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Old 07-11-2005, 11:50 AM   #1
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Default The End of Civilization as We Know It

Arizona High School Will Stop Using Textbooks
Students Will Use Laptops, Online Articles Instead of Books

TUCSON, Ariz. (July 11) - A high school in Vail will become the state's first all-wireless, all-laptop public school this fall. The 350 students at the school will not have traditional textbooks. Instead, they will use electronic and online articles as part of more traditional teacher lesson plans.

Vail Unified School District's decision to go with an all-electronic school is rare, experts say. Often, cost, insecurity, ignorance and institutional constraints prevent schools from making the leap away from paper.

''The efforts are very sporadic,'' said Mark Schneiderman, director of education policy for the Software and Information Industry Association. ''A minority of communities are doing a good or very good job, but a large number are just not there on a number of levels.''

Calvin Baker, superintendent of Vail Unified School District, said the move to electronic materials gets teachers away from the habit of simply marching through a textbook each year.

He noted that the AIMS test now makes the state standards the curriculum, not textbooks. Arizona students will soon need to pass Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards to graduate from high school.

But the move to laptops is not cheap. The laptops cost $850 each, and the district will hand them to 350 students for the entire year. The fast-growing district hopes to have 750 students at the high school eventually.

A set of textbooks runs about $500 to $600, Baker said.

It's not clear how the change to laptops will work, he conceded.

''I'm sure there are going to be some adjustments. But we visited other schools using laptops. And at the schools with laptops, students were just more engaged than at non-laptop schools,'' he said.

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Old 07-11-2005, 11:52 AM   #2
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Default RE: The End of Civilization as We Know It

For the record, I'm certainly no fan of textbooks - and if some school decided to dump its textbooks in favor of primary written sources, I'd be interested. But I can't say I care for the move to all-electronic media. I haven't figured out why just yet, but it makes me uneasy. I suppose the author of this article would call me "ignorant".
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Old 07-11-2005, 11:56 AM   #3
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Default RE: The End of Civilization as We Know It

Hockaday in Dallas (private, all girl k-12) has dropped textbooks and has gone with laptops.l
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:14 PM   #4
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Default RE: The End of Civilization as We Know It

As long as they are reading the actual classical literature in book form I have no problem I suppose with going paperless. If kids however don't actually get the opportunity or are not inspired to actually crack open a book, I am very much against it.
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:01 PM   #5
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Default RE:The End of Civilization as We Know It

I would be most concerned about how the policy would effect the overall literacy levels of my students, something that may be difficult to measure. I think Ctrl+F1 is great, but so is the ability to spell "misspell" without it.

Maybe its the fact that I just graded my in-class writing assignments and actually had a student use the word "agreeance" (maybe he was being a smartass).

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Old 07-11-2005, 01:03 PM   #6
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Default RE: The End of Civilization as We Know It

I'm in agreeance with Mary. [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:24 PM   #7
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Default RE: The End of Civilization as We Know It

Oh.... how the younger version of u2sarajevo would have loved local Network delivered school studies. Not that I had a difficult time with popularity in school, but I would have been everyones friend.

Need a day away from studies? I have a feeling the temptation to knock the content servers offline would be too great to resist.
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