Public Schools Need To Be In The Loop

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Submitted by Valerie 2010-05-10 10:57:26 EDT

Theme: Building Digital Skills
Idea Status: +15 | Total Votes: 27 | Comments: 4

Kids love computers. You should see my four year old daughter playing games on the computer. Fortunately for her, we are a family that can afford (new) computers. We have Mac and PC at home, and a Wii. My daughter's public school has a computer lab, but the computers are getting old. Not all kids will have the learning opportunities afforded to my daughter. All kids should be exposed to the latest technology so that they can participate in the digital economy. I dream of public schools where every kid will have an electronic reader — a substantial investment at first, but so many cost savings for families who don't need to buy books. A downloaded book is much cheaper than a printed one. Can you imagine if schools in Canada can be "linked" with schools in different countries? Can you imagine the possibilities of educational interactions that can take place?


herbie — 2010-05-10 14:25:36 EDT wrote

One concern I have with downloaded books is that all too often, they are available to the purchaser for a limited time either by design or by virtue of the fact that either the software or the hardware to read the book is not maintained or even maintainable. I understand digital textbooks are only available for about 2 to 5 years, while I have books from 30 years ago and still consult them. Digital books are only the answer if we can keep them indefinitely.

R — 2010-05-12 13:04:15 EDT wrote

Coupled with open courseware, DRM-free ebook formats and open ebook reader platforms this could become something interesting.

The problem with computer education that we teached our kids office automation instead of basic computer principle to empower them.

How many schools teach specific excel or word versions instead of more abstract internet web page creation and document concepts?

By the time they graduate those who have been exposed to the former will view computer as a product they can consume, the other we'll see it as a tool they can control as citizens…

But sure, we need to move in that direction eventually!

KyleAThompson — 2010-06-16 00:33:40 EDT wrote

Ebookss are not necessarily best adapted to all situations (as of now annotating them and using them is not as intuitive, and the cost of readers is high) therefore Open Courseware could be published by school districts in the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way possible. This would still cut costs considerably by eliminating publisher and licensing fees, while also supporting local businesses! (printers).

I also agree that primary and secondary public education needs to move away from the "training for the assembly line" model, which was designed for the 20th century, not the 21st, and which mutilates the minds of our children. Schools should train students to think critically, broadly, and flexibly, as these are skills that are essential in the flexible work process of the "Network Society" and which produce more psychologically healthy individuals as well. In the past this kind of education was reserved for Post-Secondary schools, but with the democratization of the Knowledge Economy must come the democratization of Knowledge.

dsampson — 2010-06-21 09:01:33 EDT wrote

By using FOSS (open Source Software) schools could exntend the life span of their computer labs by using more efficient and resource friendly operating systems such as Ubuntu Linux (Ubuntu). They could also get all the educational software they could use through the Edubuntu project (edubuntu). Schools need to learn about these opportunities though. Vendors will not level the playing field. We need to educate the educators.


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Between May 10 and July 13, more than 2010 Canadian individuals and organizations registered to share their ideas and submissions. You can read their contributions—and the comments from other users—in the Submissions Area and the Idea Forum.

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