Cambrian Letters to the Editor Nov. 15

cambrian@thetribunenews.comNovember 15, 2012 

iPads have value

In the most recent issues of The Cambrian, residents have raised questions about the use of i-Pads in our schools. Hooray for those willing to ask tough questions. Their boldness indicates that they care about our schools and our students but it also shows lack of information.

Teachers are often caught in the middle of having to integrate technology into their instruction while also grappling with their own learning curve. They need training, practice, positive support and freedom to explore new ideas. Linda Logan deserves lots of credit for her courage to be an innovator in using the iPads in her classroom so creatively.

Successful implementation of iPads in the classroom has the potential to broaden and enrich our knowledge and understanding of our world. It provides more than access to information. It is more powerful than just a textbook. It provides access to real world experiences and wonder — like watching Felix Baumgartner jump out of a helium balloon about 24 miles above the earth, free fall for more than four minutes breaking the speed of sound at 834 miles per hour, open his parachute just one mile above the ground and land safely — in real time. Or check out khanacademy.org for a student having trouble with a math concept and watch the gentle tutoring unfold. Or be amazed when a 10-year old grabs his iPad to show his mom a video on how to make gravy for dinner.

Yes, I applaud the use of iPads in and out of the classroom. With regard to the problems of social media like Facebook, don’t blame the iPad, or the iPhone or the lap-top computer. How students use the iPad is not the fault of the iPad. Counsel the user. Students need both pressure and support to use their devices responsibly.

Let’s embrace the wonder of technology and its place in our schools and homes. Let’s utilize its ability to motivate, to teach, to entertain, to communicate, to witness events that are remote in time or space and to inspire our young people to be open to the joy of learning more.

Judith Hillen

Cambria

i-Pad questions

The questions concerning the distribution of unfiltered iPads to middle school students are being asked and re-asked. A response from the school board with answers to these questions is needed.
What education-based criteria were used to decide to buy personal iPads over other educational needs? What other educational options were considered that the same public money could have been spent on? What was the total cost of the iPads? Where did the money come from? Why were the iPads sent home with the kids rather than stored at school for supervised educational use only? And most important, why were iPads given to our community’s kids without internet filters to protect them from exposure to pornographic sex and violence?

The school board, by community election, is granted the authority and discretion to make decisions related to public welfare. Likewise, the school board’s actions are limited by the duty to make those decisions, to exercise that discretion, based on findings (reasons) and facts that are publically deliberated. Decisions by public boards that are not based on publically disclosed and deliberated findings and facts are arbitrary, and an unlawful abuse of the discretion bestowed by the electorate.
This is an invitation to the school board to provide official answers to the community’s questions about the reasons and facts that led to the decisions to spend significant public funds on iPads, to buy unfiltered iPads, and to distribute them for take-home use rather than keep them at school for supervised educational purposes.

Cynthia Hawley  

Cambria

Wildlife threatened

We Cambrians should thank Mr. Covell for his brand new fence surrounding the forest. We paid for it. When the fence went up I saw a deer wandering aimlessly down the street looking for a way back into the forest that it calls home, but instead it was met with a 5-foot fence with barbs every foot. This got me thinking about what happens next year when the does have fawns.

I really do not think a pregnant deer or a fawn will be able to get over the new fence. I don’t want to be the one who finds a deer hanging from the fence because it became entangled. In my investigations about fencing, I learned many things and one of them is the danger animals and birds have with inaccessible fencing. We owe the natural world a bit more of our attention and this starts with making their habitat accessible.

I was always against the fence and wrote a previous piece about the nature of the firebreak and how it actually was a way for the community to pay for Mr. Covell to raise cattle. Now I know it is his land and he has every right to do as he pleases but the unfortunate part is he used our taxpayer dollars to clear the land for his bulls. Now one of the most special parts of Cambria, its wildlife, is endangered.

We need to respect the forest and the animals that live there. We need to take action and get the fence fixed so the wildlife that lives there can go home.

Penny Fitzgerald

Cambria

On the Pier to Point

The North Coast Ocean Rescue (NCOR)’s 6th Annual Pier to Point Paddle was a great success! After a 40-minute delay due to fog and the concern for safety, the participants began their paddle from San Simeon Pier to the beach at Leffingwell, a six-mile ocean journey. All the participants who started, finished successfully.

The Pier to Point Paddle is a fundraiser for the NCOR Team to help fund needed equipment. The team consists of trained volunteers as part of the Cambria Fire Department and the CCSD.

NCOR would like to sincerely thank the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort and Restaurant for providing a wonderful BBQ meal to all participants and volunteers. We also thank the McCall family for the donation of apples and guacamole. Thanks to West Marine for donation distress-call whistles for every paddler, and to the Cookie Crock Market for providing gatorade and water.

A very special thanks to Cambria Emergency Response Team (CERT) as they provided key support. Also thanks to the Cambria Community Bus for transportation, and to the California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for the permits to hold this great event.

David and Beth Yudovin

Event chairpersons

An alternative view of energy

I visited a science museum some time ago and remember an energy display.  They had a bicycle hooked up to an electricity generator, hooked up to a 100-watt light bulb. Pedal the bike and light the bulb. I tried it, and realized it takes a lot of hard pedaling to keep that bulb lit! I only lasted a few minutes. The lesson learned is that it isn’t easy to produce that “juice.”  Which brings me to alternative energy.  It would be great if we could power our home from a solar collector on our roof. But there’s just not enough energy collected to power our lights, refrigerator, TV, computers, etc. Sure, some electricity will be generated when the sun is high. And these systems are improving, so don’t let me stop you. Just recognize the limitations.

My favorite solar energy story comes from a trip my wife and I just took to Central Europe. We stayed on an island in the Adriatic Sea. The apartment had a neat solar hot water system on the roof. Our first day was cloudy, so no hot water. Second day also cloudy, so we heated some water on the gas stove. Third day we got sun, and finally, glorious hot showers. Note there was no backup system for hot water. This is a real commitment to solar energy. Ready for that?

It seems that all the schemes for alternative energy require back-up power. Windmills stop spinning or the sun goes downer.  Windmills stop spinning or the sun goes down means a switch to the power company (that still needs to have large power plants to provide it). Even electric cars need back-up power. Run out of juice, and then turn on the gasoline engine — if you have one. Folks, we have spent decades perfecting an energy supply that is easy to access and is there when we need it. My great-grandparents had to fill the kerosene lamp for light, and hoped it didn’t burn out before bedtime. I don’t want to go back to that.

Speaking of going back, aren’t all those “new” alternative energies we keep hearing about actually old and tired? Windmills aren’t new. Neither are solar water heaters, nor electric cars. Let’s hear about 21st century ideas. The problem is, we seem to be afraid of those (nuclear energy anyone?). The future lies with fusion, fission, fuel cells, and technologies we haven’t even heard of yet.  Until we embrace those, we’ll continue to play around with the old ones, be stuck with their limitations — and stay connected to the grid for backup.

Joel I. Cehn

Cambria

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service