Students will get laptops rather than textbooks at Houston schools, reports the Houston Chronicle. All high school students in the district will receive laptops.
All math and social studies materials will be digital this year. Printed science books were scrapped last year. English books will be next. The new model is “electronic text with features like hyperlinks, videos and interactive maps,” reports the Chronicle.
Superintendent Terry Grier hopes to raise stagnant test scores by using savings from not buying books to “fund the technology and online resources that can be updated more easily,” reports the Chronicle.
“It’s called a digital transformation,” Grier said. “And every teacher is to make that transformation.”
There are other problems.
Is the infrastructure strong enough to support the laptops? (How often does the power go out? How often does the internet go out? How often does the wireless go out? Can the district handle all those kids logged on at once?) Do I have stable desks, and carpeting?
How am I, the teacher, supposed to handle a kid who forgot to charge his laptop, and it goes out during the quiz?
How will the district/schools handle those kids who just cannot be trusted on computers? (Yes, they exist, and sometimes they find a way to access porn sites and send hundreds of pictures to the school secretary’s printer. Just saying.)
“Two years ago our prior superintendent pushed a mandate to give every single kid an iPad,” writes Ellen K, who blogs at The Sum of All Things, in a comment. Results:
-Less focus on writing-both content and the skill.
-Fewer research skills as students resort to plagiarism on an exponential scale.
-Inability to read — especially scary when you consider that young kids are being taught to read on devices over printed material. Five year olds don’t know the phrase “eye strain” but they do know when something hurts. . . .
-The inability of teachers to remove or even control distractions created by devices has resulted in classroom chaos. Fights and events are formulated on social media and it is literally us against them.
Other than that, it’s been great.