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Comment Someone familiar with the study said: (Score 1) 278

Here is the take from someone familiar with the paper. Quoted without permission, and passed along from hand to hand, so not able to attribute.

It (the paper) ignores the importance of training and skill. The headline misinterprets the original study as the finding concerned a limited number of children.

The usual sort of mainstream media shock-value headline. Unfortunate since it was quoted directly from Eureka Alerts. Sad.

So if you want to claim it applies to your life, go ahead. But don't make claims about general application and for goodness sake, don't use it to justify messing with your own kids lives.


Home Computers Equal Lower Test Scores 278

An anonymous reader writes "Politicians and education activists have long sought to eliminate the 'digital divide' by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service. But a Duke University study finds these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their homes."

Comment Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446

I suggest you look first at yourself. Are you the kind of person who reacts well to a lower stress environment by becoming more creative and working harder?

Your argument is fine of you are a conservative economist. But this isn't post-hoc story telling. Schools are directly responsive to you. Now if you are talking about charter schools, I might agree with you. They aren't directly responsive.

Comment Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446

There you go! The only thing you *didn't* mention was voting for Jim Inhoffe.

All I need say is look at the many survivalists that represent the far right margins of conservatism. The remark about having a gun collection was unfair of course but who hasn't had an issue with the IRS? Honestly, lots of people. Ask a CPA.

Many people have guns, many people hate the IRS. BUT the things they do aren't motivated by paranoia either.

Comment Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446


Of course you don't hire PhDs for elementary schools. But many expensive private prep schools hire them. Actually they have a mixture of masters and even some bachelors but the key is subject knowledge in any case.

It didn't occur to me anyone would consider elementary schools. But since you mentioned it, elementary teachers are demonstrably the worst prepared in subject knowledge. Puerto Rico looked at the research quite some time ago and mandated subject knowledge as professional development for all teachers. Strangely, this improved their SAT results after a short time. ;-)

Back to the US - hiring people who understand the reasons for learning certain things, not just that they must be learnt, is key.

Comment Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 2, Interesting) 446

Of course there is plenty of evidence that you get good employees if you pay them more money. Look around and quit listening to think tank FUD. There is absolutely no way of substantiating the article's panic laden assertions. None. Look at yourself in the mirror for goodness sake.

Every high performing private school hires teachers with doctorates. Universities hire people with doctorates. They get paid a lot and because they have tons of knowledge in their subject area they make pretty good teachers. There is plenty of research that says people who know what they are talking about are good teachers. The news is as usual catching and throwing some crap from yet another attempt to distract people from doing what is right.

OMG the educators have been doing it wrong for the last fifty years! ROFL Peolpe who believe that believe their plumber has been putting their pipes in backwards and their electrician has miswired their houses. They have a profound distrust of institutions that may or may not be well-founded. The result of such thinking is what brought about the rise of home schooling. But you gotta understand the majority of home schooling moms are evangelicals whose husbands have big gun collections and think the IRS is out to get them. They may be right, but they aren't you or me.

Now I'm sure that at this point all the slashdot self-educated whingers will come out of the woodwork, but seriously folks, just think about it. The articles are pretty much crap.

Comment Good account of the rest of what was said here (Score 1) 572

Comic Relief at Apple’s Shareholder Meeting article by Chaffin at Mac Observer
Some quotes: "Why are we being inundated with policies that have nothing to do with [Apple as a company]?!?! These people are Socialists and want us to be slaves to the government, GOD DAMNIT!" ... I also wonder if he's the same HP shareholder named Shelton Ehrlich who told a reporter that he didn't think HP's Chairman had done anything wrong by hiring private investigators to spy on company employees.


"Tyrant" German Radio Ad Banned In UK 37

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a radio commercial for implying Germans are tyrants. The advertisement for a Reed recruitment website features an angry boss speaking in German. The ASA says: "We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others. We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."

Comment Re:Thanks everyone (Score 1) 378

I am yet another computer crap teacher from yet another huge inner-city school. Rather than recount yet another boring and pointless-because-it-is-just-another-personal-experience, I will tell you what a know for certain.

Adoption of computer technology is a personal choice for families because game consoles are now as expensive as cheap computers. Scrounging broken computers and fixing them is not a productive use of your time. They have been commoditized.

Students will have unrestricted Internet access in classrooms whether schools want it or not. Right now, the screens are a bit too small to use for extended periods. But audio and video are pretty much ubiquitous.

The job is to shape student's usage rather than react to it.

I have moved our class management system (Moodle) to a server outside the school firewall. Now the kids have access from home and everybody is a lot happier.

It may be a waste of time to teach students how to use technology in Math class, but it is essential to understand search technology, critical thinking about content, evaluation of sources, and social behavior as much as which buttons to push.

Any school should be able to afford to put in Internet appliances that are fanless, diskless boxes with wireless cards and external power supplies. Why? Because the cost isn't significantly different from a couple of sets of textbooks. The real problem is not a technology problem, it is a people problem. As Negroponte says, OLPC isn't a technology project. The U.S. school system is only very slightly different from others, but not by much.

On one hand you have parents, on the other, the school personnel to convince.

My solution is to provide something attractive that will attract teacher interest first, student interest second, and administrator interest last.

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