News Laptop Shortage of Nearly 5 Million Affects US School Districts

AnimeMania

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What good is getting a new laptop if you don't have the internet. Maybe they would be better off giving students decent Smart Phones and tell them to use any old laptop they can find that may or may not be connected to the internet.
 
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Gurg

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If learning is going to be remote by computer then who needs teachers? The Dept of Education should find one excellent teacher/Professor for each course and then make that lecture/course/homework available online in English to all students nation and world wide.

Also have online homework that progresses students at their own learning rate when they can demonstrate proficiency in the material. Fast learners aren't held back. Fund tutoring centers for kids having difficulty that their parents can't help the student master. Eliminate grades, but rather track proficiency levels.

The computer can also link to movies, further lectures, books, documentaries and specials related to the courses to make remote learning and home schooling more interesting. Develop courses for all levels and courses from K-BS/BA online and give college credit for BS/BA level coursework.

There is no reason a good education has to cost $15,000 annually per student. No reason 4 million plus teachers are needed in the US. Also no reason that access to the courses should be limited to the young but rather open to all Americans as continuing education.
 
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Gurg

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If there is a laptop, PC shortage then why aren't they trying to purchase used consumer computers. For example I have a five year old MSI 17" gaming laptop that my lawyer daughter was recently using for remote work from home and zoom calls during the virus. Original purchase price was $1600 but I would probably swap it now for the price of a new 3080 GPU. In the past I've passed on my old computers to neighbor kids when I've built a new one.

In all honesty however kids don't need a fancy expensive computer. When in college in engineering (1969-1973) we still used slide rules. When getting my MBA (1976) three years later, I thought I was in heaven having a scientific calculator. Then when in business before the first PCs I purchased a HP12c business calculator which I still have on hand for quick calculations.

A $99 kids Fire tablet connected to a keyboard and mouse with the right programs and storage is as powerful as a computer that filled a room in the 1970s. A smart TV or one connected to a Fire TV and internet can be the broadcast medium for TV courses and lectures. Same with a smart phone.
 
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Gurg

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Then within six months, all these laptops will end up in a landfill somewhere.
Why should we let the teachers back into the classrooms to pursue a two millennium old, obsolete teaching/learning system from ancient Greece? The teachers now want to be paid not to teach. They are now scared by something that is no more deadly than a nasty flu season. Why should communities spend $10-20 million on building a school? While some educators /teachers may be useful as tutors, most should be retasked into more productive careers.

My four "kids" who are now in their mid 30s-40s., learned basic keyboarding skills at a young age playing an educational computer game called Typing Tutor. They became proficient in basic mathematics playing another computerized game Math Blasters. There math problems appeared at the top of the screen and you scored points by typing the correct answer before it "fell" below the bottom of the screen. We didn't have to force them to play these games, they enjoyed doing it. My grandkids now have Fire Kids Tablets with educational games on them.

Things change and so should educational methods.
 
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Chung Leong

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Why should we let the teachers back into the classrooms to pursue a two millennium old, obsolete teaching/learning system from ancient Greece?
The main service that schools provide is adult supervision, duh. You certainly can't get that from a laptop. Kids could be playing video games all day long.
 
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My suspicion is it is Chromebooks primarily. My kids were all issued Chromebooks starting in middle school (U.S.) and there is no way a pubic school in the U.S. can afford $400 or more machines for each student. In our case the kids were issued $200 Chromebooks. Why, because they can be efficiently configured and maintained.

Used machines, yeah right. You obviously haven't carried one around much or tried to keep one working on battery for a few hours at a time. I've bought used ones and the first thing that has to be replaced is the battery, that'll be another $20. Installing ChromeOS or something that won't be easily corrupted ... hmm. Lock down machine to the school echo system, that will be $xx and this many hours of time. I think the public school system my kids are in had one band director handling the ID for middle school, and one dedicated person to oversee it all. The only option is seamless administration of the machines.

If you have skills, I am sure the schools would like your assistance. There are still some machines used for programming, cybersecurity and developer courses that require something more than ChromeOS. Those often are 8 years old and dire need of some love and maintenance.

As far as critics and teaching. I'm not a teacher, but saying the teachers want to get paid to not teach is just rude. From what I see they are doing their best to create curriculum and new ways to hold the students accountable for their lessons and also following up on progress and areas where students are struggling. My kids' teachers DO CARE and are doing the best they can under the on again off again politics of this year's Covid-19 education.
 

Gurg

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In DC area teachers unions are opposed to opening the schools. But some districts are looking at opening the schools for day care for which the parents will have to pay. Paid in person day care in public school classrooms which are funded with tax dollars is OK but students learning in classrooms with union teachers is not OK? Virtual learning in the DC area was pretty much a complete failure in the spring as the public schools could not get it to work. The exact reason why has never been explained.

Supposedly they are going to try virtual class rooms again in the fall. There were discussion about bringing in half the kids for two days and then the other half for two days and giving the teachers the other day as a free day, but that evidently got nixed also.

Of course there is absolutely no discussion about schools staying in session to make up all the missed classroom time.

Yeah many of us are very cynical about the teachers, the school administrations, their motivations and exactly how much they care about educating students. Meanwhile the rest of the economy is reopening.

One of the local DC radio talk show hosts made a great comment about better not see any of his kids teachers at Target, eating in restaurants or on TV protesting while schools are shut down.
 
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JayNor

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The problems with laptops are the cheap keyboards and the screens are too small. Laptops aren't the right choice for the current situation. The kids don't need to be hauling them back and forth to school during a pandemic. Get them a little NUC box, a big monitor and a durable keyboard. They'll figure out how to hook it up.

Yeah, internet to everyone.
 
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nofanneeded

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Use desktops and larger screens . Education on notebooks are not good for kids health at all. Also , using Desktop will stop kids from using the PC in gaming and wasting time instead of learning and studying. Parenting is important and Notebooks for kids is not good at all.
 

spongiemaster

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The problems with laptops are the cheap keyboards and the screens are too small. Laptops aren't the right choice for the current situation. The kids don't need to be hauling them back and forth to school during a pandemic. Get them a little NUC box, a big monitor and a durable keyboard. They'll figure out how to hook it up.

Yeah, internet to everyone.
The average family has 2 kids, which means many have more. Setting up permanent works space and computers for every kid is often not going to be possible. Laptops also have the benefit of integrated cameras and mic's which are required for video conferencing.
 
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We are in laptop industry and we found there are huge orders in Chromebook which should be shorten development time schedule.
 

margrave

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We don't need fewer teachers. We need fewer administrators.

The staffing model is upside down.
Eliminate 80% of the administrator jobs.
Hire more teachers and pay them more.
 

margrave

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Your point that we had no-tech or low tech 50 years ago is valid. But those 1970s-era calculators can't handle online training of any kind. They were good for what they were built for. But they do nothing for a home-bound student today.
If there is a laptop, PC shortage then why aren't they trying to purchase used consumer computers. For example I have a five year old MSI 17" gaming laptop that my lawyer daughter was recently using for remote work from home and zoom calls during the virus. Original purchase price was $1600 but I would probably swap it now for the price of a new 3080 GPU. In the past I've passed on my old computers to neighbor kids when I've built a new one.

In all honesty however kids don't need a fancy expensive computer. When in college in engineering (1969-1973) we still used slide rules. When getting my MBA (1976) three years later, I thought I was in heaven having a scientific calculator. Then when in business before the first PCs I purchased a HP12c business calculator which I still have on hand for quick calculations.

A $99 kids Fire tablet connected to a keyboard and mouse with the right programs and storage is as powerful as a computer that filled a room in the 1970s. A smart TV or one connected to a Fire TV and internet can be the broadcast medium for TV courses and lectures. Same with a smart phone.
 

Gurg

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We don't need fewer teachers. We need fewer administrators.

The staffing model is upside down.
Eliminate 80% of the administrator jobs.
Hire more teachers and pay them more.
Based on 2017 state test scores, 13 out of 39 high school in Baltimore had zero students proficient in math. Another six schools had only one percent of their students who tested proficient in math. Baltimore meanwhile had the 3rd highest expenditure per student ($16,164) of the 10 largest city public schools in the country. The average Public School Teacher salary in Baltimore, MD is $59,906 as of July 27, 2020 and average class size is 18.07.

So how few students do you want in each classroom and exactly how much do you think teachers should be paid for working 70% of the days of a normal full time employee in other occupations?

Is the two millennium old, teaching/learning system from ancient Greece and the 185 day school year vs 252 business day school year still working in 2020?

Note MD Governor Hogan recently stated that Maryland schools were free to open in classroom this fall.
 
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Gurg

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Your point that we had no-tech or low tech 50 years ago is valid. But those 1970s-era calculators can't handle online training of any kind. They were good for what they were built for. But they do nothing for a home-bound student today.
My point is that the curriculum, courses and technical requirements for an MBA haven't changed much in 44 years or in 14 years since when my son got his MBA. A PC, MS Office, a printer and the internet made the process a whole lot less cumbersome and time consuming for him than using a hand held calculator and a typewriter. In the end the lessons learned did not change.

Things change and so should educational methods. For online learning today students through HS need an internet connected device, basic programs and a keyboard as minimum. . Having better educational and instructional content available though the internet however could reform learning forever. Having one teacher per 20 students online is inefficient and costly.

I believe that the US Department of Education should develop a national educational format with the best teachers, to deliver available anytime lectures/instruction online for all non-lab courses through college level BS/BA, with online homework and testing to monitor student proficiency and advance student when coursework is mastered. Local or online chat tutoring assistance should be available This should be available online for free to all Americans.
 
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