Ga. lawmakers look at student computers

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 12:14 PM
Last updated 12:16 PM
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ATLANTA -- Students in low-income, middle schools would be the first to test replacing their textbooks with portable computers under an idea outlined Monday by Senate leaders.

Two factors make the timing ripe for such a test, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams, R-Lyons. First, the state’s budget crunch cries out for ways to save money, and the $40 million spent yearly on textbooks could be a help. Second, the $400 million Georgia is getting from the federal Race to the Top education program could go to funding the pilot projects without tapping into the state’s education budget.

Assigning an Apple Ipad, for example would cost $500 per student, plus $30 in insurance that the family may want to buy. That would include the course materials and training for the teachers. Other companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft offer similar services, he said.

“We’re trying not to dictate the technology,” he said.

Vendors would be asked to submit proposals, and the tests would determine how well the electronic textbooks would work statewide, such as answering the questions about ease of use, technical glitches and whether the computers get broken or stolen.

Besides the textbook savings, the computers would have two other benefits, according to Senate Republican Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock. The materials would be more up to date than printed books that only get replaced every seven years or so. And, kids naturally gravitate to computers.

He recounted how his own children are more eager to use his computers than they are to open a textbook.

“We know if you lead children in an area where they are interested, they will learn,” he said. “If you force them into an area where they’re uninterested they will struggle.”

Rogers and Williams said the Senate leadership will sponsor legislation this session to create a pilot program testing the computers in several districts across the state among the 26 participating in the Race to the Top school-improvement program.

 

 

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Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 02/07/11 - 12:28 pm
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Totally wish I was an Apple

Totally wish I was an Apple lobbyist right now... this is an awful idea!

HistoryBuff
0
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HistoryBuff 02/07/11 - 12:49 pm
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What a ridiculously BAD idea.

What a ridiculously BAD idea. How many library books do middle school kids lose in a year? That woudl be how many ipads they lose. Will the schools be able to block porn sites, etc? Oh wait, that will make a BIOLOGY textbook disappear because of certain words. How about a social studies textbook that includes the words "Aryan" and "supremacy" that would go bye-bye with most protection softwares. Bad plan Senate.

iLove
626
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iLove 02/07/11 - 01:09 pm
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Great idea! Our children are
Unpublished

Great idea! Our children are the "screen" generation. EVERYTHING is on a screen now. Cellphones, billboards, the drive through talking box thingee. And not to mention #D Televisions. Heck, even when you walk into Wal-Mart, you are greeted by a screen. Times are changing.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/07/11 - 01:16 pm
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A school district we lived in

A school district we lived in - in Virginia - used laptops instead of textbooks starting with middle school through high school. It worked very, very well. Docking stations were at each desk, etc.

That said, the Virginia district had a few differences from Georgia.
1. The schools were academically some of the best schools in the nation
2. The schools were in high end neighborhoods (keeping down risk of theft of the school property - the words "you can't get blood out of a turnip" keep entering my mind as I think about these computers going awol)
3. This is a huge investment. We should be cutting money, not spending more. We are in a recession.

These computers won't fix the basic problems of Georgia Education. Out of touch administators, many unmotivated students, tons of bad parents, many bad teachers, a focus on the buildings & amenities instead of the education, too much duplication of effort (too many counties with their own "chiefs") and last but not least, the HOPE Scholarship. Yes, the HOPE, which has resulted in grade inflation and a dumbing down of our schools.

Beck Tears
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Beck Tears 02/07/11 - 01:22 pm
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How is any of this an awful

How is any of this an awful idea? It's what the future is going towards- a paperless world. How many library books do children lose in a year? How much damage is done to all the textbooks throughout it's usage? How much is wasted and spent attempting to replacing and updating books and information? With one device, a student can carry all the information they require, easy access for their notes. All the while they will not be accountable for all the books and different pens and highlighters, pencils, etc... and they can focus on taking care and remembering one device.

Teachers will be able to make videos of lessons for students to download onto their tablet, which they can access anytime! Can you imagine how valuable that will be?! Parents will be able watch the videos as well, and have a better idea of what is being taught in the classroom. Teachers and Professors around the country can easily make videos which will be accessible to students- because maybe a student needs a different approach on a certain subject to understand what their primary teacher is attempting to explain.

Think of how much more active parents can be, and the information and sense of what is being taught and how. They can get a better idea of who the teachers are, instead of hearing one-sided stories all year with the exception of Parent-Teacher conferences.

I think this a great idea, and I fully support it.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 02/07/11 - 02:29 pm
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Beck, 500 x 32000 students in

Beck, 500 x 32000 students in Richmond county alone, plus wiring up all schools (over 50) for wifi. We can't even keep teachers paid. Pipe dreams, baby! A big fat sixteen million dollar pipe dream! Someone's priorities are critically out of whack. I expected more out of Chip Rogers...

Chillen
17
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Chillen 02/07/11 - 03:29 pm
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taylorb - don't forget the

taylorb - don't forget the docking stations, the 8-10 extra technology staff members that would be needed to keep these things running.

Richmond Co wouldn't need 32,000 because it would only be for middle & high schools but you'd need about 1000 extra because the kids would be dropping them, damaging them & losing them full time. Remember, people don't treat public property as well as they do their own (just look at hotel rooms!!!).

It would be a nightmare except under the very BEST of circumstances and even then the cost outweighs the benefits. We are in a RECESSION!

iLove
626
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iLove 02/07/11 - 03:38 pm
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"Beck, 500 x 32000 students
Unpublished

"Beck, 500 x 32000 students in Richmond county alone, plus wiring up all schools (over 50) for wifi. We can't even keep teachers paid. Pipe dreams, baby!"

huh?!

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 02/07/11 - 04:41 pm
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This is one of the stupidest

This is one of the stupidest and most costly ideas I have ever heard. Now some of our kids can be more ignorant than they already are.

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 02/07/11 - 04:43 pm
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I should have said your kids.

I should have said your kids. Mine has already graduated and doing quite well without having had a computer "teach" him.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 02/07/11 - 05:13 pm
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Ilove, not really

Ilove, not really understanding what you don't understand... for argument, let's say 16,000... that's $8,000,000 plus wifi install, staffing, and loss/damage. That's near ten furlough days at the going rate.

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