What Device Should Be Available For Children At School, If Any? [MakeUseOf Poll]

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Last week we asked you if you actually use icon emoticons, or emoji, in your emails and chats. Despite my expectations, the votes were divided almost equally between the five available answers. One of the options, however, managed to come on top. Which one do you think it is?

Out of 280 votes in total, the votes were divided as follows: 15% use emoji every chance they get, 16% use them very rarely, 18.5% never use emoji at all, 23.5% use them occasionally, when the mood strikes, and 27% use them sometimes, when they’re really better than words.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

According to the comments, many readers think the same of emoji: they’re nice sometimes, and can help express emotions and clarify meanings, but don’t belong in professional emails, or emails in general. Don’t forget to check out last week’s best comment by Rajaa Chowdhury, who won 150 points!

This week’s poll question is: What Device Should Be Available For Children At School, If Any?

Want to make some extra MakeUseOf reward points? The most useful comment on the poll will be awarded 150 points!

This week’s poll is inspired by an interesting discussion we recently had on MakeUseOf Answers. Joseph Videtto asked what devices would be best for classroom use in a school, and received some interesting answers. More answers to this question were posted on our Twitter account, and made me think about the issue further. Each generation had access to different classroom devices while growing up. In my school, we had Windows 3.11 desktop clients running on a network. Nowadays, many schools offer laptops, or even tablets. Which do you think is the best device for classroom use? Or maybe these devices only serve as a distraction?

Why is the device you voted for the best option? Why should schools offer or not offer access to these devices, and at what capacity? Discuss in the comments.

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Comments (67)
  • Guy McDowell

    The one thing I find lacking most in my kids, due to the use of computers, is the ability to write neatly in cursive or print. My youngest, who is in Grade 4, doesn’t even know what cursive is. His school doesn’t even teach it anymore.

    • Justin Pot

      They also don’t teach how to use an abacus. Cursive is dead. I’m surprised about the print thing, though.

    • Guy McDowell

      How can cursive be dead? Do you print your signature?
      If I got a handwritten letter from an adult with the type of handwriting I’m seeing come out of these schools, I’d think the person was developmentally delayed. Or halted, even.

    • Dee Wheat

      Oh, it can be dead, believe me. The days when I taught myself calligraphy because I was tired of losing grade points because my handwriting was so poor are gone, I think forever.

      Are you saying you still get handwritten letters? The only handwritten letters I get are from Amish friends, and I’m absolutely serious. Interestingly, although the Amish end their formal education at the end of the eighth grade, one of the things taught in Amish schools is Spencerian handwriting.

    • Tina Sieber

      Personally, I think cursive is about as useful as make-up. Some people need it to cover up bad writing. But it doesn’t matter whether you write in print or cursive, as long as what you read is legible.

      I quit cursive in high school (early 90s) because it made my writing either too slow or ugly. I needed to write faster. So I started writing print. I wrote so much faster and finally didn’t lose any points for bad spelling anymore…which was really due to bad handwriting.

      My signature is different every time, which makes it useless, because I still write it in cursive, which I haven’t been writing for over 20 years.

    • Guy McDowell

      Maybe I am wrong about cursive. Having learned it though, I am more appreciative of people with good penmanship. It somehow puts another facet on the inherent meaning of words.

      Some folks say Latin is dead too, but then I hear older people who had to take Latin in elementary and high school say they’re now glad they took it. They ALL hated it back then though.

    • Tina Sieber

      Well, notice how I didn’t say cursive was dead. I do think it has its place and learning it certainly didn’t hurt me. At least I can read it.

      Likewise, Latin does potentially open the brain for many languages and the meanings of words that are based on Latin. Yet it’s possible to become fluent in other languages without learning Latin first. Sure, it might be easier to learn French and Italian if you learn Latin first, but what if you get fed up with languages or don’t have the time to proceed? Then you know some Latin, but practically no French or Italian. I’m glad I know some French and sometimes get the gist of what is said or written in other Roman languages. It’s way more practical than Latin.

      The thing is, there are so many great things one can learn and do. The question is, what is worth our time? And who gets to decide what is worth our children’s time or what will serve them in the future.

      Will it serve your children to write cursive in the future? Or will it be more important to type fast and speak clearly?

  • Lisa Santika Onggrid

    Our school’s system allow digital learning to some extent,but we have to bring our own machines. This is problematic because some students don’t have laptop/tablet yet, so the school can’t integrate it too much in classroom. I personally use my friend’s laptop the first three semesters of my high school, before I finally got my own.
    Speaking of ideal world, first and foremost I’d say school should deploy the required units so the students are balanced ( no one has the advantage over the others) and the intended integration would run more effectively.
    Laptop is okay, but if my experience is any to speak of, they’re more distracting than helpful (students use the WiFi to download games/movies/etc during class). I may be biased, but to me some sort of tablet or devices like Boogie Board (one that could save and transfer our notes to laptop) are better, because they take less space and proportionally sized for writing notes. Tablet is especially useful because they can do extra task like viewing course slides or videos. Boogie Board if your students only need plain digital notetaking.
    This might be out of this poll’s scope, but speaking of technology at school, I’d also make a point of how technology should be used to help teachers enhance students’ learning experience instead of relegating every responsibility to devices. I’ve seen some younger teachers who lost control of the classroom and unable to explain much after short circuit caused our school to blackout for two days as they have no slides to consult to. Some are also reluctant to write on whiteboard as they think it’s too troublesome.

  • Aska Nag

    Hi!
    In my opinion in school children should have, necessarily, an E-book. In it you can download e-books and thus deliver children from wearing extra cargo. Also should be present, the mobile phone, in which parents can be contacted with their child. The most simple, without redundant functions, which may distract from the occupation.

  • Pooky Joralyn

    iPads (or Android pads) would be great for teaching young children, but not for bigger ones. Laptops would be a much better thing for them.

  • Saikat Basu

    The worrying thing could be that now there will be another divide – the digital divide – between students who have access to digital devices and those who haven’t. In many schools around the world, welfare funds just don’t allow for purchase of expensive tools. The search is still on for cheaper access. The OLPC is prohibitively expensive for many areas of the world. When, per-individual devices are still out of reach, the solution could lie in the cloud.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid

      Problem with the cloud: some countries’ internet access speed is still subpar. It takes a long time here to load flash animations or media-rich pages (which is more useful for learning).

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.