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Some Aussie High Schools Moving To Two Devices Per Child

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  • Public Funds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @02:01AM (#34034764) Homepage
    Let's see the supporters of the public education system bitch that the private system is abusing public funding to give better services to their students than the public system. They will bitch, and the private system will abuse the funds. Ah NSW.
    • What brand? Macintrash. They have private schools involved in a rip off and pull out of all PCs including servers and admin systems. I know my nephew has to 'buy' one. They are charging the kids 50% of the price for 2 years then they get to keep the laptop. I'd assume that model is being promoted across private schools by crapple.
  • Yeah. Take that you poverty stricken public schools.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by donscarletti (569232)

      Well, as someone who went through K-12 in the NSW public school system, I believe that a parent should have the right to get the same amount of government funding to educate their child be it at a public or any other school that teaches an approved curriculum. The bulk of private schools are not exceedingly affluent, some have a smaller total funding per student than state schools. Some private schools have money to blow on oversized network infrastructure, but this is not a typical one.

      During my education

      • Well, as someone who went through K-12 in the NSW public school system, I believe that a parent should have the right to get the same amount of government funding to educate their child be it at a public or any other school that teaches an approved curriculum.

        I live in the US, in the state of Massachusetts. We have this thing called charter schools, which in theory is mainly that. These are small, selective, mission based schools that rely on public funding. The problem is that these schools tend to receive more funding per child than the public schools. Parents of course want their kids to go to these charter schools, and (rightly IMO) raise hell when their kids are rejected.

        If your ultimate goal is having each child receive the same amount of funding, then

        • by hitmark (640295)

          quality of education, like wealth creation of a nation, is bordering on impossible to measure directly.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @02:03AM (#34034780)

    What I would like to know. How does this technology aid in education... Yes the student can access some information faster, and do some research, or if your books were ebook they can search for terms faster, so they are not flipping pages while there is a lecture... But does this justify the cost. I don't think so. I am a big fan of technology, I used computers when I was a kid to improve my education. But I am a rare case, I am a geek, I dug in and wanted to figure it out. For most students it will just be more of an internet based distraction.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I suspect it means the primary (intended) devices will continue to work with all the iPhones cruising campus.

    • by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @02:17AM (#34034840)
      Thing is, there's plenty of evidance that the wired-classroom really isn't all that great. Back in 2007 the NYTimes [nytimes.com] did a report on schools phasing computers back out of the classroom

      After seven years, there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement — none,” said Mark Lawson, the school board president here in Liverpool, one of the first districts in New York State to experiment with putting technology directly into students’ hands. “The teachers were telling us when there’s a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way. It’s a distraction to the educational process.”

      A research paper [nber.org] noted that

      we also demonstrate that the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores. Further evidence suggests that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden, rather than narrow, math and reading achievement gaps.

      A further NYTimes article [nytimes.com] noted that

      Ofer Malamud, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago, is the co-author of a study that investigated educational outcomes after low-income families received vouchers to help them buy computers. “We found a negative effect on academic achievement,” he said. “I was surprised, but as we presented our findings at various seminars, people in the audience said they weren’t surprised, given their own experiences with their school-age children.”

      Professors are also banning laptops [washingtonpost.com] from their classes. All in all there doesn't seem to be any actual evidance that kids benefit from the use of laptops et al in class. That's not saying they don't benefit from the use of technology in the learning process, but the use of individual laptops and Ipads and all that has so far been shown to be somewhat counter-productive.

      • by xnpu (963139)

        This is largely because tests are still designed for non-wired classrooms.

        Math and physics don't require a computer? True, until you get an actual job that is.

        • by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @03:13AM (#34035042)

          In the classroom there is no room for computers for studying physics or maths. Leave those to the workplace (and then likely only the workplace of university or higher educated people). E-textbooks may be an exception, but those are a mere replacement of paper books.

          Before you can use said computer you will have to understand the underlying math and physics. You still have to understand the laws of physics, and how to solve an integral. Without that knowledge computers are useless, and probably only get in the way of the actual understanding of what's going on.

          The second step is indeed doing physics simulations and mathematical simulations, that is where the computers come in: but only in the second part, the simulation part. The result of a simulation is only as good as the input - if the researcher doesn't understand what they are doing then they can never make a good simulation.

          Not to mention that even if the computers come to the classroom (simple simulations can be illustrative), the software used and taught to the students will be outdated at best by the time they get a job. If the job uses the same simulation package in the first place. This teaching how the software works thus becomes a waste of time.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Some simple simulations can be fantastic aids. I remember when I was a kid writing a BASIC program on a BBC B to demonstrate longitudinal waves. A bunch of vertical lines, each moving horizontally as x_i = a * i + sin(t + b * i). The middle one was coloured differently to the rest. You could see the wave moving across the screen, and you could see that each "particle" stayed where it was. It showed what was going on much better than a Slinky.

            • by PitaBred (632671)

              But if you don't understand basic arithmetic and multiplication and such, your simulation is just pretty. That is the point... kids don't learn how to conceptualize math, they instead just learn where to put the inputs to get the outputs.

              • by pjt33 (739471)

                If you don't understand multiplication then it's irrelevant whether there are computers or not: you're wasting your time in a physics lesson.

                • by PitaBred (632671)

                  Exactly my point. If kids learn how to do multiplication and the basics by using only computers, they will never be prepared to properly understand higher-level concepts like physics.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TapeCutter (624760) *
            40yrs ago when I started high school they told me boys were not allowed to learn how to type because only girls grew up to be typists. The typewritter is now dead and all but forgotten but the skill of touch typing would sure have come in handy over the last 20yrs as a developer.

            Computers are a universal tool, keeping kids away from them makes as much sense as keeping kids away from crayons and paste.
            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              I never said they should be kept away from computers, just that physics and maths classes are not the place to teach how to work with a computer, and computers do not really have a place there. That're classes where you have to learn how to do maths, and how to do physics, and the way to understand what that is, is not done inside of some physics or maths simulation software.

              Even calculators have don't have a place in maths classes, they are however very useful for physics, and maybe applied maths, where a

              • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Even calculators have don't have a place in maths classes, they are however very useful for physics, and maybe applied maths, where actual calculations are done. But most maths classes there is not even place for a calculator, as a lot of maths is not about numbers.

                If by "most math classes" you mean "most math classes by your third year as a math major in college," then yes. Otherwise, no. And, honestly, when you're learning to do stuff like derivatives the long way (f'(x) = lim h->0 [(f(x+h)-f(x))/h]), among various other operations that contain numbers but can easily fill a page, having a four-function or scientific calculator is nice. That way, you're testing if the student understands the concept, not their ability to not make a single basic arithmetic mistake

              • My daughter was introduced to basic concept of algebra via a spreadsheet back in the 90's, it was the teacher's own method and personally I thought it was very effective.

                I wasn't taught to use computers or calculators at school. I was however taught to use log tables and slide rules.
            • by mjwalshe (1680392)
              yeh I know as i was a dyslexic back in the 70s the school sugested I do typing CSE which I rejected as a "girls" subject - i am sure id be a better typist today if I had taken that.
              • We were literally not allowed to take typing or cooking classes, girls were not allowed to take woodwork or mechanical drawing classes. Boys and girls were not allowed to sit at the same desk and there were sexually segregated play areas. boys had cricket nets, girls had netball courts, etc, etc
            • I totally agree with you, but I wouldn't expect kids to be screwing around with crayons and paste in a maths lesson either...
          • by melikamp (631205)

            I disagree pretty much completely. A laptop or a smartphone is not a mere calculator, it's a personal mind extension. I feel good about making this prediction: most of these kids with laptops in class will go through the rest of their life with a general-purpose computer in their pocket. Let them use it however they want. If they get distracted by them, they simply won't learn and fail as they should. I would even allow computers during testing, as long as I can isolate them from Internet. We don't need to

            • by wisty (1335733)

              That doesn't work. Sure, if kids were treated like responsible young adults (by everyone from their parents, to the police, to teachers, to the schooling system) then they would most likely act like responsible young adults. They aren't, and they don't.

              Kids don't feel the consequences of their actions in the same way adults do. If you let them fail (as you suggest), the system will just push them up to the next level, or out into the scrap heap.

              • by melikamp (631205)

                That's not the computers' fault. These kids are just lazy. If you think we shouldn't fail lazy students who don't do anything, then what's the point of grading? We just need to provide everyone with affordable quality education, we don't need to graduate everyone with honors.

            • This principle works, until it's coupled with a group of teachers who are slow to actually fail a child because the parents are quick to file a lawsuit. If high school kids want to spend their day on Facebook and fail their math class, fine. The issue is that the current crop of parents act like shielding their kids from consequences is helping them. Until that changes, tax dollars will pay for tech toys, kids will misuse them, test scores will drop, parents will threaten, teachers will give D+ grades to ki

          • by Maitri (938818)
            I think that you couldn't be more wrong - at least at the point where kids get taught physics as a separate class (generally at the high school level). Especially since you seem to think all computers can do is simulations. There are three main types of learners - folks who need to see stuff, folks who need to hear stuff, and folks that need to do stuff in order to really grasp a topic. Having computers in your classrooms can really help visual and kinesthetic learners.

            I have a hard time visualizing 3D m
          • There's a TED talk from a guy who researched giving computer/internet access to kids in India and it greatly increased their learning capabilities. I think the failure of computers in the studies you guys are talking about has more to do with the people not knowing how to integrate computers with the classroom rather than the computer itself being a "hindrance to learning". http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html [ted.com]
          • by ediron2 (246908) *

            My undergrad physics labs involved writing out ten iterations by hand, pooling with 4 other tables of students to get 50, then doing statistics on them. The error bars were so freaking huge we generally couldn't see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

            A friend's undergrad physics labs (at UCSD, if memory serves) used computers as data collectors. Pendulum motion was timed to the millisecond by a magnetic switch. Three data runs of 100 results apiece let them test both the arc-width invariability of a p

            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              I stand to my point: for teaching the principles, there is no place for computers. For doing practical work they can be really useful tools, for sure. But to be able to calculate the gravitational constant for example you first have to know what it is, the principles on which your experiment you're doing is based, and how the actual calculation is done. For doing the actual calculation, the grunt work so to say, a computer is a great tool. But it's in no means a replacement for a text book - only an additio

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Math and physics don't require a computer? True, until you get an actual job that is.

          What "Math and Physics" job [that requires a computer] do you think a 17 year old is going to get straight out of High School ?

        • In (my) engineering world, if you need the highly complex models that programmers can provide (such as a collision model) then you need much more mathematics than primary and secondary schools can provide, in order to understand the work you're doing.

          It seems that teachers continually try to meld computers into homework and into the school day, but I fail to see where anything but formatting in the finished product is improved. More frankly, I've not yet seen any work (5th grade, so far) that would require

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, since the U.S. is becoming a service economy, maybe we should put a grill and a fryer in every classroom so students can be taught how to flip hamburgers and cook fries. They really don't need them, until they get a job, that is.

      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @03:02AM (#34035008) Journal

        I'm not a kid. I'm not going to school. I won't be going to school. I haven't seen a classroom proper in 17 years.

        But I was a kid once; an atypical kid like many here on Slashdot, but a kid nonetheless. I remember being a kid.

        And as a kid, I had real problems in school. I hated duplication of effort. I was terrible and slow at writing. I used to be admonished by my teachers:

        "You can't use a computer to do that work."

        "But are my answers correct?"

        "Well yes, they are. But you can't rely on a computer, because when there's a problem to solve, there won't always be a computer around to help you figure it out."

        Which, of course, was bullshit. Not long after I gave up on school altogether, computers were crawling out of the woodwork. By the time I became an adult and started making real money doing real things for real people, they were ubiquitous.

        Nowadays, I carry a computer in my pants pocket that does things which were unimaginable when I was a kid. I use it all the time. And I keep a laptop nearby. These are tools that I use to help me in my professional career, which involves solving real problems in the real world.

        Keeping computers out of a classroom is the same as depriving a mechanic the use of a wrench while insisting that they figure out some more archaic fashion in which to adjust a bolt. It's a useful tool now, it will continue to be useful later, and kids might as well familiarize themselves with using the tools available to them to solve problems as early as possible.

        • by cappp (1822388)
          Which is a great point - the articles mentioned that computer literacy certainly increased in the students but at the cost of other academic areas. It's a complicated question and a lot of the decline can probably be linked to unfamiliarity - teachers being unsure of how to include the systems in their lessons, poor parental involvement, a lack of guidelines for use, and inappropriate inclusion. Unfortunately there's no data to support that inference.
        • by Fjandr (66656)

          Just like any other tool, students should be taught how to use them and allowed to use them where appropriate. When learning the mechanics of things, there are good examples of situations where computers do more harm than good. If an assignment can be completed without an ounce of effort to understand it, simply by relying on technology, allowing technology is undermining the entire point of education. Many, if not most, students will do the absolute minimum required unless they have good reason to do other

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by c0lo (1497653)

            Children are typically intellectually lazy

            On the contrary, kids are the biggest learners. They become intellectually lazy because how the schooling is organized - no education, but taming^H^H^H^H^H training (be good, fit in standards, otherwise will feed you with Ritalin... later, after being promoted with your batch, you'll be a great fool^H^H^H tool for the society).
            There's somebody [wikipedia.org] else saying it better [rsablogs.org.uk] than me.

            • by Noughmad (1044096)

              Perfectly correct, and thanks for the links.

            • Hardly. Don't you realize that most people want to be plug-and-play tools in their professional and money-making lives so they can be social and do non-productive things the rest of the time ? Only relatively rare people are driven to "work on things." And no, this doesn't mean they are somehow intellectually disabled.
            • by Fjandr (66656)

              Being a voracious learner and being intellectually lazy are not mutually exclusive. One could say that passing through school with the least effort requires a good understanding of how to exploit the system's weaknesses. Children are good at figuring things out, just not necessarily at prioritizing what those "things" should be. Big difference.

        • The problem is a teacher that doesn't know what they're doing, not that you were correct in your solution. In your case, the computer is a great tool to help you solve problems, but it's also a crutch, and if leaned on too heavily, will result in your failure to actually learn the lesson. Which you'll need later if you want to make the computer really do some interesting things for you.

          Recall the parable of the butterfly [google.com]

          • by c6gunner (950153)

            Recall the parable of the butterfly [google.com]

            Yeah, it's just too bad that the parable is completely wrong. If a parable is based on a lie, does that mean it's message is also a lie?

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          The problem I've seen when I got my degree in engineering is that kids who grew up with computers doing their math had absolutely no idea when the numbers they were getting out were even in the ballpark of being right. No "horse sense" about the mathematics. They learned the process, but they didn't know the reasons or underlying purposes, so whatever came out of the machine was the answer. Even if it meant that the bullet coming out of the gun had .5J of energy, that's what the calculator said and they nev

        • by orient (535927)
          This is why a cashier is unable to figure the change for $20 when the total is $17.23 - if the machine is not calculating the change for her. Way to go, America!
        • by dasdrewid (653176)

          When I was in English class, there was no reason for me to have a computer. We did the reading at home and only did discussion in class.

          When I was in Math class, we had computers, at least in Calc and DiffE. I spent most of my time making Mathematica animations. Tests were designed so that a) you could do them by hand (no calcs even) and b) putting them into Mathematica generally made them harder, as Mathematica generally didn't solve them in a useful way.

          In German, we didn't need computers because we did

      • A technology-centric education requires a different teaching approach. Simply adding technology into the mix of the current approach is bound to fail.
      • The problem isn't the technology, it is how technology is used in education. We've replaced blackboards with white boards with overhead projectors with presentation projectors with smart boards.... all to do the same task. Replacing textbooks and typewriters/word processors with tablets that can do a lot of fun stuff in addition to being books and writing tools is a distraction. Changing the way we teach using technology, but introducing differentiated pacing of classwork (allowing students to be divers
      • The idea that student achievement can be defined by standardized tests that themselves test rote learning
        not critical thinking is kinda silly. Giving a child 21st century technology to do 19th century work is pointless.
        However if there is an integrated technology-oriented curriculum and testing to observe THOSE objectives
        then the results might be very different.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xnpu (963139)

      It's not that every student has to use 2 devices. It's about making sure the network has sufficient capacity. You don't want to run into situations where a student cannot log on to the network and participate in his class, because some other guy decided to walk around with 2 phones instead of one. Dealing with capacity issues during class, THAT would be a distraction and a waste of time/money. Upgrading the WiFi network is, relatively speaking, a cheap way to avoid technology from becoming a real disruption

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @02:24AM (#34034866)

      That just smacks of trendy bullshit without good thinking behind it. I understand OWNING both, sort of. I can understand that maybe there are situations where you want somethign that boots faster than a laptop or is easier to carry or whatever. But how the hell does one person reasonably use both at once? Yes, yes, I can think of contrived situations, I mean how is it useful, in particular to education?

      I also have to agree about the distraction thing. I don't think computers for their own sake are a good thing. Computers, particularly ones on the Internet, are wonderful little distractions. As such you should only be using a computer when there's a need. If students are doing a lab where they are using a word processor, or programming, or something well of course they should be on computers. However if they are in English class discussing a novel they read? No, the computers will just be distractions.

      This is even true of adults, much less students. I've had the occasion to video tape some special lectures for the department I work at recently and this means I'm in the back of the room, watching everyone. Everyone in the room was an adult, many were over 30 and had "PhD" behind their name. Some brought laptops. All who did, fooled around on them and didn't give it their full attention. Nobody took notes (no need, I was laying it down to tape), they all surfed and goofed off. Fine, they are adults it was their time to waste and this was purely optional. However to presume that young kids would do any better is stupid, particularly when it may be something they aren't so interested in.

      Students should do plenty on computers, learning how to use them is an important part of modern life. However they should be off them when whatever they are doing doesn't involve a computer. Less distraction.

      And two devices? Give me a break.

      • by xnpu (963139)

        You don't need to do anything do use both. Even if they're in your pocket, both devices could be calling home on the WiFi network every now and then.

        2 devices is not overkill. Every modern phone these days has WiFI, which leaves you with just 1 more to carry, which could be a laptop or a pad, not necessarily both.

        • by delinear (991444)
          Not to mention one of the devices might be provided by the school and be pretty locked down in what it can do, the other might then be a personal device that the student carries because they have more freedom (to install their own apps, etc - I've experienced this in the commercial world before, having a work-approved laptop that I had to use to access internal systems but which wouldn't allow me to install any of the development tools I need to do my job, therefore having to also carry my own personal lapt
      • Schools don't involve only classes, you have breaks too, And excuse me if I like to make a call from my VoIP enabled phone and not lose my laptop's connection.

      • I experience the camera-perspective phenomenon quite regularly. The thing that gets me, is that it always seems to be the loudest (and most listened-to) gadgetry advocates that are guilty of this. The folks who, at this point, have to whip out their Macintosh personal computer at such occasions because it's... expected of them or something. So they do, and then proceed to do precisely as you noted.

        It's pretty telling when I attend a meeting, and all of the tech representatives have a piece of paper an
      • You said it best: It's actually not about having a computer available to kids, but having the internet available to them.

        There's no need to upgrade the wireless to support 2 devices per child, no kids going to need the INTERNET on two devices at once. It's a horrible idea.

        Letting a kid use a computer when its got nothing but office productivity software on it and no internet hookup doesn't function as much of a distraction.

    • Think about it less in terms of "How are we using this to help the students learn?" and more in terms of "How do I get a webcam in every student's bedroom?"

      As recent forays into, and furores over, how this kind of tech is used in schools have demonstrated, teachers don't seem to be terribly good with handling these devices when they're in the hands of a student group.

    • by princee (463254)

      It doesn't aid thier education at all. The kids spend more time working out how to use the device than actually doing work and then they use it for purposes other than school work. My daughter through her school has a macbook and I think the main function it is used for is sharing pictures, movies and songs and not actual school work.

      I went to a big presentation at the school last year on the introduction of laptops and none of the staff that were involved in the decision process even had a clue, including

    • by Bodrius (191265)

      Short answer is: we haven't figured out how to do this properly yet.

      It took us a few hundred (or thousand?) years of experience with books to make them a constructive part of education, it looks like we'll need a few decades to internalize how to use the interwebs properly.

      I have no doubt all this technology will help in education in the long term - the ability of the Internet to connect an individual to both knowledge and data is beyond Vannebar's wildest visions of Xanadu. Even in the most banal sense it

    • What I would like to know. How does this technology aid in education... Yes the student can access some information faster, and do some research, or if your books were ebook they can search for terms faster, so they are not flipping pages while there is a lecture

      By my (first tentative) definition, education is the pursuit of new knowledge and skills. It would seem that an internet connected device helps tremendously in the acquisition of knowledge, and in some skills (programming more so, lockpicking somewhat less so, in my limited experience).

      Someone said that "learning happens when people do work at the limit of their ability on something that motivates them". When people are put into classrooms by force and told to study what the teacher has chosen for them, t

    • by Genda (560240)

      Are you kidding? Have you seen the load of books kids are dragging to school these days? There is real concern that children are getting injured by carrying more book weight than is physically appropriate for them. Having the ability to carry an entire library in a tablet is a huge advance. Add to that, multimedia educational materials, interactive games and puzzles, team education and tools designed to teach kids how to collaborate in their problem solving... Photography, Videography, Computer Art, Music C

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        There is real concern that children are getting injured by carrying more book weight than is physically appropriate for them. Having the ability to carry an entire library in a tablet is a huge advance.

        Yep. Take it a step further. Why should the lil darling have to exert himself and take risks, when he could be lying on the couch munching on some cheetos and doing distance-learning instead? I say we get rid of schools entirely - it'll be WAY safer.

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
          My kid's backpack weighed in at around 50 pounds when he was in high school. He went to a physically big high school, and it was often not possible to get from one end of the building to his locker, then get his book(s) for the next class. So he did what everyone else did - carry everything.

          Not to mention the occasional random locker inspections for drugs. Many students found it less embarrassing to just leave their lockers completely empty. "Sorry Officer, and Principle Jones, nothing to see here!" The

    • The early Apple Apps remind me a lot of early Mac days when people then became overly gawdy with MacWrite fonts. I've had to dodge a colleague now and then charging toward me with a iPad and the dreaded "favorite new Apps" session :-) More, seriously there appears to be a lot promise here. And it will take a couple years to shake out.
    • When I was finishing High School the affordable pocket calculator was a new thing(Is TI lust a DSM-IV issue?). If any student had been caught using or even bringing a calculator into a test they would have been expelled or failed immediately. I thinkt technology in the classroom is helps make kids less competent than they would be without it. I'd really like to see a bunch of current HS kids all tested for their abilities in long division and multiplication. I suspect they might struggle a bit more than the
      • Sorry for the typos in the above comment. It's karmic in a way that I should post about computers and incompetence, then make an illiterate post - LOL
  • Cut costs in half and the kid learns something on the way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe the laptop is for the adult and the tablet for the kid in the pouch.
  • I walk around with 2 phones, and iPad and a laptop every day. In the business circles where I participate this is not exactly an exception.

    If tech is not useful in certain classes, then just don't use it in THOSE classes. Hell, go ahead and block Facebook on the school network. But don't come up with this bull that tech in school is nothing more than a distraction. If anything, school should be teaching our kids more about how to use tech to our advantage in daily life.

  • So will this replace normal old-school lectures by professors? Or is this for helping students do their homework in schools? I can't imagine someone concentrating on a lecture by the teacher, which is the purpose of going to school anyway, when you have a laptop AND a tablet connected to internet. And please don't say this is only for in-between classes or breaks.

    One possible reason I can think of that tablets with Internet access might be useful is watching some video/animation or using an interactive prog

  • by kurokame (1764228) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @03:28AM (#34035108)
    Man, that strain on the wireless network infrastructure has to suck. If only someone could invent some sort of bizarre laptop-tablet...
    • by Genda (560240)

      Actually, what we need is a tablet that's a wee bit larger, has full current PC power (or greater) has a touch screen with full multi-touch and gestural support (precluding the need for a mouse), a detachable keyboard, and a full set of interfaces. Then we only need one device.

      • by mangu (126918)

        what we need is a tablet that's a wee bit larger, has full current PC power (or greater) has a touch screen with full multi-touch and gestural support (precluding the need for a mouse), a detachable keyboard, and a full set of interfaces

        You know that what you just described is a desktop computer, right?

  • But surely each student would generally only be using one device at a time?

    I guess having two devices increases the odds of having one of them connected.

  • by Phil Hands (2365) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @04:25AM (#34035288) Homepage

    as proven by Sugata Mitra (of Hole in the Wall project fame), if you get rid of the teachers and provide one computer per 4 children, and let the kids collaborate, they teach one another

    http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html [ted.com]

    The quote from Arthur C Clark is particularly telling: Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer should be replaced by a computer.

    • Yeah! So we need to reduce the amount of computers they have access to.
      Our education system here in Australia is messed up. Thanks to John Howard our private schools receive excessive government contributions compared to other countries. While our public schools receive a low contribution from the government in comparison.
      Then people come up with "great" ideas like spending that dismal amount of money on giving more distractions to students, rather than fixing the schools.
      Keep it up Australia!
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
      Yes, they do learn. They do teach each other. They can major in Farmville.
  • Education will not improve with the number of gadgets. It would be wiser to use better teaching methods. But well it is for private schools (=elite persons and those who would like to see their kids in this group). So why bother.

  • by dominious (1077089) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:32AM (#34036100)
    Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of children's projects in this country. The OLPC was the project to own. Then the other guy came out with a Two Devices Per Child. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the 2 Devices and an iPod Per Child. That's 2 devices and an iPod. For music. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened—the bastards went to four devices. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling three devices and a strip. Music or no, suddenly we're the chumps.

    Well, fuck it. We're going to five devices.
  • by SpectreBlofeld (886224) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:57AM (#34036278)

    ...prescriptions for ADHD medication among Australian high school students skyrocketed 400%.

  • Tools (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WildNahviss (1865370)

    I work in a public school district where every student has 24/7 access to a laptop, we are on the sixth year of this project. I have been in public education for 15 years now, six as a classroom teacher (high school math, business, and computer), and nine as a district technology director.

    To those who feel there is no need for a computer outside one or two subjects, that's short-sighted. In music students compose their own songs, they record their practice sessions in mp3 files and email them to teachers

    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      You know, the people who invented all this stuff went to school without access to any computers, laptop or otherwise. You don't need to grow up with computers in order to adapt to the modern world or to learn advanced concepts. Pencil and paper is a perfectly adequate set of learning tools. Add a calculator at higher grades. If a student wants to bring a full blown luxury computer, then that's their own business (but keep it put away while the teacher is talking).

      The impetus for this I think is parent's
      • I still don't know how to use Word

        It's pretty easy. You know how on /. when you press the left mouse button while the cursor is located inside a tiny white box, letters will appear on the screen corresponding to the letters on the keys you're pressing on your keyboard?

        Same principle, but you don't have a lameness filter.

      • Traditional classrooms are an unnecessary taxpayer expense. If a district pays $7,000 a year to educate a student (low figure), a laptop comes out to be less than 5% of that cost (assuming a 4-year life), where teachers come out to be around 80% of that cost. By giving students a very powerful tool and using it well, you can cut down the number of teachers needed per student, save money, and get a better education.

        But hey, let's keep doing things the same way our previous generation did, the world may cha

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