One thing that has always bothered me about school is how much paper we use. This year alone, I’m positive I’ve used over a thousand sheets. Handouts, packets, worksheets, lined paper, notes, you know the drill. It’s disgusting. The sheer amount of resources needed for paper, pencils and all that is staggering.
Today I was discussing this with my English teacher, Mr. Rapson, and he agreed. If we could only…get rid of it all. Pencils, paper, everything. Imagine how efficient everything would be. And computers (tablets) would take their place.
Here’s what I propose: every student receives a password and username, that they keep secret. Next, every classroom is stocked with 30 tablets (touchscreens and keyboards included). Kids are never assigned a tablet, they can use any one to log into their name. Once logged in, they are given a choice from their list of classes, and they select the one they are currently attending. The screen then presents the day’s lesson as prepared by the teacher. Worksheets are managed are worked on, essays are written, tests are taken, etc. Once a document is finished, it is sent to the teacher instantly. It would basically replace the need for any paper, and be infinitely easier to organize documents. The class would not be tied to this machine though, as any there would still be hands-on activities and all.
When someone is logged into their class, their tablets are restricted, as in no checking their email. Teachers would be able to override all of the screens in the class at any time, allowing them to give slide shows etcetera.
Of course, these tablets would have GPS trackers of some sort to prevent theft. It would not be a privacy concern because the tablets should never make it out of the classroom. If one did, it would be easy to track down. They’d also have to be made of a very durable plastic, and flexible OLED screens.
Homework, now this could be more of a problem. As kids would not be able to bring their tablets home, they’d have to be able to access their data from the web. A web interface would allow them to download documents, upload documents, and everything. This program would probably have to be introduced at a private school where everyone has a computer at home. Otherwise, there would be a library with full access that would be open till…9 pm or so.
One more thing. Would all this actually improve schooling? With all of their data digitized, would something be lost somewhere? A common method of teaching involves students listening to lectures and taking notes. This requires them to actually write what they are hearing. But would teachers still require the kids to type up the notes that they are displaying on their giant screen at the front of the class?
There’s my preliminary outline. Anyone see any gaping holes or have questions? This sounds like a great college project to work on at MIT or something…heh. I can just imagine it, developing the tablet and piloting it in a small private school.