The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Laptops Again…

Posted by ALmod on November 19, 2007

Birmingham News is running an article today on the laptops that Langford wants to get Birmingham school children.  An interesting name pops up in the article– John Katopodis.  Well, here’s where you’ve heard that name before.

All that aside, here’s how I feel about giving laptops to Birmingham students.

While I suppose the idea is noble in giving them a little help, I fail to see the sensibility in giving a laptop to students, who can’t even be trusted to bring their textbooks back to school.  This isn’t just an issue in Birmingham, either.  For some time, schools have had problems with kids returning their textbooks.  Why would a laptop be any different (and less expensive) a money sink?  Or are these laptops going to stay at the school along with the textbooks?

Somewhere in that article, someone says something about giving the kids a “help sheet.”  When I was in school, and you walked five miles in the snow to get there, they called them “cheat sheets.”  Laptops are great for a lot of things, like helping you to research a topic or downloading an assignment.  But I firmly believe that students should learn how to write without the use of spell check and grammar check.  Why?  Well for one thing, it won’t always be there.  They’re also unreliable.  Consider the following sentence:

Its not in the rite of whey, where they’re sine is.

There are about six things wrong with that sentence, and none of them were caught by spell check or grammar check.  It doesn’t mean that the sentence is correct.  Laptops don’t generally teach you the difference between “it’s” and “its” or the difference between “they’re” and “their” and “there.”  As you can probably tell from my own writing, laptops aren’t too picky about comma placement, either.  They won’t tell you that you should have written, “Their sign isn’t in the right of way.”

Yeah, laptops are nice, but they aren’t teachers (who don’t seem to be addressed in Langford’s grand educational vision).  I never had a laptop as a kid, and I think I write substantially better than some of the kids that have them these days.  I also seem to have a better understanding of math and science and history, among other things.  Need some proof?  Play a MMOG sometime and read the chat window.  Read an online bulletin board.  Read the comments on the blogs.  The al.com message boards are painful enough.  Go check Wikipedia and edit a few articles and tell me about how accurate it is.  You might as well take a world religion course from Christopher Hitchens.

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One Response to “Laptops Again…”

  1. Del said

    “You might as well take a world religion course from Christopher Hitchens.”

    Nice one.

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