Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Politics, shmolitics...

Forgive me, but I'm breaking into some politics today. Don't worry, I'll approach it with only the highest levels of snark and cynicism.

First, the everybody gets a pony laptop idea. While I certainly think our high school kids should be comfortable with technology, I'm having trouble understanding why, in one of the richest counties in the nation, we need to give each incoming freshman their own computer. Equity is an ostensible justification, but if that's the case, why not have means testing? Also, are we expecting high school kids to properly maintain a laptop for the four years they're in school? That might be a problem.

A broader point about some of the recently-proposed programs that I don't see being made is that the price of all this stuff is really starting to add up. And, with growing concerns about a deflating housing bubble, budgets might be getting tighter in the next few years.

Second, I didn't know District 1 has been represented for the last 16 years by a Republican. All I keep hearing is that it's a majority Democratic district, which doesn't much matter if the Democrats always vote for Republicans.

Finally, this was interesting, but this (by my raft-mate and fellow wrencher -- who I don't really know, by the way) and this are, too. I guess we'll know soon enough who's right.

Now back to your regularly scheduled, fairly non-political blogging.


nina basu said...

Am I the only one who likes the tactile nature of books and writing pen on paper? I don't necessarily oppose reading text books on a screen, I just know that *I* have a hard time doing it - is seriously cool, but I need to actually have a paper book to absorb anything and avoid eye strain. But maybe kids today don't have that issue.

The Washington Post yesterday had an article about the lack of cursive writing among today's youth. Ironically, while I nearly got held back in 4th grade for my terrible penmanship, I personally can't absorb information I type as notes, and have to actually write them. I wonder if that's more common than just me - whether the tactile nature of handwriting has some impact on learning.

hayduke said...

I'm the same way, both with writing and reading. I almost always print articles and reports to read them, and if I ever really need to remember something (whether facts for a test in school or an errand I have to run) it gets hand written on a sheet of paper. Writing is more deliberate than typing, which I do almost as mindlessly as walking.

Also, I remember hearing somewhere that paper usage has increased even as more and more of what we read is delievered via the internet. I have no cite, however, and might just be making that up.

Anonymous said...

Writing does serve to better imbed knowledge into longer term memory, perhaps by any combination of the more deliberate attention one must give to write it, the multiple times the knowledge must be stored and retrieved from the short-term memory hippocampus, and the multiple ways the knowledge must be handled to accomplish reading, writing, reviewing.

I wouldn't be surprised at all that paper usage has gone up - we have access to far more information and inexpensive printers, too. Hardware and software improvements will change this very soon, however. Converged, more portable devices with better displays, more memory, and lower power requirements in conjunction with better software will negate the need to print data.

Beyond that, the convergence of computers and brains is going to be a bit scary, but the alternative may be even scarier.