“Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has famously called high schools ‘obsolete’ and warned about their effect on U.S. competitiveness. Now, his company has a chance to prove that it can help fix the woes of public education,” Deborah Yao reports for The Associated Press.
“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,” Yao reports. “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.”
MacDailyNews Take: “Learning process modeled on Microsoft’s management techniques.” Hmm, no jokes there. We’d love to go to this high school. You can delay handing in your homework for years. “My dog ate my homework” won’t wash, but “My PC crashed” works everytime. But, maybe it’s a bit too dangerous: chair throwing is an encouraged solution for managing anger. That big fat sweaty bald guy who dances at the pep rallies is kinda embarrassing, too. We heard that the lockers don’t have three digit combination locks; you have to “authenticate” by phoning your homeroom whenever you want them opened. By the way, the school’s lone color is blue. Solid blue.
Yao continues, “‘Philadelphia came to us … and asked us to design a school,’ said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.”
MacDailyNews Take: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Yao continues, “School district CEO Paul Vallas said he was impressed by more than just the company’s technology. ‘I was also taken by their culture,’ Vallas said. ‘They created a culture within which ideas can be generated and acted upon.'”
MacDailyNews Take: “Generated and acted upon,” yes. The final results are not well-executed, but “generated and acted upon” is something, we guess. It’s better than “generated, but not acted upon” or “not generated at all,” right?
Yao continues, “The high school will use an ‘education competency wheel,’ patterned after a set of desirable traits Microsoft encourages among its employees.”
MacDailyNews Take: These traits include: general malaise, looking busy while doing nothing, taking complex ideas and adding complexity, dyslexic copying, the ability to ignore the total lack of business ethics in return for a regular paycheck, and, of course, loving free towels.
Yao continues, “This new approach to education has sparked the interest of Doug Lynch, vice dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘Two things are quite intriguing _ the willingness of the district and Microsoft to try something different,’ Lynch said. He cautioned, however, that while trying new methods may be valuable ‘we have to be careful because you’re messing with kids’ lives.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Philly parents who love their kids: you might want to consider moving to Detroit. Seriously, all joking aside, we hope the kids — “nearly all black and mainly low-income” as described by Yao — end up getting a great education despite Microsoft’s involvement.
CNNMoney’s back-to-school guide: Get a Mac – September 02, 2006
The Seattle Times: Apple Macbook is best computer for school – August 26, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft employees voice concerns about working for dysfunctional company – March 29, 2006
Apple Mac is #1 in European education market, pushes Dell down into second place – February 03, 2006
Apple teams with Detroit Public Schools to provide students with Macs, iPods, digitial cameras, more – September 27, 2005
Pennsylvania school district’s PCs infected with virus; their Macs unaffected – October 01, 2003
Montana school district’s Windows computers offline due to worm; Macintosh computers unaffected – September 03, 2003
More schools experience Windows virus, worm problems while Macs just keep working – August 22, 2003
A tale of two school systems: Windows schools crippled while Mac schools unaffected – August 21, 2003