The $100 laptop closer to reality

Ronny Serrano RSerrano at
Thu Sep 29 12:40:20 EDT 2005

I think Anthony put a lot of thought in to his answers. He doesn't
appear to be arguing just to argue. Brendan you appear to have jumped
into this argument with you heart and not your head entirely. You do
make some good points but I think we need to realize balance is the key.
Technology is a tool to aid in learning, it isn't one stop shopping.
Giving a kid a laptop to work on his papers or to use the internet to
research things is a good idea. You think that laptops are taking away
from school budgets? My wife has beem a member of the MTA for over 7
yrs. Try looking at the salaries some the pricipals or directors make ,
over six figures in some cases. This would easily pay for 3 teachers in
many cases. 

You mention a few great men in your scenario that didn't need a laptop.
What could some of these men have accomplished with the help of a
computer? Many of these people build their ideas upon other peoples
ideas. Imagine if Galileo could have picked up a phone or IM'd someone
to help with his experiments or work together with someone that was on
the other side of the world at the time. Science may have advanced even
further. How about using Email instead of waiting for post from Rome to
England... I bet that could have spead some things up. 

> A higher plane?
> Yes, and "tech" can turn off people too...How about teaching with 
> monkeys? I'm
> sure some kids will love that too. Nevermind that a lot of kids might
> this method...un-fufilling. The point is that you cannot just throw
> methods into the mix on a grand scale and expect everyone to go along
> it. Come with data to back up that new method.

Tech is a tool, and I hate to say it but your comment about using
monkeys to teach seems to show you as a tool also. Why don't we teach
jackasses to type? Oh might have already done that. You can't throw new
methods in and jst expect everything to work fine. You can introduce
things in a manner that advance each year. For example you can introduce
kids to computers, show them educational software (many educational
game). And each year build on what was learned the previous year... Oh..
Wait.. That sounds like LEARNING.

Your love of books is appreciated and the love of the environment also.
But... If every year you have to reprint a bunch of books to correct
misspellings or add a few ideas or change them.. Trust me.. My college
books, the difference from the 10th edition to the 12 edition was the
12th was 35 pages shorter and in the examples they had John instead of
Tom. Meant you had to spend $125, again! With the use of web publishing
techniques they could reduce the cost to students for books. This might
enable more people to go to school without being in so much debt. Also
you could allow a teacher to build a book that they thought would most
work for the class she had that year. Different kids work different ways
and if it is webpublishing, they can build the book to include all kinds
of different materials from the internet to written books.

You didn't get the analogy of computer virus and books burning??? How
bout if you rip a page out of a book or mark it all up? There are
precautions that can be taken for computers. There has always been
precautions, people just don't always follow them. Have you ever been to
the Boston Public Library? Take a look at how they have things locked
down. That could easily be implimented in a school. Also I bet Symantec
or Trend Micro would donate a lot of software to schools or give them a
great break on it.

I'm annoyed at your closed mindedness of how kids can benefit from
computers in the classroom and taking them home. You might say I'm
arguing just to argue, but I've got 2 kids and a wife that teaches, I
can see the benefits if it is done right. No guarantees it will be, just
like there is no guarantee that the autoshop class won't use the funds
and equiptment to fix the teachers cars rather than learn something

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at [mailto:discuss-bounces at] On Behalf
Of Anthony Gabrielson
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:44 PM
To: Brendan
Cc: discuss at
Subject: Re: The $100 laptop closer to reality

On Thu, 29 Sep 2005, Brendan wrote:

> > > 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.
> I am not sure where this is directed.

I don't think schools expect enough of students.  I direct this at
more needs to be expected to students.

> > 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.
> "Tree huggers"? Sensible people who like the environment?
> How about producing all those laptops. You don't think that that might

> have a
> tiny effect on that thar environment?

I think a well done laptop will have less negative affects on the 
environment than all the books that are made for schools.  I could be
on that - no evidence to back up how much resources are spent on the 
production of this laptop. 

> > > 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.
> This is not a "point". What does Hawking have to do with a discussion 
> of cost
> and teaching methods? If you are just argumentative by
> this is not a pissing match. I am curious as to what people with
> opinions think on this one.

You mention great people that didn't use a computer.  I mentioned a
person who would not have been able to contribute with out a computer.  
The computer is the enabling technology for hawking to do what he does; 
contribute new ideas to a field loaded with brilliant people.  

> > > 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.
> A higher plane?
> Yes, and "tech" can turn off people too...How about teaching with 
> monkeys? I'm
> sure some kids will love that too. Nevermind that a lot of kids might
> this method...un-fufilling. The point is that you cannot just throw
> methods into the mix on a grand scale and expect everyone to go along
> it. Come with data to back up that new method.

Tech is quickly turning into a way of passing ideas, much the way books 
do.  However tech also offers an easier medium for passing ideas, it
much more democratic as ideas can easily be passed from content A to B;
also brings more people to the table.  Another nice aspect of the
is how data is presented.  Do you remeber Carmen Sandiego?  I thought 
learning geography with that game was a blast when I was a kid.  How
math blaster - another fun game that taught something.  There are many 
math games out there if a child doesn't like one go to another.

> > 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...
> What are you talking about? Books burn in kids backpacks? I guess I am

> not
> following.

computers don't get infected when there in backpacks either (for the
most part anyway).  Library books can burn when they are in a library
that is on fire.  Computers get infected, for the most part, when they
are on networks that have an infection.  Libraries have protection
-sprinkler systems; so do computers virus scanners and privlidges.  I
think the comparison holds water, no pun intended :).

> > 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 sorry, you just seem to be arguing to argue. This seems pointless.

So sorry you feel that way.

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