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848 posts

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  Reply # 495782 20-Jul-2011 15:30 Send private message



so that students can go home and later edit their documents even after the official time has finished. and we should expect students to type out 1500+ word assignments using a touch screen?


ipad is a great consumption device but it's not a creation device. get a tablet that you can dock with keyboard and print from (windows 8) or get a netbook.


We are not talking about whether you should choose an ipad or not, I believe you have misunderstood the fundamental rationale for this conversation.

To help you and others the issues in a logical progression (up to the ipad decision) are thus:

Should computers be used in schools for more than computing? I would argue yes, as computing is now ubiquitous in our methods of learning non-computer subjects such as physics, biology, chemistry etc etc

Therefore next question:

Who should pay for them? I like the thoughts of a student loan (great idea btw), or schools themselves and ultimately for those who need theirs better than everyone else, we have personal choice.

Then the next question:

What should they be? If anyone RTFAs I linked to earlier, you would see that there are significant benefits to having the same system for all. this is the reason IT departments specify standard equipment and software...

Specifically around should they be ipads? here are some pro's and con's

Doesn't have a "keyboard" - well it does have a soft one, and you can buy a bluetooth one or one attached to the dock

Isn't "open" - but it does have a web browser and >100,000 apps (including web browsers)

It is "expensive" - yes, compared to a netbook yes of course, but they have sold over 25 million in 18months in a segment that has arguably existed since 2000, and previous success in this segment has been measured in the thousands.

The question therefore is whether there is anything you don't get with a netbook. I am afraid to go further than this as this is probably pushing at a flame war.

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  Reply # 495789 20-Jul-2011 15:41 Send private message

DonGould: Nice post. :)

Should this equipment be funded on a student loan?

Between $300 and $500 dollars a year for a device that will last 4 years of high school, is that unreasonable?


Actually, yes, it is unreasonable.  Completely unreasonable.  A basic education should not require forking out hundreds to thousands of dollars for computers or phones, especially since a very, very high proportion of the population in most schools absolutely cannot afford it.

And should it be funded on a student loan?  Categorically, NO.  Students in high school should not have their first experience of young adulthood being "borrowing hundreds of dollars for a laptop".  Students in high school shouldn't be forced to take out loans just so they can learn.

You seem to be all about advancing the cause of ICT which is great and all, but you fail to take into account that the public school system is not there to advance ICT, or paperless societies, or any of that stuff.  It's about educating our youth.  Making sure they know english, maths, science, and other basic essentials.   We absolutely should not be creating dependencies on expensive IT equipment just to get that basic education.

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  Reply # 495805 20-Jul-2011 16:00 Send private message

It would seem we don't even have agreement that school kids should have one to one access to computers at school, let alone who should pay for them.

If this is the case and we consider this on a continuum:

I assume on this basis we start from the position that we shouldn't have computers in schools.

The next step along this continuum is that computers in schools are useful to "learn about computers"

The next step is that computers in schools are to help children learn (not just about computers).

The next step is that we assume computers are so efficient at helping us learn that each child should have one.

I would be interested where others sit on this continuum.

Then we might get to the issue of how we afford it.

You all might also want to read the articles I posted earlier about the social welfare spend in NZ. You will notice in Tony Blakely's slides a graph from MSD that shows over 60% of Social Welfare is spent on NZ Super.

This results in 30% of our children living in poverty and 5% of our elderly (another MSD graph from the same presentation).

Well done NZ you really look after your children.

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  Reply # 495811 20-Jul-2011 16:11 Send private message

I have just invented a new device. It is called a rock n chisel. I think I will make it compulsory for all my cave students to have these for their school lessons.

We live in a modern world full of tech. Can you imagine Star Trek school using pen & paper?




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  Reply # 495819 20-Jul-2011 16:20 Send private message

At the moment in schools it appears theres a broad mix of PC hardware options, from at one end: School supplied thru to the ipad in everybag. So the system is moving towards all pupils supplying their own hardware.
Which means having this debate isn't a bad thing.

But shouldn't hardware be standardised, for all Jonherries reasons, and to stop the cruelty endemic in schoolchildren (mine-is-better-than-yours/your-parents-must-be-poor)

and

Shouldn't the use, or age of use, be standardised across the system.

At one end it's relieving the school budget from some of it's current IT infrastructure, which maybe better applied elsewhere in each schools system????
And if everyone has a similar device, as a matter of course, does that not remove the incentive to steal from someone else... and perhaps just maybe give the students something that they'll take responsibility for....

gzt

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  Reply # 495823 20-Jul-2011 16:23 Send private message

iPad? It is a bit silly to lock into a device which is locked in to an o/s, which in turn runs locked in applications (even the browser) which the vendor could end support for at any time. Apple's lifecycle is somewhat arbitrary - it revolves around who they buy hardware from and what their current marketing plan is.

I'm also a bit mystified about references to Google Apps in nearly the same breath as the iPad. How long did it take to get Google Apps document editing (and other services) on Apple's portable devices? Is it even fully functional yet?

There are plenty of excellent Flash based educational apps, these are out of the question too.

Kids developing for iPad in computer class? Well ok, but first of all you must do that with an iMac, and second - you need to buy a special licence to deploy your apps. (Note: there is no such restriction on the more limited html browser 'apps' for Apple devices)

Don't get me wrong, I own an iPhone (have a Mac coming), and will most likely get an iPad, but those are just the facts of the Apple ecosystem.

There are many aspects which make it suitable for the classroom - it is very stable and the user can do nothing to trash the platform - but there are many disadvantages and gotchas as well.

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  Reply # 495824 20-Jul-2011 16:24 Send private message

jonherries Good points

We need to know how schools will put the devices to use. I don't see them being used for typing, as in retiring schoolbook stationery. I see them as being used for gathering information, extending the textbook for any particular subject. Thus I dont see a lack of keyboard as an issue. If it makes no difference between having portrait and landcsape orientation, then a netbook can suffice. Otherwise a tablet is useful. Bear in mind my opinion is that the device will be used for consumption chiefly

In short, can the use of a tablet or netbook HELP the teaching process??

I dont see it, or want it used to remove the writing in the kids own school stationery exclusively. When that day comes, pens, paper will be obsolete, and every desk will have its own laptop

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  Reply # 495831 20-Jul-2011 16:34 Send private message

gzt Good Points.

The key is standardisation. You cannot do that on Android as the OS is not standard to all devices, you cannot do it on Windows as that can also be changed, fiddled with, etc.

Or, the education system declares one device, be it iPad, an Android tablet, a brand X netbook, and developes a NZ standard lockdown on it, so that all the kids have the same hardware, same software, same capbilities or lack thereof. Imagine if there were a number of device types, OS's, with varying degrees of being jiggered by wandering fingers in the settings and app stores.

Then the issue will be, "I paid for it and its locked down I cannt play at home on it"

Having said that, if the programs the education system use are small in number, there is access to the education systen locked down intranet, maybe you can get away with using any device as long as it ran those programs? But support issues would need to be the parents issues not the schools largely, as the schools cannot support a myriad of hardwares and OS's and security needs for devices that are used after hours

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 495834 20-Jul-2011 16:36 Send private message

If we are worried about the cost, maybe we wait for Moores law to help us out.

My first laptop for university was ~$3000 in 1999 dollars (there has been some massive increases in inflation didn't you know!) so maybe $4172 in todays dollars (thanks RBNZ Inflation calulator)

It was probably as fast as my ipad2 is today for $799.

The battery certainly didn't last as long, and it was pretty clunky and heavy running Windows 98! :)

Ahh those were the days, Napster, usenet, AIM !

Jon


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  Reply # 495849 20-Jul-2011 17:20 Send private message

blakamin: Tell me where I'm going to come up with a grand a year (2 kids)? Because there's no way in hell 14 year olds should end up with a student loan!

And 4 years? Seriously? I have a 4 year old laptop that struggles to surf the net (slight exaggeration)

And you think high-school students are going to walk into class with  "OHH LOOK, THAT KIDS COMPUTER IS SOOO OOOOOOLD!"

No piece of tech these days is going to last 4 years! I'm sitting here looking at a 4 year old phone that cost $800 when new... I'd be lucky if I got $5 for it today! And it certainly can't be used anymore!



You raise 4 interesting issues.

1.  1 grand per year - First I said $300 to $500, so it's not $1k, it's $600 to $1k. 

You need to work with your community to fund raise for these funds.  There should not be a single obligation on your personally to come up with all this money all of a sudden.

I also believe that your children should be taking some ownership in this.  When I was 12 I wanted to go tramping and needed a pack and sleeping bag.  In 1982 I worked a paper run and raised ~$230 to pay for both.

In 1984 I worked for a retail store and saved up over $600 to pay for a Commodore Plus 4. 

I worked school fairs to help fund raising for all sorts of things, including sports teams that I was never part of.

2.  Student loan @ 14 - Agreed.  The loan should be yours, not your kids.  But it should be on the same sort of terms - you can get one even if you have crap credit, you pay it back out of wages and the interest should be zero while your kid is studying.

3.  His computer is better! - When I was 10 my parents gave me a calculator, I took it to school, was the height of interest for a day and forgotten the next.  If it's not a computer, it's shoes, or your hair cut, etc. - Non issue.

4.  Computers don't last 4 years - Agreed.  This is becoming a very serious problem.  Software is becoming so poor that it's killing computers within 2 years.   If we're going to keep going the way we have been with piling more and more crap in to web browsers then eventually we're going to see public revolt.






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  Reply # 495851 20-Jul-2011 17:32 Send private message

DonGould:
You raise 4 interesting issues.

1.  1 grand per year - First I said $300 to $500, so it's not $1k, it's $600 to $1k. 

You need to work with your community to fund raise for these funds.  There should not be a single obligation on your personally to come up with all this money all of a sudden.

I also believe that your children should be taking some ownership in this.  When I was 12 I wanted to go tramping and needed a pack and sleeping bag.  In 1982 I worked a paper run and raised ~$230 to pay for both.

In 1984 I worked for a retail store and saved up over $600 to pay for a Commodore Plus 4. 

I worked school fairs to help fund raising for all sorts of things, including sports teams that I was never part of.

2.  Student loan @ 14 - Agreed.  The loan should be yours, not your kids.  But it should be on the same sort of terms - you can get one even if you have crap credit, you pay it back out of wages and the interest should be zero while your kid is studying.

3.  His computer is better! - When I was 10 my parents gave me a calculator, I took it to school, was the height of interest for a day and forgotten the next.  If it's not a computer, it's shoes, or your hair cut, etc. - Non issue.

4.  Computers don't last 4 years - Agreed.  This is becoming a very serious problem.  Software is becoming so poor that it's killing computers within 2 years.   If we're going to keep going the way we have been with piling more and more crap in to web browsers then eventually we're going to see public revolt.




1. With the way things are today,  you think it's going to be safe for a 13yo girl to walk the streets delivering papers in 6 years? Not to mention the fact that most paper deliveries these days are done in cars at 4-5am. Jobs in Retail for early teens these days are non-existant. They're taken by bored retirees for a start!

2. I can't even afford a zero interest loan. In my last 2 years at my last job I had 2 pay-rises. The first was $0.31 and the second was $0.34 per hour... How much has food and petrol gone up in that time?

3. you were lucky, I didn't get a calculator until 14 (and it was the cheapest posssible as my mother was a single-mum). Peer pressure has certainly changed a lot these days as far as material possesions go!

4. Once you let the genie out, you really think it's going back in that bottle?

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  Reply # 495852 20-Jul-2011 17:41 Send private message

Id be interested to know how many of you who have commented so far a) have kids and b) how old they are.

My kids are 10 and 8 at the moment and the way kids are taught these days is so vastly different to when I was at school. Just seeing how they are taught to add and multiply has been fascinating for me.

There is no rote learning and given the 'tools' my kids can now multiply any two numbers simply using four multiplication tables. I wont go into it here, but if you know your 10's, 5's , 3's and 2's thats all you need. I cant remember it exactly but you get the idea :)

I have a BSc in Computer Science degree and my wife has an LLB Hons. She pretty much gave up on maths at sixth form and whilst she can do all the calculations the kids can the 'old way' she has, on occasion, found it difficult to understand the methods they are now being taught and given her education and work experience you cant say she doesnt have the brain power.

What does this mean for technology in the class room ? Well, I think it means a couple of things.

Firstly, this could well be a generation where the kids really do scream ahead in 'understanding' over their parents. Sure that has always been the case, but as far back as I can go with my family we were all taught our times tables by having to repeat them again and again. But they dont do this anymore and whilst my wife is sitting there saying 'you should just do it this way', Im sitting there going 'wow, thats cool, show me that trick again' !

But whilst you and I have HTPC's, smartphones, wireless media all around the house, etc the vast majority of parents I know dont. They all have iphones and ipads but ask them what they do on them and its just make calls and browse the internet.

Several of them had to go to the teachers themselves to be taught how to do the maths, simply so they could help their kids with their homework.

So how exactly are parents supposed to keep up and help their kids when they need it? Because believe me the schools cant afford to help kids who are falling behind anymore. Weve been through it the last two years with our daughter who has her mums ability with maths ;)

Our decile 10 school gets bugger all funding and we, as parents, are already paying several hundreds a year for stationary, activities, additional maths help and for 'voluntary' donations just to keep the school on an even keel....and thats EACH.

So why should I now have to spend 1k each on my kids to have ipads ? Although I appreciate that was just a recommendation and any tablet/netbook could be used. But are we now going to expect our teachers to support the different devices being used ? I personally wouldnt touch an ipad if you paid me, so I doubt Id buy one for my kids

The 'them and us' between those who can afford and those who cant is going to get rather messy. In my day is was a pair of trainers or a jacket which made you the focus, now its $1000 of equipment which will not take kindly to being dropped if someone feels like getting even.  I wonder how long it will take before kids start getting mugged on their way to school for their ipads and laptops ?

Finally, whilst I agree with those who have raised the issue of not being able to get through University without a device, for me the problem is the increasing expectation for kids as young as 10 to have these kinds of devices.

My kids share an old laptop for no more than 2-3 hours a week to do research for homework and play the odd game. There is no xbox/ps3/wii in our house and television time is also limited. I coach the kids football team and my wife does the netball team. Even at the age of seven and eight you can already see the difference in social skills between those who spend their time playing outside climbing trees versus those who spend it glued to a PSP.

Do we want to create a generation of kids who dont know how to talk to each other ? Drastic as it sounds its already happening.

There have been some very valid points brought up since I started typing this, but my first question stands....who of you have kids in the current environment and have experience of not only what you are going through as parents, but what the school is going through in terms of funding cuts and finally how this is affecting the kids and their education.

I think its often forgotten that they are just kids and there is too much pressure to grow up too fast, too soon.

I dont know perhaps Im just turning into my dad !




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  Reply # 495855 20-Jul-2011 17:55 Send private message

martyyn: Id be interested to know how many of you who have commented so far a) have kids and b) how old they are.... *snipped*


Totally spot on!

Mine are 7 and 2 and already the 7yo sits on the pc (old laptop) for school work, the occasional web-game and web browsing.... She also plays netball, does ballet, brownies, etc (costing me a mint)

The 2yo want to use it too, but we're starting her with some basic edu stuff when she turns 3.

The kids get a bit of TV and only a 1st gen PS2 in the house for singstar which gets used about once every six months.

I'm not going to stop them/cut their PC use though, as it is the way of the future.

I'm sad I never had a PC when I was a teen as I always had an interest (uncle on the side of the family I rarely saw owned a computer company in the 80's, back when people needed people to run mainframes offsite), but my mum could never afford one... we never even had a VCR.
I think if I did have one/use of one as a teen, I might not be a truck driver now :/ I DID have the opportunity later in life to get a scholarship to uni, but could never afford to not have a job. (left home at 15, now 39)


Unfortunately, as a truck driver, there is no way in hell I could afford to even buy a netbook for my daughter ATM (but would give it my best shot) let alone a bloody iPad (toy)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 495856 20-Jul-2011 17:56 Send private message

As I alluded to in my last post, I pine for the good old days too. Unfortunately until my Delorean is ready I can't get back there.

What we need is a radical rethink of western culture and how it corrupts us into believing that we need to buy stuff. Unfortunately buying stuff is what keeps the money coming in to buy stuff.

You can see the bind here.

In the meantime I will prepare my kids to make it out there with the best effort I can muster, and if that means they need ipads along with soccer practice, and good karma, I had better get back to work.

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  Reply # 495867 20-Jul-2011 18:40 Send private message

DonGould:
You need to work with your community to fund raise for these funds. There should not be a single obligation on your personally to come up with all this money all of a sudden.

This is so laughable Im honestly not sure if youre serious or not.

Given the funding cuts over the last couple of years our school fundraises to pay teachers not for ipads. If we went around the local community telling them we were raising money for ipads we would be laughed out of there so fast our feet wouldnt hit the ground.

DonGould:
I also believe that your children should be taking some ownership in this. *snip*

Youre talking about 30 years ago, times have changed somewhat since then. How many teenagers do you see working in retail stores these days ? When was the last time you saw a kid on a paper run ?

I wonder what the regulations are for hiring a 12 year old these days ?

DonGould:
2. Student loan @ 14 - Agreed. The loan should be yours, not your kids. But it should be on the same sort of terms - you can get one even if you have crap credit, you pay it back out of wages and the interest should be zero while your kid is studying.

Now I know youre having a laugh.

DonGould:
3. His computer is better! - When I was 10 my parents gave me a calculator, I took it to school, was the height of interest for a day and forgotten the next. If it's not a computer, it's shoes, or your hair cut, etc. - Non issue.

Oh stop, youre killing me.

I have one word for you in all of this........tax.

What the hell do I pay tax for if its not to have my children get a free education until they leave secondary school ?

[edit] that should be ALL children, not just mine. This country is going to end up with the workforce it deserves in thirty years time if we cant even be bothered to protect free education for everyone.




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