No Child Left Untableted

Discussion in 'Educators' started by Ed Hardy, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy FORMER Editor, TabletPCReview Staff Member

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  2. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm highly dubious about Mr Murdoch's attempts to lock education in with proprietary systems such as Amplify - the Android tablet his unit is using locks out other tablets in the classroom and so those kids with more powerful tablets or machines will simply ask why they have to use an out of date dud.

    Then you get to the real reason Murdoch is doing this - it's not the $299 that will continue to make him rich - that can be written off in general capital equipment procurement - it's the $99 a year subscription fee each child has to pay to continue using Murdoch's enclosed system.

    This is a bad idea in an era when universities and colleges are starting to put whole academic programs and classes online for free or where sites such as khan academy exist.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
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  3. siddhartth

    siddhartth Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I have similar views about Microsoft onenote. Eventhough, Microsoft is not exactly looking to skin students for profit. But their tablet/surface oriented approach excludes many students who are poor even in the first world and almost everybody in the developing countries.

    Worshippers of crony capitalism are always blaming lack of privatization as a reason for poor quality of education but the truth is that education standard even in the expensive universities is bad, even in the first world. So students have to pay massive debts for education that is good for nothing. And on top of that they have to later join private coaching centres to gain competetive edge. But the problem is even our government certification exams have been designed in a way that only the students who take these external coaching classes have a greater advantage in these exams. In short this education mafia has already bought our lawmakers and have bent the public system to their own advantage. All on the taxpayers money. Things are even worse in developing and ethnically and socially divided countries like India, where i live. Where huge chunk of the population has no access to quality education or any education at all.

    Our whole Education system has become commoditized as if good education is a luxury meant for few. Mafiasos like Rupert Murdoch need to be repelled. Things have to change in America because corrupt politicians in every other country give the excuse "Americans are doing the same thing so it must be right" and then they implement their evil designs.

    We need open source knowledge platforms especially for primary and higher technical education like Engineering and Medicine. Go Khanacademy!!

    It has to be acknowledged as a fact that there are not enough raw minerals to in the planet to make tablets for every child in the country.

    Future of education is not in some singular isolated devices like tablets but in quality government/community funded education distributed via cloud with the help of real physical teachers on the ground to help the students with their problems.

    Here's how i see use of pen tablets for education - if you have a laptop it should also have the pen support so you don't need to buy paper and pen, seperately but if you dont need a laptop, your school system should not force you to buy one just to take class notes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
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  4. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    In India, is there an entrenched oligarchy and private interest groups controlling Parliament?

    I was hoping political climate was more positive for the people of India. :(
     
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  5. siddhartth

    siddhartth Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Not just in India. But also in Pakistan, Yemen, Nepal, Ethiopia, Bangladesh. India is actually better the one in this lot. But social division and strife that has continued since millennia in case of India coupled with the greater economic inequalities that crony capitalism has brought upon us, is stifling Human development.

    An observation I have made is, whenever these tech companies engage in public education system they are mostly there to loot the taxpayers' money. They invariably try to impose third rate unusable consumer technology like defective tablets and old laptops on teachers and students, without of bringing in infrastructure technology that can really improve education system.

    It doesn't matter if a student has the expensive iPads or a simple voice recorder or pen and paper, if -

    • the lecture recordings can not be stored in the cloud
    • or if the individual student/district government can not afford cloud storage and poorly made proprietary apps for every child in the district.

    And it's not just education infrastructure, police call centres are no different, it doesn't matter if the person calling 911 has a state of the art smartphone or a the cheapest feature phone, if -
    • the helpline personnel answering his call for help can not track down his location of the phone because he/she doesn't have the required infrastructure technology to do so.

    And more often than not what I have observed is the tablet happens to be
    • cheap tablets,
    • preloaded with some not so good textbooks
    • and often the tablet company charges the district or these textbooks too.
    • They do not have pen functionality either.
    • Or any App or software that can let teacher and students communicate or collaborate.
    After the photo op of local politicians handing down the tablets to teachers and students-
    • These tablets find their place in some drawer.
    • The students continue to buy their stationery and expensive paperback textbooks from better authors (because the cheap ones bundled with the tablet won't help you clear exams)
    • and worst of all underpaid teachers have to buy their own stationery too because the state/district has already spent the parents' collected taxes, which were supposed to pay for teachers' stationery, to buy those stupid tablets which no body wants to use.

    So, the question now arises is, will I be happy if the tablets being distributed to students weren't cheap iPad minis or some even worse androids, but quality ones like SP4 or ThinkPad's?

    The answer is NO.
    Why do I say that?

    We have to examine the sales pitch of these tablets or apps.
    • You can record audio/video of the lecture,
    • OneNote or Snote or Livescribe will also allow you to see teachers' pen-cast
    The message here is do not miss out on the information dumped upon your sensory system during your college or coaching classes for which you have already paid an expensive tuition fee out of expensive loans. Don't we see some oddities here?
    • Why students have to buy expensive consumer technology gadgets at an individual level to preserve the information they have already paid for?
    • Why the school/college/coaching centre investing in common longterm infrastructure technology and recording the lectures/pencasts themselves, so that there's just one copy of the lecture which every student can access, so that instead of every student buying a separate pen/paper or SP4 and using their own cloud space, it's just one livescribe pen, paper, app and cloud storage that students can buy for the teacher?
    This will allow students to take their own lecture notes without the fear of losing important information. In their own handwriting and in their preferred format of old school pen-paper, or tablet-stylus-keyboard.

    The larger point I am trying to make here is
    • I detect a conspiracy to make expensive (and thus exclusive and elitist) consumer technology a forced necessity on students and teachers,
    • Instead of making real improvements in education, making it affordable, sustainable and accessible for all, by adopting long term infrastructural technological solutions. That also happen to be more ethical.
    • Consumer technology should be a luxury that is optional for your workflow
    I have bought SP4 because I suffer from neurological impairment that makes my attempts to take meaningful notes in class a stalemate. It's clear that I have bought it out of fear. Ideally the only reason one should buy an expensive machine like this because he is a rich professional who does not want to carry all his notebooks around with him. A poor student who can not afford an SP4 should also be able to access professors' pen-cast on his desktop that he shares with rest of the family. But since these expensive coaching centres in my country do not do any digital recording of classes despite being technologically equipped enough, so people who take notes on paper do not have access to teachers' voice later on, but if one guy takes notes on my SP4 so he can record teachers' voice. So, not only his SP4 grants him the luxury of light weight notebooks but it also gives him a personal recording of the professors voice. Pen and paper student do not have access to this necessary thing. Luxury to store all notes in a slate instead of a bookshelf does not give one any advantage in academics but having accessibility to professors voice record that you can always refer back to, gives one hell of an advantage.

    And while libertarians always try to sell this argument that private, for profit enterprise brings out better quality in services and products. But the first hand reality that I have actually observed is that it's not the profit driven individuals but philosophy driven collective not for profit efforts that give better services. Khanacademy and Anand Kumar math coaching are two positive examples. These big publishing houses and consumer hardware makers can never match the quality that these Khanacademy guys can provide. Negative example will be how people are willing to die for what they believe in. Ideological drive is way more powerful than any profit drive. There's a reason why Google couldn't make project ARA possible, but few guys in Fair phone, with much less power and money did a better job of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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  6. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    While I agree with you in outlook, I'm going to play devil's advocate on a few points:

    Capitalists will invariably say, well without a large initial user base, it's not worth investing in a good infrastructure.

    And then you get locked in an endless chicken-and-egg debate where the educators/students can easily end up looking like entitled children...

    You're right, and in a similar manner, no big media corp is going to match the creativity and inventive of the actual student body.

    The students do not have to wait for government/big business to get it right. That one guy with the SP4 can share his notes in PDF format with the rest of the class. That one guy with the mic/cellphone can upload the lecture for his whole class.

    When I was in university, the few people who used OneNote did share notes and think of ways to leverage technology outside the system.

    Heck I found Wikipedia, even at that time, to be vastly superior to the $200-300 textbooks that were "required reading". When my friends asked me where to get simple succinct study material, they were shocked that it was just freely available online!

    If the student body bands together to create their own tools, I think it will: a) prove the true value of education tech, and b) show just how inefficient/exploitative the current system is.

    You should give yourself more credit. ;)

    I see you have visionary ideas and also the intelligence and drive to accomplish them.

    In my school days, I met a lot of smart future engineers/doctors/etc from India, but they studied alone! (for the most part)

    I shudder to think, how much smarter they would be, if they pooled their resources knowledge in improving the education system. :cool:
     
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  7. siddhartth

    siddhartth Scribbler - Standard Member

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    People who call 911 are a large user base, most of their phones have a GPS system. And even a dumbphone has triangulation based positioning. But still 911 are so poorly equipped in America itself, why they don't have the basic infrastructure.

    The collective effort to implement better infrastructure technology is always way cheaper than individuals having to buy expensive consumer technology products to deal with problems that would not be there in first place if way cheaper infrastructural technological advancements were implemented properly.

    In Medicine we call it, prevention is better than cure. In other words a stich in time saves a nine.

    It's the religion of the capitalist to worship Mammon, but our mighty governments are not supposed to be profit oriented companies, they need to ensure public safety, accessible quality education and nutrition for all.

    In India where people are starving to death, government store houses itself let the grain rot because they do not want to buy refrigeration, though they have the money to send Mars missions after buying Russian technology.

    I am not waiting for a bold good hearted capitalist to donate his money. Nutrition, education, law and order, security and public safety are state functions. I am stating that here it's the priorities of our governments are wrong.

    There's a big user base of starving people in need of acute relief, there's a big user base of people in dire circumstances (like home invasion, road traffic accidents) who want first responders to know exactly where they are as soon as their GPS is enabled.

    I would end up in jail, if I do that. These are proprietary courses. In United Kingdom, the government not being as corrupt as in India, let's user record lectures audio and video of any classes that the student has paid for. The processor has no right to stop the recording. But there's no such legal protection like that here in India.

    I am not exactly a student (when I was I couldn't even afford anything with a touch screen). I am more of a client now. And education I am receiving is outside the pale of school/college system. There's no student body.

    The exam I am sparing for requires access to latest guidelines and they do not come up in Wikipedia, expensive books are really necessary. So a way to bypass them is to sign up for these six months weekend lecture programmes where lecturers have already gathered all the new information. These programmes are cheaper than buying books. For those who have no problem keeping up with firehose lecture speed, which happens to be the vast majority, these programmes are a blessing, but for people like me it's a different story. So, there are these great affordable lecture programmes that are available through out the country which everybody who is competing with you has access to but if you are ADHD + dysgraphia and language processing problems, you will not find these programmes useful at all, they will be so so fast. And these companies do not offer online courses where you can pause and play. IF they had pause and play thing Nobody would need an SP4. All they needed was to give the professor an SP4, and make him take classes in onenote (what they currently do), so that it could be shared with those

    Thus, an artificial demand for a product like SP4 is created, sales pitch is that people with disabilities can now compete with those who aren't.
    https://blogs.windows.com/devices/2...ok-and-onenote-every-day/#CAuZdCMDXLTKUsef.97
    Advertisements run on TV as if individually bought expensive consumer tech it is the only solution, which is not true. collusion with apathetic governments, corrupt politicians are piggybacking on copyright laws rigged against students and consumers (despite paying full price), creating artificial demand for consumer technology like education oriented tablets.
     
  8. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Apologies, I assumed you were going through a typical undergraduate engineering/technical course. You sounded like a young and eager freshman! ;)

    These private education institutions seem a lot like the Asian cram schools (which students enroll in to prepare for National Examinations). I am not surprised that private schools would strictly enforce copyright on their lecture material, but I hope that at least in India's public institutions, students are encouraged to share and learn together.

    Given the extreme pace of lectures which you describe and the lockdown on information sharing, I can see why coordinating any sort of "shared initiative" might be impractical.

    However, you may yet find little opportunities to share bits of technical wisdom among your peers. I'm sure they would your ideas useful and interesting. :)

    I am impressed and inspired that even with your learning disability, you managed to engage this forum on many high-level and technical discussions regarding tablets.

    Do not sell yourself short.

    There is no shame in buying a device to help you learn. Some of the world's greatest minds, like Stephen Hawking, use technology to overcome their disabilities and contribute to our shared body of knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  9. siddhartth

    siddhartth Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I am a General physician, who wishes he was engineer or lawyer or a social activist instead. :)

    most people who come to these classes are not keen about it. Especially when they hear that SP4 costs $900 on sale in India. Most of them already have laptops and are "normal".

    Most people who become doctors in India are either
    • Super rich (they practically buy their seat into colleges)
    • or have pristine brains without any disabilities and high intelligence, hardworking and get full scholarships.
    An inefficient apathetic schooling system weeds people like me out very early very fast. I have above average high intelligence, very curious and crazily obsession towards subjects and issues, I love and am passionate about.
    People with learning disabilities do not reach the 2nd highest ranked med school in India, unless they are unusually creative and have above average Intelligence. So, I was from this rare category - scholarship guy with not so pristine brain, who is not so hardworking either, but crazily obsessed about biology and physical chemistry.

    people who attend these classes with me do not have my problems. Only a person with similar problems will consider Onenote full desktop version + TabletPC solution for his problems. So, they will rather buy a PlayStation instead oaf SP4.o_Oo_O They think I am crazy when I start telling about Surface.

    You know it's very similar to being a stylus users, since we are a minority, innovations in stylus tech are far fewer between and often unsatisfactory, and there is no awareness or inclination amongst the general public towards the stylus. But since PC gamers are a vocal majority, every next generation of games and animations, decimates previous one. And even the general public knows the bignames, like age of empires, half life, Halo, tombraider. It's exactly the same thing. Lol:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  10. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing, but over here (Canada, for me) most people would find the notion of calling a person with a learning disability as having an un-"pristine brain" to be terribly offensive. I hope there is no stigma against you in your learning environment.

    I'll say again, I find your learning efforts to be quite inspiring considering the conditions you describe in India.

    I seem to getting the impression there doesn't seem to be the same sense of
    "student community and innovation" in India.

    When I went to school, some professors gave us challenges they knew we couldn't solve on our own! They expected us to band together to pool our brains and come up with solutions.

    Our final engineering project also was based around a 4-man design team, with both students and teachers praising teams that were able to find new and more efficient solutions.

    Is this not the tech culture of India?
     

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