The $100 laptop closer to reality

Anthony Gabrielson agabriel at
Thu Sep 29 12:16:35 EDT 2005

On Thu, 29 Sep 2005, Brendan wrote:

> Yes, logical if you want the dumbest kids in the world.

Perhaps - but I think the students will be of the same intellegence with 
perhaps a better presentation.  Done properly I will say they will be 
better educated as the pest presentations will survive.  I think this is 
an evolving teaching medium - good stuff really.

> Why are American kids getting dumber? Instead of technology being pushed into 
> every crevice, we need some research that conclusively says where it's 
> needed, and where an actual book is better. Mostly, this is going to be used 
> for IM to other kids. Of course, some of them are going to learn more with a 
> laptop, and I guess we'll just depend on those kids making it to adulthood to 
> run the country.

American kids aren't getting dumber - less is expected of them.  Expect 
more of them and more will accomplish.

> The book monopoly/lobby/scam-artists are never, ever going to allow a 25 
> dollar, self-updating PDF file. Forget that dream, when they are making 
> 100-150 per book, per student, per class. No way are they going to ditch 
> *that* revenue-stream.

I read somewhere, don't recall where that majority of the cost built in to 
a text book is wooing the professor to pick the said book.  That will need 
to change.  The costs drop for the publishers on this point as well as 
they don't need to buy, print, and bound paper.  Tree huggers should also 
love this.

> Remember, all the great achievements in nearly every subject have all been 
> achieved with actual books teaching actual students. Kepler didn't have the 
> newest Toshiba. Galileo didn't IM his buddies to tell them about the bowling 
> ball experiment and Copernicus didn't leave a .doc attachment saying he 
> wanted to posthumously publish his works.

This point, not to be rude, is really short sited.  What about Steven 
Hawking?  He is arguably the largest source of new physics today and as 
quad parapalegic with out a doubt needs a computer.  In fact I think I 
could safely argue that without a computer his acheivements could never be 
realized - at least by him.  I could go on about this point but I think it 
should be understood.

> We need more teachers that are held to higher standards while making more 
> money, teaching fewer kids, not throwing technology against the wall and 
> hoping something sticks. We *have* the solutions to the sliding scale in this 
> country and it's green, hires more teachers with horn-rimmed glasses actually 
> *sitting* with students until they get it.

agree - teachers should be held to a higher plane.  However tech can make 
learning more interesting and perhaps motivate students that would not 
have been motivated previously.

> Who is going to teach the teachers to use these magical laptops? Who is going 
> to make them crack/hack-proof? What kind of IT infrastructure will this 
> introduce? What happens when a worm is develops that races through the 
> monoculture of non-updated laptops with WiFi? No no, don't do any research 
> into it, just buy some cheaper laptops. That's the answer. A third of these 
> kids are failing the MCAS Math portion, so let's get them IM'ing with their 
> friends. That'll solve the problem. Hey, on a camping trip with boring 
> parents? Use that crank to power your 4-hour IM session to Susie about what 
> Reese Witherspoon was wearing at the Oscar's...and how she looked "So cute" 
> in those shoes. ;-)

Your first point I feel is your stongest presented, however the Linux 
comunity is addressing these problems - what happens if the books burn?  
We need a sprinkler system...

Your second point will probably come true as well; however what if also in 
that same IM chat Susie helps with algebra homework.  Pleasure can be 
woven into study time, just need to be careful in what amounts.  Also this 
isn't techs fault as she could just as easily call and have the same 
conversation.  Phones have beebeen problem for parents for many years.

> I'm 27 and I'm as technical as you can imagine. I owe nearly everything I know 
> to people smarter and more patient than I am...and to books.

agreed, but the books is just an example.  I'm a CS guy I go to the web 
for example all the time.  This is a medium I use for assistance with 
certain areas.

> Of course, I'm not a kid, and I would buy two of these things in a second. 
> And of course, this is all just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

I love a good philosphical discussion :)



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