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This is a sub-selection from So Where Will they March Next?


entropy1
Premium
join:2002-09-25

2 edits
reply to 2kmaro

Re: So Where Will they March Next?

Edit: Teaching children about computers (and how to care for them) and the internet is a GOOD thing. They are not too immature to handle it, as some self-righteous people on here may think.

I get so tired of people assuming that children and teenagers are monsters.

Desdinova
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Gaithersburg, MD
I think we're talking about two VERY different creatures here: kids (12 and under) and teenagers (such as at the AZ high school). I know many kids under 12 who are open minded, eager to learn and are focused as much on how the computer works as they are on what games are installed on it. I know two or three teenagers who share that outlook; most just want to instant message, rip MP3's and make their own mix CDs.

Does this describe ALL teenagers? Of course not, but it certainly describes the majority. How do I know this? Look at the billions in advertising dollars spent to reach them, money spent after very intensive and detailed market surveys. These ads don't show happy teenagers updating their virus definitions, bragging about the new homework-aid software they bought or how cool the school laser printer made the graphs in their economics report look. Instead it shows them playing games, eating fast food and using cell phones, instant messaging, text messaging, listening to their MP3 players, etc. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with any of that, I'm merely using it as a barometer as to where their interests lie. If someone's not interested in something, they probably don't respect it. If they don't respect it, they probably won't take care of it.

So who would I blame for a lot of this? Probably the teachers. If the school administration feels that teachers are doing a sub-par job, it's probably because the teachers ARE. Giving the kids laptops (which will suffer the fates of all of the above posts and more) won't make the teachers care any more about teaching nor make them do a better job. It'll just force them into being incompetent in a different way. Note that I'm ONLY referring to the teachers who are guilty of reciting the textbooks without offering any in-depth examination of the data they're regurgitating. REAL teachers care about their work and their students.

So what happens if the kid's laptop is stolen? Do they pay for it? What if they're from an underprivileged family and can't afford it? Are they given another? What if THAT one gets stolen? When I was in school and a poor kid lost a text book, he wasn't given another, he was allowed to use a copy that stayed in the classroom. I'm guessing that's probably what would happen in this case.

Still, I see more problems with this scenario (laptops in place of books) than I do advantages.

Oh, and as a sidebar to the individual who predicted a paperless future, I agree that in some areas that will happen (except for paper back-ups of vital documents such as tax returns, etc.). Insofar as books and magazines are concerned, I don't see that happening for a long time, if ever. Nothing electronic can come remotely close to matching the ease and convenience of a paperback or a magazine. I don't want to find one day that I can't finish an article in the bathroom because my battery died and the powercord's downstairs *grin*. I also don't see Playboy offering those wonderful fold-outs on a PDA, laptop or anything else that didn't have a built in LCD projector *grins again*. And finally, few things offer to me the restful pleasure of lying in the shade on a warm summer day with a nice fat book, a cool drink and a good cigar. A smoke, a drink and a palm pilot just wouldn't cut it.

averagedude

join:2002-01-30
San Diego, CA
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

2 edits
(for this response kids= high schoolers)

You may have forgotten caring what felt like 100 pounds of books in a back pack, but I have not. Most schools today, for safety don't allow back pack in case the kid has drugs or a gun. Most schools today don't have lockers. So the kids get stuck either "forgetting" their books at home (which I have to admit doing a couple of times) or caring them around all day. I would have gladly traded all those books for a laptop even a bulky one. Not many schools can afford two sets of books, one for home and one for class.

The laptops can be locked down so the can't be used for all those advertised things you were talking about. Simply get laptops with out cd/dvd writers or floppies. On the software side don't give the kids any admin rights. Seems easy enough to me.

Have you taken any tests lately? Most tests are not on paper or scantron they are given exclusively on computer. There isn't any chance to go back an re-read a passage to answer. It's read it the first time and that is it. All this in the name of not-cheating.

Kids need to be exposed in a limited way to what the outside world is going to expect of them.

Most reports of schools that have gone with laptops have an insurance program to cover maintenance and theft/loss. Also the laptops could bought/made in such a way that they don't have a good street value (as stated above low screen resolution, integrated very low end chip, soldered ram). Schools even have thought of e-bay and have "scouts" on the look out for stolen computers.

Books and printed documents are important, they will always be. Computers for high school kids - OK. Computer for younger kids - no way.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit:
The computer case could be made with a bright color to prevent theft. Easy to identify.


entropy1
Premium
join:2002-09-25

1 recommendation

reply to Desdinova
It would be a sad world where everyone relied on stereotypical advertising to form opinions on groups of people. Wait...are we there yet?

I still say most of you naysayers are selling kids and teens short. Most young people are not irresponsible idiots. I'd say the ratio is about the same among the adult population.


entropy1
Premium
join:2002-09-25
reply to averagedude
My 7 year old handles a laptop just fine. He's had it for over a year and it's in very good shape. I walk him through all the maintenace on it. If my kid can learn it, why can't others?

Again, arrogance in selling children short and assuming they are capable of very little.

Desdinova
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Gaithersburg, MD
reply to entropy1
I understand your point and if I only relied on advertising to form my view of teenagers I'd be neglect. However, I work at a movie theatre in a very busy suburban shopping mall. All of the employees at my theatre are between 14 and 20. I spend a lot of time around their friends who hang out in the mall and are in the same age group. I also work for an entertainment company that gets hired by around fifty or sixty high schools up and down the eastern U.S. and I work a lot of grad parties, post proms and general high school fund raisers. I also own a virtual reality company building roller coaster simulators and we get hired for an additional twenty or so high school jobs each year, along with tons of bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and corporate events where employees bring their kids.

In all, I spend time around thousands of teenagers a year, and at work I spend around 40 hours a week around a fairly stable group of forty or fifty (employees and friends). No, they're not stupid morons, but they ARE teenagers. Their priorities are pretty damn close to what we see portrayed by the media in both advertising and mainstream culture: for the females, it's clothes, cell phones, shoes, jewelery, boy friends and new boyfriends. To whit, anything that lets them practice being a developing primate with fairly new (and powerful) mating instincts. WAY at the bottom of their list of priorities is school and their future. For the guys, it's cars, loud car stereos, Madden for PS2, cell phones, and high at the top of their list, anything female that moves and is nicely packaged.

Is this a stereotype? Sure it is. It's also a reality that the overwhelming majority of teenagers in the U.S. share these priorities. A stereotype becomes a stereotype because it happens so much everyone is exposed to it. That's how things (and people) become cliches: everyone's doing it.

It would be ignorant of me or anyone else to say empirically that ALL teenagers share these appetites. It would also be ignorant to assume that all the time and money spent by Madison Avenue in analyzing the wants and needs of the teenage sub-cultures is woefully wrong. If they were, no kids would respond to the ads and the products wouldn't sell. That so many kids feel comfortable identifying with the advertised imagery shows fairly strongly that the advertised stereotype is an honest reflection of the culture's reality.


entropy1
Premium
join:2002-09-25
I concede to your clarification. I don't think that just because they have normal teen interests, though, that they would not be interested in doing something they have to do anyway (school) in a way that makes it more effective and well...FUN. Why can't learning be fun? It's FUN to hold a laptop and do work on a network wirelessly! Even for kids!

Desdinova
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Gaithersburg, MD
I agree with you completely. I usually end up talking to the employees on ontology (reality belief systems), primate neurological states and other such topics and these teenagers eat it up. I agree they don't dislike learning, but they DO dislike being talked down to --which is what most teachers do, it seems-- and they associate this position of "you're lower than me" as being a whole part of the learning process and subsequently reject it. If you make learning an exchange that they're welcome to be a part of, then teenagers seem to enjoy it.