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on Jul 11, 2014
My French is limited, but I think it'll be Notre Dame, not Nortre Dame, meaning "Our Lady".
Will MVHS be doing the same thing as LAHS or is the MVLA Foundation only funding LAHS?
What happens when a student-owned laptop gets stolen out of the PE lockers like many of the iphones kids bring to school?
Dr. Groves' heavy bias towards LAHS over MVHS shows itself once again.
Chromebooks defeat a primary purpose. If this is an equalizer (as the article states) the student without a computer at home probably does not have internet at home. If they have not internet access, those Chromebooks are essentially paperweights. Most schools I have seen doing this use tablets, which are a lot more versatile in this sort of thing than you would think.
To Ron's point, many kids who don't have a laptop or tablet probably have a desktop PC which implies net access at home.
What I don't get is the no-tablet stance given that a Chromebook is essentially a tablet with a keyboard like Microsoft's Surface. What cloud-based video/audio composition software that won't work on a tablet are they counting on? It almost seems like there's a concerted effort to force the use of some Chromebooks when tablets would likely suffice.
I'm really curious to see how the curriculum is being modified to take advantage of this tech. Historically, computers in education haven't been utilized that well. The reasons involve both a lack of meaningful educational software and deep thought into making use of the computing power.
Instead of 20 lbs of books AND a laptop the school should put all the textbooks on a tablet and use Google Docs for sharing. Cost would be less than buying paper books and the kids wouldn't have to carry around extra weight.
My son's teachers at MVHS would often say that students should bring in their laptops for assignments the next day. They just assumed EVERYONE had one and it made it very embarrassing and unfair for the assignments for my son who did not have a laptop.
I agree with Ron and David that tablets would be just as affective as Chromebooks but weigh less and can even cost less. And I also agree with David that in the past technology has not been used effectively - another reason being the lack of training to the staff and teachers. They don't really know how to utilize them in an effective way combined with curriculum. It would make a lot of sense to take the time to train staff in this area and to spend the time developing meaningful curriculum rather than putting the cart before the horse and ordering the devices - then worry about what to do with them. This has been the pattern at the elementary schools.
I'd be interested in how many staff members really have the training and know what their students will do with the devices. I'm sure there are some tech savvy teachers, but from my children's experiences and the assignments that have been given, there are not many.
I am a very experienced programmer and developer of complex computer systems, and have come to the belief that most computer use in school is a waste -- most programming does not teach basic organizational and mathematical skills necessary for good efficient designs--and a computer is not necessary for this. Learning does not need fancy new tools. What happened to the support of basic teaching, science, math, languages, literature, art, music, etc.? These are not real helped by computers or the internet--the internet doesn't teach people how to do complex tasks, to create things or understand things better, if anything, i have seen it often do the opposite in learning.
A thought to consider when promoting electronic learning: Babies can learn languages listening to humans, but fail completely to pick them up if they only hear the language on the monitor.
Doing tasks by hand can be far more rewarding and experimental than anything with the web. Though I doubt many understand this anymore.
The article did not say the school would be doing away with, or sidestepping the core essentials of instruction. Students will still be taught the fundamentals of math (Chromebooks will probably be used very little in math classes), and will continue to receive direct instruction in writing, analyzing, science labs, etc.
But more and more, devices can supplement and enhance learning. Books and databases can be accessed online. Note taking is quicker (and more legible). An entire class can see (or share) the same material. Teachers can see realtime how students are progressing on a topic. The advantages of sites like Kahn Academy are well-documented, and have a positive impact when applied in the appropriate areas. And yes, even learning foreign language can be enhanced by programs that allow students to listen and practice speaking the new language at home.
Colleges have an expectation that students arrive on campus with the ability and experience of using a computer during day-to-day lectures and studies. The Common Core testing that will be implemented in California schools next spring is all done on computer. The SATs have indicated that one of their upcoming changes will be for students to test via computer.
For all of these reasons, it's critical that students become comfortable using technology in their daily academic lives. I've attended many 21st century learning seminars, and there are a multitude of ways learning is enhanced by technology. It's not meant to be a substitute for the basics.
As a parent, I commend Los Altos for being one of the first public high schools to take this step. Certainly learning (by teachers, staff, etc) will happen along the way, but it's time to jump in.
PS - In response to commentary about the choice of Chromebooks...perhaps the large grant from Google (which does do some nice things in our community), had an effect. Also, the price point of a Chromebook is less than an I-Phone, and not much more than a new textbook.
Kids don't need to use laptops at school. If the school wants them to be used, they can provide them and take on the liability.
Maybe Apple can sponsor and offer to all High schools in the Bay some IPad for students who can not afford the cost of a laptop or IPad.....not all parents have the money to buy them.....good advertisement for Apple...
It can be old Ioad (old generation).. Just an idea ...Yes computer belongs to the new generation and it is the future..but do not forget how to write and to learn the language ..
Okay, I agree that kids should be tech savvy, but does that mean they have to have laptops in the classroom? As a taxpayer and parent, I am tired of all my $$$ being spent on the newest technology (but not necessarily utilized in the best way). Each year we hear that our schools need newer computers. Our children's schools always have the latest and newest computers in the computer labs, tutorial centers or libraries. Now we ignore all those and purchase for each student a laptop or tablet or whatever is the latest and greatest?
Again, the root problem goes back to how do the TEACHERS use the technology to teach the curriculum? How are the devices actually being utilized? I think it is assumed teachers will figure it out as the technology is being provided - that is not a safe assumption. They need administrative support in getting the training - too often that does not happen. Too often it is left up to the teacher to spend their own time figuring it out - or not figuring it out. I have not seen the existing technology at schools used in a effective way with curriculum. It is usually just using it as a word processor or looking up things on the internet.
I'd hate to think a major reason we are purchasing laptops for each student is so they can take the new common core testing. And there can be an argument made about how necessary a device is inside the classroom. My son said at college nearly every student brings their laptop to class. Not to take notes in the most efficient way - to check their emails and Facebook accounts. He said it is amazing how many students are playing games and entertaining themselves while the teacher is trying to teach.
I really wish that school districts would stop putting the cart before the horse and figure out what it is they can do with the technology that the taxpayers are supplying BEFORE purchasing what they think they need.
Wouldn't it be wise to first design in detail how the computers would be used by the teachers and students and then study this comparing two equal groups of students, one using this detailed teaching plan, and one using a successful traditional non-high tech teaching plan?
I have heard when movies and tv first came out, schools were so eager to install projectors and later tvs in every room to use films and broadcast educational tv programs to replace classroom lectures in high school.
IT is a really a good start by school. I appreciated. But with this, school should consider the security breaches in terms of software and hardware. School need to be prepared for increasing viruses/ malwares attacks. A good antivirus solution or application whitelisting software such as anti-executable will be the added advantage for school. Or going with cloud solutions will work perfect. Hope you already taken care of it. Best Luck!
This article is really misleading. Chromebooks cost about $200. It's not the same thing as a real laptop. Here's one for $139: Web Link
Now requiring $139 in the way of a supply is large, but it's not what people think of when they think of requiring a laptop. As Tom Peterson mentioned there's the issue of antivirus software and this is a heck of a lot better than using a laptop that is also used for other things. Also if it gets damaged or lost, there's a lot less cost involved.
No doubt MVLA will find it to be quite a challenge to operate a WiFi infrastructure sufficient for every student to be online with a computer during the say. Especially with chromebooks as are to be provided to those unable to buy their own.... the network is the computer. The kids can't bring the network with them, not really.
You write: " Note taking is quicker (and more legible). "
Scientific American writes: " New research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer demonstrates that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more. "
see: Web Link
Also from the same article in Scientic American of interest to note:
" In most typical college settings, however, internet access is available, and evidence suggests that when college students use laptops, they spend 40% of class time using applications unrelated to coursework, are more likely to fall off task, and are less satisfied with their education. In one study with law school students, nearly 90% of laptop users engaged in online activities unrelated to coursework for at least five minutes, and roughly 60% were distracted for half the class."
In the New Yorker, there is also a recent article about the problems learning using computers in the classroom and how students do much better, retain information longer, and understand the underlying concepts better when they are not used. They even discuss this happening in programming classes!
See the article at: Web Link
Actually folks, Chromebooks are not Android based tablets at all, they are full fledged Linux graphical desktops running the same Chromium browser you can download for your PC; albeit with limited functionality outside of the browser. It's quite possible to fit a full AV production suite into 2.5GB, and a full office suite is less than 1GB. A Chromebook is just a 4GB RAM laptop with a 16GB flashdrive as the storage. "Low resolution" 11 inch 720P displays are down to $40 or less from china depending on model. You buy a 16GB flashdrive at fry's for $10 these days. Why is it so hard to imagine that Google can build a functional laptop for ~$199 each? I mean, the ones with 4G cellular modems cost a bit more, $349 for HP's with 'free tmobile'; but wifi's probably going to be easier to secure on most high school campuses than the desktop computers that have EPOXY GLUE in the USB ports and are chained down so that the only thing you can do is surf the web from a childsafe proxy server and edit MS office files. Yet still these high school kids seem to make network shares full of games and porn on school servers often for months before the teachers (who are not technically trained for computer talents) discover and report it to school IT staff.
Recycle the old desktop machines, in with the chromebooks.
Laptops all day at High School. Not really the same as a College. In College you attend a set of atomic classes where students can measure if a laptop is needed and when.
Keeping a laptop fully charged and ready for in class assignments for the much longer High School day is a completely different sort of logistic problem.
Kids engage their homework continuously using home computers not sure what gap the school district hopes to close in the students learning. I might think twice about donating to the MVLA foundation if they have this much money to waste.
I don't think this has been thought out well by the school district. By asking students to bring your own computer and then buying computers for students to use is a recipe for disaster. If you allow computers that may have viruses on the network then you will have the potential of most computers having viruses on the network. They'll need to add a few more IT personnel to handle this.
An initial investment by the MVLA Foundation and Google doesn't cover the cost of up keep on the amount of electronics being added to Los Altos High.
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