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School of the Future

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  • School of the Future

    So... what does everyone think of Philly and Microsoft's School of the Future? ABC just ran a story about it, apparently each student receives a Gateway laptop for use in the classroom and there are no text books (so I'm assuming they're all PDFs or E-Books of some sort). I was surprised that only 1500 applied, though. It was a lottery drawing to get in, but with the way school districts work I'm sure it was more of a "lottery." How do you think high school would have been if you had attended a technology oriented school?

    Oh, and the whole thing is green. Solar panels and grass on the roof stuff, so it cuts down on operating costs.
    We are now accepting callers for these pendant keychains.

  • #2
    Re: School of the Future

    Originally posted by J-Rod
    laptop for use in the classroom and there are no text books
    stupid. that's my initial opinion, anyway. flashy technology isn't a replacement for pen and paper writing and bound page books for reading.

    after reading the article, however, i have even more flags that i'd throw. a whole lot of buzzwords and corporate speak seeks to redifine the school experience... students are "learners" and teachers are "educators" and instead of a library the school has an "interactive learning center"

    sounds like a lot of marketing department "we've got b2b synergy with thousands of eyeballs and blah blah blah" silly speak.

    and, of course, we can all be certain that the curriculum will have no mention of why closed source software is best, why piracy is a greater wrong than child-rape, and why having your consumer electronics infested with DRM is better than getting a blow job in a hot tub.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor


    • #3
      Re: School of the Future

      My high school was a part of one of the Gateway programs back in the 1990's (when Gateway was still a major computer maker) and we saw a good deal of benefits from the program. Being that my school was in a somewhat rural area, we couldn't affoard the number of computers that many other districts could. Gateway put 5 computers in each classroom as well as a few of these Gateway Media Center PC's called the Destination.

      A few of the teachers fully embraced the program and tried to use the hardware which was provided. However, unless the teachers themselves knew how to use the technology it was worthless. Some teacher's were hell bent on making sure we knew how to use this miraculous technology of the future and had us do presentations using PowerPoint, which oddly enough hasn't changed a lick since the mid-90's.

      What technology implimentation at this level <i>does</i> do for students, is foster the "hacker" ethic into them at an early age. Since schools don't trust students, they lock the computers down. Back in the day, this was done with third party applications like School Vista. This terrible software was similar to MSFT Bob, and had some rather draconian restrictions on users. Quickly enough, teachers realised that they couldn't use the computers for what they needed either and with sysadmins who were as inflexible as they were clueless I became the go-to individual for getting things done around the school. Quickly I discovered numerous ways to circumvent the protections and allow teachers to actually accesss programs like Excel so they could do their grades.

      Having completed my graduate degree with a laptop nearly permenantly attached to my body, I don't think that the computer makes the experience any more rich, but it does make things easier. It also makes dicking off much easier. Putting access controls on high school machines probably makes things worse because then students are focusing thier energy on circumventing those restrictions.

      For the econ geeks out there, another negative externality is the production of the "teach me how to get around my school's web filter" posts on the intarweb which are almost as annoying as Nigerian scammers.
      Last edited by jur1st; October 9, 2006, 14:16.
      jur1st, esq.


      • #4
        Re: School of the Future

        I think it's a good idea. I am sure they will mess it up some how.

        I have always thought that if students had a laptop instead of 5 text books it would be better.

        One, The nerdy kids wont get back problems. j/k

        I think it would make the jobs of the teachers a littler easier. Instead of handing out homework they just send it to your laptop. Grade it by sending it back.

        Prices for text books are high. So you could cut the cost down but using e-books. Updating books would be easier and cheaper. I know my school didn't have enough money to buy the new text books so we were always using out dated material. If the author messed something up they can easily fix it.

        Some problems I see. Somebody stole my laptop. When really the sold it on e-bay to get a dime bag. :) People knowing the chances of kids having laptops would be high and might target them for theft. students would no longer be able to use the excuses my dog eat my homework. (Instead my dog pissed on my laptop. )

        Having to teach all the students how to use the computers. Yes a lot of students know how, but I am sure there is still lot of students what don't.

        The smart nerd in the back spends all day hacking/cracking other computers to get homework so he doesn't have to do it him/her self.
        The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments.
        They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.