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Tablifying EducationFollow

#1 Apr 29 2013 at 6:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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This news article is about the middle school Xavier will be going to starting this July. The school is a STEM school (focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and they have just started this week a trial of using tablets in school:

http://www.carynews.com/2013/04/27/73554/prototype-tablets-debut-at-east.html

Quote:
Almost 300 students at the school are taking their tablets home and carrying them from class to class for months, using the mobile devices to research papers, read virtual textbooks and more.

Unlike iPads, the 10-inch Amplify runs a modified Android operating system that is specially designed for educational uses. The “baked-in” educational tools could lighten backpacks by replacing bulky textbooks with digital tomes and learning apps.

Students can file homework wirelessly by a 4G cellular connection, while teachers can share new material and check students’ work instantaneously.

Teachers also get a range of crowd-control powers. One tap of the “Eyes on Teacher” button locks down the students’ glossy screens, directing them to the front of the class. The “short answer” function has students respond wirelessly to questions, while a “spot check” has them rate their understanding of the topic at hand.

And, most fearsome to some, the computer system can randomly select a student to answer a question.


As a gadget geek myself, I think this is pure awesome. I love the fact that the kids will be using up to date technology to learn. I love how the teachers have the ability to turn them off when they need full attention. I love the fact that the kids don't have to carry 25 pounds of books in their backpacks. On a personal mom level, I love this for Xavier, as he has an IEP to allow him to do work like essays on the computer anyways, so having a tablet he can take notes on and keep track of all of his school work in one spot is just perfect.
Then again, as a mom I am freaking out wondering if 11 yr olds have enough maturity to be responsible for something so expensive. I'm already dreaming up dire consequences to put my son through if anything happens to his tablet.

But on a general note, what do you guys think about the idea of using tablets as a tool for students to use instead of text books, notebooks, and folders? Do you think this is a leap ahead or is there something kids get out of that might be missing from using a text book passed down over the years? do you think over the next few years all schools should have this?
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#2 Apr 29 2013 at 6:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think that's awesome but like you, I'd be freaking out. I *know* Noah would have his broken within the first 15 minutes.
#3 Apr 29 2013 at 6:48 PM Rating: Good
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Local schools have been doing this for the better part of the year here. And a few of the churches expanded the practice to their sunday schools. A friend of mine has two daughters, one in 1st or 2nd grade, and she uses an iPad as part of her curriculum.

I guess a 200 dollar tablet is a lot cheaper than a dozen different text books that will be obsolete next year.
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#4 Apr 29 2013 at 7:04 PM Rating: Good
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If you are using it as a substitute text book, note book, etc., how do you keep it charged for a full school day?

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#5 Apr 29 2013 at 7:26 PM Rating: Good
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trickybeck wrote:

If you are using it as a substitute text book, note book, etc., how do you keep it charged for a full school day?



How long do you think a "full school day" is? I think 8 hour battery life is not all that hard or rare to achieve, and that's assuming you'd have to use it the full 8 hours. But I don't remember ever using my text books for the entire time I was in school.
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#6 Apr 29 2013 at 7:48 PM Rating: Good
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DSD wrote:
But on a general note, what do you guys think about the idea of using tablets as a tool for students to use instead of text books, notebooks, and folders? Do you think this is a leap ahead or is there something kids get out of that might be missing from using a text book passed down over the years? do you think over the next few years all schools should have this?

It's a trinket offering menial task benefits.Teachers will often ask questions during their lesson to gauge how well students are learning that particular topic. Now instead of asking one student and estimating based on him or her, a teacher may ask every student and receive an aggregate answer. Improvement? sure. Revolutionary? No. Can't say I'd ever want to hand-write a paper again, but Microsoft Word didn't fundamentally change me as a writer either.

I tutor as an odd job. Nothing here is especially new. All of my students have access to online textbooks. Those in high school level and below typically have a hardcover as well. The online textbook is mostly a backup for when they forget to bring a book home with them and also a resource for me. Some schools also have a low tech solution to the baggage issue by purchasing textbooks produced in subsections, giving their students 1 book per each quarter of a class rather than 1 book per the year.
#7 Apr 29 2013 at 8:21 PM Rating: Good
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Big news in ME, the contract for school laptops switched from Apple to HP. (One more mess to clean up after...Smiley: mad)

I think gadgets, and gadget teaching in school is inevitable and necessary. Why teach with tools that are obsolete from the real world?
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#8 Apr 30 2013 at 12:25 AM Rating: Good
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TirithRR wrote:
trickybeck wrote:

If you are using it as a substitute text book, note book, etc., how do you keep it charged for a full school day?



How long do you think a "full school day" is? I think 8 hour battery life is not all that hard or rare to achieve, and that's assuming you'd have to use it the full 8 hours. But I don't remember ever using my text books for the entire time I was in school.


True, but what if a kid forgets to charge it over night and it dies on them during school?
#9 Apr 30 2013 at 1:01 AM Rating: Good
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Belkira wrote:
True, but what if a kid forgets to charge it over night and it dies on them during school?
This happened to me a few times with my gameboy. I just charged it in class, no big deal.
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#10 Apr 30 2013 at 1:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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Rachel9 wrote:
Belkira wrote:
True, but what if a kid forgets to charge it over night and it dies on them during school?
This happened to me a few times with my gameboy. I just charged it in class, no big deal.


You had electricity at your school?? We just had chalk boards and ink wells. Smiley: frown

Yeah, I guess there would be places to charge during class, eh... Smiley: banghead
#11 Apr 30 2013 at 7:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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trickybeck wrote:
If you are using it as a substitute text book, note book, etc., how do you keep it charged for a full school day?
It's a STEM school, I imagine they'd be equipped with a charging dock or two.
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#12 Apr 30 2013 at 9:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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Think of it this way - it could also make lockers obsolete. I know the primary purpose of my locker was textbook storage, because by the time you hit AP classes each book weighed five pounds and with six of them, you were lugging around thirty pounds of books. I'd keep half of them in the locker and then swap em out at lunch, then at the end of the day only take home the books for which I had homework or assigned reading.

A tablet in place of those would have been very welcome, and it would reduce my locker to essentially a storage space for gym clothes.
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#13 Apr 30 2013 at 4:56 PM Rating: Decent
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Without a twenty-pound stack of books to haul around, these kids are going to be horribly out of shape! Smiley: eek
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#14 Apr 30 2013 at 10:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
Without a twenty-pound stack of books to haul around, these kids are going to be horribly out of shape! Smiley: eek
On the other hand, they might actually bring their books to class, instead of leaving them in their lockers from the time they get them until the time they return them.
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#15 May 01 2013 at 6:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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All good points, and the addition of technology has a cool factor that might get kids at least temporarily more excited about class.

And then I remember this scene and I get all conflicted:

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#16 May 01 2013 at 6:48 AM Rating: Decent
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Useful for children who would otherwise lack exposure to technology. A useless vanity play for middle class or upper middle class kids that gains them nothing but seeks to market a preference to them at a time when their brains are still developing and easily influenced. I'd find a new school, and that's in no way a joke. This is better for teachers, and possibly better for aggregate test scores as you replace Socratic dialogue with data analytics and "targeted" lesson plans based on templates. It's worse for talented students (it may be better for marginal students) and replaces what should at it's best be a mentor/protege relationship with a manager/employee one. The novelty will be appealing to your kids for a few weeks, but the tyranny of mechanical reinforcement of ideas in place of critical thinking and discussion will harm them for life. It's not the technology itself, mind you. If you want to give children Kindles instead of books, I'm all for that. That is IN NO WAY what this is, however.

"Hey Rupert Murdoch is going to have a company that sells education systems to schools"
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#17 May 01 2013 at 7:17 AM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
All good points, and the addition of technology has a cool factor that might get kids at least temporarily more excited about class.
A week, maybe. Then it's just a lighter load to carry.
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#18 May 01 2013 at 7:33 AM Rating: Good
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The technology is necessary and practical. It should replace paper - books, written papers and other homeworks, etc. Why would we keep using books that need to be reprinted every other year for updates?

My kids in HS were already submitting all their homework electronically. They each had a folder on the school server. That was nearly a decade ago.

Perhaps there needs to be policy/procedure to insure it doesn't decrease and/or minimize face time with educators and other students. Tablets shouldn't replace teachers or classroom time.

Our current administration is promoting internet-based education, or at least it's attempting to be able to fund kids attending virtual charter schools. That scares me.
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#19 May 01 2013 at 8:13 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Why would we keep using books that need to be reprinted every other year for updates?

Yeah, need.

Edited, May 1st 2013 9:14am by Allegory
#20 May 01 2013 at 8:22 AM Rating: Good
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Are you implying basic mathematics doesn't change every few years?
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#21 May 01 2013 at 8:23 AM Rating: Good
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If congress is to be believed, yes.
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#22 May 01 2013 at 8:26 AM Rating: Good
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Turn turn turn.....etc.

If things aren't changing they're either in temporary hibernation or dying.
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#23 May 01 2013 at 8:31 AM Rating: Good
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So what does that mean if you won't change your mind?
#24 May 01 2013 at 9:01 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
So what does that mean if you won't change your mind?

Your time as a human being on the 3rd rock from the sun is limited. Smiley: tongue
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#25 May 01 2013 at 9:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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Back in day schools didn't have computers. Kids these days; youtubing isn't education. Smiley: motz

We just got our first tablet a couple of months ago, and I've been impressed with the variety of educational apps they have available. All in all I can get behind it. Anything to cram some more useful information in those little heads.

Elinda wrote:
Turn turn turn.....etc.

Not now that they've done away with books, just google google google...


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#26 May 01 2013 at 9:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm honored to have achieved the valedictorian award. I'd like to thank Google and Wikipedia ...
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