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Education Google Microsoft The Almighty Buck Hardware

Chicago Mayor Praises Google For Buying Kids Microsoft Surfaces 137

Posted by timothy
from the non-denominational dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Google earned kudos from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week for teaming up with Staples to fund the projects of 367 of the city's 22,519 public school teachers on "begfunding" site DonorsChoose.org. "Everything that you asked for...every project that the teachers put on to help their students learn, exceed and excel here in the city of Chicago, you now have fully funded," Mayor Emanuel said. "Chicago's hardworking public school teachers are doing all that they can-and more-to support their students, but they need more help," said Rob Biederman, head of Chicago Public Affairs at Google. "We jumped at the chance to join with DonorsChoose.org and Staples to make Chicago's local classroom wishes come true." So what kind of dreams did Google make possible? Ironically, a look at Google Chicago's Giving Page shows that the biggest project funded by Google was to outfit a classroom with 32 Microsoft Surface RT tablets for $12,531, or about 6.5% of the $190,091 Google award. Other big ticket projects funded by Google included $5,931 for a personal home biodiesel kit and $5,552 for a marimba (in the middle of the spectrum was $748 for "Mindfulness Education"). In addition to similar "flash-funding" projects in Atlanta (paper towels!) and the Bay Area, Google and DonorsChoose have also teamed up this year to reward teachers with $400,000 for recruiting girls to learn to code (part of Google's $50 million Made With Code initiative) and an unknown amount for AP STEM teachers who passed Google muster (part of Google's $5 million AP STEM Access grant)."
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Chicago Mayor Praises Google For Buying Kids Microsoft Surfaces

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  • Just wondering ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @09:53AM (#47641543)

    Just wondering ... but why didn't public schools need to engage in constant fundraising and beg-a-thons in the good old days, for basics? Governments weren't spending more on them then, proportionately.

    We are spending a river now. Where is it going?

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 10, 2014 @09:55AM (#47641557) Homepage Journal
    What schools should be teaching is basic entrepreneur skills so that people can create their own jobs after they graduate.
  • by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @10:16AM (#47641617) Homepage

    What schools should be teaching is basic entrepreneur skills so that people can create their own jobs after they graduate.

    Skill #1 - be born to parents who can give you enough money to survive until your business makes a profit.

    I think about half of kids in public schools are going to fail to master this one.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @10:22AM (#47641639) Homepage
    Ya, because a bunch of toys that will distract from coursework and be broken in 2 months are "needed equipment".
  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @10:32AM (#47641679)

    You have that right. People with some experience in that field have been saying it for a long time, and by now there is a scientific foundation to that idea. However you should not forget that this was not about doing something positive for children, but about getting good press. The average person on the streets thinks that computers help academic performance, because the average person on the street has no clue.

    Incidentally, same as this "Made with Code" nonsense. Most people cannot learn to code to any significant degree and many of those remaining cannot learn to code well. Having these people on a project usually results in negative performance by them, i.e. cleaning up the mess they make costs significantly more money that the worth of anything they created. We desperately need fewer people to learn how to code. Instead we need to make sure only those that actually have the required talent learn how to do it professionally. The others cannot get there, no matter what. Coding well is a very advanced skill.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @10:46AM (#47641735)

    Seriously, what good is that "surface" crap, except maybe as 3rd or 4th computer? This thing basically is an overprices Internet terminal and bad at that.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @11:09AM (#47641871)

    At least you can get Android Tablets cheap and iPads and Android tablets are good Internet terminals. This surface thing is just a rip-off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2014 @12:21PM (#47642205)
    In "the good old days" there weren't hundreds of computers on campus requiring hardware and software upgrades and an IT staff to maintain them. No digital projectors to buy/upgrade/maintain. No computerized grading systems, attendence systems or student databases. Tech takes a good chunk of our district's budget. Then there are the overpaid district staff of course who are paid 6 figure salaries to hire educational consultants and contractors of questionable educational value at outrageous prices.
  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @12:42PM (#47642319)

    Incidentally, same as this "Made with Code" nonsense. Most people cannot learn to code to any significant degree and many of those remaining cannot learn to code well. Having these people on a project usually results in negative performance by them, i.e. cleaning up the mess they make costs significantly more money that the worth of anything they created. We desperately need fewer people to learn how to code. Instead we need to make sure only those that actually have the required talent learn how to do it professionally. The others cannot get there, no matter what.

    It's fine if they don't, and can't. They still need to try to learn, for several reasons.

    The most important reason the masses should take at least one programming class is to learn what a computer is capable of. Most people wouldn't know a for loop if it bit them. If they took a programming class, they would at least learn that computers are good at doing repetitious things, and this is how it's done. They may not ever be able to write a coherent program, but at least they can see what's possible. Most people view computers as the magic talking box with a screen you can touch to make it do stuff. (As opposed to the past several generations who viewed televisions as the magic talking box with knobs you could touch to make it do stuff.) A programming class, even a bonehead programming class, would give people an inkling of what's happening inside the magic box, and maybe, just maybe, get them to ask a programmer for help with automating tasks.

    The second reason is to make people find out, by experience, that programming is hard. Right now there's a pervasive belief that programming must be easy. After all, my cousin's sister's kid does it. How hard can it be? That boy used to shove peas up his nose. Unless people actually try to write a program, they haven't the faintest inkling how difficult it is. Maybe if they try, they'll finally figure out why programmers cost more than MBAs. Or should.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2014 @04:36PM (#47643403)

    Your opinion is just as ignorant, and I also wonder if you've ever used one. I have 20+ years doing that same stuff too.

    Sure, I can buy a $2000 Surface Pro "tablet" that fails at being a tablet (empty app store, metro sucks HARD, battery life isn't so good, it's susceptible to common Windows problems, the OS is bloated for a tablet, it's seriously overpriced, etc) and that also fails at being a good computer unless it's plugged to a keyboard, mouse and large LCD panel which is totally the inverse of what buy a tablet for! It's a tablet that sucks HARD at being a tablet and that ends up being a overpriced poor laptop.

    But when you point out that it sucks at being a tablet, the shills and idiots say "but it's also a laptop!" and then you point out stupid it is to use a tablet that's only useful as a laptop (and a overpriced poor one at that) when you say "but it's also a tablet!" disregarding that it sucks at that. Circular thinking at its best! Sure, it sucks it sucks at task #1 but it can do task #2! Yes, it sucks at task #2 but it can also do task #1!

    I'd rather have a $300 android tablet or ipad mini than a $2000 surface pro. At least it's somewhat more useful as a tablet, and that leaves money to buy a FAR better laptop than the surface will ever be.

If all else fails, lower your standards.

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