Beta
×

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!

Home Computers Equal Lower Test Scores

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-better-typing-speed dept.

Education 278

An anonymous reader writes "Politicians and education activists have long sought to eliminate the 'digital divide' by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service. But a Duke University study finds these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their homes."

cancel ×

278 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Well, no shit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624238)

Without a computer you have to learn how to think.

Re:Well, no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624348)

Yup... you don't need a calculator to get a PhD in Mathematics.

Also: if the kids are being baby-sat by the computer then there is little or no parent interaction which typically has a high correlation to school performance.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625150)

...you don't need a calculator to get a PhD in Mathematics.

You need a calculator to make you look cool and get the chicks. HP 50g baby!

Re:Well, no shit (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624490)

higher test scores != learning more

More and more school districts and states are moving towards using standardized tests to measure "learning". If you only teach students to score well on those tests then they aren't "learning" as much as they are "memorizing facts". Teaching kids how to think, critical thinking, reasoning, etc will benefit them (and the rest of us) much more in the long run ... there just aren't any easy ways to measure that kind of performance.

You teach a kid 'how to think' and then sit them in front of 'World of Goo', 'Gears', etc and you'll see they can 'think'.

This shows the uselessness of test scores (4, Insightful)

mantis2009 (1557343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624580)

What's more important in life? Computer skills or getting high test scores?

Re:This shows the uselessness of test scores (5, Funny)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625146)

definitely getting high... oh nm

Re:This shows the uselessness of test scores (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625526)

Most of the "skills" they're learning aren't going to help them much in life. eg. Surfing for porn.

Re:Well, no shit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624604)

Oddly, standardized testing is used through out the world (namely EU, china, and japan), and it does not seem to hurt them. Testing does not hurt. It hurts more to have lazy teachers.

Re:Well, no shit (4, Insightful)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624760)

Standardized test scores are not, in and of themselves, evil. They are actually pretty useful tools for measuring the performance a student is capable of when used in moderation. It's the increasing focus put on standardized testing in the US that is creating the problem. When everything from school funding to teacher performance is dependent on these tests, it becomes more and more important for the SCHOOL how the kids do on the test. This leads to a huge increase in teaching specifically to the test, from what types of questions will be on it to testing techniques. There is also a lot of pressure on students to perform well. This leads to less general teaching, which would allow most students to pass the test just fine, and give better numbers, and more teaching to the test, which is good for the scores on one test, and good for the school, but terrible for the student.

Re:Well, no shit (5, Informative)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625002)

The distortion of standardized test scores as they are applied for optimization purposes is just another example of Campbell's law [wikipedia.org] . When it becomes important to optimize the score, the score gets optimized even at the expense of what it was supposed to measure. As you say, the score may be sensible enough on its own, but optimization twists it.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625176)

£Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their home."

I'm guessing its largely scores in sports related activities.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624866)

In the only one of those countries I'm familiar with (France), there is a standardized high school graduation exam (really shouldn't be called "high school graduation" as that makes what is a legitimate achievement sound like the mockery of education we have here in the U.S., but alas, there is no better English language term for the baccalauréat), so you are technically correct.

However, it is nothing like the "standardized testing" we are familiar with here in the States. It's graded completely by human, not computer, and multiple-choice questions are very rare. The exams in the humanities and social sciences consist of being given four hours to write an essay on a given subject, and the exams in technical subject consist of being given four hours to solve multiple long, challenging problems. Full work needs to be shown, of course.

These stats could be wrong, but off the top of my head, I think about 30-40% get this kind of diploma (baccalauréat général) and almost all of them go to university, whereas the other 60-70% get diplomas from technological or trade high schools (baccalauréat technologique, baccalauréat professionnel, or others, which exist in everything from computer networking to how to bake bread).

Re:Well, no shit (3, Insightful)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624996)

Having taken standardized tests in Florida, I can assure you that it isn't an issue with 'lazy teachers'. Once they started doing testing the "schooling" became more about test taking skills and less and less about knowledge. On top of that the tests often had unanswerable questions - particularly in math (often the only answers had order of operations errors) and the English tests were utter nonsense (reading comprehension was less about understanding the content and more about opinion, such as "which is the best title" wtf does best mean?).

Re:Well, no shit (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625530)

I have a very bright sister. She's now doing a Phd in psychology. Back in highschool she got the highest test results in her computer class, and yet she didn't understand a single thing that was in the test.

Conversely I did struggle throughout school. There was one subject that I got 100% in all the theory and practical exercises for an entire semester. And yet I only got a credit in the final exam.

IMO exams mean shit.

Re:Well, no shit (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624780)

higher test scores != learning more More and more school districts and states are moving towards using standardized tests to measure "learning". If you only teach students to score well on those tests then they aren't "learning" as much as they are "memorizing facts". Teaching kids how to think, critical thinking, reasoning, etc will benefit them (and the rest of us) much more in the long run ... there just aren't any easy ways to measure that kind of performance. You teach a kid 'how to think' and then sit them in front of 'World of Goo', 'Gears', etc and you'll see they can 'think'.

Test scores are a poor indicator of future achievement, this is why many colleges (even at the upper tier) only want to know that you took the SAT and could care less what the scores were. In fact, our school system kind of resembles the 1950s and 1960s without as much racism and segregation. It is perhaps the most backward piece of our whole society. Schools need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern era. It is not enough to mix technology with outmoded, outdated thinking. You can have all the fancy bling in the world, but if you use test scores as benchmarks without looking at teaching, you fail miserably.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624880)

The bit about top schools not caring about the SAT is totally false. I got very mediocre grades (B average) in high school and got into some schools that should have been way out of my league (Carnegie Mellon, McGill, UIUC, huge scholarship from U. of Georgia, and others). The only remarkable thing about my record was a 2370 SAT score (not trying to brag -- it was pure luck if you ask me).

Re:Well, no shit (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625006)

If you only teach students to score well on those tests then they aren't "learning" as much as they are "memorizing facts".

They aren't memorizing facts, they are memorizing test question answers. There are two important differences:

1) A fact is something you believe to be correct. A test question answer is simply what you need to write to a test paper to get a good grade, and completely unconnected to the rest of your internal model of the world - that is, you can believe things which directly and obviously conflict with the test answer you've memorized, yet not see any problem with this, since the answer is not something you belive, it's just what you believe the test grader wants to hear. This leads us to...

2) Facts are connected to each other. You have, to some extent, considered their connections to other facts. You can use them to draw conclusions, or use them in various contexts. In short, they're part of your internal model of the world, and you might actually benefit from knowing them outside of taking tests. None of this is true of something you memorized just to regurgitate it as a reflex answer when you see a trigger sentence.

Teaching kids how to think, critical thinking, reasoning, etc will benefit them (and the rest of us) much more in the long run ... there just aren't any easy ways to measure that kind of performance.

Of course there is: give them problems to solve, then grade the solutions and the time it took them to come up with them. For example, give them an intentionally flawed argument and ask them to describe the flaw(s). Extra credit if they spot a flaw you didn't intend to put there :).

Re:Well, no shit (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625556)

1) A fact is something you believe to be correct

"Facts" correctness has nothing to do with what you believe. Facts are by definition correct.

Re:Well, no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625630)

Wow, that's a lot of "quotes" !

Re:Well, no shit (2, Interesting)

rpillala (583965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625682)

You're on the right track here; I just want to give you some more ammo for when you discuss this with pro-test folks.

High stakes testing causes districts to replace teaching with training, or more cynically, with test prep. Because the tests themselves are not designed as pure recall exercises, you cannot do well on them simply by memorizing facts. Test prep in this case consists of finding a low level way to respond to a question designed for high level thinking. The levels to which I refer come from Bloom's Taxonomy.

So, by clever use of highlighters, and by teaching students to look for certain words or phrases, the "teacher" can get them to successfully choose the correct answer from a list without any of the real work of (say) mathematical problem solving. This is something you can read more about at Dan Meyer's blog. One of his directions for teachers is that we should be "less helpful." High stakes testing leads to district and schoolwide mandates that teachers be as helpful as possible.

At a recent faculty meeting, one of the VPs presented us with data that our state test scores were (markedly) on the rise while our SAT and AP scores were suffering. He was happy about the state test scores and said that we needed to find a way to bring that kind of success to the college-oriented tests. Later, I stopped by his office and said that I thought the AP and SAT scores were suffering not in spite of the state test scores, but because of them. The kind of teaching we do to prepare kids for those tests robs them of critical thinking skills. Namely, what information do I need for this problem? What has been given to me? What can I find out from the information given to me? What parts are irrelevant?

I'm coming from the math perspective. You might hear a different set of complaints from someone who teaches something else. Take all possible complaints across disciplines and you see the scope of what kids are losing.

No quite (4, Insightful)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624524)

It's not the computer that's at fault but the people who are responsible for the idea.

The "activists" contribute their moral outrage but don't much care if the kids actually get an education. It's the opportunity to display moral outrage that's the pay off for the activists. If the kids don't learn anything that's another opportunity to display moral outrage.

The politicians want to look like they're doing something and preferably with other people's money - getting something for nothing, even something useless, is politically worthwhile. Does it matter if the kids learn? Obviously not.

There's really only one group that has an unquestionable claim to be concerned primarily with education and that's the parents. They're not consulted because they might ask uncomfortable questions like "Will the computer do anything worthwhile?" Neither the activists nor the politicians are interested in having to answer questions like that.

Re:No quite (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624534)

It's not the computer that's at fault but the people who are responsible for the idea.

You're absolutely right! I've been itching to blame Charles Babbage and Alan Turing for something ever since I took my first programming class 31 years ago. I'm off to Wikipedia to add this to their pages.

Re:No quite (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624798)

ever since I took my first programming class 31 years ago

Pascal or Basic? I ask because my first official programming class was 27 years ago (and it was taught using UCSD Pascal.)

Re:No quite (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625232)

Basic. My high school used to 'time share' on some 'big iron' at a local military base. We used a teletype-like console and stored our programs on paper tape. We also had some RPG fundamentals, but not too much.

Re:No quite (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625710)

There's really only one group that has an unquestionable claim to be concerned primarily with education and that's the parents. They're not consulted because they might ask uncomfortable questions like "Will the computer do anything worthwhile?" Neither the activists nor the politicians are interested in having to answer questions like that.

Many parents want the appearance of success, whether there is actual success or not. Grades are important, and it's important that their child not be given a zero, ever. I had a student this year who missed finals week because she had gotten into a fight over the weekend and didn't want to come to school for a week. I had a parent whose son failed for the year who wanted the class removed from his records so that a failing grade would not appear.

I know you said "group" and not all parents are like this, but enough of them are that parents aren't such reliable advocates as you might think.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625498)

I think you're right. Google and spell check makes us lazy.

Re:Well, no shit (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625636)

So what if they get lower test scores? Have you ever stopped to think that maybe your tests suck? You know, maybe they've adapted to new ways of thinking and you're still following the old ways. Maybe their ways are better, maybe not, but as long as we consider that "test scores" tell how good you are at doing something in life, we have no chance of improving our way of thinking. Maybe they are smarter than everyone else and the tests were designed for stupid people. That's what happened in my country: the tests were so fucking dumb that you just had to learn stuff instead of learning to figure that stuff out on your own. The quantity of information flowing through our world has increased drastically since the appearance of the Internet and it is a very convenient way to find information. Why the fuck would anyone bother to learn whole novels word by word (including punctuation) is beyond me. It took my country decades to realize that making people learn whole books word by word was a stupid idea, when they realized that a person could just not learn enough books they needed in a lifetime. I suspect something similar is happening here: those kids have gotten lazy (not that it's always a bad thing) and they're using their computers to research stuff and they just present other people's ideas. The old tests don't fit with this way of working/thinking and I personally consider that in this case the tests suck. Why learn all the resources when you just have to learn how to find them?

I am currently renovating my whole house (five rooms, two bathrooms, one kitchen and other stuff). I had no idea how to do this when I started and I wasn't afraid. Thanks to YouTube, I'm moving even faster than I expected and thanks to forums and reviews I've learned what the best products are in the price range I am looking for. Things come out a lot better than I initially hoped and I had no clue about renovating. Thank you technology and fuck you, technology teacher in middle school that taught me how to bake cookies - yes, I am a man and the teachers suddenly decided that women should learn how to cut wood with a saw (they learned that for weeks) and men should learn how to bake a single kind of cookies (we did that for weeks).

Re:Well, no shit (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625726)

> Without a computer you have to learn how to think.

I doubt if that's the bulk of the issue.

Remember, we're talking here about kids whose parents aren't very educated (which, though the article doesn't say this, correlates strongly with not placing a high value on education, not reading to the kids when they're young, not trying to teach the kids anything at home ever, not pushing the kids to do their homework, and so on and so forth).

In that kind of environment, the computer, just like the television, isn't used as an educational tool. It's used for entertainment, which makes it an active *distraction*. With the computer in the house, the kids are LESS likely to look at their homework.

You can't fix the educational divide with technology. It's a social problem.

Well, that's true in developed countries, anyway, where basic education is essentially free for the taking (for those willing to put in the time). I'm not certain whether the same would necessarily hold in all third-world cultures. If you had a group of people who *wanted* and *cared about* education but simply couldn't afford much, that would be a different dynamic.

Duh! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624244)

Disable the pr0n and then see what happens!

Omg (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624246)

First!

btw, I'm not an anonymous coward.
I have a name you insensative claud!

Re:Omg (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624546)

First!

btw, I'm not an anonymous coward. I have a name you insensative claud!

You may have a name but you obviously don't have a spellchecker ;-)

Well sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624248)

Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their home.

Then test them on something meaningful, like how quickly they can get a Tactical Nuke in Modern Warfare 2 by camping with One Man Army and the Noob Tube!

from the article (5, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624252)

what it boils down to:

Vigdor and Ladd concluded that home computers are put to more productive use in households where parental monitoring is more effective. In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children’s computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes.

Re:from the article (2, Funny)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624268)

Holy shit, the parents are responsible?!?!?!
No way man!

Re:from the article (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624296)

Well they are. But kids are going to be kids and if there is no role model to teach the kids to work hard and study, then what do you expect? It's not the computers causing the problem so much as the fact that kids will slack off if no one is there to teach them that they need to work for what they want.

Re:from the article (3, Insightful)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624814)

Perhaps the parents are using the computer as a cheap babysitter, the way our parents used the television.
I guess the difference is that television in our day was somewhat educational.

I can see where 8+ hours a day of the kind of interaction common to WoW or IM would be a mind-numbing experience, eventually dumbing down a person.

Re:from the article (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624342)

>>In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children's computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes.

Which is why the entire digital divide issue is stupid, in my opinion.

Unless a kid is growing up without any exposure to computers at all, he'll be technologically proficient by the time he graduates. Study after study show that using technology often hurts, instead of helps, student performance.

I say this as someone who teaches teachers how to use technology in the classroom, and I start every lecture by saying, "Only use it when there's a damn good reason to do so."

And there *are* good reasons to do so. Sometimes. But the way that most schools use computers is nothing short of neglect.

Re:from the article (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624488)

I find there's often no good reason to use a computer. I see people with their $200 PalmPilots and it takes them twice as long to make notes as I do with a free pencil-and-paper. I see students carry laptops into classsrooms and same deal - they are slower than old fashioned note taking

Internet-capable devices are good for lookups of wikipedia, but I doubt that's needed in a classroom setting below grade 9. The computer becomes a way to goof-off.

Re:from the article (3, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624506)

The advantage isn't with the original note-taking moment, it's later when you want to organize your notes or re-use something you wrote down. If you wrote it down on paper you can either write it down again or you can scan it and use OCR software on it (most likely having to correct the output anyway). All of a sudden the computer is faster...

Also, for text-only notes I type a lot faster than I write with a pencil and paper, taking notes using pencil and paper is for me mainly something I do when I need to make quick sketches and graphs, if I'm writing something I'll do it on a computer.

Re:from the article (3, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624772)

Yes sure, people *really* organize those notes afterward.. like putting them in a folder called eco101? I had a notebook called eco101 too.. shockingly I was always able to later find my notes from that class without any problem.

Re:from the article (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625618)

How much time do you spend looking for a particular concept you gave two months ago? I know that having PDF copies of my books helped immensely.

I too write notes manually, but I'm planning on buying a nice digital pen so I can get them in digital too.

Re:from the article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624918)

>>>it's later when you want to organize your notes or re-use something you wrote down

I've never done that in my whole life. Well almost never. There are a few times I removed the sheets from the notebook and reoganized them, but most times I just keep them in chronological order. As for "reuse" that could be considered plagiarism, since most of my notes are direct quotes from the professor. It's often better to just rewrite.
.

>>>I type a lot faster than I write with a pencil and paper,

I type pretty fast as well but not as fast as scribbling cursive across a page. It's also less stressful on the hand, since each letter flows directly to the next, instead of having to jump all over a keyboard. Anyway I simply think too many teachers end-up teaching LESS with computers, not more.

Re:from the article (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625090)

>>>it's later when you want to organize your notes or re-use something you wrote down

I've never done that in my whole life. Well almost never. There are a few times I removed the sheets from the notebook and reoganized them, but most times I just keep them in chronological order. As for "reuse" that could be considered plagiarism, since most of my notes are direct quotes from the professor. It's often better to just rewrite.

If that's true then maybe it wouldn't be of any use to you, but I've just finished writing a dissertation for which I had several hundred pages of research and by the end I was wishing I had OCRed everything. Trying to find one specific quotation from somewhere in three ringbinders of notes and photocopies is exactly the sort of thing that's hard - and boring - for a human, but easy for a computer.

Re:from the article (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625140)

I've never done that in my whole life.

You didn't, I did quite often. Also, at work it's a necessity of life.

As for "reuse" that could be considered plagiarism, since most of my notes are direct quotes from the professor. It's often better to just rewrite.

Sounds like you could've just brought a camcorder if that's how you took notes...

I type pretty fast as well but not as fast as scribbling cursive across a page.

Three questions. One, can you read your scribblings later? Two, why do I get this strange feeling you don't really type all that fast if you can write cursive faster than you can type? Three, how can you consider typing more stressful for your hands than writing with a pen? with a pen you have to "draw" each character, when you type you just hit the right key...

Re:from the article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625538)

Carpal tunnel syndrome is almost-always a problem of typists not hand writers.

Re:from the article (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625576)

And is closely related to people who type holding their hands the wrong way (it's also much more closely linked to mouse use and once again the core issue isn't if you use a mouse but rather how).

Re:from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625686)

>I type pretty fast as well but not as fast as scribbling cursive across a page. It's also less stressful on the hand, since each letter flows directly to the next, instead of having to jump all over a keyboard.
Are you fucking kidding? Cursive makes my hand cramp up in less than five minutes.

Re:from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624956)

When you're taking notes in class speed is important. It's import to get down the information so you can study it later.

After you get out of class, speed is not so important. How fast you can organize your notes isn't the point. Writing it again into a new format can help fix it in your head, cutting and pasting on a word processor doesn't.

Re:from the article (1)

phaggood (690955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625350)

> I see people with their $200 PalmPilots

Maybe in 1998, but what about now? Do people with iPads still type slower on its virtual keyboard than you write in your little notebook, scribbling away with your little notes, glancing up at the people around you every few seconds, then scribbling furiously again with your little pencil in your little notebook...

Then maybe the tests make children dumber? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625586)

>>In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children's computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes.

Which is why the entire digital divide issue is stupid, in my opinion.

Unless a kid is growing up without any exposure to computers at all, he'll be technologically proficient by the time he graduates. Study after study show that using technology often hurts, instead of helps, student performance.

I say this as someone who teaches teachers how to use technology in the classroom, and I start every lecture by saying, "Only use it when there's a damn good reason to do so."

And there *are* good reasons to do so. Sometimes. But the way that most schools use computers is nothing short of neglect.

Because performance at the college level requires a computer. You aren't going to be able to get anything done if you don't use a word processor, Google, Wikipedia, along with using the library. The simple fact is most kids don't know how to properly use a computer to study, or how to properly use a word processor, or how to properly find books in a library, or how to properly cite sources in MLA format, or how to properly educate themselves.

It's not the technology, it's the children not knowing how to use the resources they have. I had less resources than most of these kids and I made it through school, the fact that current generations have more resources does not mean current generation have mentors or adults to train them on how to use the internet. Most of the teachers and adults in these neighborhoods know less about the internet than their children and this is the source of the problem.

Re:from the article (1)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624366)

But really, what about people like myself?

I always had a computer growing up (days when I thought DOS was amazing flash into my mind), and the only limitation was fighting over it for time with my father, who needed it for work, and my two older sisters. My sisters ended up not really using it too much--once the childhood games were over, they pretty much gave up on it. And my father started to not really use it much, either. So, I was the only one really using it.

Without any monitoring, I learned enough on the computer that I was able to apply to what I was learning in school after the fact--for example, programming translated to math very well, as makes any sense, and I started programming at 8. I ended up feeling ahead of everyone (according to the tests, I always was, much to the dismay of teachers that held me back). Though, in high school, I got at least one or two of every letter grade, mostly thanks to never doing my homework but still passing every reasonable test with an A. Foreign languages gave me an F in there, but that is unrelated (there were extraneous problems).

Nonetheless, I'm somehow making more money then several friends of the same age group who scored over a 4.0 GPA in high school (could talk of college, which I'm seeing friends getting out of now, but I've only taken a couple of classes so far...). Really, are you going to try to tell me that the computer was bad for me? I don't buy it, any more.

Though this all boils down to that I'm looking at a psychology perspective on this, and the statistics and what anyone is actually going to even attempt to use are the sociology perspective of this. That's probably why I'm moving towards the psychology field these days...

Re:from the article (1)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624426)

money than several friends of

I know, I know...

Re:from the article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624510)

Though, in high school, I got at least one or two of every letter grade, mostly thanks to never doing my homework but still passing every reasonable test with an A. Foreign languages gave me an F in there, but that is unrelated (there were extraneous problems).

It's nice to see that you are dependable and take responsibility for your decisions.

Makes you wonder how the country could have possibly had a housing bubble and a credit crunch.

Re:from the article (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625360)

There's no meaningful correlation between doing homework and learning things. In fact it's counterproductive after a certain point. If you're having to do more than an hour of homework a night total for school (Not counting college) you're wasting your time. There's no compelling reason to suggest that doing anymore than that is actually helpful. In fact doing too much of it causes problems because people need to rest and they need to have time to decompress. They also need time to learn about other things outside of school time, and making a kid spend that much time is not helpful in the long run.

It's also a poor assumption to assume that the kids that do the homework need to. Some genuinely do, but you're arbitrarily cutting off the people that would struggle whether they did the homework or not. As it's much more likely for people to do the homework if they find it to be a breeze.

Re:from the article (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624574)

But you seem, from this comment, to be some one that was all inquisitive and wanted to learn. Let's say you were the type that would rather party and not study or try hard at school. Would you be where you are right now? Now the summary of the article seems to be biased towards disadvantaged kids, but even in families where both parents were there and 1 could stay home, if the stay at home parent was lazy and never urged the kid to study and work hard, would the kid use the computer for games or for learning? It's not technology that's a problem. It's the proper training of the use of the tech.

Re:from the article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624968)

>>>I thought DOS was amazing flash into my mind

PC/MS-DOS actually is quite good. Good enough that later DOSes like Atari STOS and Amiga CLI copied it almost directly. Instead of dir c: or dir a: you would type dir dh0: or dir df0: - a clone of what MS-DOS.

That was certainly more straight-forward than typing LOAD "$", 8 or LOAD "$", 3 followed by the LIST command.

Re:from the article (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624438)

>>>In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children's computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes.

"I will not allow facts to get in the way of my agenda to put a computer in every home and socialize..... I mean..... basically..... exert control by government and bribe people to vote for me." - Congressman Bob Smith

The article is BS. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625550)

It's up to the children to use the computer to educate themselves. Parents cannot teach kids to do this. It should be schools that teach children how to browse Wikipedia and what to search for on Google.I was a "disadvantaged" youth who used the computer and the library to make it through the school system and graduate college. It can be done.

Parenting (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624262)

I'm sure parenting has nothing to do with it, right? The mere presence of computers must be the only factor here.

Re:Parenting (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625344)

I think TFA makes the point that in disadvantaged households, parents are less able to pay attention to their children, and not necessarily because they are bad parents. People with low incomes often wind up working jobs that have unusual hours (i.e. hours that do not sync up well with the hours that a child spends at school), unusual days off (so that weekends may be spent working), etc. Sometimes people are forced to work more than 40 hours, possibly split across more than one job, to make ends meet, and sometimes both parents (assuming that two parents are in the home) wind up working.

Now, as for why computers exacerbate that problem...well, that I am not really clear on.

Newsflash (1)

fatnickc (1259582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624270)

Kids with access to internet waste time on internet! No way!

Re:Newsflash (2, Insightful)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624306)

If i'd had removed myself from computers and internet access i would have gotten MUCH better performance on my programming assignments.

Maybe (3, Interesting)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624300)

our obsession with school test scores [dailyhowler.com] is not such a hot idea.

Re:Maybe (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624412)

Yes!

If we're testing based on what is learned by rote and kids are using computers for looking things up instead of memorizing them, I see why their test scores are going down.

Wasn't it Einstein who responded to a question that asked him some trivia, "Why should I memorize it when I can just look it up?" or something?

My Chinese teacher was talking about the competitiveness of Chinese Universities and when we stared to show admiration, my teacher was quick to add that they're taught by rote learning - passing tests - and they're not taught on how to solve problems. They're taught to follow.

My teacher is Chinese from China as opposed to someone who grew up in California.

Re:Maybe (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624586)

You know what else grows in California? Oranges.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625084)

"We know a remote farm in California, where Mrs. Buckley lives; every July, oranges grow there..."

Re:Maybe (3, Interesting)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624832)

I seem to recall "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" was very down on the idea of tests in school.

Wonderful book. And no computers at all.

Our goal is to be like China. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625610)

A nation of engineers who can't invent anything but who can build everything.
Thats not to say China hasn't invented anything in the past, but the proof is in the pudding. If test scores mattered then the Chinese would be inventing everything.

Test scores do not matter. Test scores wont make you a better computer programmer, or a better creative writer, or a better athlete, or a better artist, or a better psychologist, or a better doctor.

Re:Maybe (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625702)

computers are meant to automate repetitive unchanging thought and do it very quickly there meant to take away the burden of regurgitation from the user that's all they can do. there are claims of US school systems teaches regurgitation the solution let them all use computers during these tests then the tests will be written to teach this thought you all bitch about not being taught because it's exactly what a computer can't do it wouldn't be there for the students it would be there to fuck with the teachers giving out tests

statistics "may" lie! (0, Offtopic)

ekran (79740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624310)

There are two things that strikes me when looking at the graph. The increase in laptop sales (ignoring the smaller ones) is ingsignificant, the other thing is that it's in percentage, which clearly doesn't say anything about the change in PC sales, since netbooks and smaller laptops are newer technology and I have a feeling that people have more money to buy computers these days. I could be wrong, but it would be interesting to see the graph taking into account the actual sales in number of units, and the actual sales in terms of cost.

Unsurprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624330)

The Internet is for porn, not homework.

Maybe (1)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624344)

the tests are wrong and not the children?

Re:Maybe (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624792)

I think the issue is that the children don't become stupid until they take the tests.

ADHD (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624360)

I would have read the article, but between the title and the text was an advert for some new ADHD medicine. "Are your child's ADHD symptoms controlled . . . even after soccer practice?" I got distracted by the shiny Flash advert telling me to take more drugs.

So, they found a correlation between the two? (1, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624380)

So, they found a correlation between the two? Perhaps the decision to buy a computer was caused by poor academic performance, rather than vice-versa. Unless the decision to buy a computer was made without connection to a particular situation, they don't know which way causation ran.

Re:So, they found a correlation between the two? (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624398)

And yes, I failed with the subject line. I hang my head in shame. I should have used something actually informative, like "Maybe poor performance caused PC purchase", rather than some kind of cliffhanger crap like I did. Sorry everyone.

Takes time to adjust (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624388)

I wish the luddities would stop trying to blame the technology. It's here to stay. Get over it. If you're seriously telling me a 16 year old without exposure to computers is better off in the modern world, I'll ask you to please dispose of the drugs.

If you have a 10-14 year old who suddenly gets access to a computer and all the distractions that come with it - games, (and shock horror porn if they can get to it0 etc. - you can expect a dip while the child adjusts. If the same kid had grown up with these things it'd be no big deal. I don't doubt that cable TV would have the same effect. All these things require some supervision in their use. But then so does a soccer or basket ball. Kids can find that distracting too.

Re:Takes time to adjust (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624684)

it all depends how they're used of course.

I was exposed to computers from the age or 2 or 3 onwards.

I was way ahead in math starting school(and because of that ever onwards right through university) because of a simple little math game my dad installed which someday I'd like to track down or re-create since it was fantastic for teaching basic math and holding the attention of a 3 year old.

I'm also well aware of the time that can be eaten up by flash games and more conplex games with almost no benefit.
wiki trawling isn't going to do much for test scores but it's great for getting a little bit of rounded knowledge on random subjects.

Re:Takes time to adjust (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624812)

The child can get access to a computer when it is needed by going to the public library or most likely the school library. Anyone over the age of..35? should remember going to the library to take notes or get source material for a project. I don't think many kids have been to one lately as they are more than happy to cut/paste without any question of the source.

PC's and internet access teach NOTHING. Zero. And any material relevant to elementary/highschool education is readily available in print for free. If anything, PC/internet is more like the effect of electronic calculators on the ability to basic math by hand or in ones head. They are a crutch and perfect for our ADD world where reading more than a paragraph is considered torture.

Re:Takes time to adjust (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625314)

The child can get access to a computer when it is needed by going to the public library or most likely the school library.

I sincerely doubt I would have mastered m68k assembler at 11 years old if I had to do that or even came close to it, especially with limited time allotments and what one was allowed to do on computers.

I don't think many kids have been to one lately as they are more than happy to cut/paste without any question of the source.

I remember most of my peers at a younger age only wanted to play computer games, instant messaging and newgrounds instead of doing something constructive on computers, that said, I don't believe that is a good enough reason to deny everyone on a whole because some people can't make better use of the tools.

PC's and internet access teach NOTHING.

True, because that alone isn't enough, you need a bit more and in some cases, it's just a bit, such as one of my best friends learned English language just through IRC initially. Now his English tends to rival many good native speakers at their own language - He's never lived in an English speaking country and is even quite adept over voice chat too.

I'm glad my friends and I never had parents or educators with influence which had your stance on these issues. I have no doubt your philosophy would have made us miserable and harmed our skills development.

Re:Takes time to adjust (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625414)

"PC/internet is more like the effect of electronic calculators on the ability to basic math by hand or in ones head."

That really depends on the child, teachers, and parents. For example, when I was in middle school, one of my teachers taught me a technique for computing square roots by hand, to arbitrarily many digits. I immediately began testing myself using a calculator, which helped to reinforce what I had learned (I would also amuse myself by computing more digits by hand than the calculator could process). In high school, I began using a geometry program on my computer to study constructions, beyond the very basic techniques that were taught in class -- and one of my teachers gave me hard/interesting problems to work on.

I might be an outlier, of course, but the problem is not PCs or calculators. The real problem is that a lot of schools are failing to use computers in a way that reinforces knowledge or helps build understanding. This might be an artifact of the approach we take to schooling, that it is just job training, and thus teaching how to use a calculator is to compute answers is more prudent than trying to get students to understand anything.

Re:Takes time to adjust (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625740)

The child can get access to a book when it is needed by going to the public library or most likely the school library. Anyone over the age of..35? should remember talking to a teacher to take notes or get source material for a project. I don't think many kids have been to one lately as they are more than happy to hand copy things from a book without any question of the source.

 

Books and libraries teach NOTHING. Zero. And any material relevant to elementary/highschool education is readily available from a teacher for free. If anything, Books/libraries are more like the effect of electronic calculators on the ability to basic math by hand or in ones head. They are a crutch and perfect for our ADD world where listening for more than five minutes is considered torture.

It depends on the child and the mentors. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625672)

I wish the luddities would stop trying to blame the technology. It's here to stay. Get over it. If you're seriously telling me a 16 year old without exposure to computers is better off in the modern world, I'll ask you to please dispose of the drugs.

If you have a 10-14 year old who suddenly gets access to a computer and all the distractions that come with it - games, (and shock horror porn if they can get to it0 etc. - you can expect a dip while the child adjusts. If the same kid had grown up with these things it'd be no big deal. I don't doubt that cable TV would have the same effect. All these things require some supervision in their use. But then so does a soccer or basket ball. Kids can find that distracting too.

I learned about computers BEFORE I had my first computer. My exposure to computers was at the library, then it was at the computer clubhouse. I did get my own computer until I turned 17. By the time I got my computer I knew the internet would replace the library and that by having a computer I would have everything I would ever need to educate myself.

I took advantage of the computer to educate myself BEYOND what I was being taught at school. I would go to school all day and be on the internet all night and I wouldn't just play games, I would learn programming languages, learn how computers work, learn how to properly write via the word processor, learn everything from history to psychology, to sociology to physics. This was before there was a wikipedia, back before Google was popular.

The internet and computers ARE the new libraries. They are a learning device and it's up to parents and adults to introduce computers as a device to use for self education. The problem is most parents dont know how to use the computer themselves so their kids don't know. Most kids just aren't that smart to begin with and aren't self motivated, and their parents tend to know less about the technology than their kids and teachers know less than their parents.

What do you expect? If a teacher cannot tell their students about good websites to self educate, how do they expect the children to improve their test scores? If the teacher cannot tell the children how to use a word processor or to go to math.com thats the fault of the teacher. If the teacher cannot post videos up on Youtube thats the teachers fault if students cannot review the teachings after class. Maybe if teachers made Youtube videos instead of giving homework the test scores would improve. USE THE TECHNOLOGY AND STOP BLAMING IT!

Re:Takes time to adjust (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625714)

Re: distractions

Maybe helpful - allow only educational games

To game makers: after each level, player writes essay to advance, and stupid behavior from player to provoke a response does provoke a respones - uninstallation.

It's a complicated world - parents can't always keep up with how to get their kids to work harder. Microsoft, please do more for the kids. Ideas:

  • Memory and hard drive space being so big, record what kids are doing with the computer so a parent can play it back.
  • Educational software that holds a kid's attention and teaches something powerful

The Internet is full of good things. A motivated youngster can self-educate and save a lot on tuition. To each his own. I could say that a falling grade would be enough motivation to change behavior but a smarter approach is to spend some of the education budget in guiding kids to self-educate. This is a world of books, experts on line, productivity tools to help one organize information, etc. Granted this goodness has been evolving rapidly but the time has come to make a population-wide approach to using computers more effectively.

The focus has to be on guiding students (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624404)

Young children are thirsty for knnowledge. Anyone who has had any exposure to a 6-8 year old in the "why daddy" stage knows this. The problem is this is not fostered in many kids. If, at this stage, children are taught how to answer their own questions, using the tools available to them, then it will foster a lifetime of learning.

This is what my parents did with me, although in my day it was "why don't you go get the encyclopedia and we will look it up together?". Nowadays it should be "why don't we go look at the computer together". Guided by a parent, from a YOUNG AGE, this helps in several ways

- It teaches kids that, if they have questions, the materials are available to help them. They don't have to sit in ignorance just because they don't know the answer.

- It teaches kids how to find information when they need it

- It teaches kids how to think critically about that information, and discard the good from the bad.

 

Exactly. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625698)

Your post nails it. This is what makes the difference between kids who learn to self educate and kids who don't. I learned the hard way that teachers didn't like answering "why" questions when I got kicked out of class for asking too many questions.

The internet never complained that I was asking too many questions and I took complete advantage of that.

One Word (actually three) (2, Insightful)

cloakedpegasus (1761746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624410)

World of Warcraft

Internet Addict Parents. (1)

frup (998325) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624480)

Is it possible that kids using the computers isn't the problem? Perhaps it is that their parents monopolize the devices and spend all their time on the internet instead of interacting with their kids. It's a parent's involvement with their children that has the largest effect on their school work.

Re:Internet Addict Parents. (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624596)

Maybe. But probably not. It's the parents don't teach kids how to use technology responsibly. And that's all technology. Computers. vehicles, tools, guns, etc.

About these "End of course tests"? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624508)

Do they test skills like being able to effectively research topics on the internet, write extended reports that make good use of various media, use spreadsheets or algorithms to model and investigate math problems?

...because if they don't, and instead focus on rote learning of little atoms of technical information (like being able to solve a quadratic equation that just happens to factor nicely) then what possible combination of misconceptions could lead to the idea that using a computer would improve performance on these tests?

That's not to say that handing out computers will automatically help kids with the first set of skills, either: it just means that if schools changed their curriculum to reflect the late 20th century, teachers could hand out computer-based assignments without agonizing about equity issues (unless Mum's new boyfriend is hogging the computer 24/7 to look at pr0n - but then you can't fix everything).

Computers are tools, not miracles (5, Insightful)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624554)

We somehow take technology, and expect miracles from it, far beyond what the users are capable of doing. Computers are tools, and they are only going to produce what the users are willing to invest in them of their time and effort. Disadvantaged kids need to learn how to study and investigate, before they will be able to use a computer to its potential as a learning aid. If they don't read or investigate now, computers aren't going to produce some sort of overnight change.

Ender's game (4, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624558)

Here is the problem.

A child, that is not supervised to do anything that even closely resembles some sort of work on a computer will spend it on whatever this child finds to be the most interesting thing.

There will be many slashdotters here, who will say: "but I grew up with a computer in the house, maybe with more than one computer, and I learned on it."

These people are correct. It is possible to learn with a computer. However their circumstances, like my own, were limited to a small number of things that we could do. I didn't have access to a real computer until about 12, but I was interested in them by reading about them and learning how to do things with them on paper. I made programs and my first programs were some games, I made them on paper and later was able to transfer those into a real machine.

The kids who grew up into /. readers are in their very late twenties to their very late thirties, these had computers in the house in eighties - nineties, we had computers that ran much simpler operating systems and there was not such a clear abundance of actually very user friendly and easy stuff to do, except for pretty good 2D games actually. These kids were obviously from a bit more affluent backgrounds, many saw their parents use computers for work, but this is not necessary.

So these kids, who became interested in the machines, found the most interesting thing to do with their computers was to try and create stuff, to produce things with computer. Sure they plaid games with them, but they also tried writing their own games. They wrote tools, text editors, calculators, drawing programs, they built stuff with computers, added their own extension boards, it was interesting, it was something that could be shown off to the peers, at least to those who cared, so this was also a way to achieve some status among peers.

If at the time the computers were what they are today: very powerful tools with very advanced user interfaces that provided tens of thousands if not millions of different ways to work with the machines plus the ability to socialize in hundreds of ways on line, ability to download music/movies/games within minutes or hours of appearance of new titles, ability to interface with computers through phones and have it all synchronize, if at that time the games looked like they were built by multi-million dollar Hollywood studios, it would have created the perception (maybe partially correct perception) that one person's ability to try and manipulate these complex networked nodes with 3D graphics engines was no longer accessible to a kid.

The operating systems of today go beyond simple DOS so much, that a kid could not do much with those directly because it takes a million of human lives to learn them.

Beside that, there are calculators, wikipedia, sites that offer to do your homework, p2p, where answers can be probably found and downloaded and shared further, there is facebook/myspace/whatever, there are all these tools that can do work for you and there is no TIME for anything between all of the tweets and twats on line. Though we did have chatrooms, BBSs and IRCs.

I think the Ender's game had an idea that made sense, I am sure it's not the only book that had that idea of a network that is created on purpose for education only.

The kids, who have nobody to guide them about how to use the machines they are given for learning at least should be put into position where learning is what they are pushed to through the kind of a computer/network system that they would be allowed to use.

The computers for kids that are expected to learn something, should be different from the 'normal' today's machines, they should be simpler in terms of software/hardware interaction, at least there should be a way to switch between a full crazy modern OS and a simple OS for learning about how the computers work. The network should be designed for learning. There should be things to do in it that would not give out answers but that would provide knowledge instead.

The entire profession of education should be used to look at these new tools that we are dealing with here, the teachers cannot pretend that this is the same as just a better type of pen and paper + calculator, this is totally different. Until we approach the computers and networks to create a special set of these for educational purposes, the kids will be distracted with the power of the computer to do things for them on one hand, while playing games and socializing in very creative ways that do not contribute to education on another hand while getting discouraged from learning anything really useful about the computers and networks and programming and thinking in new ways because they just would be scared of what they are dealing with, and parents who don't direct them at something useful obviously don't help the problem.

Cause or effect? (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624588)

There are several problems with this:

1 - The group being tested is predisposed to lower grades.
2 - The actual use of the home computer ( games, etc instead of work )

Guess it still holds true you can make any study say what you want, they are all lies.

Computers don't let parents avoid parenting? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624658)

Who'd have thought?

Teaching (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624752)

Computers and technology in gerneral is not a replacement for quality instruction. Unfortunately, this emphasis on technology as a way to overcome poor instruction is failing miserably. In schools in neighborhoods with more money, I see these fancy electronic Blackboards, whiteboards, and course management software which all amount to precisely nothing if the teacher is unable to present the material logically, cohesively, and in a manner which can be understood. This is not to stay that technology lacks any importance whatsoever, quite the contrary. A lack of computer know-how or knowledge can be an automatic disqualifier in even some of the lower jobs in today's job market so technology (or a reasonable amount, thereof) in the classroom is important. Instead of spending lots of money on Blackboard/WebCT and similar, lets look at open source to replace these and use the money saved towards teacher education. Both DimDim and dotLrn make excellent replacements on that front. Finally, let's look at teacher education in college - it generally disturbs me that the Education major is a default major. I heard two sophmores shrug their shoulders and say, "I'll go into education." A good teacher inspires, motivates, and is able to teach material to students: tactily, auditorily, and visually. At my alma matter, I could not help but shake my head at the types of people going into education as I wouldn't want them teaching my son or daughter. There needs to be tougher academic standards and stricter entry requirements into these programs. Good teachers will only be augmented by technology, poor teachers will be "crutched" by technology.

Want better teachers? How about incentive? (3, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624872)

The reason that 'the best' are not going into teaching is because it rewards poorly as a career.
The money sucks, you have to deal with people's undisciplined brats, you get blamed for kids' failures (instead of the kids and parents getting their fair share of the blame)....

About the only benefits are job security (which is evaporating slowly) and 3 months off during summer--(which is also evaporating as schools go 'year round').

Not only that, as a teacher you have to endure the meddling and mandates of everyone who wants to 'fix' the educational system, until you are a powerless mouthpiece for the official doctrine, and must also deliver the dogma-of-the-week in a specified manner.

We get bad teachers in this country (USA) because we have made it a TERRIBLE job.

If you make it HARDER for people to enter the career, as you are proposing (without offering ANY incentive), you won't have ANY TEACHERS AT ALL, NOT EVEN BAD ONES.

--PM

TEST (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624896)

I be leave the test score depends on the person themselves I have seen some of the smartest people fail at standardized testing it really depends on the person that is my feelings anyway.

Computers DO NOT TEACH (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625022)

Educators need to stop thinking that some how another computer or faster connection is going to some how be a panacea for their problems teaching. The computer is just a tool and nothing more, it might help when properly employed but its not going to do anything but harm in the hands of someone who does not know how to use it. Primary school is a case where the computer and Internet are simply not needed, possibly useful but NOT needed.

The basics of mathematics, English, physical science, and history are all easily contained and since they don't often change maintained in books. Over the course of the better part of two centuries many in this country have successfully gained a good liberal studies background using only books, face time with instructors, and where appropriate hands on experience. The reasons for the achievement gap, at least at the primary school level, don't have much to do with access to technology. Learning is a discipline. It takes work to learn, even for those who don't need as much drill an practice they still have to be willing to invest the mental energy in thinking about the subject they are studying in a critical way and attempting to relate that information to what they are learning in other subjects.

The problem is the underprivileged class in our society is largely surrounded by a culture which does not value discipline, work, or even simply curiosity. In many cases it glorifies failure and dependence. Its no surprise to me that technology makes scores worse in such an environment. There is little you can wrong with a book on mathematics except fail to read it, and maybe if these kids get bored enough they give a problem or two a try, get a sense of some achievement if they have any success. The computer on the other had provides an infinite amount of distraction and virtual assures they never give algebra a second look.

If we want to plow tax dollars into education than we should focus properly. We should get these kids some good text books. We should attack the culture of failure and dependence. We need to be politically incorrect enough to tell these kids its bad to be on the dole because you are not in control of your life someone else is and if you have any dreams at all you need to be self reliant. Lets read Ralph Waldo Emerson in the second grade rather than high school even if we have to read it to them. Lets get some teachers hired who are paid well enough to spend some serious time with a small enough number of kids that they can use the Socratic method and are proficient in the subjects they teach. Lets stop advancing kids to the next grade when they have not mastered the material. That is how you fix primary education, high school yes kids need to learn to use tools at that point but they first have to understand what the tools are for and that is where we have been failing.

Did they test computer skills? (1)

Little Brother (122447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625322)

Did they test those same kids for computer literacy before and after they got computers in their homes?

Computer literacy is an important skill. In today's world it is possibly more important than elementary math or spelling, as it to a large extent can substitute for either skill.

Trying to get entry level pseudo professional jobs, computer literacy is more important than the difference between a diploma and a GED. It is more important than how quickly you can add, subtract, multiply or divide. It is more important than your ability to analyze literature.

So my question is, on these important tests that the student did poorly in, did they test computer literacy? If their literacy went up 300% and they had a fairly minor drop in other scores, having the computer are getting them much more prepared for their futures than not having them would have.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>