Te(a)ch Your Children Well?


The following post (one of four) is sponsored by DELL and their fancy new Inspiron All-in-One 2320 Computer which (hooray!) is up for grabs for giveaway! (See rules and regs below.) Thanks, Dell! You = awesome.


A few weeks ago Archer came home from school with a packet of paper. It was one of those “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a First Grade Public School Education” packets and I did what I usually do when packets of paper come home from school: skimmed it. Because, let’s be honest people, the amount of arbitrary paperwork that comes home on a daily basis is insane and for the most part, completely unnecessary. I mean… it’s great that there’s an after party to the after party of Friday’s PTA meeting but do I really need a four-page manifesto on the kinds of snacks that will be provided? (At the risk of sounding like an anti-socialite, NO.)

… So. I’m skimming the four-hundred page pamphlet for key words and I come across a section about Tablets,  i.e.: “This is the year our classroom will transition into ‘tablets and touch-screens.'”

I was shocked! And I’ll admit, slightly appalled.

“What year is this, Archer? 2047?”

“No, Mom. It’s 2011.”

IMG_9005With Archer last Halloween, in simpler pre-tablet (Kindergarten) times

“What’s next! Flying space cars?” I asked, hiking up my granny underwear. (Literally. I had just given birth so had no choice but to wear granny underwear.)

I spent the remainder of the day boring my kids with “When I was your age we wrote on paper. WITH NUMBER TWO PENCILS!” and “NO, you can’t watch movies on my CELL PHONE! Movies are for watching on BETA TAPES! DO YOU KNOW WHAT A VCR IS!???”

And then we listened to Bing Crosby on my gramophone which I winded by hand by the light of a candelabra.

I’ll admit, I’ve never used a tablet before. Nor have I purchased an app. I’ve never even used a Kindle, either. Or tweeted on anything besides the twitter homepage. I only recently started using a smart phone. Not because I wanted one but because the dinosaur sticker that was holding together my four-year-old Blackberry was starting to grow a strange moss-like fungus. (That, and the smart phone was free.) I still don’t quite understand Facebook. I couldn’t care minus about Google+ and Klout makes no sense to me at all. (The only time I looked at my Klout score it told me I was influencial in “farts” and the “Minnesota Twins”.)

Hal on the other hand is up to speed on all things tech. He knows everything about every kind of gadget and app and tablet and pod.

So, it came as no surprise that upon reading the same pamphlet about “Tablets coming soon to a first grade near you,” Hal did an Arsenio Hall fist pump.

“I think it’s great. Clearly the LA Unified gets it. This is where we’re at now… Archer will be able to download homework assignments, he’ll be able to voice activate information, interact with people from around the world, ask his tablet questions and get an immediate response…”

Hal sat me down with the list of “recommended Apps” and we proceeded to scroll through itunes, checking out the various spelling and math apps, build-a-word games, interactive applications.

Sure, they were kind of awesome but I’ll be honest, I felt a twinge of sadness thinking that Archer’s educational tools will be so different from mine. That his journal won’t be the kind that locks with a brass key. That paper airplanes and origami notes and massive books that weigh him down won’t be…WAIT. Massive books that weigh him down aren’t awesome. I hated carrying around all those giant books, sometimes four at a time in and out of classes all day long! And those origami notes we used to pass in class? They were responsible for broken hearts, shattered friendships and multiple detentions! And think of the resources we’ll be saving as we move from MASSIVE history books full of DEAD TREES to a slim little touchscreen-thing full of… INFINITY!

Not to mention the inevitable.  If we’re entering a new improved (paperless) world, does that mean no more forty page PTA pamphlets and “very important (not really important at all)” take-home school papers?

Please say yes.

Because if you say yes, I’m so on board. Hell, maybe I’ll even buy a tablet for myself.


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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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