1. If they asked me — and they never did, nobody ever does — kids would be allowed to “test out” of homework: if you got an A on your last test or quiz, you don’t need homework.

    Of course, once everything’s on a laptop, maybe the program would do just that. Simple enough to do, and nobody needs to know what any other student has been exempted from.

  2. The problem with “testing out of homework” is that the tests are usually based on prior homework, so the test results are not necessarily indicative of the students knowledge of the next set of material. Leaving such a decision to a computer program would be insane: that requires a programmer who understands the material as well as (or better) than the teacher, and who can implement a decision tree without error (and without any contact with the class in question). I would prefer to trust the teacher’s evaluation.

  3. @ larK – I’ve never even heard of “Achtung Baby“, but I just added it to my shopping cart. I’m not sure that I agree with the hypothesis that “German” methods are “better”. They are certainly different, but it all depends on what works best for each family in their respective environment. In any case, the reader comments make it sound like it will be an enjoyable book.

  4. And giving the phones to the parents never worked ’cause the parents WANTED the kids to be accessible AT ALL TIMES, for all sorts of reasons (“I may have to tell him to go to his auntie’s house after school” or “She may have to pick up bread on the way home”), so that was an exercise in futility.

  5. @Kilby – Specifically thinking of math (because that is the homework I remember the most as being pointless and annoying), you could easily have a test that determines if a student knows their times tables well enough, or any other thing where the homework is 40 questions where all they do is change which numbers are in. If you can pass a basic test quickly enough, you get to skip the “do lots of these questions so you memorise it” assignments. (I don’t think that would work for something like spelling, where the homework practices more than just what is getting tested though.)

  6. @ Andréa – I never thought of it that way before, but it is entirely possible that part of the purpose of the prohibition was to discourage helicopter parenting. However, as far as I have been able to determine, the de-facto rule prohibits use, and not necessarily “possession”. I am sure that some of the older kids keep a telephone in their backpacks, but as long as they have it muted and do not pull it out during shool hours, nobody is about to search for it.

  7. @ Christine – I’m sure that someone could build such a system, as long as the questions were simple quantitative items. I just don’t think it would be worth the effort. Any teacher who grades a math assignment sheet could come to the same conclusion. On the other hand, many math assignments train the brain in more ways than just rote memorization. With that in mind, the best result of such a test would not be “You did so well that I’m going to let you skip your next homework assignment“, but rather “If this is getting boring, how about taking a shot at some more interesting (but tougher) material?

  8. (Woops, I was trying to make a new paragraph but the Enter posted it.)

    I was involved with what a school called one-to-one Mac project, and they had an ambitious policy of doing the updates etc, plus having a few day-loaners to let a student use when their computer was in the Tech Center for repairs.

  9. One of the least-favorite aspects of working at Megacorp (back when I was a productive member of society) was the constant training. Most of it was the same year-to-year. Some modules did allow testing out of the course. You’d take the test first and only need to go through the course if you failed. However, you could often get the course material as an Excel file (searchable). That made the test easier.

  10. Seems to me any “do this after school” message can wait until the kid gets his phone back after school. I guarantee, every kid will boot up as soon as they get their phone back (the same way airline passengers check their messages the moment the plane lands)

  11. @ Bill – At our school, the kid does not get the phone back, the kid’s parent has to pick it up from the office.

  12. Andréa, you may have missed the recaps of how to make an image show up embedded in a comment.

    1. Paste or type just the URL, don’t try to use an HTML “A” tag or “IMG” tag, etc.

    2. It should be a direct URL, not involving search or lookup in a database overtly — basically, don’t use one with a question mark. (This is not to say it can’t have a long string encoding a location.)

    3. It should have a full URL path to the image filename, not just to a page containing the image you want. And the filename part must be recognizable by name as an image type, based on the filename extension — usually “.gif” or “.png” or “.jpg”.

    4. In some special cases, the URL you come up with may end with a filename, as desired, but it lacks the explicit image extension. In some cases, you can just ADD that on! But then paste the edited url in a new browser window location bar, and make sure it works.
    For the Cathy you reference, when I go to the page and right-click to get the image URL, (in this case I went further and did “view page source” then just visually scanned for a url), it comes up as “”https://assets.amuniversal.com/524739e040b901300e49001dd8b71c47” . But we want an image type filename extension, so we modify it to “https://assets.amuniversal.com/524739e040b901300e49001dd8b71c47.gif ”

    5. Possibly, but not confirmed, the URL you paste might need to be on a line by itself, and be the last thing in your comment.

    On that basis, I will paste that last altered URL below, without the quotations of course, and let’s see if it embeds the image!

  13. (Of course, it’s fine to do as you ended up, paste the URL to the page, and WP will make it a live link. The more elaborate system is just if you think it will work better in the conversation to have the image itself and not expect people to click.)

  14. Wendy – to me a 4 year old laptop is new. The one I am using I bought in 2005 and my newer laptop for work I bought in 2009 – both are Win XP, though husband is in the middle of making me a get a new laptop.

  15. I don’t carry a purse. As a general rule, my opinion is that if it does not fit in my (front 2) jeans pockets, I don’t need it. The exceptions to this rule is when I go to a client I carry a briefcase and some travel.

    Long ago in the days when one had to carry several large, heavy batteries, a huge camera, and a VHS recorder to record one’s trip (or anything else) on VHS. I carried a large pocketbook so Robert could put all the extraneous items for this project in the pocketbook. (I have been stopped, long before the current searches of what one has, and my pocketbook gone through and asked what it is in it and I have no idea other than it is heavy and Robert put it there.) When going on a trip to Montreal some decades ago I came up with the idea of using a day pack, back pack instead of the pocketbook (long before anyone was using a backpack as a pocketbook substitute) – what a wonderful thing to have. It is much more comfortable to carry whatever he needs me to carry with the weight spread across my back. In more recent years I use clear ziploc type bags to organize what is in it, as it is easily examined if we go through security. Mostly these days I will bring the backpack if we will not have easy and quick access back to the car/RV while we are touring somewhere. Husband sometimes has low blood sugar so I keep OJ and similar for him in the backpack when we cannot quickly get back to the car for them – and things like books which are purchased along the way. The RV has a spare one as one trip I forgot to pack mine.

  16. Bill – I am copying my passwords that I use on my laptop to my newer (2009) laptop, just in case. I also have them in code in my cell phone – current and former.

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