News Letters

Saturday 23 August 2014

Expensive iPad has no advantage over books

Published 05/09/2013 | 05:00

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Many Irish scholars, such as the late Seamus Heaney and John B Keane, have completed their academic lives without such technological devices and look at what they have achieved.

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Many Irish scholars, such as the late Seamus Heaney and John B Keane, have completed their academic lives without such technological devices and look at what they have achieved.

While money is being spent on facilitating students with these tablets, primary resources in schools are being severely affected.

Also, asking parents to hand out over €500 for the tablet is not realistic in these times. I would like to ask why is this happening?

Although studies have shown that a diverse range of teaching methods can draw a student's attention and students become more attentive to their teachers, are these tablets the answer?

Imagine a future generation that never opens a new textbook or is never welcomed by the reassuring smell of new books and smooth paper that asks to be scrawled upon.

Instead, the future generation will stare at a tablet and monotonously swipe across the screen to turn a virtual page.

Personally, I could not imagine my academic life without a book and pen as I consider them as essentials in my school bag.

After all, the pen is mightier that the sword.

Fiona Hogan

Ashfort, Crecora, Co Limerick

OBAMA'S ARROGANCE

* With all the talk about the US preparing to intervene in Syria, one interesting topic has not arisen – the mockery of the US constitution and separation of powers by President Obama in his speech on August 31.

In his speech, Mr Obama essentially said that he had the authority to strike Syria whenever he wished, but that, out of the kindness of his heart, he would allow Congress to rubberstamp his actions. With a Republican Party full of neo-conservatives and a Democratic Party ready to follow the instructions of their leader, Congress's approval is all but guaranteed.

Were this not the case and Mr Obama still wished to attack, there is no doubt that he wouldn't go near Congress, instead his executive privilege would be exercised. Saturday's speech was more interesting because of its display of executive arrogance than its implications for Syria.

James McGovern,

Drumcondra, Dublin 9

NOT THE SHINIEST PENNY

* The sunny southeast has been badly hit in the economic meltdown. But the recent news that Wexford traders are to "scrap" the brown coins (one and two cent) is the final nail in our coffin. The "penny is dropped"!

Sean Kelly

Waterford

UK FINALLY TIRED OF WAR

* History teaches us many things. Among them is the propensity for Homo sapiens to form large gangs and fight with another large gang; a trait, when organised politically, that is generally referred to as war.

Up until the American Civil War, the conduct of war was generally one where two armies met on the battlefield, had it out and the victor got the spoils. The American Civil War, however, was one where large numbers of civilians were also dragged into the conflict. Since then, or at least as history would have us believe, war has declared civilians fair game as well.

Of course this is far too simplistic. The Roman army had a way of dealing with the ancient Celtic cities. Upon seizing a city, they would kill every inhabitant except one, who would then be sent into the next city to tell of the doom that awaited if the city did not surrender. Civilians were always targets, it's just history papered over the cracks.

The more technologically advanced we become, the more efficient the dogs of war become. So where are we all now that Syria looms large on the horizon?

Heretofore our near neighbours would, as history shows, be mobilising and that would be that.

But the vote in the House of Commons has shown that one of the most warlike people in that last millennium has grown tired of it. Let us all hope that this contagion of peace will spread throughout the world.

Dermot Ryan

Attymon, Athenry, Co Galway

COSTS A BURNING ISSUE

* 'Families to face record high energy costs' (Irish Independent, September 3). Well guess what? Families are way ahead as they have been stockpiling bags of coal, turf, logs and briquettes throughout the summer and plan to burn most of their domestic waste including plastic bottles, milk cartons, newspapers, all packaging and whatever materials they can.

So well done for sending us back to where we were: a smoggy Dublin and cities across Ireland.

People expected these hikes along with the Budget and so planned ahead, it was the talk of the summer with most people about cutting costs of domestic waste by burning it.

It saves on the landfills and recycling I suppose, but with all this domestic waste now going up in smoke, people with respiratory problems will spend more time in much-needed hospital beds.

I bet election leaflets will end up in these people's fires anyway, so all is not wasted.

Kathleen Ryan

Tallaght

SEASIDE TOWN'S SHAME

* Referring to Fergal McLoughlin's letter (August 31), I had occasion to walk through Dun Laoghaire recently and was saddened by what I saw. Boarded-up, closing-down, and cleared out – my childhood home is an empty shell. I remember a town teeming with people.

It was obvious that exorbitant parking costs were going to affect business, but who decides that a county council needs 12 new councillors? Will they have some sense of pride of place?

The Mountains-to-Sea book festival will take place this week, all of the events confined to the sparkling seafront. What if a visitor goes astray and wanders up Marine Road to discover the shameful secret that is George's Street, Upper and Lower?

Frances Browner

Greystones, Co Wicklow

VICTORY AGAINST SEXISTS

* After the sexist behaviour in the Oireachtas recently, it was refreshing to see that the burghers of this fair city did the right thing and named the new Liffey bridge after heroine Rosie Hackett. Mna na hEireann abu!

Mark Lawler

Liberties Heritage Association, Dublin 8

MINDSET OF OUR RULERS

* Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte's assertion that everyone in Ireland has access to "content", and that anyone without it must be a cavemen, has already been proven incorrect and pretty offensive. But it also shows the mindset of the governing class.

As Mr Rabbitte points out: I can receive "content" on a TV or PC, through a subscription service or a free service, a satellite or broadband, or even a mobile phone. But what he fails to mention is that I consent to pay for every one of these, with the attendant 23pc VAT on each, with a variety of competing enterprises offering their services.

Why does he assume that the State has the right to own all of this?

As he has observed, the model has changed. Charging a tax for my computer is about as anomalous as charging a food tax because I own a fridge.

Peter Romilly

Mountcharles, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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