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Easy as A, B, Chromebook (vicki.substack.com)
26 points by cjbest 42 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

This article cites some very questionable research and seems to have a lack of rigor, in general. It's all fine to dislike Google, but technology is going to be a part of your kids' lives whether you like it or not. It is to their detriment if you believe otherwise.

> technology is going to be a part of your kids' lives

So, we're supposed to throw our hands up in the air and just allow surveillance and tracking as companies wish? Or allow schools to train kids to use google or apple so they become customers later on?

Technology -can- improve learning, definitely. This does not mean it -does- improve learning in every case. Regular software (especially for businesses) is often crap, so why would educational software necessarily be any better or enhance learning?

> and seems to have a lack of rigor

This is like saying "2+2=4" seems to have a lack of rigor. Google doing stuff like this should be a surprise to no one. This behavior targeting teachers, who frequently lack time and money, is almost predatory.

This is such a dismissive, prototypical HN comment on a post where someone is trying to bring light to an issue.

Even if you accept technology will be part of their lives, it doesn't follow that any addition of technology in the classroom is good.

How much rigor should we ask of evidence showing it's bad? Does the evidence showing it's good clear that bar?

There is a difference between technology and surveillance.

You CAN have one without the other, and I think we should create the world our children need, not the one that's more conveient for them.

I didn’t learn computer science until late, what I learned in school was how to think, question, recognize truth. Also reading and math.

The article relies to a large extent on the blogs of cranks, if you click through to any of the sources, none of which are primary, you get derangement such as:


I appreciate that people have privacy concerns, but this meter-long blog post is the result of just imagining a bunch of stuff that an evil company might do and then searching for a bunch of second-hand innuendo to support your hallucinations, in the tradition of people who have been ranting about gold-fringed flags on the Internet for decades. It doesn't advance the discourse and it isn't redeemed just by focusing on the boogeyman of the moment.

We had parent teacher interviews here in Australia this week and my boys 3rd grade teacher suggested we could work on his typing because by year 5 and 6 all his work will be done on a chrome book. My other boy is 1st grade and his teacher suggested some typing practice too, apparently the whole class was hopeless logging in to their Reading Eggs app.

Author complains Chromebooks are dangerous because Google is evil. And the only way out is for you to be rich since private schools offer iPads instead and they are much safer.

I don't get it. How is Company A offering better than company G here? Seems biased to me.

> And the only way out is for you to be rich since private schools offer iPads instead and they are much safer.

No, this is not what she says.

The author is a quack. Half of the references citied are referring things that aren't Chromebooks.

The biggest head-scratcher was the Missouri one: "My voice to text was being stored as well as any search my kids did, and I could say ‘sure my daughter was searching on Google,’ but my phone uses Safari. When I used my texting app on my iPhone, it recorded my voice, as well as typing out the words and saving it on my Google Drive,” said Brette Hay, the Ely’s daughter and a teacher at Pershing Middle School."

My son's in 2nd grade and just started using Chromebooks and iPads for enrichment activity in class. IMO, it's fantastic. It is incredibly powerful tool at this level for math practice, and some reading/english enrichment stuff. If a school is eliminating books or something wacky like that, that's another story.

It's pretty clear in the article that the point is that all this spending on tech shows little if any improvement in test scores which would mean that it isn't a particularly good ROI for schools. Privacy concerns, sure. But moreso a huge waste of money.

Is having a cohesive tech ecosystem for all students really a waste of money? What is the alternative? Rely on children to provide their own devices? That has its own challenges and costs.

If it doesn't translate to anything useful, like better performance then yes, it's just waste of money.

People who think computers bring some great magical benefit for everyone to everything are delusional. In many cases iPads or Chromebooks are just a fancy (and often worse) substitutes for pen and paper.

So pen and paper is your alternative? Ultimate faith in standardized testing, and suggesting pen and paper in a digitally-dominated economy seems delusional.

I agree with the parent comment - pen and paper should suffice.

Standardized testing has nothing to do with the medium used.

There is also no point in teaching an 8 year old the tools used in today's digital economy. Not only will today's tools be obsolete by the time they're 18, the kids would've picked up all the required tech skills by just playing video games and figuring out ways to watch movies for free and what not.

On the other hand, writing, sketching, craft works and sports will help develop motor skills as a child grows and hopefully lead to a healthier life that isn't addicted to a screen all the time.

Pen and paper stopped being used as early as the early 90s.

If standardized testing had nothing to do with medium then how is the parent comment measuring performance of the medium?

Letting kids figure it out on their own sounds like digital abstinence education.

Most people will agree spending years learning cursive italics ultimately ended up being useless. Personally writing with pencil and paper as a child was painful due to hand cramps and no one could help teach me how to hold the pencil without causing these cramps. It turned me off of writing for much of my childhood. Plus we were poor so I'd use the pencils until they were a nub because I might not get more, and asking neighbors for pencils chronically was embarrassing.

Funny you say Chromebooks are a waste, but then want kids to do arts and sports at school. Those aren't free programs. Can't kids learn those motor skills outside of school? How do we judge performance gains of these extra-curricular activities? Also those sports should all be non-contact. Football and soccer have been shown to literally lead to brain damage.

My kids' expensive school uses Chromebooks, not iPads, because they're much more useful. Apple isn't offering collaborative editing on par with Google Docs. Apple authentication isn't hooked up to apps that kids use like TypingClub.

Maybe I misread the article, but my understanding was she was saying the private schools she visited had exactly the same issue (forcing kids Infront of screens) as public schools. The only school that didn't was a Montessori school.

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