Laptops instead of textbooks

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  • #1
Kerrie
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http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/08/19/no.textbooks.ap/index.html [Broken]

Now I really wish I was in school again! I remember lugging those huge books in my backpack and how much my back and shoulders would hurt. The article specifically states that those in support of laptops don't want to eliminate books, but this method helps link kids to more information in the web.
 
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  • #2
cronxeh
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I don't think laptops really belong in the classroom, or that even a book belongs there. Books are for home studying, whereas in the classroom (especially in High School setting) you are 'broken in' for the first time and introduced to the new material. Any distraction will guarantee to have the student left with voids in knowledge. At HS level they should engange in problem based learning and by seeing the new material and talking about it and doing problems the students will learn more.

Besides I know darn well that the students who have laptops in class almost always use it for something else. There are aims going on, googling, watching anime and other distractions. If you go to a 40 minute class you better make damn sure you spend 99% of your time actually acquiaring new material. On average this percentage is about 80 - depending on the teacher, and with introduction of laptops this number will surely go down to 50.

Expect more of the D students from such recourse. Hey maybe the next President will be from Arizona :rolleyes:
 
  • #3
Moonbear
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I don't know about that cronxeh. Here's what the article has to say on things like IM use.

Students get the materials over the school's wireless Internet network. The school has a central filtering system that limits what can be downloaded on campus. The system also controls chat room visits and instant messaging that might otherwise distract wired students.

Students can turn in homework online. A Web program checks against Internet sources for plagiarized material and against the work of other students, Baker said. "If you copy from your buddy, it's going to get caught," he said.

Sounds like it might crack down more on those who have previously gotten away with this stuff because they are more computer saavy than their peers.

Also interesting, but not surprising to me considering my experiences with college students is this:
One of the more surprising things, he said, was finding that students' proficiency at video games and e-mail hasn't always translated into other computer skills.

"One of the greatest challenges actually is getting the kids up to speed in using Word, in using an Internet browser for other than a simple global search," Gypton said.

I wonder if there's a way to set up the intranet at the school so that a monitor on the teacher's desk could show small windows of what each student has up on their computer? The obvious reason I ask is that it would allow the teacher to quickly see if the students are "passing notes" rather than doing their assignments, but it would also allow them to watch progress as students are working through an in-class assignment to see if they're all getting stuck at a certain step or something like that.

On the other hand, cronxeh, I also agree that one really shouldn't even have to lug their textbooks to class every day. Just bring your notebook and your full attention. Once in a while it is helpful to use books in-class (such as for reference when students are working through a lab assignment, or doing a group reading exercise), but most of the time, kids just lug the books around and never open them until it's time to do homework. It seems teachers could make it a lot easier on the students if they let them know that most days they can leave the book at home for studying and doing their homework and they'll let them know a day ahead if they should bring the book to class for something.
 
  • #4
dduardo
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1) Laptops don't belong in the classroom because they are a distraction. Kids are going to be playing on the laptop instead of listening to the teacher.

2) Textbooks don't belong in the classroom because teachers should be lecturing and using the blackboard. Students shouldn't be doing book work in class. That's what homework is for.

3) If they are trying to elminate printed textbooks they should allow kids to download the books in pdf format at home. The only place where students should be using textbooks is at home for further reference or homework assignments.

4) The only way I would get the books in pdf format is if they are considerably less than $50.00, which is approx what I pay for each of my textbooks through half.com in brand new condition.
 
  • #5
Smurf
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I intend to always use books when I go to Uni in september
 
  • #6
mattmns
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Hmm most of my classes had a class set of books if we needed them, while in K-12. I am not sure how it would be to use a computer for everything, sometimes it would seem nice, but personally I like the ultra freedom of pencil on paper.

edit... Also I would rather have a physical (paper) textbook instead of a file on my computer. Hmm, maybe both actually. I have to think about that one. I would definitely prefer a paper novel as opposed to reading one on a computer.
 
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  • #7
Evo
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They can set up the laptops so that there are no games, no instant messaging, very restricted internet access, etc... They can even set them up within a school intranet and allow no access to the public internet. I think that might be the wisest solution. They can load the appropriate information that the students need to research on the intranet.

I think it's a good idea. I don't see completely doing away with books though, I see adding the computer as an enhancement, not a replacement.
 
  • #8
neurocomp2003
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but you can still msg using the internal msging system can't you? via windows msging.
 
  • #9
mattmns
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You can uninstall windows messanger, but the computers that these students are using (in the story) are apples (ibooks I think).
 
  • #10
Monique
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I rather have a piece of paper with information on it that I can make notes on and highlights, than a computer screen. Paper is easier to absorb information from, I always print pdf files.
 
  • #11
jcsd
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http://www.xerez.demon.co.uk/tv/CYBERMAN.JPG [Broken]
"Today we learned about oxbow lakes"



It'll all end in tears I tell ya.
 
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  • #12
Smurf
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Evo said:
They can set up the laptops so that there are no games,
They can be installed, or are these specially doctored computers which the students turn in at the end of the day or something? Mind as well just provide a screen and keyboard on everyone's desk that loads into a central computer hub. Much more secure and controllable. Plus it'll look way cooler.
no instant messaging,
Ha!! You'll need to not include internet at all if you want any hope of being successfull at that.
very restricted internet access, etc... They can even set them up within a school intranet and allow no access to the public internet. I think that might be the wisest solution. They can load the appropriate information that the students need to research on the intranet.
Ah, so everything they need is pre-loaded into the intranet so the kids never need to learn how to do actual research. Clever.
I think it's a good idea. I don't see completely doing away with books though, I see adding the computer as an enhancement, not a replacement.
I see no usefulness at all in this. Certainly not worth the cost, I'd rather my tax dollars not be spent on children's toys. I'm glad Canada isn't doing this... yet.
 
  • #13
JamesU
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Evo said:
They can set up the laptops so that there are no games, no instant messaging, very restricted internet access, etc... They can even set them up within a school intranet and allow no access to the public internet. I think that might be the wisest solution. They can load the appropriate information that the students need to research on the intranet.
it's called hacking and its not that hard
I think it's a good idea. I don't see completely doing away with books though, I see adding the computer as an enhancement, not a replacement.
I agree :smile:
 
  • #14
Smurf
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mattmns said:
You can uninstall windows messanger, but the computers that these students are using (in the story) are apples (ibooks I think).
Yeah, but you can't uninstall telnet. (except they're apples so they don't have that at all... they have some other equivalent)
 
  • #15
Smurf
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yomamma said:
it's called hacking and its not that hard
Yeah. Adults these days seem to severely underestimate how knowledgeable the youth are becoming about Computers. If you give them all free computers they will be exploited in any way they can

(and believe me, they can.)
 
  • #16
dduardo
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Monique said:
Paper is easier to absorb information from, I always print pdf files.

That's exactly what I do. My professors provide pdf notes before class and I print them out. If there is anything additional or any clarifications I write it directly onto the notes during class. When I get home I stick the notes in a 3-ring binder and repeat the process. There is no need to carry books back and forth.

I find that giving students notes before class is very effective because I can read the notes beforehand, come to class with actual questions in mind, and absorb any additional material that the professor gives during class.
 
  • #17
Monique
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dduardo said:
I find that giving students notes before class is very effective because I can read the notes beforehand, come to class with actual questions in mind, and absorb any additional material that the professor gives during class.
Exactly, the same with giving a printout of the powerpoint presentation. That way you can write extra notes on the slides and highlight the important ones. I'd never give a digital copy of a powerpoint presentation to a student, they'll mindlessly copy the files for their own presentations.
 
  • #18
Moonbear
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mattmns said:
You can uninstall windows messanger, but the computers that these students are using (in the story) are apples (ibooks I think).
Yeah, they said iBooks. I'm not sure how they expect to stop the kids from installing stuff on them though. You can set an administrator password on them that is required for installation of any new software, but I've found ways around those myself (the IT guy who set up the computers in the lab I'm about to leave left and never told anyone what the administrator passwords were).

I too have always preferred written notes. I like to add diagrams and arrows to connect thoughts too, so it's not just a matter of typing instead of writing. I just don't think the kids are going to learn very well if they're looking at a computer screen instead of the teacher.
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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I do the same thing. In fact, one thing that I struggle with here at PF is missing information from posts, or even entire posts. Sometimes I just miss things; its almost like there's a blind spot getting me. But this never happens with paper. I always print out long programs to debug serious problems. Its a real pain to print out, but in addition to the fact that I miss things on the screen, the ability to make notes and such is very helpful.
 
  • #20
Moonbear
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Monique said:
Exactly, the same with giving a printout of the powerpoint presentation. That way you can write extra notes on the slides and highlight the important ones. I'd never give a digital copy of a powerpoint presentation to a student, they'll mindlessly copy the files for their own presentations.
This works well with graduate students, okay for some undergraduates, but terribly with high school students. Graduate students know the importance of writing their own notes and realize they are only being provided an outline to save them some time in their note-taking, some undergrads have learned that too, but most just think everything they need is on the handout and don't write anything more if you provide copies (someone told me they had provided notes with fill-in-the-blank spaces with information they revealed during the lecture, and actually had someone come up after the class and ask for a copy of the filled-in version...they hadn't written anything down themselves!). For high school students, this is a complete disaster. If you give them a handout, not only do they expect it to be a complete set of notes and not write anything, but they don't necessarily pay attention to the lecture either. You have to keep in mind the level of the student when deciding what to provide them in notes and what to expect them to write for themselves.
 
  • #21
loseyourname
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I've never even seen the point in taking notes, personally. If I'm writing things down, I just end up missing what is being said. On the other hand, if I just listen attentively, engage in class discussion, and complete the readings, I seem to remember everything I need to remember perfectly fine.
 
  • #22
Evo
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Smurf said:
Ah, so everything they need is pre-loaded into the intranet so the kids never need to learn how to do actual research.
Finding information on an intranet can be more difficult than finding it on the internet.
 
  • #23
Evo
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loseyourname said:
I've never even seen the point in taking notes, personally. If I'm writing things down, I just end up missing what is being said. On the other hand, if I just listen attentively, engage in class discussion, and complete the readings, I seem to remember everything I need to remember perfectly fine.
I'm the same way, I don't take notes. It does tend to bug people that have no memory. :tongue:
 
  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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loseyourname said:
I've never even seen the point in taking notes, personally. If I'm writing things down, I just end up missing what is being said. On the other hand, if I just listen attentively, engage in class discussion, and complete the readings, I seem to remember everything I need to remember perfectly fine.

That works for some people, but I've also seen people crash and burn for the same reason; esp where information is covered that's not in the textbook. In physics, I don't see how anyone can remember five chalkboards full of complex equations.
 
  • #25
Evo
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Ivan Seeking said:
In physics, I don't see how anyone can remember five chalkboards full of complex equations.
That's when a camera phone becomes handy. :biggrin:
 
  • #26
Ivan Seeking
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Evo said:
That's when a camera phone becomes handy. :biggrin:

Of course, when you and I were in school, the best we could manage is Polaroid Swinger shot. :biggrin:

Mmmmmm, I can still smell the emulsion. :approve:
 
  • #27
loseyourname
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Ivan Seeking said:
That works for some people, but I've also seen people crash and burn for the same reason; esp where information is covered that's not in the textbook. In physics, I don't see how anyone can remember five chalkboards full of complex equations.

The thing is, nothing is ever covered in class that isn't written down somewhere, even if not in your textbook. You aren't deriving new theorems in class, at least not any class I've ever been in. The only class I ever had the slightest problem in was organic chemistry, largely because the text sucked and we did cover a lot that wasn't in it. Even so, I managed to get the relevant information I couldn't remember somewhere, without having to distract myself by constantly jotting everything down. To be honest, I usually don't even bother showing up to lecture classes. Most of the time, I only attend discussions, seminars, and workshops.

That said, it's a different case when math is being done is class. Then I'll work along, as the point in that is to practice.
 
  • #28
Kerrie
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i think one of the biggest benefits of having a laptop to store information over a textbook is not having to lug around the weight of a book. in high school, i remember having 4 thick books to carry home and i had some strains in my shoulders, neck and back at 16! i like monique's idea of just printing out the material needed say for that week and read it on paper so you aren't missing it on a screen like some people tend to do.

computers can certainly be controlled so that chatting and instant messaging is under control, that is what they do at the public library where i live now.
 
  • #29
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Evo said:
Finding information on an intranet can be more difficult than finding it on the internet.
"Difficulty" is irrelevant. It's not research if it's all there, they know it's all there and they don't have to go anywhere else to get any of it.
 
  • #30
Smurf
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Kerrie said:
computers can certainly be controlled so that chatting and instant messaging is under control, that is what they do at the public library where i live now.
Yeah, that's what they try to do at my public library too, you just havn't figured out the holes yet. Believe me, the youth probably have.
 
  • #31
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Evo said:
They can set up the laptops so that there are no games, no instant messaging, very restricted internet access, etc... They can even set them up within a school intranet and allow no access to the public internet. I think that might be the wisest solution. They can load the appropriate information that the students need to research on the intranet.

I think it's a good idea. I don't see completely doing away with books though, I see adding the computer as an enhancement, not a replacement.

Evo,that seems to me best.!
Its the only way Laptops can come up as strength.They can increase the power to compute,enhance learning this way well!
 
  • #32
Kerrie
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Smurf said:
Yeah, that's what they try to do at my public library too, you just havn't figured out the holes yet. Believe me, the youth probably have.

all the more to hire IT personnel or college students for school credit in schools to monitor this.
 
  • #33
Smurf
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Ah, so now we're giving everyone a lap top AND hiring people to make sure they use them properly because we can't be bothered to teach the staff to lecture properly.
 
  • #34
moose
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This reminds me of someone I know who always whines about how the school district doesn't give their school enough money for smart boards and such. Although its a good utility, it is seriously not needed for good teaching. A good teacher will be able to teach you with nothing more than words if it's all that is available.
 
  • #35
Kerrie
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Smurf said:
Ah, so now we're giving everyone a lap top AND hiring people to make sure they use them properly because we can't be bothered to teach the staff to lecture properly.


Yes, it's called progression, you might want to keep up with it, or find yourself complaining a lot. :tongue2:
 

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