One to None

Cons of the 1-1 Initiative

Photo By: unknown

Sam Lesemann and Amalia Garcia-Pretelt, Staff Writers

Do me a favor. Put the paper down, and count the number of chairs in the room you’re reading this in. Done? Now count the number of outlets. Probably around four, compared to twenty to thirty desks? Now picture that, for every desk, there’s a laptop that needs to be charged. Now imagine the pure chaos when every kid tries to charge their laptop at the same time, a massive crush of bodies surrounding the pitiful two to four free plugs in each room.

This scene is a possible scenario during the 1:1 initiative next year, which aims to give a laptop to every incoming freshman.

The school system is already embroiled in a budget crisis; we can ill afford to pay to install new outlets, nor can we pay for multiple extension cords in every room. A massive charging bottleneck is going to hamper a student getting any sort of work done.

Secondly, every student knows how slow and unusable the internet is now, whereas next year another 200 laptops are going to be added. If it takes five minutes to open an email account now, how long will it take next year when every freshmen has a laptop at their fingertips?

The expectation is that these kids are going to be using these laptops everyday in every class they can, which is going to put a massive strain on the already notoriously weak internet signal strength. In addition, what happens when the laptops need repair?

Everyone has a story of how they couldn’t login during a test, couldn’t access a folder, or had a computer shut down unexpectedly. The school only has one IT professional right now, and computer maintenance is going to be an issue as well; what happens when a kid breaks a screen, loses a batter, or tears off some keys? How are we going to handle all of these issues when they all come about in an inevitable cascade next year?

As if you needed another reason to hate the freshmen, the school is providing each of  these typically lost and inexperienced youngins with Lenovo laptops next year under the 1:1 Initiative. Teachers are expected to incorporate the laptops into the students’ learning almost every day.

It seems that a public school education is just not thought to be complete without the school hurling a copious amount of technology at students in the hope that this will somehow teach them precious skills for future jobs.

Most of the incoming freshmen were born in the year 2000. They have grown up using iPods, laptops, tablets and the like for most of their lives and they probably already know more about computers than some of the faculty.

The idea that they need to use technology in some form in almost every class or need to take an online class to succeed in life is ridiculous.

It’s like the county’s administration wants to turn these kids into the obese technology-dependent humans from the movie WALL-E.

School is not about learning virtually through the use of a screen, but about creating meaningful relationships with teachers and other students while taking in a variety of knowledge.

Laptops can be used to supplement learning in valuable ways like writing essays or posting meaningful content on websites. However, teachers cannot be expected to provide busy work for students for the sole purpose of making them use their laptops.

I’m not ignoring the fact that computers are extremely important, especially now that many teachers are posting content online and using websites like turnitin.com. But I don’t think it’s necessary that the school allocate funds to provide everyone with a school-issued laptop, especially since everyone knows the school laptops are practically useless.

Instead of spending money on purchasing an excessive amount of subpar laptops, the school should assess the need for school-issued computers and implement a system much like the one in place for calculators.

Students who already have devices of their own should be able to opt out of the program. This way, the school will save money to respond to the school’s basic needs and hire more teachers.

Besides the fact that the inadequate laptops are a nuisance, using laptops in every class will prove to be a major distraction.

This “innovative technology” will only create time-wasters for next year’s freshmen, not enhance their learning experience.