Monday, October 02, 2006

Dan Maas visit

I want you to continue the conversation for those who did not get a chance to express all of your ideas to Mr. Maas. Let him know your thoughts about laptops as well as the things we are doing in class. For those of you who did not even get the chance to talk to him, I want your voice heard as well. Please keep your comments appropriate, react and connect with others' ideas, and give constructive criticism as well.


Blogger paigen said...

I am just so glad that I get the chance to work with laptops. I really wish that I had a history laptop room! But I also wanted to say, that when you think about it, a $1000.00 laptop could save 10,000 trees and when you think of all the lead you are saving and how much you are helping preserve our environment, you really start to wonder how many trees you could save if everyone used laptops.

Mon Oct 02, 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

I agree with paigen on her point about laptops and the environment.
I also think that laptops help us learn more effectively. Many young people today live on the computer, and get bored by long discussions, day after day after day. They find it hard to focus. I think laptops put a break in the monotony of long discussions.
I am not saying that discussions are a bad thing, in fact, I really enjoy class discussions, but laptops add a different twist to discussions that students really didn't have before. We can now take notes without having to hurt our hands from writing so much. When we take notes, we have something to go back to to study, so we learn more.
Laptops also offer a variety. Laptops may be available, and it may be highly suggested that students use them, but students don't have to use them. If they want, they can still use pencil and paper. But for students who don't like to use paper, the option of a laptop is there.

I would actually love it if the school could afford to check out a laptop to every student in the school that they could carry around with them. That would be really nice for people like me who have terrible organization and love to take detailed notes. Laptops store things neatly and enable files to be moved and edited very easily. I know the school can't do this, but I love that the school is taking steps toward this dream by having laptop classes.

Mon Oct 02, 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah C said...

For me personally, the laptops have been a big help. I am more organized with the laptop. Since I don't have tons of notes, papers, etc. crowding up my binder, I can actually find things when I need them. If I need to look at some notes, I just get out my USB and plug it in. Plus, the online text has saved me from having to write out tons of little sticky note questions. I can just insert my comments right on the text instead instead of having to take a sticky note and write out my questions. I think that thing I like most about the laptops is that it REALLY helps with projects. I can be more creative with the laptops than if I were given a piece of paper and some markers. The Internet, Word, Power Point, and other useful programs make putting together a project faster, neater, and more organized that having to write it out. I feel like I don't have to spend an hour or two on a project now just so that it looks clean and tidy, or just so that I can draw out the pictures. It really saves me time.
Despite all the good things I like about the laptops, I am worried about whether we should really have them at all. My main worry ,for me, is that I don't know how greatly it will impact my learning. If I go into an Enlgish class next year with no laptops, will I feel completely helpless? Will I have become so dependant on the technology that I won't do as well when I have to write notes, or do an in class project? I don't want the laptops to affect the learning techniques that I have been using since before Middle School (note-taking, sticky-noting, writing out papers). Secondly, although I feel as if I am being a responsible student by using the laptops for school related things only, I'm not sure EVERYONE does that. If kids are using them to IM, email, or play online games, then having laptops might hurt the students more than help. I know that I have heard of people using the technology to goof off (look up music, comics, etc.) instead of work on what they were supposed to. Laptops are a priveledge, and I believe that if students' grades, test scores, etc. are dropping due to the distracting things that come with getting laptops, then they should be taken away.

Mon Oct 02, 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah C said...

I think that if our school got laptops that could be checked out to students, it would be a VERY UNWISE decision. How many kids out of the hundreds that go to AHS do you think would actually take care of their laptops? Sure, if they had the opportunity to buy one themselves, I'm fine with that, but renting one to a student is not a good idea. They would be abused, with so many people clogging the halls, stuffing things in their lockers, etc.

Mon Oct 02, 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger lauraf said...

I definitely agree with Sarah C about being more organized and only having to plug in my USB to get to my work. To add on to what Sarah C was saying about the online texts and discussions, it is so helpful to have a lap top. For the online text, we have been working with Macbeth, reading and discussing. The lap tops provide a way to understand Shakespeare's writings better and more in depth. As we are going along in the play, you can just insert a comment quickly or ask a question, and then at the end of the scene easily be able to scroll up and share with the class, as opposed to using just a book and having to flip back and try to find the right page and quotes. It is also nice to be able to highlight important events to remember and be able to color-code the text rather than to just use sticky-notes. Also, during discussions with the class, having laptops provides a more efficient way to add in other students thoughts and ideas during class.

Mon Oct 02, 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger ADRIANA G said...

I think that the laptops are a great learning tool and I appreciatet that Mr. Maas came to observe and hear our opinions. I think that not just laptops, but this whole class so far have been very good for me because I feel that I'm being viewed as a mature individual. In some of my previous classes, I have had teachers who don't expect much from students. It's almost like they think there is a limit to how much students of a certain age can learn. When teachers underestimate my intelligence, I often don't perform up to my full potential. I have had teachers like this in the past who really didn't give the class the opportunity to show what we can do. In my current English class we are not only encouraged, but expected to take charge of our own learning. This motivates me to make sure I am doing the best I can in class. With laptops and with the type of assignments we get in class, there is nothing limiting my creativity. The use of laptops make learning a lot more open-ended. I feel that instead of being told to meet a low standard, my teachers are giving me a basic outline and really want to see what I can do.

Mon Oct 02, 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger AleeA said...

Personally, I love laptops! Technology is such a large part of modern day life, and with so much available, it kind of seems like a waste to not take advantage of laptops. I know that with the laptops, it has been easier for me to understand complicated material like Macbeth, for I can quickly put notes and things that would take me forever to write by hand. Also, laptops have made finding information that makes sense to us as individuals easier, and I know that my learning benefits from this. The laptops allow us to take control of our learning and be our own bosses. They teach us responsibility, organization, and respect for other people's property while giving us amazing opportunities all at the same time!
One concern that I do have concerning the laptops is one that sarahc had. I'm afraid that next year, I will get to an English class that doesn't have laptops, and that I will feel completely lost without them. We've been in school for around 7 weeks now, and I already can't imagine class without them. It actually scares me to think of going back to the traditional English class with pencil, pen, and paper. I'm just concerned that I, along with all the other students using laptops, are growing to dependent on them and that this may come back to hurt us in years to come. The laptops are great, but they are almost too great.

Mon Oct 02, 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger shaunam said...

When we were talking about how paper is withering away in today's 21st century learning, I was going to say that nowadays, things are only going to move forward. Whether it be technology, education, or independent learning, everything will keep progressing no matter what. The minds of today's education will learn more, faster. There is no going back to writing on stones or papyrus, soon enough, paper is going to be a thing of the past.

Mon Oct 02, 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger shaunam said...

P.S. I can not access the "learning and laptops blog" does anyone have a different way to do that?

Mon Oct 02, 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

I did not get the chance to meet Mr. Maas, but I would advise him to proceed with caution regarding laptops. While laptops have many positive attributes overall, I don’t fell that are increasing the quality of learning in English class.

While I have no previous AHS English classes to compare with, I do not think the laptops are really enhancing my quality of education as a whole. To me I am gaining the same amount of knowledge in this class as in my prior classes. I feel that reading Macbeth on a laptop is no more beneficial than reading out of a book. In some ways, it is less beneficial because you cannot take you notes on a laptop and act out a part in Macbeth at the same time. With a book, you can more easily go back and reread the scenes on your own. Additionally, I feel like I have not gotten any more benefit from doing group projects on the computer than I did otherwise. To me a piece of paper and some markers is just a beneficial as a laptop and Photoshop. Lastly, laptops are a constant struggle for those people like myself who are not that technologically literate. Not are we required to do the same work as though who are technologically literate, but we have to learn the skills “on the job” putting us behind.

This is not to say that they are not benefits of laptops. They can speed up research if you use them with caution, i.e. double checking your sources. Laptops also allow to start homework that would otherwise require a home computer.

For future laptop classes I offer one of two solutions. The first would be to totally integrate the district giving each student from kindergarten up a laptop and training all the teachers on how to make laptops valuable to learning instead of the laptops just being there. By doing this, you would eliminate the problems of the laptops not anything to learning in the classroom and everyone not having even technological. However, this option costs upwards of $8,000 just for the laptops, not counting teacher training, software etc… A much better option would be to disclose which classes are going to be laptop classes at registration and hold a lottery for those classes. This way those students like myself, who would prefer a non laptop environment do not have to take the class and those that would prefer a laptop environment but were placed in an another class would have a chance to try laptops.

Mon Oct 02, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Aylar said...

I was unable to meet Mr. Maas but I wish I had. Laptops have been a wonderful asset to learning in English class. In middle school I went to a private school where I took computer courses every year since the 1st grade; so the transition was no big deal for me. I LOVE being able to type notes during class, I'm quite the perfectionist so I would just go home and type them anyway. Having laptops has saved me vauluable time and energy that could be spent doing something more benifical.
Besides laptops helping me I see them helping the class every day. The laptops are not only teaching students who are "computer challenged" but also help those of us who are used to computers to hone in on our abilities. Mrs. Smith is definitly making headway with me, as a student. I love how she uses the laptops to help us understand class concepts better. I would enjoy it very much if all my classes were like English in regards to the laptops.

Mon Oct 02, 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Zachf said...

Learning in the 21st century will obviously involve the use of new technology. The abilty to work with laptops in the classroom and transport our papers via USB is very helpful so I do not have as much to carry. It is great to be able to work with online texts in class and make comments right on the page.
There are minimal frustrations with laptops, using the mouse on there is a little difficult to highlight information. People who are computer illiterate need more guidance with their technology than others. I think teachers and students alike need to be more sensitive to that. I think a problem with laptops being integrated into all classrooms (which will eventually happen) will be the fact that not everyone can afford jump drives and things like that to do their work. A great idea would be to have the district provide that for the students, make it a part of student fees.
This has enhanced my learning to some degree but at the end of the day it is the same lesson. I think more interactive assignments are needed so students can show how much the use of new technology in the classroom can benefit them.

This is a great opportunity we have here and we need to take full advantage of it.

Mon Oct 02, 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

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Mon Oct 02, 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mon Oct 02, 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

I also, was not able to be in the conversation with Mr. Maas. I would like to agree with everyone, along the fact that I LOVE having, and learning from our laptops. I really enjoy the opporunity to read off our laptops and to have everything just infront of us. I do like the way we are now learning I feel like I am progressing in the 21st century and this is just helping me along that tough road of technology. I DISAGREE with Emily L. in the fact that you should be cautious about more laptops, my reasoning is that we are moving along in the 21st century and you can't get out of it and this is just preparing us for what is ahead.

I agree with what Ayla R. said, because I also think that this new technology helps all of us because we can be more organized. I really think that this is a tremendous help in our world of learning and I encourage you to keep going with what you are doing.

Mon Oct 02, 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger briang said...

I was able to speak to Mr. Maas briefly but there were some things I wasn’t able to say regarding the laptops. Oh, and by the way I appreciate him coming out to see us today, which is really a big deal for this class. Anyway, I believe that the laptop in the classroom has been one of the most beneficial tools I have ever used. The laptops keep you organized, your work is neat and tidy, you don’t have to necessarily print things out, and the USB has become essential my life source. But I want to focus on what Mr. Maas said about "are laptops an essential tool for learning?". The answer is clearly no, I mean we have been learning without laptops for years and we have all been fine and learned a lot. But i think the laptops allow us to expand on our learning and allow us to meet our individual needs. If one student doesn’t know what a word means or what some text means, instead of interrupting the entire class, they can just look it up online and they're all set. I think for these reason laptops are not an essential tool for learning but are an excellent tool for learning.
Also, I believe that the classrooms with laptops should be limited based on subject, and difficulty. Personally, I believe that some students can not handle the responsibility of the laptops and therefore should be restricted to only honors and upper level courses. Honors students would take care of the laptops while an average to below average student might damage it. I don’t have anything against those people, but for the sake of money and time I think that honors courses should be the only ones allowed to have them. Also, i think that the only classes that would be able to use laptops efficiently would be English, history, and science courses. I think that with math everything needs to be written down, and equations can be solved faster on paper than on the computer, and besides we have calculators anyway. Foreign languages could use them, but I think it would be more beneficial not to have them.
If we want our students now and students of the future to be successful and full of knowledge after they leave our high school, I believe laptops would be an awesome tool for classes. It costs a lot of money, but in the long run that money spent will pay off in what the students achieve using them.

Mon Oct 02, 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I agree with Briang, and would like to thank Mr. Maas for coming out today. It was very nice of him to take his time to do that. I am glad the district has a CIO that willing to look for ways to improve learning with technology.

Here is how I would summarize whether laptops are essential or not:
They are about as essential as a shopping cart. You could always carry your groceries out of the store, but if you had a cart you could do more and you could do it faster.

And for the record, I agree with the majority on just about everything. I love laptops, and think they are a tremendous asset to our learning.

Mon Oct 02, 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...

Mr. Maas and Peers:

You may all know that, on the learning and laptops blog, I am an advocate against the laptops. The bare bones of what I have been posting there started with me being completely against laptops in the classroom. I believe the words I used were, "Laptops have no place in the classroom." My mindset has changed quite a bit as I debated with my peers on that blog. After all, it's a bit selfish to say that laptops shouldn't be in the classroom because I hate them and because I've come from a very traditional background.

The conclusion I've reached is that laptops can be a wonderful supplement to the classroom, but the really don't add that much for me. I use a paper book when I can and I prefer to take notes on paper. I also have trouble keeping track of something as small as a USB. (In the past week, I've lost mine twice!) Even if paper builds up, I think it is a good organizational skill to keep track of them. I don't lose them as easily because of their size (it's kind of hard for a piece of paper to fall out of a pocket.)

Another conclusion I feel we reached (correct me if I'm wrong on this, Ben) is that technology must be used responsibly. It can be a great tool, but it can also be used as a terrible toy. Someone suggested purchasing laptops and checking them out to students. Another school tried that, and parents called the school and asked them to take them back because all their kids were doing was playing games.

I read a part of the grant that enabled us to purchase the laptops. As is appropriate for a piece of writing trying to make a cause seem good, this grant listed a couple pages' worth of "What it Will Look Like for Students," in which there were several "personal Learning Blogs" from students promoting the technology in the classroom. It made me wonder how many blogs they saw out there that were against the technology. Perhaps the students not cited in the grant were pretending to love the technology, when really they hated it.

The laptops in the classroom can be a good supplement for some students and they certainly make a computer lab day more convenient. However, I think that they should never be required (not that they are now).

Mon Oct 02, 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...

Oops...I'll get on and post more later.

Mon Oct 02, 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger karib said...

I agree with everyone so far for the most part. I believe laptops are a great learning tool, but I also think they are a tool that needs to be earned with good grades and model behavior. If students arn't willing to put the effort to get good grades without the laptops, they don't necessarily deserve them. I think students should also realize the fact that they are very lucky to get laptops, and they shouldn't be taken for granted.

For me personally, the laptop helps greatly. I'm one of those people that gets bored during the first 10 minutes of class and usually looks at the clock every 30 seconds until class gets out. The laptops in my English class break up the monotany of everyday class. I look forward to English more and generally pay attention better because it's something different. I also think laptops will help us prepare for our futures. I think we are just starting to understand how technology can be applied to our lives, and almost everything in the future will incorporate some type of technology. By learning now, we are ahead of the curve and the general populus and will be able to excel in the future.

Mon Oct 02, 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger maria k said...

Mr. Maas, thank you so much for coming to hear our input on the laptops today. It was a priviledge to meet you and tell you how beneficial these laptops have been to us.

I agree with aylar in that I wish all my classes were like English and had laptops. Not only does it make English easier to learn and Macbeth easier to understand, but I've noticed how the overall classroom atmosphere has changed too. We are all so energized and excited to learn, and I wish I could feel that way about every class. Laptops add an awesome new feel to learning, and I feel like I am truely getting prepared for college.

Mon Oct 02, 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger HannahJ said...

I wanted to touch on how much I like having the online text on the laptops and how we act it out in class. I've noticed that it really helps me on the quizzes when we have questions about certain quotes from Macbeth, I can read the quote on the screen and hear it being read aloud. Then, I can remember that a certain person was acting out that character and I remember the quote that they said.

Mon Oct 02, 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger connord said...

Laptops are so awesome i dont need to keep track of anything i love it!!!! And i ca nbe organized so easily. Thats all i have to say, they are great

Mon Oct 02, 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger christa s said...

One thing that I like about the laptops that most people have mentioned, is the note-taking. I like to be able to highlight a passage and go back and look at the notes I took on that particular part of the text. I can understand my typed notes better than written notes because I type faster than I write and can get more detail down in my notes.

Like many others, one of my concerns is that I will become too dependent on technology and not be able to function without going directly to the internet to look up a word I don't know or to research a topic. The internet is extremely useful, and I use it every day both in and out of school, but I feel that I need to be able to effectively use other sources to find out information. Also, I love to read, and I prefer the feeling of an actual book and paper in my hands and the ability to see the whole page rather than scroll down for 5 pages, but that is just personal preference. Those are the only complaints I have in relation to the laptops.

Mon Oct 02, 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mphair said...

Personally, I have had some interesting experiences with the laptops. As the people who sit around me know, I am not particularly talented when it comes to technology and computers. I am forever asking them questions--thanks for putting up with me!! However annoying this is, I can tell that it is helping me. Slowly but surely, I am learning more and more about this "new" technology.

However, a laptop does not belong just anywhere. I feel that they are quite suitable in an English class, where writing and reading takes place. However, I believe that laptops must stay away, at least for now, from math classes and other classes that are based mostly on fact. Admittedly, I know that this comment is biased, considering I had a math teacher last year who used the computer to teach...basically all of her classes (we talked together) ended up learning from our parents. Yet, if used correctly, I suppose they could be used even in the math classes. However, I do not know what the correct way is. I’m sorry I can’t help you there.

Back to English though. I have had, in general, a very positive experience with them. I believe that it is helpful learning to take notes directly onto the computer, because no matter how hard my technology in-adeptness fights against it, the 21st century brings even more advanced technology. If I get freaked out and stop here, I will never be able to go very far in life.

Mon Oct 02, 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

I think that the laptops that students use in class are a great tool for learning. A few people in my class do not think that the laptops are efficent and that we should not rely on them for everything that we do. Unfortunately for them, this is the new way of learning. Laptops or computers are used for almost any job that you would find and I think that if we have to use them later, why not get used to how they work now. Though some of their statments I do agree with. One person said that if the human race completely depends on them, what would happen if the system were to crash and there was no way of getting information? What would we do then? They say that we should coninue with our old ways, because they cannot crash and lose information. I agree that every student should know how to take notes on paper, and know how to do research from books and all the many other things that don't use technology. The only problem with these old ways is that books are easily outdated, from our ever changing society and the use for new techonolgy is in high demand. I don't think that we can ignore the changing world, so why not grasp the opportunity to use these tools while we take regular notes in our other classes? The laptops that are provided for us are great tools that not your every day highschool can afford. We should really embrase this chance to use this tool. If you don't like it, then leave.

Mon Oct 02, 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger jess b said...

Learning with laptops makes being a student so much more easy and is alot more effective. I find myself wanting to go to class and learn with my laptop; English is one of my favorite classes, and I believe it is because we have such a valuable resourse. I can't imagine learning any other way; it would seem so plain and in the past. This will help us get ready for college and the rest of our lives. We will have a much greater understanding of technology than students who did not get to have this key tool and are more likely to succeed in the up-coming computerized world.

Mon Oct 02, 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyH said...

Guess what guys?
We are in the 21st century whether we like it or not. People can not continue believing that we can leave education as it was 20 or 30 years ago and still keep the nation going on out-of-date skills. 20 or 30 years is not a very long time, but the amount of technology that has developed is incredible.

Almost every single career you go into will need the support of people who not only know how to use technology, but have experience using it as a tool. How can we be expected to keep up with China, Korea and other countries whose economy is exploding with new technology if we will not teach our students how to use technology, how to expand it, and how to develop new ideas with it?

We will undoubtedly reach a dead end if the young people of this generation are not kept up-to-date on the new technology. What will happen when we are the people running the country, inventing new things, keeping the current staff alive, if we cannot keep up with the rest of the world? If we do not learn how to expertly use the technology that is developed now, we will not be able to extend it later, we will have to take a huge leap backwards to re-learn what all the current inventors have already discovered.

We need to be kept up with the world. We cannot let our traditional ideas keep us from progressing. Yes, it is important to know how to use a dictionary, write a paper without a computer and do research without the internet, and we should still learn how to do that, but NOT at the expense of our education that will be necessary to keep the United States as a contender in the race for the newest technology.

Mon Oct 02, 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyH said...

Even though this is kind of strange to be posting after my last comment, lets talk about some of the disadvanteges of technology. Don't get me wrong, i am for the laptops %100 but they are not perfect.

1.) Blogging- it is meant to be an extension of the classroom discussion, but it doesnt work that way, at least for me. Because of how everything is typed out makes people not want to go back and read the previous comments, or comment on them, and because of that people are just writing their own freestanding comments, rather than playing off of each others ideas. kind of like mine right now (again, my good one got deleted) Speech is a necessesary tool in having a good discussion becuase of the natural stresses people put on words to change their meaning, and without hearing the speaker and their own way of saying things to help their argument, the reader can misinterpret the ideas and comments.

2) Class Discussion- I have noticed that the class discussions seem to move along more slowly with the laptops, i mean the ones where we are in a circle, have a topic and discuss it, not the general ones we have every day. Because discussions are so fast paced trying to use the computer every step of the way slows you down. I think that maybe for the discussions that we don't need to take notes on we should leave the computers in their shelves, just to see how much faster the discussion is with everyones mind completely focused on the discussion, rather than divided between the conversation and the laptops.

Ok. im done with the devils advocate deal, those were just some things i have noticed and i would like to see everyone elses opinions on them.

Mon Oct 02, 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Phillips said...

About paigen's comment. The trees used to create paper aaren't randomly selected out of the woods, they are planted nd grown specifically for being turned into paper, so the Rocky Mountains won't suddenly flourish with trees if everyone stopped using paper.

I would like to thank Mr. Maas for taking time out of his day to find out how well we work with the technology, and utilize it in class.

Mon Oct 02, 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger ADRIANA G said...

I completely agree with what sarah c said about laptops helping us to be more creative. I have never really been an artistic person. I have also heard some concerns that the increased use of technology will make some art forms and personal expression impossible. For me personally, the reality is totally opposite. Now, when we get a project, I can work on it in class and use talents I was never able to express before. Previous teachers often told me that projects had to be hand-drawn without the use of computers in any way. Now that I am actually being encouraged to use technology and to discover new ways of solving a problem, I find that I am capable of making something that is out-of-the-box and really expresses my style. It is so much better than being given a strict format to follow and producing something that looks just like everyone else's work. When we are given an assignment in this class, it hardly matters what the format is. I can show what I do best as opposed to trying to demonstrate skills that are really some one else’s forte. Instead of cutting off forms of expression, the use of technology in the classroom has opened up entirely new possibilities for me.

I also wanted to comment on the question Mr. Maas asked about whether laptops are necessary. It really depends on how you define necessary. Not much is truly necessary for education. We could sit outside under trees and listen to lectures by teachers, but it might not be effective as other forms of education. To make our education better, we use tools such as books, pens, and paper. Are these things necessary to learn? No. But are they valuable aids that add new levels to education? Absolutely. Because of tools, students can take notes, learn using different senses, and develop an individual learning style. Laptops, we all seemed to agree, are tools. Think of how paper revolutionized education. What can laptops do if given the chance? So if I was asked whether laptops were necessary, I would have to answer no, but there is no way I could truthfully say that they have not added new depth to our classroom and outside study.

Mon Oct 02, 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger joshb said...

I don't think that it has so much to do with saving paper(which still is important), but these schools are preparing us for jobs that may not even be invented yet. Mr. Fisch's presentation opened my eyes to see that our nation is preparing for a generation of incredible technology and competition with countries like China. If we want to stay on top then we need to be prepared.

Tue Oct 03, 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger endsleye said...

I strongly agree with joshb that using laptops now will prepare us for jobs that haven't been invented yet. Technology is advancing and improving everyday and using laptops will help us keep up with technology. In the last couple of years, my mom has had to learn how to use a computer for things she is doing. I still have to help her with a lot of the computer things and it is really frustrating to me because they are really easy but she doesn't know how to do it. So learning how to use technology now will help us and with jobs in the future!

Tue Oct 03, 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger chelseah said...

I got to say most of what I wanted to in class, but I just want to make a point of how beneficial the laptops are. They allow everything that you would ever need and all the resources needed in class are all just a click away. Some may argue that having that privilege is dangerous, and should not be an option, but think of how much one can learn with that. Also, having these privileges will prepare us for things, and jobs that we couldn’t even imagine yet. We are dealing with the newest technology, and getting to know how to handle it. Think about it, soon everything will be on computers, and paper will be a thing of the past. Like we discussed in class, it also helps you to be so much more organized. Having everything I need for class on a USB, is so helpful and you are always prepared.

Tue Oct 03, 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

I think they are an asset but don't give us to much of an advantage. Although we can print things out in class, we shouldn't need to. You should wait and double check your work at a different time than when you first write it or print it off before you get to class. They are also unreliable. What if our wireless connection fail or the laptop breaks? What if your assignment doesn't save properly on your USB and you losr that and everything else on it? We can't relie on technology as much. And as for peer editiing, I did do that in 7th and 8th grade with just hard copies of the essay. I just don't think it's any where close to essential and is to risky.

Tue Oct 03, 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger KathrynT said...

In response to what Adamb said, I disagree in some respects. Sure technology can be unreliable, but that is why you back things up and store them elsewhere rather than just in one place. You can also make a hard copy and bring it just incase something does happen. Just as well, you could easily lose your piece of paper or it could rip and 'break'. Personally, I tend to do a lot better peer editing on the computers than I ever did in 7th and 8th with the papers. Then, I would focus more on conventions and grammar instead of the larger ideas. The ability to use the comments in word really makes it very neat and organized and lets me go back and change my comments if needed. I find it easier to read and understand too because they don't turn out to be a bunch of pencil scratchings and scribbles off to the sides.

Because of this, I think that it is a great tool and really helps with organization, but cannot fully replace everything that we use, such as pencil and paper. On the computers, we can't draw or get the hard, tactile use of gripping a pencil and writing until our hands hurt. I find that sometimes when I type I just keep typing individual letters and don't fully grasp the words and sentences that they are forming. With a pencil, I feel the words more as a whole and tend to think about the writing more as my handwriting pulls each word together. There is just something hard and sturdy about a piece of paper. You know what it feels like and the depth of it. Paper has character and weight. You can’t get the same character from a painting that is done on a computer as you can with a piece of paper and paint, or pencil with detailed shading and texture.

Adriana said that computers help her to be creative and that other people had concerns that the technology would detract from the creativity. In some resects it can do both. It can take away from the creativity that an artist uses and feels with the weight of pencil and paper. But at the same time it adds to the creativeness of in class projects. People can use the computers and create it in Word or PowerPoint or use many different elements and ideas from the Internet. What I think, however, is that true creativity is using the resources you have, whether that be computers or paper or both, and going beyond the norm and creating something totally new.

Tue Oct 03, 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...

All right, I'm back. I left off with proposing what we've pretty much come to a consensus on: that the laptops are a tool, and they are also a supplement that is good but not specifically necessary.

Reading up through since my last comment, I noticed that a lot of people are saying that the laptops change the way they look at class. They are a change in the routine, which is a good thing. It's nice to banish monotony for a while.

However, I also noticed that people like the laptops because they entertain us. Is that all our society has become interested in? Entertainment? Entertainment is good, but too much is a bad thing. Our society is so focused on the senses and being entertained in all we do. This change is what authors like George Orwell in his novel 1984 and Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 are warning about: the change from necessity to entertainment.

Somebody mentioned all the answers being "just a click away." Interestingly enough, this point came up in the other blog. I don't know about the rest of you, but having all the answers right there makes me lazy.

My cousin, a freshman in college, bought her own laptop because her college professors right now are posting their lecture notes on their web pages. My mom asked if "wouldn't you like that because then you could mark notes on the lecture in Word with comment boxes" like we've been doing on our peer editing. I told her no because having the notes there would do the opposite for me: they'd make me lazy to the point where I'd download the notes and never look at them again. After a few rounds of notes, I'd get to the point where having them would seem like enough, and then I'd fail the test. There's value in writing or even typing things down.

Back to the entertainment aspect of technology. A couple years ago, my cousin from the Philippines came to stay in our house for a (his senior) year. When he got here, he was so into emailing that he'd ask my other cousin (then a freshman in HS) to email him 'long novels' once or twice a day, but then when we went over to their house for an evening and he got the chance to talk face to face, he spent the entire evening on the internet.

Is this what society is progressing to? Already, we have instant messaging, text messaging, (hypocritically) blogging, and things like myspacing to add to emailing. It’s almost as though we are afraid to hear another human voice. Friends chat less when they’re with each other than when they're at home laying on their bed with a cell phone. I watch people walk away from school at the end of the day, or sit with their friends at lunch and each of them have an iPod headphone sticking out of one ear. Other kids hold conversations while they listen to their music. When I try to talk to these people, I only have half their attention, and I don't like that. Society is becoming so entertainment based that we even need to feel entertained in the classroom, which is why some people like the laptops.

Just a few notes on the discussion:
Please try to attack ideas, not people.
And also, it's a good thing to revisit the blog and respond. This is supposed to be an out-of-class discussion, but if people don't return to the bolg, then there isn't a discussion, just a response. Keep coming back!

Tue Oct 03, 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger tanal said...

About everything that i wanted to say was already said in class, but i think that the lab tops are very beneficial. They are not an essential item for class and learning; however they are very useful and great to have. The lab tops allow us to have unlimited resorces right there in class and they are a great organizational tool. Everything that we would need from online texts to dictionary or even just to take notes are right there. My favorite thing about using the lab tops so far is that when we are reading our online texts we can put in comments, questions, and highlight the exact point that we want rather than just a sticky note on page in the book that we won't even keep. Also sometimes if I use a book I forget what part of the text I was referring to or I just didn't make it clear to myself, but with the online text, I know exactly what part I was referring to and I can type a lot faster than I write. I believe that using the lab tops now and learning how to use them will prepare us for future jobs and college. Pretty soon everything could all be based on computers and lab tops so why not start now?

Tue Oct 03, 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger kimmy c said...

For me, this class with laptops, has been a little stretch from my other classes. In most of my other classes I don't have a text book, because my teachers don't like relying on them anymore, and they want to teach me information that they... not some book, think is important for me to learn in preparing for college, and after college a job. They are getting their information from many different resources, and that helps me to undwerstand a lot of things better.

This relates to the laptops in that, with the internet it is so much easier for us to get information that is clear and precise, from so many different resources instead of just relying on the same book for an entire year. Especially when the internet is updated daily, whereas a book stays the same for the time you get it to the time you return it, as well as it becoming outdated easily. With a laptop, the internet is an online resource book that is very large, and updated.

Tue Oct 03, 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger hannahs said...

Although laptops open a new door to resources and technology in the classroom, I feel that their benifit goes beyond that. Having a laptop in class is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The privilage of having a laptop in class encourages me to become more responsible and mature. Being able to handle the privilage of having a laptop in class demonstates maturity and respect for the school's property. Also, a new opprotunity has presented itself to the classes that use laptops and personally, I am very excited to experience the outcome of this chance.

Tue Oct 03, 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger shaunam said...

For the idea posted about how laptops are possiby being used for entertainment, I personally disagree. Yes, they can be used for entertainment, but over the years has be becoming a tool in today's 21st century learning. And I find that taking notes and annotating on a laptop does not make me lazy, but rather more aware. If I hand write my annotations for a book, I can find them more quickly on the laptop than trying to constantly flip through the book trying to find the important point.
Those are just my views.
Thanks for your points as well, they really got me thinking.

Wed Oct 04, 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...


My point with the entertainment aspect of the laptops was not that we could play games on them in class, but rather I noticed that a lot of kids were saying they like the laptops because they are different and keep them interested in class, which sounds to me like they entertain people more than classes without laptops do.

And on the laziness, that is just what happens to me. I hope I didn't say that like it happens to everybody, because it doesn't.

Wed Oct 04, 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger danh said...

No doubt, I completely agree with having laptops in class. For one, they make taking notes so much easier. Typing is faster than writing and with thumbdrives, things are easier to organize and store. No more need for binders! Also, papers can get lost or misplaced, but with electronic documents, they will stay on the system until you intentionally delete them. Another great part of having laptops is blogging. Like Mrs. Smith said, if a discussion is going on in class and you can't find a way to butt in, posting a comment on the internet so that everyone can see it at anytime is an effective way to express your opinions and ideas to everyone. Technology is such a huge part of today's society and I see no reason why it shouldn't be used in the class room. Overall, laptops make learning much easier, fun, and enjoyable. On the laziness note, I agree with Shauna. Making comments in word is a great way to put your ideas on e-paper. It's fast, easy to use, and the computer keeps it organized for you. You have to make the effort to re-read notes or come back to blogs to see what other people have posted. I don't consider that laziness. Rather, it is more effective because of the time you save and the more assignments and things you can get done in a given amount of time. I also like how with online text, you can search in a document for a phrase or a word instead of flipping through the pages in a book to find it. After seeing what a laptop class is like in English, I wish all of my classes were laptop classes because it would make school less dull and more understandable, "stomachable", and overall enjoyable. That's what I think about having a laptop class.

Wed Oct 04, 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger ETAC of LPS said...

Thank you for the discussion, everyone. When I thought about coming to your class, I wondered if I would see many students using the laptops to distract themselves from the lesson at hand. Quite the opposite, I saw everyone working in exciting and creative ways on the material.

I hope you will continue to push the envelope of your learning. I believe that when excellence is in sight, good is never enough... what I saw this week was excellent.

Thank you,

Dan Maas

Fri Oct 06, 07:24:00 AM  

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