Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Proposal Suggests UK Students Study Wikipedia and Twitter

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-necessarily-so-crazy dept.

Education 252

An anonymous reader writes "Who needs crusty old rubbish like the Victorian era or World War II? Instead, an Ofsted report leaked to The Guardian details of proposals to teach UK primary school children how to use Wikipedia, Twitter, podcasts and blogs. Presumably they're already au fait with b3ta and 4chan. And you already can't get the kids off Bebo without a crowbar."

cancel ×

252 comments

Stupid (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354515)

It's a stupid idea by people who are trying to appear "down with the kids". I can't think of anything worse to teach children than to use Wikipedia as a primary source of research and to use Twitter as a primary means of communication.

IT teaching in schools needs to improve, but from a technical perspective, not by letting kids spend a couple of hours a week in school doing what they do at home every night anyway. Far more would be gained by teaching kids how to use and administer computers than simply jumping on whatever the current internet bandwagon is and letting kids arse around with it.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354541)

I wouldn't have classed Wikipedia in that segment.

Re:Stupid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354559)

Presumably, 'learning how to use Wikipedia' includes learning not to use it as a primary source.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355103)

Teaching the kids the Victorian era or whatever else made them who they are is important in order to help them achieve their own cultural identity.

With this horrendous idea, they want the young to express themselves before they have anything to say. So, they will rely on political correctness instead of developing their sense of criticism, discussions will be abolished in favor of a consensus.

So, no. Children who just arrive need to know about themsleves and people around them before getting to use the shiny toolz.

And Twitter is an awful reduction of IRC which itself was a stupid time-wasting tool for most of its users (except some developers and people willing to meet for sex).

Re:Stupid (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355111)

Why the fuck was this posted as AC?
Is Crapdot having authentication issues?

Re:Stupid (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355193)

Why the fuck was this posted as AC? Is Crapdot having authentication issues?

Look at it this way, at least your post didn't default to -1.

Re:Stupid (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355277)

Who cares about karma?
It's a concept: it doesn't define me as a person, it somehow sends the following message to the readers: my way of expressing thoughts is not in harmony with the politically correct consensus.

Now, some people accept criticism, be it harsh or even offensive and they will agree to share thoughts and discuss like secure-free-minds should.

Some other cannot bear something that is unlike them: they live in fear and reject difference. These care for that -1 Flamebait concept.

It's just words, people.

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354601)

It's stupid to teach kids to use Wikipedia for primary research. But it's paramount to teach them just WHY it shouldn't be their only source, because otherwise they'll reach high school and do all their research on wikipedia because it's easier. Hell, I'm in college these days and I still use it as my primary research tool and almost never look at secondary sources. This is mostly because throughout my schooling I have been taught that that one book, The Book, is all I need to pass. Then I found that everything that's in The Book is also on wikipedia, except in more detail.

Similar goes for twitter and other social media. You want to Protect The Children? Don't keep them away from the internets, teach them how to tell foe from friend, teach them how to use it.

No matter what you say or do. The Internets are a paramount part of our everyday lives and primary school was meant to teach people how to deal with their everyday surroundings. Back when we were young that meant learning to read books, now it means knowing how to tell a useful blog from SEO-ed crap.

Re:Stupid (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354891)

What's wrong with just teaching kids facts? Good, old fashion knowledge, that they can carry around in their heads. Stuff that they won't learn under their own steam.

What is the competitive advantage of educators teaching kids thing that they will learn on their own, or in the workplace?

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354949)

What facts do you choose to teach them? You want to teach children techniques, using which they can discover the facts they need in the future. You don't want to guess what those facts might be, and try to teach them directly. History lessons, for example, are not really about memorising the dates of battles, but about learning how to compare historical sources and extract information. What facts can you think of that are both important, and will not be learnt by the children on their own?

Re:Stupid (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354965)

Learning facts is a waste of brain capacity. Computers are perfect for storing facts, and quickly looking up the facts we need.

The facts you need all the time will stick all by themselves - and the facts you need all the time are rarely the ones you were taught in school anyway. The facts you only use once are a waste, because they will take longer to learn, than to simply look them up. And all the rest - the ones you're never going to need - are nothing but waste.

Re:Stupid (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355147)

This is mostly because throughout my schooling I have been taught that that one book, The Book, is all I need to pass.

I think the reason is bit more than that. Wikipedia makes information readily accessible. It's primary search engine (not itself) is the most used search--Google. Access to it is free and not encumbered by an interface that obfuscates information more than it reveals.

If nothing else, so called 'reputable' and 'accurate' sources could increase their utility by simply making the information available in an easy way.

The collective information and knowledge of humanity is incredible--it's just not readily accessible-- and that is why people use Wikipedia as a primary source.

Next week (2, Interesting)

darthvader100 (1482651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354665)

How to Google.

This is just a joke to teach kids how to do things they already do. These days your kids know how to use your new DVD player or computer before you do. Ratherteach kids the meaning of the word "Library" and "citation needed" if they have to go the wikipedia way.

Teaching them how to admin a linux VM would be more useful

Re:Next week (4, Insightful)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354761)

Teaching them how to admin a linux VM would be more useful.

That's one end node of the tree of knowledge that is computer science / IT. Far better to teach kids how to research and in what situations Wiki and Google are invaluable.

Re:Next week (2, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355369)

if os == unix:
  man(problem)
else
  google(problem)
else
  irc/forum/mailinglist/project wiki/paid support #p.s how did you get here
fi

Re:Next week (5, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354901)

you really think there are many people who know how to google?
lots of people know me for being good at finding things with google, while imo it's just thinking of good keywords and look at the results to see how to modify your search

and yet, it seems i hardly see any people capable of that, so if they could teach kids that google will only support you, and not magically give you an answer on everything from the first try with just about any keyword.

Google will work great if you give it the additional knowledge and insight of your own brain, but by itself it's fairly weak. and it seems very few people seem to understand that...

and frankly, why wouldn't it be good for the next generation to actually be good at finding information on the internet? it'll probably be even far more present than it is for us...

Re:Next week (4, Funny)

Skylinux (942824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355181)

ohh you are so special!

I always find what I want with Google, here is how I do it.

1) I open the Internet and it always goes to Google for me, I think my son did that.
2) I type ebay.com into the box on my screen and click "Google Search"
3) tada .... Google found it, I click on the first link and I am there

See, you are not the only who knows how to use Google

Re:Next week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355185)

There's a difference between using google and knowing /how to/ google. I work in a library and kids out of HS get frustrated because their search results give them too much "noise".

I show them a few modifiers like useing site: , +/- , quotation marks and the students start finding what they need off of scholar.google.com

Re:Stupid (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354745)

How is the OP a troll? I pretty much agree with the post from my perspectives as: a parent, a School Governor, a trainer and an Instructional Designer.

Mods on crack or of school age today?

Re:Stupid (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354823)

Teaching them to use wikipedia as a starting point for further reference would be a good idea. Teaching them to use it as a primary reference is stupid. What they should be doing is teaching them how to look up information. Then either a book or a computer could be useful. Unfortunately, as sites like letmegooglethatforyou prove, people are really bad at looking things up, so for most people learning to use wikipedia probably sounds hard.

Re:Stupid (2, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354889)

There is nothing wrong in teaching kids how to use wikipedia ... provided they are also taught to be critical of what they read.

For most regular school work (note:school, not university), the quality of wikipedia articles are reasonable. Compared to most school books, wikipedia entries often cite other articles for further reading. Many of these are even online, so the kids have access to those articles as well.

It should, however, be linked with teaching kids how to use the internet for information search in general, including how to use the online library resources and databases. Part of the above is, as I started by stating, teaching kids to be critical of what they read, particularly on the internet, and to use their own minds. Wikipedia will not teach them that.

What kids need is hope (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355037)

Teach them to read and write then you can teach then Genesis and Gospels. That's all they need to know. The real life isn't on earth.

Re:Stupid (1)

Dreen (1349993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355059)

IT needs to improve very FAST or we will face a serious problem. If our kids are not tought(sp?) engineering-entry-to-uni level of IT in primary school, they are not going to do any good in modern world. Otherwise will face the fact that the world is driven by technology which is only understood by small fraction of population, and this fraction is getting smaller.

Re:Stupid (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355195)

My kids have known how to use a phone (landline first, cellphone later) from about the age of 6. I don't think even I, as a forty-something geek with an electronic engineering degree, could tell you many of the details of how a modern digital telephone system operates. We only need a tiny fraction of the population to understand these things. We need a greater fraction of the population to support and maintain the infrastructure of the telephone system.

"..and the Wicihta lineman is still on the line".

Twitter is pretty retarded (3, Informative)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354519)

It's basically a blog for people who are not able to write enough good stuff for blogs.

"I just took a dump" and other messages are basically the essence of Twitter and I can do exactly the same on a random IRC channel.

Wikipedia on the other hand is more interesting because it shows what perception can do to people and how that combines to an article. I teaches checking the sources instead of simply copypasting your info(although some people still do that).

Twitter has none of those redeeming values and is outside the study of microblogs or something similar(like speed of information) a completely useless research subject.

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354573)

Yes, this must be the most hyped and overrated thing since second life.

I just hope they die soon, the constant flood of Twitter news offends me. Seriously, I hate Twitter - dumb people should keep their dumb stuff amongst them, but due to Twitter complete dipshits now manage to invade the media and hype it that much, there is no escape (and the fact that /. is falling for this is sad, really sad).

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (3, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354607)

Twitter is oh so much more than "I just took a dump" It's an Instant Messaging protocol.

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (3, Funny)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354651)

Great. Another one. And the content is "I just took a dump". What's your point?

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (2, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354697)

My point is that isn't really teh content at all. Hell, most people don't even talk so much about what they're doing twitter as they are about more in-depth things, like how they feel for instance. Sharing interesting photos quickly is also quite popular, pasting that awesome link you just saw, but don't have anyone to show ... twitter will love it. And so on.

Hell, just earlier this week I got a job offer because I was venting on twitter about how insanely unfair my project manager was being.

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355197)

Obligatory Penny-Arcade:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (2, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354661)

I guess Twitter the service and Twitter the Slashdot user have something in common. They're both pretty pointless.

There's a few people who can use Twitter well, but mostly it's just an overload of useless information. But some people seem lost without it.

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (5, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354839)

One thing that intrigues me a lot is the number of mentions that service in getting in the media (even mainstream media) in the past weeks. Slashdot, for instance, along with this article has other two in the frontpage (Researchers Can ID Anonymous Twitterers [slashdot.org] and Build Your Own Open Source Twittering Power Meter [slashdot.org] .

But it is not only Slashdot. Lance Armstrong [go.com] is doing it, I heard about it the other day on television, something in the lines of "Lance Armstrong informed the public that it may miss the Giro using this novely service, Twitter". Actually, even Associated press "noticed the trend" (or is propagating a well thought press release, depending on what really happened) and released a list [google.com] with the nicknames of some of the celebrities that uses the service.

That reminds me of what happened last year, lots and lots of stories (even on Slashdot) about Second Life, how people were making money on Second life, virtual property on Second Life, virtual child abuse on Second Life, and so on and so forth, lots of stories with several things in common: lots of mentions of the service name, stock footage of people using it, a long description of the service in question, fake and minor controversies.

Sometimes I wonder if it is only a fad, a hype that is propagated naturally by the collective hysteria or if there are really people in the Marketing business powerful and competent enough to orchestrate a press campaign so pervasive and organic that looks like genuine public interest.

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354973)

Another post for which we need a special +6 rating.

Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher ! (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355377)

"Lance Armstrong informed the public that it may miss the Giro using this novely service, Twitter".

Why would anyone forget to pick up their dole cheque after using Twitter ?

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355109)

Wikipedia I can understand, it is probably the most important website out there (IMHO)
But twitter ? Everytime I read something about twitter I have the feeling that I missed something... I thought it was just a gimmick to enter a short message, timestamp it and put it on a website. Is there something I am missing ? Why is it called a social network ?

Re:Twitter is pretty retarded (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355275)

Most twitter access isn't via website.. it owes more to MSN I guess than blogs, except it's searchable and you can be friends with someone without them being friends with you back (in that sense it also behaves like RSS as well - I'm following several websites that way).

I'm not sure what makes it so useful.. critical mass plays a huge part - once all your friends are on it to not be on it you're missing out. That was the same thing that made facebook popular before it.

sage (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354561)

inb4 troll

Re:sage (2, Informative)

snwyvern (1334877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354577)

Sage goes in every field. ... duh.

Idiocray in its uttermost level (1)

gustgr (695173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354565)

Why would such technologies require orientation from educators? They are ridiculously easy to use. Most children today are quite comfortable with the Internet, not rarely much more comfortable than their parents and/or teachers. Spending quality school time on teaching a kid how to "tweet" is stupidity.

What would be necessary and even critical is to teach the kids how to NOT use the net and give them a general guidance regarding the web, i.e. how to use a rational judging sense while reading what they have found, how to avoid wasting time while looking for useful blogs and content in general, or even how to improve your productivity by not posting comments on /. ;-)

Re:Idiocray in its uttermost level (2, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354593)

They aren't teaching them how to "use" Wikipedia in the sense of editing it, they are teaching them to apply critical thinking skills. That is to say, to analyze an article for themselves, determine whether or not it is valid, to use it as a springboard for jumping off into other resources, etc.

Re:Idiocray in its uttermost level (1, Insightful)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354655)

...they are teaching them to apply critical thinking skills....

If only that were the case. Most teachers don't have this facility, and so are incapable of teaching it. Most children won't ever learn these skills, and actually couldn't care less about them. Sad, but true.

As a result, can't we just stick to basic education, at least until a reasonable age, say 16, where the dumbasses who are destined for a life on the dole start skipping school most of the time ?

Re:critical thinking skills (2, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355261)

Most teachers don't have this facility, and so are incapable of teaching it.

[Citation needed]

Re:Idiocray in its uttermost level (2, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354813)

"Idiocray" ? Is that a really dumb 1970s supercomputer [cray.com] ?

Learn how to learn (5, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354587)

Well, I'm not really for skipping learning about WWII, but learning how to use Wikipedia and how to blog sound like excellent things to teach kids. Should we really teach kids that knowledge comes from a single authoritarian figure like a teacher, or should we tell them that they need to investigate numerous versions of the view of history?

Learning how to use Wikipedia, including how to read the discussion page sounds fantastic. Take a topic, show how there are a lot of varied opinions about it. Show how consensus is formed and most importantly show that we can't always trust consensus.

Blogging including micro-blogging like Twitter is also a very good idea. It's almost impossible to get kids to see the relevance of writing. Read some blogs. Show how poor writing makes someone look like an idiot. Show how good writing makes someone look smart.

Now granted, they probably won't teach it like that. But they *could* and I think it would be a very good idea.

Re:Learn how to learn (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354667)

They'll get round to the Second World War later on when they're at an age to study it with better understanding. It's not being skipped. Just delayed.

Re:Learn how to learn (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355183)

They'll get round to the Second World War later on when they're at an age to study it with better understanding. It's not being skipped. Just delayed.

Thank god for that. I was beginning to worry that future generations of "England" football fans would not know what to chant in the England vs Germany matches.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354707)

The internet is probably the last place you'd want to use to teach someone the importance of good writing. The amount of people who think it's cool to type in text speak, deliberately spell certain words incorrectly and various forms of leet speak mean that kids will think that a good writing style doesn't matter.

Add to that the differences between US and UK English, also entries posted by non-native English speakers it's certainly possible that relying too much on the internet will affect a students writing skills.

Back in my GCSE days I got an A in English. I really do believe since then my English skills have suffered immensely from reading a lot of online forums. Of course, the many benefits of having Internet access outweigh this I can't imagine what my job would be without the internet being successful.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

Thaddeaus (777809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355205)

The internet is probably the last place you'd want to use to teach someone the importance of good writing. The amount of people who think it's cool to type in text speak, deliberately spell certain words incorrectly and various forms of leet speak mean that kids will think that a good writing style doesn't matter.

Then teach them how to distinguish between websites with good writing [thelastpsychiatrist.com] and websites with slashdot.com [slashdot.org] . Of course, the second example may be a little extreme.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

dgg3565 (963614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354735)

Well, I'm not really for skipping learning about WWII, but learning how to use Wikipedia and how to blog sound like excellent things to teach kids. Should we really teach kids that knowledge comes from a single authoritarian figure like a teacher, or should we tell them that they need to investigate numerous versions of the view of history?

Two words come to mind: citation needed. It's interesting to note that the foundation of open, aggregated knowledge-building relies a relative handful of trusted sources which are closely and jealously maintained by trusted authorities. That is, topic experts which have an understanding of not only the basic facts, but the contours, concepts, and unique questions that arise in a given subject.

A student doesn't know what they don't know. A teacher is not simply a dispenser of knowledge, but ideally, is a guide, helping a student to understand those contours, concepts, and unique questions, along with the basic facts (allowing that student to form their own opinions and interpretations).

Without the guidance of a good teacher, a student may absorb information uncritically and in a fragmentary fashion, creating an incomplete and erroneous understanding of the subject. So, the role of a teacher is dynamic and relational. Moreover, there are unspoken aspects of knowledge that are difficult to transmit through the written word.

Now, of course, there are plenty of people who are self-taught, but even the best autodidacts rely upon sources written by experts to attain their knowledge, as well as learning from others. That mixture of the hierarchical and egalitarian, the open and the authoritative, is an essential balance, each maintaining the integrity of the other.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354769)

OK, I see in the report where they suggest increasing student exposure to new media entities such as Twitter and Wikipedia, but where exactly is the bit about cutting history subjects?

This seems to have been an element invented by reporters to make a good story.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354919)

Not only that but I don't remember having history lessons at primary school anyway. Maths and English and physical and music but no specific history. All that came at secondary school (11 years and up). It was a fair while ago though (1970s).

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355031)

I'm pretty sure we touched on Greeks, Romans, Vikings and Henry VIII when I was in primary school but it was mostly just interesting stories. Stuff like the greek myths and Henry's love life.

Re:Learn how to learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355227)

Going to primary school in the nineties, I can assure anyone that the history taught to kids is laughable at best, and atrocious at worst. I did have history lessons starting at grade 4. Everything I learned was wrong.

Re:Learn how to learn (1)

worip (1463581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355005)

This web-related teachings should not replace anything like history, but should be in addition to the normal curriculum. The amount of time people spend on education are steadily increasing as the world we live in gets more complex. We might cast the web out a bit wider than just Twitter and Wikipedia, and teach them how to use the web safely, e.g. what are the privacy implications when you open up your profiles, ideas and rants up to the whole world on facebook. Or how to use search engines efficiently, or teach them a program language. Computer literacy and internet literacy should be compulsory in this day and age.

Yeah right (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355033)

Or perhaps we should teach kids about libraries. Where dozens of books are found on the same subject, each with a different view. Not constrained by size or editors who insist that their view is the neutral view.

Libraries, Wikipedia without the trolls, random edits and shallowness of the net. An amazing invention and they are right there in your neighbourhood.

Wikipedia is a tool, but don't pretend that it is any more then an extremely shallow encyclopedia. This is important. If you want to know about a subject an encyclopedia will only tell you the barest minimum on it. That is its function. Sadly most of the internet is like this. Everything got to be short, shorter, shortest and depth and with that accuracy goes right out of the window.

Don't get me wrong, I like wikipedia and use it a lot, but it is an encyclopedia. Libraries contain DOZENS of those.

Re:Learn how to learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355119)

Learning how to blog is at best a tiny subset of learning how to write. Learning how to use Wikipedia should be a subset of learning how to use secondary sources, including traditional encyclopedias (which, despite the famous Nature article, tend to be slightly more reliable than Wikipedia on everything except math and the hard sciences), newspapers, survey books, journals, monographs, and bibliographies. These are methods of research, not subjects of research, and the former should not displace the latter.

How long does it take to learn twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355137)

Sure teach them these things, but really, how long does it take for someone to learn how to use twitter or Wikipedia. If you can read and write and have basic (very basic) computer skills you will pick them up in an afternoon.

Then we can all get back to learning the difficult stuff.

Not entirely misplaced (2, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354619)

Kids need better practical web education. They need to know that a prince in Nigeria isn't going to give them $1m, that the 11 year old girl who wants to meet them in a quiet street at 9pm alone probably shouldn't be trusted.

From keeping online and offline persona seperated to avoiding libel on forums there proper nettique needs to be addressed in education. When I was at school pretty much the only 'how to act on the net' education we got was "if you use capitals, it looks like you're shouting". Of course that was a time when few people were on the net as you were charged by the minute.

Re:Not entirely misplaced (4, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354831)

the 11 year old girl who wants to meet them in a quiet street at 9pm alone probably shouldn't be trusted.

Shit, now you tell me ! :(

Re:Not entirely misplaced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355201)

A cat is fine too

Re:Not entirely misplaced (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354937)

Kids need better practical web education. They need to know that a prince in Nigeria isn't going to give them $1m, that the 11 year old girl who wants to meet them in a quiet street at 9pm alone probably shouldn't be trusted.

None of this is new. I remember back when CB radio was a fad in the UK, I was chatting to a girl and arranged to meet in town. She told me she was 14, but she looked barely 12 when I met her, so we spent a boring hour in the arcades and then went our separate ways. I was 14 or 15 at the time.

Re:Not entirely misplaced (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355045)

I know a Nigerian prince, he barely has enough money to pay me back for his shopping each month :P.

Grammer Nitpick (0)

t0qer (230538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354633)

Just a small nitpick but, "And you already can't get the kids off Bebo without a crowbar."" You're not really supposed to start sentences off with conjunctions. You could have dropped the conjunction, swapped you and already, and the sentence wouldn't have burned my honors English eyes as badly. "Already you can't get the kids off Bebo without a crowbar."" Still kind of shitty but better. I thought slash editors used to correct grammar and spelling mistakes?

Re:Grammer Nitpick (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354645)

I guess your honors English didn't cover spelling. Check your title.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (2, Funny)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354687)

I thought slash editors used to correct grammar and spelling mistakes?

You must be new here....

Re:Grammer Nitpick (2, Informative)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354725)

You're not really supposed to start sentences off with conjunctions.

You are mistaken. Even in formal writing, starting a sentence with a conjunction is acceptable. But do so carefully; it's easy to write an unclear or poorly-structured sentence that way.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354741)

You're not really supposed to start sentences off with conjunctions.

But who says so?

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355131)

You're not really supposed to start sentences off with conjunctions.

But who says so?

And why do they say it?

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355243)

The teachers of every English class I ever took say so. They're wrong of course and a couple even openly admitted it, but even those who admitted that told us never to do it. For English teachers it's like the GOTO statement is to programming teachers -- justifiably legitimate in some cases, but they're convinced you'll just shoot yourself in the foot with it so they tell you never to use it.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354751)

"Still kind of shitty"

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354763)

I believe starting a sentence with 'And' is now acceptable. I went on an effective writing course a few years back and this came up and were told it's now OK. Like all things, these rules change over time. Still feels wrong but sometimes reads better.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354909)

It has gone back to being acceptable. It was perfectly acceptable in the King James Bible (widely regarded as an example of exceptionally good English, even by those who reject its content), where you'll find it all over the place (I think at least one chapter begins with a conjunction). But some 19th century grammarians, out of prejudice against the English language, imported a whole pile of rules from more "noble" languages (mainly Latin & Greek) that had no place in English. The rule against splitting an infinitive is another one of those.

So advice from another English major: what makes language "right" or "wrong" is whether it is effective in its purpose. Beginning a sentence with a conjunction can increase immediacy, but can be a warning that the structure of an argument is a little loose. The tradeoff is up to you, not some 19th century grammarians or their pupils.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355149)

It has gone back to being acceptable.

Yes, whenever someone says "don't start sentences off with conjunctions" I always think of William Blake's "Jerusalem" and how much worse it sounds if you drop the "And".

Re:Grammer Nitpick (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354915)

Humans have an incredibly complex grammar textbook they can refer to; it's called your brain. If something makes perfect sense and feels right, then it's grammatical. Really, I do get bored with injunctions to not at the end of a sentence a preposition put. Or to strongly abhor splitting an infinitive. Really, just because you can't do it in Latin doesn't mean you shouldn't do it in English.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (5, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354899)

And then came the Grammar Nazis. But for them, we would be able to carry on conversations without pointless interruptions.

Speaking as one who spent about five years as a professional editor, it is perfectly fine to start sentences with conjunctions. Like anything, it shouldn't be overused. But I will take a sentence that begins with "but" over one that inserts "however" as a clause any day. "However" reads weak. Similarly, if you can start a sentence with "and" where the only alternative would be to use a longer word or phrase, go with "and." People use it that way all the time in normal speech, and written text that sounds like natural speech is almost always preferable to a string of long words that were chosen out of a desire to sound "proper."

And by the way, starting sentences with conjunctions is not even a new practice. "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" It's just difficult to teach young writers to do it properly, which is why most high-school English teachers stick to the (false) rule. Your writing will be better if you don't do it at all than if you do it badly.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (2, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355265)

Ironically, that was really hard to read.

But I don't follow the 'rules' either and I'm glad you've taken the time to highlight the point.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355321)

And then came the Grammar Nazis. But for them, we would be able to carry on conversations without pointless interruptions.

This isn't an example of starting a sentence with a conjunction, it's an example of "but" being used as a proposition.

Re:Grammer Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355387)

my honors English eyes

Leave the Grammar Nazi be, he has to do something to justify his existence.

Though you could just dispense with the 'and' and 'already' altogether. The sentence would read better and be more snappy.

Welcome to the UK (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354685)

Where they kill everyone with good ideas and promote the use of wikipedia and twitter. To be honest, I have a younger brother who is over seas attending a UK school. He was taking school in Massachusetts before and the kid just loves it over in the UK, why you ask? Because it's way easier! This might just be his personal experience with it but I can't support any of this bullshit.

Re:Welcome to the UK (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354743)

When I was at school in the UK on of the important aspects of history class was not just what happened in the past but we were supposed to think about the various sources of historical evidence and consider their reliability as a source.

The idea was to promote the fact that all sources would have some bias. You should look at evidence from all sources and consider what possible bias exists in each. e.g. look at both English and German newspaper articles published during the war, etc.

I think the critical thinking aspect of our history classes was more important than just teaching the events of the past.

Re:Welcome to the UK (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355323)

Private school perhaps? One of the worst things about state schools is they teach facts not critical thinking.

All we learned were dates. 1066 was drummed into our heads. Henry VIII having a number of wives. Something about the Romans and the Vikings.

We didn't do WWII.. it wasn't in the curriculum then (this was 20 years ago though).

Maths was worse - I remember getting a detention for calculating the 12 times table rather than rote learning it. Actually working stuff out was a punishable offence!

Re:Welcome to the UK (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354895)

When i was in secondary school (that's what we call high school in the UK), the GSCE's (the exams you take in 5th form at around 15/16 years old) hadn't been around long, so for practice exams we mostly used the old O levels. When we came to sit the actual GCSE's, particularly the sciences, we couldn't believe how easy they were compared to the old exams. And at that point the GCSE's were at least proper exams, since then they've brought in large amounts of continuous assessment, with students able to re-take modules several times until they get them right during the course of the year. It's basically impossible to fail GCSE's now, and I thought we were at the point where we couldn't dumb our education system down any further. Looks like I was wrong.

Re:Welcome to the UK (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355353)

You're able to re-take modules? Hell. I didn't realize it had got that bad.

It's long since passed the point where I as an employer (I do interview occasionally) would take a GCSE or A level at face value, which is a shame - in the drive to create a 'nobody loses' culture they've devalued the one thing that allowed the bright students to stand out, so now *everybody* loses because without other experience your CV now goes in the bin.

Re:Welcome to the UK (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355089)

The problem with UK schools is that they are increasingly trying to meet government targets. It's getting more difficult for kids to fail.

A child can work really hard, learn a lot and get good grades. Those grades are deserved and that kid will be better set up for later life. They will also be able to study at a more in depth level if they work hard, they just wont be tested on it so it's not compulsory for the teachers to teach that material. However, a kid can also scrape by with minimum effort and still pass. Heck, they might only be a grade below those smart kids who work hard. They'll find it harder later on though.

I find it annoying when British kids get angry at people like me who say it's getting easier* as they should be angry at the government for making ti so much harder for the smart ones to stand out.

* Having been in an academic year where I could do both the old A-levels and the new AS levels I got a good first hand comparison. The AS-levels are much, much simpler but broader in scope. I would assume the same sort of dumbing down has happened all through the school system

When I Was a Lad... (2, Interesting)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354709)

Y'know, when I was a schoolkid, we were required to keep a daily journal in some English classes. I don't see a fundamental difference between that and blogging as a method of developing writing skills.

We were also taught how to use encyclopedias, and allowed to use them as source material. Given that the error-per-word rate in Wikipedia is lower than Encyclopedia Britannica, I see nothing wrong with using it. Better, Wikipedia lists primary sources, something I don't recall from ink-and-paper encyclopedias. Teaching kids to use it well seems like a fine idea to me.

Twitter and podcasts? Not so much. I don't see the educational value in these. I could see a school doing a podcast as a class project, I s'pose, but as part of a formal curriculum?

Like anything else in life (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354731)

Like anything else in life, kids learn more by observing the actions of the people important to them, than by what they might say.

If dad is helping with a homework assignment and his first instinct is to go to Wikipedia, then that behaviour will be picked up on. A generation ago, adults might have looked up the family encyclopedia or gone down to the local library to get info. Now, that course of action might seem like the 'proper', old-skool way to go about things but just consider how limited those resources truly were; For historical events and people, the family encyclopedia would be pretty useful but for information about new technology or current affairs, it'd be obsolete almost as soon as it's printed. It's the same with library books.

Consider also that you can find websites dedicated to the most arcane subjects - subjects which would not make for a commercially viable printed book and so could never be found in ANY reference library, never mind a local one.

If a parent is skeptical and knows a little bit about research and authorative references, then that'll be picked up on too. A curious child will wonder what makes one reference trustworthy and useful where another might be biased and worthless. At that point, an adult can explain what to look out for and - BINGO ! - a new life skill has been nurtured.

Hell, if I'm looking for info on a subject new to me, my first ports of call are almost always Wiki and Google. Wiki will give you a useful overview and links to more in-depth definitions. It'll also give you a good source of key words for typing into Google.

Say I wanted to know about the Crimean War. At this moment in time, it's honestly nothing to me other than a name. I think it happened in the 19th Century, but that's about it. This is all serious, not a hypothetical example:

I go to Wiki and now know that it was fought between the Russian Empire and a western alliance consisting of UK, France, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire. It lasted from Oct 1853 to Feb 1856. It was considered to be the first 'modern' conflict. Significant names to research further: "Tsar Nicholas I", "Count Karl Nesselrode", "Sir George Hamilton Seymour", "Constantinople", "Turkey", "Crimean Peninsula", "Baltic Sea", "Holy Land", "Telegraph", "Minié Ball", "Florence Nightingale". Google can supply all sorts of leads from these phrases, either alone or combined.

OK, so don't treat it as a primary source of info (and for Bog's sake don't EVER put it in your list of references) but as a launchpad for your initial investigation, Wikipedia is without equal.

Re:Like anything else in life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354939)

(and for Bog's sake don't EVER put it in your list of references)

Even that needs qualifying. I've got some of my best grades (firsts) for assignments in which I've cited Wikipedia -- but showed in the body of the assignment that I'd treated the Wikipedia information with due caution.

AC because modding.

I like this! (2, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354811)

Completely disconnect kids from reality AND factual history and you've got a guaranteed pliable population. Works for me.

Uncyclopedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354817)

How about teaching American kids how to do their research using Uncyclopedia? It would be kind of interesting to see if the general population over there could get much dumber.

Still, there would be some bright points to including uncyclopedia in the curriculum.
http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Evolution seems like a much more accurate account of how things actually work than what is beeing taught to the kids over there now.

The number of religious people over there is pretty hillarious.. I mean.. in a cry-my-eyes-out-in-despair-at-humanitys-immense-collective-stupidity kinda way. *sigh*

PlastBox

Kids need help with teh Web (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354833)

Brilliant idea. Yeah, because kids are well-known to have trouble embracing new technology. Most of them can't even use FaceBook and have to get their grandparents to do it for them.

What next? Skipping rope lessons? Running and screaming lessons? Dipping a ball in dogshit and throwing to someone lessons?

Those who do not learn from History are condemned to repeat its mistakes. But of course, they won't know that.

Wikipedia yes, the others, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27354843)

The majorty of twitter, blogs, and podcasts are of no educational interest. Wiki is a reasonable idea, but does it really take more than 10 minuites to figure it out

Yeah, like kool kids (1)

iworm (132527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354851)

Fantastic idea! Since they gave up teaching children grammar, spelling, written communication skills, good manners, literacy and so on, this at least gives them something to do during all the free time they now have.

I just thank deity that my children are not in the UK...

Re:Yeah, like kool kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355017)

I just thank deity that my children are not in the UK...

Clearly they're not, because if they were (as mine are) you would be aware that UK schoolkids are taught grammar, spelling, written communication skills, good manners and many other things. Sure, the teaching doesn't always take -- that has a bit to do with the kid and a lot to do with whether the teaching gets reinforced at home -- but it all gets taught. Of course, the media like to pretend it doesn't, because that sells copy to folks who like to have their prejudices against young people confirmed.

On a positive note... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354935)

If this practice were instituted in the U.S., American school kids would be able to get more out of NPR's Talk of the Nation Science Friday.

ass backwards??? (1)

CheshireFerk-o (412142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354993)

Wouldnt it be the children teaching the adults to use twitter/facebook/podcasts??? ive been online since 1994 and i still have not found I need these "social" tools for anything at all, let alone figure out their pourpose.

primary school! (1)

Fishy (17624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355047)

Christ, this is little kids, they never did WW2 or the victorians anyway. Just like the comment on the story says, you draw pictures of vikings and romans at that age, you don't study the damm Potsdam Conference!

You teach WW2 at secondary, in a long segment, starting with WW1 to get everything in context. The same as we have been doing for years.

THERE IS NO STORY HERE MOVE ALONG

Re:primary school! (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355391)

Even that's recent - when I went to school the only thing we did was an hour on WW1, and that was just that someone shot Archduke Ferdinand and Britain went to war over it.. which doesn't even make sense (but as a child you don't question, and this was pre-internet and definately pre-history channel so we didn't have any other sources).

Off topic, is Coral Cache down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27355167)

I can't access Coral Cache. Anybody else having this problem, or am I being blocked? Here's a test URL: http://www.coralcdn.org.nyud.net/

But they already know about them... (2, Insightful)

tobe (62758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355249)

This is pretty ridiculous. As if these kids don't already know all about these services and have used them more than their tutors.

'And this is Twitter.. it's an instant messaging protocol that allows us to share our thoughts and dreams with the world. Isn't that marvellous, children."

"Nah miss.. it's just a way for me to chat shit to my mates, innit. Look.. it's on my phone."

Age 11 and under (1)

merlinokos (892352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27355259)

It should be noted that this proposal is for children aged 11 and under. That is, 5th grade and lower (British call it Year 6).
I don't remember studying much American history when I was that age. In fact, I mostly remember reading, arithmetic, and P.E.
The truth is that the UK has over-legislated what to teach, leaving little room for children to be children. These recommendations are actually a step in the right direction, in that they decrease the amount of mandated work that little children have to do.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...