Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Calling All Computer Entrepreneurs . .

My eldest suggested this morning that, instead of a book for every class, they should have a book for every grade. One book, with all the information for all their classes. I gently pointed out the obvious problems with this . . . first and foremost being that such a book would weigh as much as all of her current books COMBINED and would need to be carried all the time. She blew that off. Clearly in a gritching mood, not a reality-considering mood.

But it caused me to wonder . . .

How long do you think it will be until schools start issuing Kindles to their students with their textbooks downloaded on them? Seriously -- how cool would that be? I haven't used a Kindle, so maybe there's a downside to this I'm unaware of. But I'm thinking it would be a great thing for everyone. Students don't have to break their backs lugging heavy books. Schools will surely save money overall (assuming they make students responsible for paying to replace Kindles they lose or damage).

In fact, why hasn't some computer company come up with a device specifically designed for students? Start with a Kindle, where schools can download textbooks (including all the little extra articles and such that teachers copy for their students). Add a simple word processor, for students to take notes, write papers, etc. Include a calendar/datebook function where students can keep track of their assignments.

Internet access seems like an obvious necessity for such a device, but there are also problems with that. I have Facebook friends in high school that will be updating their status and chatting online with friends while they're supposed to be doing research in the library. There has to be a way to give kids access to research sources without access to entertainment meant for their off-hours. But a wireless connection with the school would allow the school to send students the "daily announcements" and such -- and would allow students to turn in assignments online rather than waste paper printing it up . . . oooo, the possibilities!

Yeah, I know some schools issue laptops to their kids, but regular laptops are expensive, and usually have all sorts of stuff on there that are above and beyond what a student needs. (Freshman Daughter was just saying this morning that one science class at EHS gave the kids laptops with cameras on them, which have been used in study hall for less than educational purposes.) Some people might think those extras are an advantage, but I tend to think they're a distraction. Surely somebody can come up with a simple, compact, inexpensive device that meets a student's needs and nothing more. It surprises me that some enterprising entrepreneur hasn't already seen the potential market for such an item.

I can only assume that some ridiculous educational bureaucracy is in place that prevents there even being a market for such an item. How dumb.

1 comment:

Some lady from Pittsburgh said...

One of the universities here in Pittsburgh has gone completely digital with their textbooks. They have it advertised on the back of local buses and everything. They give every student and every professor an iPad and all their textbooks are digital.