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Posts Tagged ‘laptops’

One thing I really like about the emerging e-book technology is that it is encouraging smaller publishers to be a little more innovative. Ooligan Press, for example, now has websites and blogs for several of their books. One of the books, Classroom Publishing, even has a blog where teachers are encouraged to post their latest projects and ideas – making the blog a great resource for other teachers. Therefore, when you buy Classroom Publishing, you are getting more than a book. You are getting a conversation with many teachers from all over the United States.

The same is true for digital comic books, that new ideas are going to emerge and allow smaller companies an edge if they can adapt faster than larger. I’m really proud that Portland is such a hub for comic books, with Bowler Hat Comics, Oni Press, Topshelf, and Dark Horse (yes, I realize Dark Horse isn’t very small) right around the corner. And I know they are adapting to the increasingly digital formats out there. Reading Jim Fallone’s “Digital Comics: Level the Playing Field Part II,” I was really struck by how much opportunity there is to be creative. I like the optimistic tone of the article, and the idea that new technology is a good thing.

Speaking of digital comics, though, as excited as I am about them, I recently talked to several comic buffs who aren’t impressed. Just out of college, both men agreed that the new iPad app could be cool, but that the iPad was too expensive for a lot of comic book readers – especially when they could read e-comics on their computers. And they admitted that they don’t really even like comics online, because they prefer the traditional format offered in the old ink and paper editions. Comics should be taller than they are wide, apparently, and that’s not true of laptops. Plus, the work that the artists, inkers, and colorists put into a comic is much more apparent on paper. So it looks like, even though there is an opportunity for comic book publishers to bring new ideas to the table, they’ll have to be really good ideas to catch some of this skeptical audience.

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Private university Seton Hill is going to give each incoming student a MacBook and iPad this fall.

I don’t know about everyone, but this seems a little excessive to me. Perhaps the school has enough money to fulfill all their needs AND get laptops, but in my experience a lot of University administrations have no idea what student priorities are. Are they hoping to attract students with this offer? They probably will. But is this the best thing for students? Obviously, the cost will come out of their tuition. Personally, I’d rather have some cash than an iPad which can only do the same things as my laptop.

The idea of giving all the kids laptops is pretty cool, though. This will save a lot of paper, and hopefully it will save kids money in the long run when they do not have to purchase the always expensive textbooks. But the iPad is unnecessary.

And I guess my biggest problem is that this story really brought back to my attention the HUGE differences between private and public universities. I have attended both now, and so I feel like I can speak from experience. In private school, you buy dozens of new books and you probably already have a laptop. In public school, teachers are afraid to assign more than a couple, kids run to the bookstore to buy the used copies (or buy online), and many are forced to hang out around campus all weekend because they either don’t have a computer at all or they don’t have the software they need.

I realize I can’t blame Seton Hill or their students for societal economic discrepancies, but wouldn’t it be nice in a perfect world if everyone got new (or at least nicely used) books, and a computer (if not a laptop). It seems like if we’re all going to school to learn, we should all have the right tools.

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