Thursday, March 19, 2009

One Laptop per Child

Hi everyone, I hope your break is going well! I found the website for the One Laptop Per Child program that we were talking about in section last week and I thought I would share it in case anyone else wanted to learn more about it. Basically, what the program is trying to do is to be able to give a laptop to every child in poorer countries in order to give them hope for the future. The website also shows pictures of more advanced versions of the laptop that they are planning to give out. One fact that I found interesting was that in many countries, less then $20 is spent on a child's education per year. This is a huge difference from the $7,500 spent each child in America per year. But, hopefully, with this program, children in poorer countries can become better educated than they were in the past.

Here is the website for this program:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Movie Resonse: 4

I feel that all the schools depicted had their own positives and negatives about them and that none of them were perfect. However, I feel that of all of the schools the Cupertino school was the most successful. The vast sources of technology available at the school gave students the ability to become truly affluent in computer knowledge. However, schools like Tech High place too much importance on technological learning, to an extreme level. The school in texas, on the other hand, had somewhat of the opposite problem, with some students not using comuters until nearly the twelth grade. I think a balance in technology and traditional education is what is necessary for a school to be successful. In this sense, the Cupertino school seemed to be the best balance, even though their expensive technologies created a lacking in other areas.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Movie prompt #4

I think that the Cupertino was the most successful school in this movie. It is important to learn the ins and outs of technology. Technology is our future and these days the most desirable jobs require complete computer knowledge. Technology is vital for a successful future. I do think, however, that it was sad that other areas of the school struggles dut to lack of funding because of the expenses going to technology. I also think that students need teach interaction to fully learn and with this kind of program/teaching they do not receive that full attention that is essential to learning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Movie response #1

1.         There are many different factors that affect each student. For Luisa there is a time constraint. She does not have a lot of money and therefore works forty hours a week at Long John Silver’s. Thus leaving her with little time to concentrate on her academics. However, Cedra does not seem to have any major problems that might affect her studies. Like Luisa, Travis is short on money and therefore has to put his future plans, college, on hold. Also Travis has a lot of responsibility at home, which takes up a lot of his time and concern. Finally Kep is more similar to Cedra. He continues on to college, CalTech. For Luisa and Travis technology did not solve any of their money problems. Ideally they were studying it to eventually make a living out of it, but they cannot do that without having further schooling. On the other hand eventually technology may help Cedra and Kep make a living out of it.

As I watched the movie, the Tech High School in California seemed like a factory that created mindless workers. The students were not offered a lot of diversity when it came to other interests or activities other than technology (i.e. computers). Throughout the movie I felt that many of the students were being set up for failure due to the fact that now-a-days it is just a pre-requisite to know how to use computers. By having them going to school that is grounded in the idea that technology (computers) is the key to getting a job is setting them up for failure. Yes, computer skills are a basic skill for jobs, but there is a lot more that employers look for other than computer skills. One good example would be social skills, which is very important for having a job. 

Movie Response #4

As I reflect on the three schools from the documentary, many things stuck out. I believe their approaches to technology were good, in that their mentality reflected relevant issues that may pertain to students after graduation and in search of careers. Nowadays, technology is advancing rapidly and everyone from the work force (NASA) to people looking for leisure ( is becoming dependent on it. I think learning certain skills that relate to technology are vital for our future. These schools have a good intention but what they’re taking away from students may be a downside to their experiment. We go to school to gain better knowledge in order to further ourselves in life but knowledge does not only consist of books and homework – social skills are also very important.
I believe schools like Tech High may not necessarily fail but instead become something similar to private schools (only certain students desire to go there and those certain students will be the only ones going there) as compared to a public university. But some models were definitely successful, Cupertino for example. Their technology seemed to be of high quality and their students of a greater success rate. However, factors that may influence this deal with the community/environment the school is located in. I’ve learned from many classes how environment plays a big role in students’ desire to learn and expectations for themselves and also, what they’re allowed access to. Unfortunately that has to be the case, but if there were more Cupertino schools I believe these tech schools would be more successful.

Movie Response

Prompt #4: The movie for me was summarized toward the end when a woman (I forget her profession) was interviewed saying that it is not right to have high schools solely for breeding adults to work in the technological workforce for huge companies. Although it provides a motivational force for some of the students and an outlet for gangs and unemployment in their towns, the lack of extra curricular activities and clubs could serve as a disadvantage to these students in their future. One of the schools did not have a football team, and one of the students said that they simply have to leave those things behind. To me, being involved and giving time to recreational sports and clubs keeps students preoccupied and focused on that activity, even if it meant just going to a game and watching it served to keep so many potentially troubled students off the street and getting involved in unhealthy or unsafe activities outside of school. One of the high schools only had computers for every single informational outlet, it didn't appear to have classrooms or library or anything other than computer-centered learning. As this may benefit some who do not have regular access to a computer in their future career, other high schools, especially now, have mandatory computer/technology classes that are sufficient for the basic knowledge needed to succeed later on. 
It is also uncertain the actual amount of jobs are available for graduates who only have an education with computer technology, and whether or not the skills they learned in high school will be out of date in a few years. Also, for many advanced technological companies, humans aren't even used at all and machines are programmed to do most of the work that people used to do. Because of this, I do not think that High Schools such as Tech High are beneficial in the long run for students. It also seems that big software companies have manipulated these students to make them believe that they will undoubtedly succeed in that environment; however, without extracurricular, broad ranged activities, it is likely that social skills needed to succeed in the business world are not being developed. 

Movie Response #1

Although the role of technology in the life paths for these individuals played a prominent part, several other equally as significant factors were also large influences. Among others such as local public school quality and available time for the individuals, I believe the greatest of these other factors to be the level of income and available wealth and assets afforded to the families of these individuals. For example, the families for Kep and Travis were able to afford to send their children to New Technology High School which cost them thousands of dollars per year to do so. On the other hand, Luisa came from a lower income family that could not afford to send her to such a prestigeous academy even if she possessed the skill set to succeed there.
I do not believe technology to be an equalizing factor in the wealth discrepancy issue discussed above. In fact I see it to be the opposite, further increasing the gap in available opportunities lended to these differently classed people. At New Technology High, the students have virtually unlimited access to state-of-the-art computers and technology. However, for those such as Luisa who attend urban public schools and are unable to afford the tuition fees at an academy such as New Tech High, they are undoubtedly at a disadvantage in the realm of technology. The public schools cannot afford the same state-of-the-art technology equipment or as much of it either. In regards to wealth and class discrepancies between those featured in this video, we see that technology is far from the solution.
I ulitmately was surprised at the outcomes for a couple of the individuals, but not some others. To learn that Kep graduated from New Tech as its valdedictorian and went on to attend CalTech came as no great shock to me. From the video, it was clear that he was an intelligent, and focused individual who was given a great opportunuity for success by attending New Tech. However, I was slightly surprised to see Luisa fail the photoshop exam that would have landed her a job at a technology firm. From the video it appeared as she was a determined, hard-working individual having worked so hard to save money for her first computer. I'm surprised that she was unable to carry this sort of work ethic over to her pursuit of a technology position.

Movie Response #4

It was very interesting to see the three completely different types of high school.  Starting off with Tech High, I don't really like the idea of being a completely computer and technology-focused high school.  I think the four years of high school are an extremely important part of every person's life, where they can have many different experiences that can help them grow, such as sports games and rallies, dances, and just social events in general.  I don't think a student experiences the entire "high school experience" if they only specialize in technology.  People should get the most out of their four years in college, and then worrying about specializing in a subject in college.   Although this is not to say that information about technology shouldn't be taught at all, just that it shouldn't be the main focus of an entire school.
Luisa's school, Travis HS, was the complete opposite of Tech High.  It was a public school that lacked the funding that Tech High and Cupertino had.  As a result, the resources where not very great, and it was amazing to see how many of the students had never worked with a computer, since I've been working with computers since the beginning of grade school.  Unfortunately, I don't think this high school will be able to catch up to Tech High or Cupertino since they just don't have the funding necessary.
The high school in Cupertino was the high school in between.  It wasn't nearly as extreme as Tech High, but since it had more funding than Travis High, it had more resources and therefore more opportunities for use of better technologies.  This school was also the more "normal" school when it came to the sporting and social aspects.
I think it was very interesting to see three completely different high schools and how the high school's resources had such an effect on the students' learning.  I think that Tech High is a little too extreme, but that Travis HS is unfortunately a little too unfunded.  I saw Cupertino as a better middle ground.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Movie Response

I chose to answer question number 3. I searched for "tech" jobs. Some of the jobs listed were tax manager, math instructor, mechanical engineer, food technologist, US Navy career opportunities, and broadband technician. All of the jobs at least require a high school diploma, many require a bachelors degree, and the Navy jobs require enrollment in a university. Because of this, the only job Travis would be able to get is a broadband technician, which means all he would be doing was installing and fixing broadband services. Luisa is in the same position, except that if she were able to be accepted into a university, she could also try and get a tech job in the Navy. As for Cedra and Kep, they would be in the position to move on and eventually get the amount of education required to be able to apply for the rest of the jobs listed. Altogether, more than a high school degree is required for almost all tech jobs.

Response 4

The school is a critical factor in the development of a young mind. A quality environment can nurture a student and lead them to great things, while a poor education can thwart even the most promising child's dreams.
I thought that New Technologies mission was a good one, again and again we've seen the value of computer literacy throughout this course, and as more and more labor jobs are shipped abroad computer literacy is a valuable tool to fall back on. Honestly, as a college student I never use hand writing and I don't think a lot of time should be spent on it. Cupertino, which was centered in a wealthy community was able to allocate tons of money towards cutting edge technology, but still had a more traditional high school feel and it seemed that the technology wasn't able to compensate for the lack of other necessities. I don't Luisa's school can catch up until they make an investment towards the future and modernize their curriculum.

Movie Response #4

None of these schools seem successful compared to other government schools.

Travis HS in Austin is a typical example of a school that has failed, and why the current "public" school system in the entire nation needs to be completely reconsidered.  Should a government bureaucrat decide where our children should learn? What they learn? When they get up in the morning? How much should they learn? Freedom is what made America the greatest nation on earth and we do not have much educational freedom left.

New Technology HS is a very gross place.  Learning how to use computers is worthy of maybe 1 hour out of the school day.  But as humans, there are other skills of more importance.  Speaking and handwriting cannot be forgotten.  Most importantly are hands-on skills: the ability to fix things, start a campfire, sow/stich, disecting plants and animals, make a simple electromagnet, cut wood, navigate through nature, etc.  No person is complete without skills like these, yet most people today probably cannot perform many of them.

Cupertino was less extreme than New Technology High, but whether it was a success or not is difficult to say.  It was in a rich community, so it had more funding than the other schools.  But could a private school with that funding do better? Probably yes, if history tells us anything.


In the movie they addressed 4 very different students with 4 very different backgrounds and compared their technology experiences in high school.  The skills that each of them obtained are very valuable in the workforce today, but some more than others.  The two students who went to Tech High School in California both ended up in very different situations after graduation.  In one sense, Tech High could have been beneficial, in the other it could have prevented opportunities.  Travis, who barely graduated from Tech High, decided to get a job right away in order to support his family, so how did Tech High benefit him?  I'm assuming a high school such as that costs more, yet now he is unable to further his tech education due to the fact that he needs to simply take whatever job he can and make money.  His training in a specific area of study is not a bad thing, yet how much of his technology education will he use in the basic workforce he is forced to enter?  

On the other hand, Kep (the valedictorian) earned a scholarship to CalTech, where he will go into engineering.  In his case, Tech High could have quite possibly given him the edge he needed to obtain that scholarship to a prestigious school over other students from regular schools.  I would assume a student who graduated from a Tech High School wold have an advantage over those from average high schools when applying to a school such as CalTech..yet he is missing out on certain clubs and activities that normal schools offer.  UW Madison is an excellent example of a univeristy looking for students with diverse backgrounds who were in a variety of activities within their school and their community.  I can't imagine there were that many diverse programs within Tech High.

Overall, in my opinion, my public high school provided the equipment and the teachers necessary for me to have an average if not somewhat competitive background in technology.  I know this is not the case for all schools, but I feel that my high school technology background was not as intense as Tech High, but the other skills I gained from the wide range of classes I took and the clubs I participated in, along with my average adequacy in technology, has definitely made me a well-rounded student who could hold her own in a variety of fields in the workforce, instead of one specific area (like the students in Tech High).  I believe that the ability to work in a variety of positions along with some technological competency will go a long way in the work force, no matter the state of the economy or what types of jobs are being offered.


5. Wildcard: For this prompt, come up with a response addressing moments that resonated strongly with you in the film (refer to your notes). Consider relating what you saw to your own high school experience. Did things look familiar? Radically different? Naively outdated?

For me, Tech High School really captured my attention. I found the setup of the classes and school to be excellent opportunities for the students to stay up to date with technology and learn numerous skills. They were challenged in different ways to work collaboratively to create projects. I thought this was an excellent way for the kids to learn and to prepare them for careers after high school. All this said, this school is only for those students that going into technology professions. Also, it seemed as though the students were missing out on other key apects of an education, math, history, science, etc..

This school was extremely different from the high school I went to. My high school had sufficient technology for the students to use, but not to the extent of Tech High. My school also had a library and football team. Which I feel, are important to have in an education environment. Having a library creates an environment conducive for studying, reading, and a librarian to assist with the things you need. Though they felt having the internet was sufficient to provide the reading materials, there are some areas that technology can't meet.

I do feel that Tech High is fullfilling its purpose in giving kids an excellent environment and access to technology. When evaluating anything, it is important to not overlook the purpose that the thing is trying to fulfill. And Tech High is serving a technology purpose and for that reason, it is an excellent opportunity. I was also amazed at how the school appeared to work with other schools and agencies to give the students a jumpstart into their future.

Movie Response

I chose question 4 to answer: Think about the students' school environments and other environments (e.g. family, work, friends) surrounding them. What did you think of the approaches to technology in the three different school environments (Austin, Texas, Cupertino, California and Tech High in California)? Do you think any of the models are more successful than others at their mission? Is Tech High, without a football team and a library, the way of the future or an experiment likely to fail? Could a school like Luisa's in Austin ever catch up with others showcased? Give your opinion.

Environment is one of the most important things to the development of young people. And a very important aspect of the environment is for it to be balanced so the adolescent can get exposed to a wide variety of things in their life. This balance extends of course to school as well. A school must have a variety of things to offer for its students so that the students can pick what they want to do and experience everything a school has to offer. Tech High in California does not offer this balance at all.

I think its great that it is so technically integrated, and i think it would be great for all schools to have as much technology as they do, for technology is the present and the future, whether we like it or not. A good grasp of technology will soon be a requirement for almost every job on the market, if it isn't so already. But I still feel that a high school specifically devoted to technology and nothing else will fail utterly. I know that i would never willingly go to a school that didn't offer sports, libraries, books, extracurriculars or basically anything that makes high school fun. High school isn't just about preparing yourself academically for college and the world beyond, its about experiencing as much as you can from a wide variety of sources and for growing as a person and forming relationships outside of the class room and gaining life skills that classes cannot teach you. I hope to god that this school isn't the way of the future, or else our upcoming youth will be extremely smart and technologically savvy but also socially inept, out of shape and not well rounded in the least.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wildcard Response

When watching the film "Crossing the Divide", I did not see my high school belonging to any of the three high schools in the film. At William B. Travis High School, I was surprised to see that computers, something I am sure most of us take for granted, could have such a huge affect on students and what they do outside of the school day. I have been using computers for as long as I can remember, so I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like not even being exposed to one until my high school years. At my high school, we not only had multiple computer labs and mobile labs, but we also had classes we could take for credit that would allow us to become more proficient at using certain programs on the computer.

When watching the segment about New Technology High School, I honestly did not like the concept of the way that the school was set up. I think that it is a cool idea to have a school that is based of off using computers, however, I believe it is important to have some traditional high school courses as well since they will need those to prepare for the real world. Also, I think that having after-school clubs and sports are an important part of high school that everyone should have the chance to experience. By having a traditional high school experience, I believe that it helped to better prepare me for college.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

prompt 4

I did not see any of the 3 schools as being as successful as a regular high school, or at least high schools that I am used to. But of the 3 I think Cupertino was the most successful. This school was in the center of a very wealthy community and because of this it was able to provide the latest technology for its students. One of the problems with Cupertino was that it did spend so much money on technology that it lacked in other areas like teachers and the other departments of the school. I find this to be a big problem, especially having inadequate teachers. While technology is great, you cannot learn anything from it if you do not have the proper instruction. There are also many other areas in school that deserve just as much attention as technology. For example, students in Cupertino were very comfortable on the computer, but they lacked skills and knowledge in English.

To me a high school should be a welcoming place and somewhere that student can feel safe. This was one of the major downfalls with the school in Texas. This school was filled with gangs and there was graffiti all over. Trying to learn in this kind of environment would be very stressful and much more difficult, and it shows by the extremely high drop out rate. As for technology, most of these kids never have a chance to work on a computer until they are in 12th grade. I cannot even remember when i first used a computer, but to not have access to that technology until you are a senior in high school would put you at a huge disadvantage. By the time you learned how to use a computer and even type on it, it would be time for college and that person would not have the capability to keep up with and compete with other college students.

Tech High was certainly an extreme example of a technology based high school. I do find that kind of a school to be successful in producing well-rounded students. Acquiring technological skills is only one of the many important areas of high school. By sitting in front of a computer all day how can you learn math or do lab experiments in science class? The biggest concern in my mind is that Tech High offers no extra curricular activities. Besides the fact of kids losing the opportunity to play sports or an instrument, they miss the opportunity to participate in social activities with their peers. There is more to high school than learning stuff out of a book (or off a computer screen). It is also an important time for students to mature socially and gain the people skills they will need to survive when they get out of school.

Movie Response

4. Think about the students' school environments and other environments (e.g. family, work, friends) surrounding them. What did you think of the approaches to technology in the three different school environments (Austin, Texas, Cupertino, California and Tech High in California)? Do you think any of the models are more successful than others at their mission? Is Tech High, without a football team and a library, the way of the future or an experiment likely to fail? Could a school like Luisa's in Austin ever catch up with others showcased? Give your opinion.

I think the approaches to technology in both schools in California were extreme examples, while the approach in Austin, Texas, was more practical/realistic. The Austin high school, even though it was severely lacking in funding and amount of technology available to its students, it was doing the best it could. The principle was encouraging use of the technology, the school partnered with a local industry to create a class dealing with technology, and some of the students were actively pursuing careers in multimedia. Despite these efforts, I do not think that this school could ever catch up with the other schools shown in this movie--there just isn't enough money.

Of the two schools in California, I think Multa Vista High is probably a "better" school, even though its programs outside of technology are relatively poor. Since New Tech High only offered technology classes in the style of working in an industry and graduation was determined by one project, I think that the students who attend that school have a leg up when it comes to getting a job, but it didn't seem like they developed any skills outside of that narrow field. I think that New Tech High is an experiment likely to fail.