Sunday, September 24, 2006

Is this the way to go?

Windows HS: Microsoft designs a school system

After three years of planning, the Microsoft Corp.-designed "School of the Future" opened its doors Thursday, a gleaming white modern facility looking out of place amid rows of ramshackle homes in a working-class West Philadelphia neighborhood.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. In fact, I think I'm frightened by it. While I like the idea of a digital school, I think students today are entirely too dependent on technology, and this will only be fostering that dependence.

The school is being touted as unlike any in the world, with not only a high-tech building -- students have digital lockers and teachers use interactive "smart boards" -- but also a learning process modeled on Microsoft's management techniques.

Students -- who are called "learners" -- use smart cards to register attendance, open their digital lockers and track calories they consume. They carry laptops, not books, and the entire campus has wireless Internet access.

Teachers, or "educators," rather than using blackboards, have interactive "smart boards" that allow teachers to zoom in and out, write or draw, and even link to the Internet.

There's no library, but an "interactive learning center" where information is all digital and a "multimedia specialist" will help out students.

Call me old fashioned, but I think computers are simply unreliable....maybe not always, but enough that an entire school of computers will create problems. But I suppose they will have the best tech-support team on the planet...

They're modeling this school after the Microsoft corporation. They're starting school later because studies have shown students learn better (and it's more like real-world hours), which I'm not opposed to, but they're also using "a learning process modeled on Microsoft's management techniques". I'm not quite sure what this means, but from what I gather from the school is being treated similar to the workplace. Again, not completely opposed to this, but when do kids get to be kids?? Why do we have to get them used to a workplace when they're in high school??

As you can probably tell, I have mixed views on this new school. And my thoughts aren't completely organized, as I'm shocked, I supposed.

What do you think?? School of the future? Or one of those education trends that comes and goes?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you about dependence on technology. What pray tell will the school do during a power outage? I still prefer to read my old fashioned books, no batteries are required.

jody said...

As of tomorrow my school is starting the Apple One On One program (where every student gets an aple computer to take home with them)

I am glad to see someone else having the same misgivings as I have.