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[ale] Cobb Laptop Deal
Mark Wright wrote:
> On Aug 15, 2005, at 6:17 PM, Geoffrey wrote:
>> Mark Wright wrote:
>>> I am glad the deal fell apart even though I am a former Evangelist
>>> member. ( Guy Kawasaki's old mailing list to promote mac info back a
>>> few years)
>>> I think that computers in schools are just another impediment to a
>>> education. I believe there is no teen in the metro area that cannot
>>> operate a windows PC currently or passably given a day to learn.
>>> Putting PCs in schools unless, they are used just to teach coding or
>>> hardware design just takes away time from learning to read, write and
>>> do math.
>> This is just patently false. I was totally against the cobb computer
>> debacle, but the computers in schools these days are used for a lot more
>> then 'teach coding or hardware design.' You don't even get the option
>> to take such classes until late in middle school. So what do you thing
>> the students are doing with the computers in grades k-5?
> They remove some of the grading burden for teachers. All Cobb and
> Cherokee grade schools use their computers mostly for a program called
> Accelerated Reader. It was a "must have" at a private school I
> consulted for. The teachers at this school went on and on about how it
> helped their students learn to read. I was really excited to see this
> revolutionary teaching system that I was being paid to install. I was
> never so disappointed. It is nothing but a database of questions for
> books the school has to buy for their library. The kids read the books
> and then answer the questions on the computer. The computer automates
> the grading and performance tracking for the teacher. The computer
> does zero for the children.
Then you must not have much experience with the Cobb school system.
Full disclosure, my wife has been teaching in Cobb for 15 years. I KNOW
what they use the computers for and you are well off the mark. Grant
it, a lot depends on the teachers, but then they get no training what so
I'm not saying the system is perfect, but I get real tired of folks
bashing the whole system because you have a hand full of lousy teachers
and a boat load of apathetic parents.
> Years later my second oldest nearly failed reading because she found it
> too tedious to go in her spare time to the library and take the easy
> tests even though she read the books. I suppose more PC's in the
> school would have given her less of an excuse but so would a teacher to
> deliver the few questions.
So you're telling me that the teacher used accelerated reader for
grading purposes. I don't know what county that was, but it is not used
in this way in Cobb. It is a tool to provide initiative to read and to
enhance reading. Recognition is placed on those who obtain the most points.
> I have been closely involved with computers and schools and I don't see
> the need. Knowledge gained from a library book usually lasts longer
> than google answers. I have been to plenty of dog an pony shows for
> education software and I have also come in a year or two later to
> replace the dusty unused equipment with yet another "latest answer"
> for lagging test scores.
Right, if they're not used, how are they going to help? I'm not a big
fan of educational software, most of it is lousy. But there are good
ones out there that can make a difference. Further, the teacher must
not simply rely on the tool. The tool doesn't teach, the teacher does.
>> Further, you make an assumption that every teen in the metro area has
>> access to a computer outside of school, and that is also false.
> No I didn't. I just believe with all the electronic toys even the
> poorest kids in Atlanta have, that adding Windows skills to what they
> already know is trivial.
You are not talking about the average child. You need to revisit your
>> Don't get me wrong, I don't think the computers in the schools are
>> properly utilized, but they do a lot more with them then you've stated.
>> I do realize there are all kinds of problems with computers in schools.
>> Teachers get little or no training, there is little or no support,
>> poorly designed network infrastructure...
>> Computers can be used as a good educational tool just as books, chalk
>> boards, white boards, overhead projectors..... are. In a lot of cases
>> they are.
> I think this is conventional wisdom. Computers are expensive, I use
> one to be more productive therefore my child who needs to learn to read
> better and master algebra needs one. Besides if our kids aren't
> getting the grades we want we gotta do something.
Please do not try to patronize me. I know more about this subject then
you could possibly understand. I do not think that slapping a computer
in front of a child is going to make them read better, anymore then
slapping a book in front of the same child will make them learn math.
The key is, it is a tool. In properly trained hands, it can make a
difference. If you would like, I will schedule a day where you can sit
in on my wife's class and see how a computer will enhance learning.
> I think a computer
> makes a good carrot in a classroom but not a good tool. That is a
> general tool such as a pencil or a black board or a book. It makes a
> good specialized tool. If you want to learn HTML it helps. If you
> want to add some web resources to a lesson it helps but as a tool to
> teach math skills it falls way short of a teacher. I have supervised a
> complete 4th grade curriculum delivered on a PC. It is just a book that
> can grade itself. The some students did well with it most did not.
> Most kids need more teacher time.
I do not think that a child can sit in front of a computer for a whole
year and come out ready for the next grade. A computer is just another
of the many tools available and when used properly, they will enhance
the learning experience. Can you teach someone algerbra without a book?
Sure, but the proper tools make the learning easier and the teaching
> I mentioned the carrot above. The most effective use of computers I
> have seen was a teacher that let her class play educational games on
> them if they did there work fast enough. It had to be correct. Mostly
> the boys in the class were working to get PC time though. the girls
> needed other incentive.
There are better uses for this tool in the classroom.
Until later, Geoffrey