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Siblings leading April 27, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

siblings   Maine’s seventh and eighth grade students are getting new laptops. The old ones, a little worn around the edges, are being sold for forty-eight dollars apiece. My first thought was that my Central American teachers would jump at that price. The price is so good that the very school districts that are getting new laptops are willing to pay for the old ones too.

This makes sense when there are dozens of uses for an old laptop. A younger sibling could use the machine as a starter computer. I think Apple should be paying the tab for these machines to create brand loyalty in a new generation of users.

Another interesting thing about the new generation of computer users is that their older siblings have led the way and pushed the envelope of acceptable practices. The result is that now school districts, at least in the state of
Virginia, are requiring school superintendents to teach internet safety to all schoolchildren. This new law followed on the tail of allegations that MySpace and other social networking sites might be a source of problems for students who share images and swap stories online.

Two colleges in California are going to block MySpace and are calling it a bandwidth hog. The University of
Arizona recently gave a lunch hour talk on the effects of MySpace on sports teams. It seems students at schools of the opposing teams look up the MySpace profiles of competing athletes in order to shout derisive things at them in an attempt to shake them up. That one factoid alone, the potential loss of a berth in the NCAA’s March Madness series might just be enough to block MySpace.
Of course, if someone wanted to drive MySpace into the technological dustbin they would just have to start a word of mouth campaign that the place was no long cool and was becoming populated by university officials, police officers, curious grannies, and perverted pretenders. But then again, it just might drive MySpace underground. A simple name change and some sort of secret handshake will keep it going, but just off the radar screen.



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