In Plano, there's some discussion going on about the latest bill propositions for the Plano school system which would give plenty of money to schools so that they could purchase better computers and better equipment in general. Sounds good, right? Even I think that at some point, students could be bringing laptops to school and recording whole lectures or hooking into a global university. But in the case of my school system, this bill proposition would be a complete waste of money.
I'll tell you the inside scoop, since I'm a student who has access to nice computers at school. Plano East just purchased new 486's with 500MB hard drives and 4MB RAM (I think), each. These replaced some brand new 386's we got a couple years before. I take computer science I so I get to use these computers every day. But do I get to use them to their complete potential? No!
In computer science I, all we can do is log into a school network which has some old versions of Microsoft Works and Turbo Pascal on it. We don't get a mouse and we don't get to use Windows. We can't even log into the DOS shell, since they're so afraid we'll hack into something. If we're caught in the DOS shell, our name gets deleted from the files, automatically.
Supposedly we can use Windows in one of the other computer labs we have, but I simply have not had time to go look. No one does. Plano East is a very serious and stressing school, and we have little time to actually get to know the school. Sad, but I guess Plano East has to keep its reputation of being one of the best high schools in the country.
These computers are a complete waste of money if we can't even use them close to their potential. The teachers have absolutely no idea how to use them (I overheard the librarians trying to figure out how to open up the Print Manager window) and most of the students still think computers are nerd-ish.
For these reasons, I think more money devoted to technology would be a complete waste of money. There are other schools that would die to have the computers we have, and they could probably use them more efficiently than we could. If you will be able to vote in this bill proposition, vote AGAINST the bills. No more money is needed for technology. Have them donate it to other schools or to charity organizations instead. Or even use it to build a new senior high school. Plano West needs one badly.
Almost twelve weeks until I graduate. God, I can't wait to get to college, where the computer labs let you do whatever you want (and where the Internet access is free)...
[ respond to this in the General Discussion forum ]