Laptops will make you a successful human being

Progress strikes again. Down the rabbit-hole we go.

Last week, the Free Press reported how school boards are pressuring the government to provide laptops to every child in school.

The reporting is opaque at best – but here are seven observations based on what was presented:

1. Inevitability is the currency of the belief in progress. The superintendent makes it clear that we must follow the way of the future, end of story.

2. The only arguments presented for the use of  laptops in school are an appeal to progress, and an ad populum – look: Maine and Alberta are doing it, so naturally we should too.

3.  It’s understandable that the government is more interested in cost-benefit analysis – they’re paying. So what will be the criteria for educational success with laptops? One that can be measured by google analytics, of course.

4. It is amazing how quickly the debate sidetracks entirely to the issue of equity. Contrast this to the comments by readers, who still demand an account for their usefulness.

5. MTS president Olson makes a good point – teachers are the ones in control of their classroom. But imagine if you were the only teacher in your school that didn’t use them. The social pressure is exerted on both teachers and students.

6. How is it that the only other concern Olson expresses is the possibility of too many technical issues? Do no educationists believe that there are social, emotional, and behavioural risks involved in this idea?

7. Gerald Farthing has the money-quote: “How can we show or know that that contributes to learning?”  So which one is more important, showing or knowing?

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