Opposition to can Aus $1.3bn school laptops program
Election fun and games
Australia's general election is in full swing and disputes over tech funding and tech policy continue to intrude on today centre stage.
In today's spat, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said he would scrap the government's "wasteful" computers for schools initiative if the centre right Coalition wins.
That would mean Year 9 pupils will not get their mitts on laptops as promised by the outgoing Labour government.
Last year, the government agreed a second round of funding worth $91m (£52.5m, US$82.2m) to buy 141,000 laptops for year 9-12 students in 1400 schools nationwide. The idea is to have a ratio of one laptop per two pupils.
At the time, Julia Gillard, then minister of education, and now Prime Minister, costed a full roll-out at $1.3bn (£750m, US$£1.17bn) over six years.
Hockey disputes this - this has now turned into a $2bn program with half the number of promised computers, he told Fairfax Radio Network.
His party has not come up with its own computer for schools program yet.
But really, does Australia's schools need so many laptops? According to at least one study, admittedly investigating home use, of 150,000 children in North Carolina, computers and broadband for all increases the digital divide. Poor parental supervision of poorer children is partly to blame.
And who can say that schools will be so very wonderful in supervising the computer use of their teenage charges?
Australia goes to the polls on August 21. ®
When will they learn?
When will the bloody politicians learn that a laptop is not an educational tool?
A good teacher, a blackboard, chalk, pens, paper, maybe a projector are educational tools.
Computers are only educational tools when doing computing related subjects. So why would you buy laptops instead of desktops which are half the price (or less)? And why would you need one for every second child?
I cant believe i voted this pile of shite government in. The problem with Australian politics now is that the alternative in the forthcoming election is an even worse pile of shite... Its very much a Damned if you do, Damned if you dont situation...
Aha your flawed arguement.
"Focus on instilling skills in the kids themselves instead of trying to make them proficient click-a-button automatons."
This is EXACTLY what .gov's want. A bunch of bland, conformist robots.
1950,60,70,80's students. If you didn't like something you had a good old protest, with the odd pitched battle and riot thrown in.
Now they set up a fucking facebook page. Ooohh way to change the world kids!
Flame, because sometimes that's what it takes.
"Free laptops" and national blocking go hand in hand.
No, of course nobody is going to supervise legions of brats. That's why they need the national blacklist of dentists, er, bad stuff, for. And it needs to be secret because, well, if the kids can't be trusted, then certainly their parents can't be. Obvious, no?
Anyway, while it might not be a bad idea to teach kids to touch-type, "computer education" more often than not strands itself at "teaching" to click buttons in specific "industry standard" applications that will be obsolete before the kids get out of school. Quick "results" but no lasting benefit. I'd posit the latter is what education should be about.
And since you can equally well teach about computing with the old books and pen and paper, except for practicals where the kids can get frustrated and turn to doom, or halo, or whatever the latest is these days, there's no real need to try and get everyone his own personal laptop. It's convenient as long as the gear hasn't turned obsolete yet, yes, and a feel-good handout for the plebs, certainly, but not strictly necessairy.
Focus on instilling skills in the kids themselves instead of trying to make them proficient click-a-button automatons. Discourse, critical thinking, the sort of thing that people are best at and we haven't been able to small-script-ise in the last fifty years despite dilligent trying. Even maths, though computers are better at calculation than we'll ever be; the ability to quickly gauge a problem for likely profitable approaches like an engineer with a slide rule is arguably more useful than getting a ten digits precise answer and having no clue what to do with it.
But you can't expect a kid-hugging bad-people-denouncer do-gooder to understand that.