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PC for School is Dead or Alive? Print
August 2011

The first IBM PC turned 30 in August 2011 and the press provided a lot of estates to commemorate the death (not the birth) of PC.  The press relies on controversies to retain readership and we understand.  The PC is still a valuable device for computing and content creation, among many other respectable purposes.  It is only the Home PC that is dead and replaced by smart phones and tablets that are mobile and connected.  What about PC for the classrooms? 

Do not Google this question as we will only get thousands of advertisements and sales pitches.  Let us listen to what Bill Gates said when he was interviewed by the online edition of PC Magazine recently about what PC has done or not done for us.  For sure, his fortune has come from PC and he is a firm proponent of PC.  "But we're still falling short in some areas," Gates added. "Education is one example, where the impact of technology lags behind almost every other part of society. There's so much more that can be done to utilize technology in engage students, help teachers, and customize learning for each child.  In education, it has the potential to ignite student interest in learning and help teachers understand what's working and what's not in the classroom.” 

He is right although he did not prescribe how we should implement PC technologies to enhance learning.  Let us try.  We have put together some ideas here for stimulations rather than prescriptions. 

- PC is an effective collaboration tool and it can help collective learning even in the simplest form of email and wiki. 
- Learning would be the most effective if students are taken through the process of problem solving and again PC is an effective tool such as in its simple access to search engines.
- PC is an effective organiser for any person and student such as through Open Office or Microsoft Office- calendars, contacts database, task list etc.  More useful is the recording of thoughts and manipulation of data via something as simple as a spreadsheet.  Students do not do these because many teachers do not do the same.
- PC is an effective content creation.  We may need to step into specialist applications such as for picture edition, 3D modelling, and the list is in fact expanding. 
- PC is an effective visualisation tool such as being done in all sorts of simulations in bio-molecular physics, earthquake analysis, and even the towing of an iceberg from Greenland to Canary Island.

Many schools have done some already.  Let us do more.  Feel free to contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to discuss further ideas.