Silicon Valley is watching you studying
There is no wonder that we cannot imagine our life without computers. We use them every day at home, at work etc. But, should our children use them at school? Church Lane Elementary Technology, public school, has increased the number of laptops to make learning process more effective.
The classroom technology makeovers happen across the whole America. The teachers of Baltimore County Public Schools, which are one of the largest public schools in the USA, accepted the changes called to use laptops at the lessons. The district has allocated $200 million for buying HP laptops in 2014, and nowadays it distributes millions of dollars on language, math and science software. Some students were featured in promotional videos of high-tech companies. These companies try to convince school administration to buy laptops for the development of new technologies at school.
Silicon Valley has enthusiastically accepted the school district right back.
This district was taken as a model by HP, to promote laptops in the different places like Rwanda and New York City. The district’s education foundation has got the $30,000 from the “Daly Company” which was in charge of supplying the laptops. Industry-sponsored group financed the visits of schools’ administration officers to different education events.
The software and computer market is the goal of Silicon Valley to be the leader on the American school market. The company has planned to get the $21 billion by 2020.
Nowadays, school administration officers are very interested in distributing laptops. The private firms get the fees, which can reach up to tens of thousand dollars, for arranging the meetings between the vendors and school leaders, and in some cases the last ones get the money to promote the laptops among the other districts.
These promotion methods are completely legal. However, there are still no solid evidences that using laptops increases the educational outcomes. But, schools hope that accepting new tech-innovations will be the key factor in preparing students for the further education.
Sometimes the strategy of distributing the computers resembles the drug makers.
Students can study wherever it suits
The students of Baltimore County schools, for example Church Lane School encourage students to choose the most comfortable place in the school the hall, class or whatever.
Across the whole nation the ties between the tech-vendors and school districts are seen. Last fall the League of Innovative Schools took place, the network of tech-leaders. The vendors from HP, Apple, and Lego Education have visited it with the dozens of school administration officers.
A nonprofit organization of Digital Promise runs the superintendents’ league; its goal is to promote the technologies in schools. The Digital Promise charges annually $25,000 for sponsorships that gives the opportunity for companies to be the part of the superintendent meetings
The CEO of Digital Promise, Karen Cator believes that cooperation between the industry and school is necessary. The students must get the required knowledge and keep the pace with time.
The lack of dedicated resources
Every school in Baltimore County struggles to have the up-to-date facilities. However, the problem of financing exists. For example, 113 students go the new modern schools. At the same time there are schools with the lack of classes, so the classes are overcrowded. There is also a problem for disabled students; the district documentation says that the dedicated resources weren’t committed.
The superintendent, Dallas Dance expressed an appealing argument about tech makeover. If we want students to develop their skills in new-economy field, every school should provide the environment with the equitable learning process, meaning that every student must get the same device.
You may ask, but why there is a necessity for the first graders to get the laptop? Because, everyone is equal. The district had an aim to provide the device starting with the youngest ones, who don’t even know how to type, up to the students of the senior forms. At the beginning of 2014, the district chose the complex device of the HP software, the laptop which can be converted into tables. This device has taken the third place out of four. The HP devices ranked the 27 scores on the scale of 46 points. The device of Dell Company has ranked the first place out of 34.
Silicon Valley kicked into gear
The district has won $205 million, a contract with the Daly Computers, a Maryland reseller, to appoint the device, called the Elitebook Revolve.
In 2014, when the schools received the laptops, the superintendent was invited by HP, to give the speech in New York City, at the major education conference.
In September 2014, shortly after the first schools received laptops, HP invited the superintendent to give a keynote speech at a major education conference in New York City. HP’s vice president, Gus Schmedlen, said that event was a school board meeting.
He also mentioned that the company had to choose the group which would represent their education technologies during the academic year, and Baltimore County Public Schools won that opportunity.
However, after month of using their laptops parents and students started to complain about the quality of HP devices.