caught a guy with a laptop playing warcraft or some game on his laptop during class...
  15. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    But that's not the fault of the laptop. While I completely understand his/her concern, it's just not part of the data that's useful in determining their value. We have rules here (sometimes I think "inquisitional") that take care of indiscretions after just one or two occurances. Plus, add in the intrinsic value of a STRONG curriculum that incorporates ENGAGED learning (I hate buzzwords, but these are for real), and the point is beyond moot.
    Ah well.
  16. atif.muhammad macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2004
    none of your business
    these kids use computers enough as it is.

    when it comes down to doing some maths, you have to use the pencil-paper approach.
    you cant solve a maths problem on a laptop. thats just stupid if you did. maths is meant to be written down.
  17. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    London, England

    that is a very broad statement. maybe at your level of gcse maths. yes you are correct. but what abouts when it get to doing some form of mechanics where you have to calculate loads, strain, tension. the maths would be horrible and so better to let a programme do it.

    what is this, find every old thread and post some general statement at the end?
  18. *Y* macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2004
    I don't think laptops in school is such a good idea. They are just plain distracting. I mean it is okay to use them once in a while like a lab or something, but everyday? :confused:
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    The only way to make laptops truly justifiable is if all textbooks are inside as well. I think it's a great idea and it will be the wave of the future, it's just early days now so people are still figuring out how to use them well.

    I think I read of a school district in Arizona that was going to have all their textbooks in the computer and do away with books entirely. This is a great way for school districts and or states to customize textbooks. Right now the textbook publishers are totally swayed by TX and CA which are their biggest customers. Also, there's isn't the wear and tear associated with a physical book. It also allows students to study at their own ability level rather than just that of the class as a whole.

    The revolution in education is just beginning!
  20. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    My kids' school is doing just that (starting in 9th grade. they're in 6/7 right now). It works out well for the kids--they never have to think about textbooks at all. For those objecting to video games, etc., in our case they don't allow the students access to install software: you just get what the school installs for you.
  21. Wes macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2001
    My school doesn't allow me to install software on computers, but thanks to Mac OS I do not need to install a program to run. I can run any program I want by installing it on my mac at home, copying to iPod, and then hooking this up to a computer at school.
    There is, however, a way for them to specify which programs I can open but this isn't really an options as the departments in schools have very different programs and they don't want to be updating these allow lists all the time.
  22. latergator116 macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2003
    Providence, RI
    I totally agree. Without having the textbooks incorporated into the computer, I think they would be pretty much useless. Also, students will be more inclined to take better care of their computers that way.

    Now only if my school district wasn't (weren't?) completely broke. :(
  23. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    It'd be great, especially in science and math courses, if the students could use computers, and learned some basic programming skills. This way, the simplest case doens't always have to be looked at. If you can do a complex, real world problem after learning the basics, you're more likely to learn the concept. We did this with graphing calculators in HS, but something like Octave/Scilab (Free) would have been great to learn.

  24. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I think it's a great idea. I have an iBook that I use to write school reports on ALL the time, and it helps amazingly being able to work on them when I'm not at home. (Sitting after school waiting for practice to start.) While I don't actually use it at school, like in class or stuff, I really wish I could. I go to a very small school, however, with a graduating class of 60, and always get poked fun at about how "rich and spoiled" I am when I get my ipod out. Can't wait until college, when it's more "normal." My 2 cents... :)
  25. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    I think laptops are another tool that, with the proper curriculum, can really benefit a student. There's still a large chunk of the population that does not have a home computer, and these kids will be disadvantaged by insufficient computer skills down the road. A couple hours a week in computer lab is not the same as being on a computer for 6-8 hours every day.
    School districts can use laptops to help defray printing and text book costs, too, as a few other people pointed out in this thread already. Custom CD's and pdf files are much less costly to produce/ship than text books, and can be updated faster to reflect current conditions (very helpful in history and science, just to name two).
    An interesting tack might be to put laptops in those classes where their use will be most beneficial, and provide each student with a iPod or other removeable hard drive device they carry their files around on. That would be less costly to the school than issuing a laptop to everyone, be far more portable for the student, and would allow the student to take advantage of a computer at home if they had one. The school could then update courses on a few laptops, and the students would get the updates just by plugging in their iPod and syncing up.

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