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A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Use Computers

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the back-to-nature dept.

Education 333

Hugh Pickens writes "Matt Richtel writes that many employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard send their children to the Waldorf School in Los Altos where the school's chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. Computers are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home. 'I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,' says Alan Eagle whose daughter, Andie, attends a Waldorf school, an independent school movement that boasts an 86 year history in North America. 'The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that's ridiculous.' Advocates for equipping schools with technology say computers can hold students' attention and, in fact, that young people who have been weaned on electronic devices will not tune in without them."

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Not all schools are equal (4, Interesting)

penguinbroker (1000903) | about 2 years ago | (#37809790)

A computer/tablet can't teach as well as a good or great teacher (as the students at Waldorf likely have access to), but in a large percentage of cases around the country, where the teachers are in fact poor, computers and tablets can make a tremendous difference.

Re:Not all schools are equal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809798)

A computer/tablet can't teach as well as a good or great teacher (as the students at Waldorf likely have access to), but in a large percentage of cases around the country, where the teachers are in fact poor, computers and tablets can make a tremendous difference.

[citation needed]

Re:Not all schools are equal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809834)

Citing personal experience, perhaps.

Re:Not all schools are equal (3, Insightful)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | about 2 years ago | (#37809916)

[...], but in a large percentage of cases around the country, where the teachers are in fact poor, [...]

[citation needed]

Citing personal experience, perhaps.

Few people have personal experience with "a large percentage of cases around the country", and those who do should generally have something they can cite to back up their claims.

Re:Not all schools are equal (3, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#37810182)

Few people have personal experience with "a large percentage of cases around the country", and those who do should generally have something they can cite to back up their claims.

Yeah, and it doesn't require large numbers to show that some teachers are competent and others are incompetent. Two example will suffice for an "existence proof".

A personal example: Back in grade school, I remember when "long division" was introduced. Note that I didn't say "taught", because by the end of the Spring term, none of the students in my (5th-grade?) class got it at all. I'd been fairly good at math before that, but this was taught as a pure rote memorization exercise, with no clues as to how it worked or why anyone would ever want to do something so bizarre and incomprehensible and (apparently) useless.

But next Fall, the teacher I had quickly made a comment that went over the heads of most of the kids, but I and several others instantly picked up on it. She said that to really do it right, you should write in all the zeroes at the ends of the column of numbers, since what you were really doing was multiplying the "tens" digits at the top by the remainder of subtraction at the bottom, and all those numbers really do have zeroes to the right. But people usually leave out the zeroes, because you know they're there, and it saves a bit of time. When she explained this, what was going on instantly made sense to me (and to a few others), and I was able to do it correctly from then on. In particular, I understood why you need to be careful to keep things aligned vertically, which was the main thing that tripped up most of the kids (and is also a problem with software whose results are displayed in the variable-width fonts that the artsy "designer" crowd prefer. ;-)

So right there, we have an example each of an incompetent teacher and a competent teacher for the same subject matter. A computerized lesson would (presumably) be done in the competent manner, and would make the explanation available to students who bother to read it, and would thus be better than the incompetent teacher.

In my (admittedly limited) experience, the teachers of technical subject in the lower schools are almost always incompetent. The explanation is well-known: If you're competent in math, why would you voluntarily spend your time in a low-paid job like grade-school teacher, when you could be making much better money elsewhere?

I'd suggest that computerized education might not be as good as good teachers. But until we're willing to pay what it takes to find those good teachers and attract them to teaching, we're probably stuck with the computerized stuff. And it does have the advantage that it sits there patiently waiting for the students to come along, while living teachers have lives and can't be put to sleep until a student needs them.

Re:Not all schools are equal (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#37810372)

In the traditional classroom a teacher gives a long lecture on stuff with minimal interaction. But nowadays it's actually a waste of time for teachers to do what can be already done with videos: http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org]

So teachers should focus on doing what the videos can't. Seems In some schools, the students watch the lectures/videos at home, then come to school, do stuff and get help from the teacher.

Re:Not all schools are equal (5, Interesting)

kervin (64171) | about 2 years ago | (#37809906)

I was just about to make this exact point.

Access to money or resources in general changes the problem. Poorer schools often have terrible teacher to student ratios, constant budget cuts ( everyone hates taxes right? ), and lots of social and environmental ( not talking about the weather here ) problems to deal with. Teachers become a lot more things than just 'educators'. In fact, having a computer assist in the education while the teacher plays counselor/discipline enforcer/confidant/role mole/etc, etc. is a lucky break for these poor overworked saps.

What we need is smarter Education software. Software that knows the material needed for ever level. Software that adapts to the students special needs. Software that alerts the teacher when the student seems to have a problem ( eg. dyslexia, attention span issues ). Software that may help keep inexperienced Educators themselves at a particular teaching pace or to a particular teaching standard.

Re:Not all schools are equal (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 2 years ago | (#37810022)

We don't need "smarter education software." We need to remove computers from the classrooms. It's been going onto 30 years now and there hasn't been a SINGLE study showing computers help, and plenty showing they don't.

And to fire teachers who cannot teach.

Re:Not all schools are equal (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 2 years ago | (#37810138)

And to fire teachers who cannot teach.

As a gifted troublemaker born into a family of educators, I find that the problem is not bad teachers. The problem is parents who never said no to their little Johnny when he screamed and cried for his fifth Twinkie of the day. The problem is parents too caught up in their own careers or reliving their youth to actually do any damn parenting. You parents insist that your rotten spawn be allowed to use cell phones in class for "safety" reasons, you insist on suing the schools whenever a teacher tries to discipline your shithead kid and then bitch and moan all day that teachers aren't doing their jobs ( "my little Johnny is an angel, he would never do a thing like that!"). Of course the rich Right is all over it, saying that the teachers are bad and that the only solution is more budget cuts for public schools. What?!

Hey, bub, news flash - Teachers can't do their jobs because of assholes like you!

Your shithead kids are unmotivated and undisciplined because you have failed in your responsibility as parents, spoiling rotten your fat little narcissistic shitheads who grow up with gadgetry and unrealistic expectations and ADD medication as their only parents. You, are out at the bar looking for a new wife, or out driving your ridiculously expensive sports car, or working unnecessary 16-hour days collecting pig disgusting amounts of money and power to stroke your own ego.

It is you, the parents, who have failed in your responsibility, not the teachers. Back the fuck off. Goddamn yuppies.

Depends on the subject: need balance (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 years ago | (#37810218)

It's been going onto 30 years now and there hasn't been a SINGLE study showing computers help

I'd like to see how you successfully teach pupils to use and program computers without using any. I agree that there is a lot of ill-conceived use of technology in education at the moment - using a computer does not magically make things better. However to completely ban them from a school is an equal and opposite over-reaction. We all have to learn to deal with computers because on a day-to-day basis we all use them so it is just a irresponsible to exclude computers from a school education as it is to attempt to cram them into every possible subject.

Re:Not all schools are equal (4, Insightful)

jaweekes (938376) | about 2 years ago | (#37810250)

My wife is an English teacher for High School, and I'm an IT Manager, so we have debated this a lot.

I think you are almost right. My wife and I do not see where computers would help in, say, an English Lit classroom. This might be different with Math and Sciences but we can't speak for that. We both think that it removes hands-on learning and frees the teacher from actually teaching anything (not a good thing). If this improves teaching, then yes, just as in business these teachers should be replaced by robots.

But I think that all the money that is being spent on computers and tests would be better spent on helping teachers to improve. A group of experienced teachers going around and sitting in on classes for a week or so and providing positive feedback would work wonders on some of the "bad" teachers, who might just be new and overwhelmed, or lacking in support or something else.

I've also noticed that computers in classrooms are implemented in a crap way. My wife's last school just gave every single teacher and student IPad's without increasing the amount of IT support in the school, or even increasing the amount of power outlets in the classroom. I think this set up will cause more problems, more wasted time in classes, and a downturn in education. There is also a severe lack of training and a lack of time to create lessons that will use the technology well, so it really makes it useless to give them these tools.

Re:Not all schools are equal (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#37810338)

I don't have a study, but I found my essay marks went from a C to B average to A to A* average when I was allowed to type essays instead of writing them by hand. I was able to think about the content and the structure of the language, rather than about the mechanics of moving a pen across paper. I'm now about to have my fourth book published. I learned to program when I was seven by having a teacher show us how to write some simple programs on a computer in the classroom. I now do a fair amount of contract programming.

Re:Not all schools are equal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810152)

And don't forget software that helps parents teach. Software that could help create a custom curriculum with lesson plans would be a godsend for parents. Many know they should be working with their children, but need a method, plan, or constant stream of ideas to keep a dynamic home environment.

Re:Not all schools are equal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810244)

I am so sick of hearing this broken record. While not all schools get treated equally the fact of the matter is that we, until recently, spent more per student than any other time in history by any nation on the planet. We've seen nothing but a decline in the ROI from the system for decades. Do you really mean to tell me it's a money or technology problem? Bullshit. It's a social problem. We've got to get out of this "money solves all problems" way of thinking. It sure as hell doesn't in this case. The proof is out there for anyone to investigate and they'd come to the same conclusions pretty damn fast.
 
We live in a lazy society. We have wealth but we use this wealth to buy time away from the concerns of mundane life instead of investing in our futures. Since nearly everyone is taking less time to be better people we feel that we can throw a few dollars at problems and someone else will do the heavy lifting. Instead we have people seeing the cash flow and taking advantage of it in the worst of ways. The education system is no different. Those of you who think that money is a solution haven't been watching the game let alone keeping your eye on the ball. Parents need to be more involved for starters. We have parents going to their school boards to bitch that their brats actually have to do homework? WTF? Are you believing this bullshit?
 
Money doesn't buy much of anything if you're not willing to invest in yourself at the same time.

Re:Not all schools are equal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809974)

"...in a large percentage of cases around the country, where the teachers are in fact poor.." - *citation needed*

Certainly there exist poor teachers, but a "large percentage?" I doubt it. I have had one or two teachers in my day that I didn't care for, but I wouldn't rate even them as "poor." I have used computer tutorials also, in have more often than not found them bad to awful in quality.

Assuming for the sake of argument that there are a large number of poor teachers in "poor schools," these are also the schools least likely to be able to afford computers, or to afford to keep them running.

What we really need to do is follow the example of countries where schools and teaching are much better: Pay the teachers more, and require better trained teachers. Most especially, we need to counter the right-wing canard that teachers are "overpaid" when in fact they are more typically overworked and underpaid.

Fair disclosure: I was married to a teacher, and she was one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I know. The same was true of most of the other teachers she worked with.

Re:Not all schools are equal (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 2 years ago | (#37810198)

"where the teachers are in fact poor, computers and tablets can make a tremendous difference."

I think computers can make a difference in study, when they're used at home. However using it in the classroom makes creating lesson plans much more complicated, and usually children find a way to get through the walled garden (when there's one) and just browse the web or play games, so maintaining discipline gets harder as well.
I've never seen a teacher that taught more effectively with a computer.

Re:Not all schools are equal (2)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#37810214)

Yes, a teacher is best. There are ways computer can help, by giving individualized instruction that a teacher may not have time to give, or may not have the training to give. I once worked for a literacy company that sold software that gave students personalized help to assist them in learning to read and write. From the results I saw, using the computer program for fifteen minutes a day really helped. In the writing samples I saw, the students often went from making unintelligible scribbles to writing coherent paragraphs within a year. Of course, the teachers still had to have some training, and the work at the computer was reinforced by giving the children cheap "books" printed on thin paper to take home, but using the program was an essential part of the instruction.

I've heard that JUMP Math [nytimes.com] may be a similar system for teaching math.

You can't just plop a student in front of a computer and expect that the student will learn better, or even learn anything at all. The curriculum needs to be in place, and the computer needs to do what a computer is best at -- interacting with a student repetitively without making a mistake or judging the student. And computers can even help in the U.S., especially in classrooms crowded with poor children who need far more attention that one teacher can give.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809794)

[quote]
Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard send their children to the Waldorf School in Los Altos where the school's chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found.
[/quite]

Aren't these the same technology companies that constantly complain about the skills shortage which necessitates importation of foreign workers to work at these very companies? The emperor truly has no clothes.

Re:Irony (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809860)

you're dumb

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810044)

Aren't these the same technology companies that constantly complain about the skills shortage which necessitates importation of foreign workers to work at these very companies? The emperor truly has no clothes.

Computers are great when they're not just chucked in to a job for the sake of it, and their use has to be very carefully managed; the same is true for adults. I've delivered training in corporate environments in which I've repeatedly had to ask ask adults to stop pressing keys and clicking mouse buttons. Because of this I would generally have people face away from their computers, or put them to sleep, when I need them to be listening to me.

The same things happens in meetings. Some time back a senior manager pulled me aside at the end of a meeting because she thought I'd been writing email and otherwise messing around with the computer during our meeting. In that case I could show her the very detailed and structured notes I'd written for the attendees. I understand her misconception, as would anyone else who's look around in a meeting at the people around them, checking email and doing anything but paying attention. It's difficult to have computers present without people fiddling around. In those cases, when I run a meeting, I'll ask people to close the lids on their machines unless they can give a good reason for sitting in my room with their eyes and hands occupied by their little box of light.

It makes sense in schools that the use of computers is very tightly controlled. Buying computers without forming a cohesive strategy for integrating them in to the curriculum is like a school district placing an order for "a big box of really good books".

On thing I liked about the way I studied statistics was that before touching computers we'd learn to do things manually, with graph paper. I wouldn't need to do this now, yet having learnt this way I have a better understand of what underlies the figures. It's not uncommon in the corporate world to be handed a set of figures and charts, produced by the Excel whiz who'll return a blank look if asked about standard deviation, percentiles, or heaven forbid if anyone should ask about averages beyond the mean. This is why we really shouldn't be too eager to get kids straight on to computers or even calculators. Computers are the learning tool, too easily becoming the lesson if not properly planned for.

Mmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809800)

I know half a dozen people who went to a Waldorf school as kids, they are all a bit ...off, eccentric, it's difficult to lay a finger on it though.

Imagine that. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | about 2 years ago | (#37809810)

The very people that make and tell us we can't live without their technology keep their children away from it. Who would have ever thought that? :-)

Re:Imagine that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809912)

I wonder if the folks who make vaccines vaccinate their kids, or the people who make aspartane ( nutri sweet ) drink diet anything ???

Re:Imagine that. (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 2 years ago | (#37810090)

It's one thing to use hardware and software to make your life easier and better managed; they are, however, no substitute for good old fashioned wetware when it comes to learning critical thinking.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 2 years ago | (#37810354)

The very people that make and tell us we can't live without their technology keep their children away from it. Who would have ever thought that? :-)

What makes you think that those "very people" make and tell us we can't live without technology? Just because it's near Silicon Valley?

I don't know the statistics, but I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of people in the region that don't work in technology at all.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | about 2 years ago | (#37810406)

Did you read the original post? did you read the article? I base my statement on what I read.

No Computers? No Computers! (4, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | about 2 years ago | (#37809812)

Good. Computers aren't needed outside of performing some research, actually typing out that essay, or putting together that presentation. You don't need fancy buildings and whizzbang gadgets to teach, you simply need inspiring people. Sadly, those type of people are at a premium nowadays. Even when you do find and employ them, the system generally does everything it can to get in their way and make their presence all but useless. This is a private school. so perhaps the rules are different. Maybe they can teach students how to do something other than fill in test bubbles.

Re:No Computers? No Computers! (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37809960)

They're not lacking, it's just that they aren't being paid well, so rather than going into education, they go into other fields where they probably aren't known much outside the field. You do still have individuals who go into teaching anyways, where many of them burn out before making it even 5 years and go back and contribute where they're appreciated.

Computers may not be necessary outside of performing research and typing out an essay, but you'd be surprised how many occupations require computer literacy. At this point it's not unusual for people hiring for firms that do private security to require basic computer skills. And most of those jobs pay basically minimum wage with a crappy work place environment.

No parents? No parents! (2, Interesting)

nido (102070) | about 2 years ago | (#37810020)

You don't need fancy buildings and whizzbang gadgets to teach, you simply need inspiring people.

You're referring to "parents", right?

I know the standardized system devalues the contributions parents make to their children's education, but for the first several years parents make an enormous contribution to the molding of their offspring.

The real success of the public system is in the systematic removal of parents from the process. Makes it much easier to mold people's thinking patterns...

John Taylor Gatto [johntaylorgatto.com] says to keep your kids out of school for as long as possible. Skipping Kindgergarten, first, and second grades are most important.

Re:No Computers? No Computers! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810290)

You don't need fancy buildings and whizzbang gadgets to teach, you simply need inspiring people..

True. But fancy buildings do help. Growing up, it was easy to see what society valued when we were being taught in crappy old, not well built new schools or portables. It definitely demotivates when everything that you look and smell at school screams at you that the adults don't care. Yea, I still learned one hell of a lot from my inspiring teaches, but even just the good ones tended to have less impact while in a portable or a room with leaks everywhere. You can't totally tune out the environment.

Take a good thing too far... (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | about 2 years ago | (#37809818)

While I agree that Computers are a distraction and do not aid learning in many subjects, I think this takes a good idea too far. Kids today do need to understand how to use computers - it is a needed skill for almost any and all jobs, from a Lawyer, to a Doctor, to an Engineer. While I agree that computers should be kept in the computer lab, let's not keep them out of schools entirely.

Re:Take a good thing too far... (4, Insightful)

jschen (1249578) | about 2 years ago | (#37809868)

I think people who are sending their children to this school will be able to teach their children the necessary computer skills just fine without the help of the school.

Re:Take a good thing too far... (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#37809986)

It's grammar school, aka elementary.

Re:Take a good thing too far... (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 2 years ago | (#37810146)

While I agree that Computers are a distraction and do not aid learning in many subjects, I think this takes a good idea too far. Kids today do need to understand how to use computers - it is a needed skill for almost any and all jobs, from a Lawyer, to a Doctor, to an Engineer. While I agree that computers should be kept in the computer lab, let's not keep them out of schools entirely.

While computers are important, and used in many jobs, I don't agree necessarily that the earlier the better. For one thing in lower grade levels, rote training of applications will be obsolete by the time students enter the workforce. My elementary school had Apple II's. Lot of good that did. The only thing the same is the qwerty keyboard, which people successfully learn at any stage of life. A lot of people here would argue that if they didn’t play with Apple BASIC in grade 3 they’d never have gone into CS, and they think it’s so great and want to share it with everyone. Whatever. Most people don’t enter CS.

I think that the basics should be mastered at a low level, then start integrating technology as appropriate. Calculators are a good example. Calculators (and computer computation software) are a tremendous help to solving complicated problems, but only if you understand the basics. That means you understand the concepts the calculator is using to solve the problem, and that you can solve basic problems or do estimates when there’s no calculator around. All my calculus courses in university were done without a calculator (and appropriately simple coefficients). I understand the concepts, so in a complex calculation I may use a calculator, but at least I understand what the calculator is doing. But these days calculators are introduced so early that basic mental math such as multiplication tables is lost on the current generation. Likewise spellcheck has lost the art of proper spelling. I think it’d at least be a step in the right direction if spell check forced you to type in the correct spelling.

There’s a force to push as much technology as possible, whether or not it’s effective. Tremendous amounts of education dollars are spent on technology, whether or not it’s even used effectively. Look at school boards that buy fleets of laptops or tablets, only to have them sit idle most of the time. This has been happening for decades. Tablets, computers, TVs, videos. All the while showing no real improvement. Is that the best use of those education dollars? Sometimes technology simply isn’t appropriate for the application. Look at the automobile. Certainly an important technology used in society today, but we don’t insist that it be integrated into grade 2 curriculum.

Look at OLPC. Big rush to deploy the hardware, then “hey the content will follow”. Guess what? No content or deployment plans, so many of these machines sit idle.

While I don’t agree with the complete Luddite approach, I think technology should be integrated in education where appropriate, and effective. Rather than buy large fleets of tablets or laptops hoping the content will follow, develop the complete system (preferably based around free content), prove it, then deploy it.

I say free content because the last thing cash strapped school boards need is constant fighting with DRM and licensing. Obviously place to start is textbooks. Basic math hasn’t changed in decades (centuries). Pay someone to develop the book, then the ownership lies with the school board. They can print copies as needed, or deploy it for e-readers or whatever.

Re:Take a good thing too far... (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | about 2 years ago | (#37810408)

With the proper foundational knowledge, computers are incredibly easy to learn. If you have an excellent grasp of mathematics, language skills, reading comprehension and critical thinking skills you can learn how to use MS Word or hexadecimal math in an hour.

Computers Are Mostly Distractions (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | about 2 years ago | (#37809822)

Computers tend to get in the way. Children should have the minimum amount of things between them and the idea they are attempting to learn. Computers also make procrastination and time-wasting one click away.

Re:Computers Are Mostly Distractions (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37809964)

Yes, but part of growing up to be a responsible and productive adult is knowing how to manage distractions. Which isn't something they're likely to teach in college, assuming that you go, it's something that has to be instilled by somebody up until that point typically.

Feedback (2)

Aladrin (926209) | about 2 years ago | (#37809826)

I have yet to meet the piece of paper that gives immediate feedback, so it's not possible for pen and paper to teach as well as a computer... If the computer if programmed properly.

Re:Feedback (3, Insightful)

jschen (1249578) | about 2 years ago | (#37809858)

I also have yet to meet a piece of paper that gives immediate feedback. However, I have met teachers who can give better targeted and more useful feedback than any computer program. Learning tools are great, but perhaps a bit more emphasis should be given to inspiring and training more good teachers.

Re:Feedback (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#37809930)

Have you met the teacher who can give instant feedback to an entire class at the same time?

If you can afford a personal teacher that's obviously the best solution. If you can't afford a teacher at all, you have to make do with a computer. If you're in the middle somewhere, you'll probably find the best approach is a BALANCED one with both.

Re:Feedback (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37809980)

Perhaps, but if the entire class needs instant feed back on every step in the process the teacher is doing something wrong.

The other day I spent some time helping a student trying to enter an answer into a computer program. She knew the correct answer, but neither her nor I could figure out how to input the answer in a way that the computer program would accept. A teacher, or even a tutor, would be able to instantly recognize that the answer was correct without having to do any real thinking.

Re:Feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810118)

...neither she nor I...

FTFY

Re:Feedback (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#37809894)

Oh pooh. Real life problems don't come with pre-programmed immediate answers. Immediate feedback encourages trail and error problem solving rather than thinking through the answers, and is very harmful.

Re:Feedback (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37809990)

I've tried that and it only works if you're in a position to identify the correct answer. I've seen students who were basically there spend a lot of time trying to get there and ultimately have no clue as to what the correct answer looks like.

Thomas Edison was renowned for trying thousands of different ways of creating a light bulb before succeeding, had he not had a way of identifying a functioning lightbulb he would likely have continued it until his death.

Re:Feedback (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#37810238)

Your Edison example is complete hogwash. His success with the light bulb included careful engineering of a complete system to enable production, delivery and the components to supply electrical illumination. Many other people where try all sorts of random components to build light bulbs. Edison was successful because of his systematic approach to the total problem.

Re:Feedback (1)

locketine (1101453) | about 2 years ago | (#37810174)

Immediate feedback only encourages trial and error if the feedback is a pass/fail. I used a program in college for learning chemistry and if you got the answer wrong it told you why you were wrong, explained the underlying concept and then asked you a different question that tested the same principles as the first one. This type of feedback is impossible without a computer or a personal tutor and far superior to anything a teacher can provide for a class with more than a couple students.

Re:Feedback (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 2 years ago | (#37810206)

Maybe you have heard of this new invention called "textbooks" with these things called "sample problems" and "answer keys" included therein...

Re:Feedback (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#37810228)

If the computer if programmed properly.

You haven't seen the state of computer software for elementary school, have you?

I've worked in IT for education for ten years. The wrong people are writing computer software for students. The wrong people are buying educational software. The wrong people are buying security software. The wrong people are implementing images and choices for things in the OS and for user-level security. And, a lot of the wrong people are maintaining the equipment.

I believe that computers for students as a concept is a total failure. Kids don't use computers for education, they use them to play. They stimulate the dopamine centers of the brain with them, and when they don't get their fix they get whiny and crabby and they act out in class. Take away the computers from the room except for a teacher's workstation that's unobtrusive and I think that many of the problems in the modern classroom will go away.

Clearly can't teach english either... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 2 years ago | (#37809844)

'The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that's ridiculous.'

What?

I think you meant "Can teach my kids better than a human teacher", or something along these lines, but clearly all those digital aids mean you can't have sentences with more than 160 letters anymore ;)

Re:Clearly can't teach english either... (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#37810000)

It's a perfectly grammatical sentence, akin to "I can better serve the cause by doing X rather than Y."

Luddite School, yay. (1)

JRowe47 (2459214) | about 2 years ago | (#37809850)

Apparently this teacher hasn't encountered Khan Academy. The style of teaching used there is almost universally applicable. Determine whether a child is an auditory, kinetic, or visual learner, and tailor their education around their abilities, putting the teacher in the role of mentor, instead of babysitter or cop.

Make learning interesting, and kids won't be bored at school. Make school boring, and kids won't learn jack. There is no one-size fits all, and its the smartest kids who get tossed under the bus in favor of the dutiful.

Re:Luddite School, yay. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37809886)

Sometimes, boring stuff needs to be done, the sooner you learn the self discipline to finish the work regardless of whether it is boring or not, the better.

Re:Luddite School, yay. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37810040)

The multiple intelligences stuff really has run amok in recent years.

The reason to use a mixture isn't because some students prefer one over the other. As long as the students are comprehending the material, they'll learn it. The main reason for using a variety of styles is so that the brain can't adapt to the dominant type of input and has to figure out how to make sense from various types of lesson. Which happens to be a lot more authentic in that you don't generally get to control how information is provided to you.

It's very much like weight training, you'll ideally be varying the various variables regularly to prevent your muscles from adapting to the exercises, the brain does similar things to maintain efficiency.

Won't someone think of the Children? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810212)

Why are these people letting children use knitting needles? Don't they realise that they are regarded as dangerous weapons?

Eh? don't believe me?
Just you try to take a pair on a Plane?

You could put someone's eyes out with one. (Like pencils).
We must stop this rash behaviour immedieately!

{I'm only joking. I learned to sew & knit at school in the 1960's}

Can't teach your kids arithmetic? (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#37809862)

So an app on the iPad can't present any number of arithmetic problems and give a child feedback on right and wrong answers right away?

You obviously don't need computers to teach, but to claim that can't be helpful is just Luddism.

Re:Can't teach your kids arithmetic? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#37809942)

So an app on the iPad can't present any number of arithmetic problems and give a child feedback on right and wrong answers right away?

Can't better. Now better than what (or more likely, who) is left open. Presumably better than a teacher. And I'm pretty sure that's right. The problem is that we cannot give every child his own teacher, and therefore the teacher will need to share his attention to many children. And with this situation, I'm not convinced that the combination of teacher and computer (it doesn't need to be an iPad) wouldn't work better than a teacher alone.

Now if you try to replace the teacher with the computer ...

Re:Can't teach your kids arithmetic? (1)

Javagator (679604) | about 2 years ago | (#37809958)

You obviously don't need computers to teach, but to claim that can't be helpful is just Luddism.

I agree. It's obviously a question that could be decided by a few carefully designed experiments. To make a blanket assertion without any evidence is not what you would expect from an educator. Given the importance of the question, I'm surprise that someone hasn't done the research.

good subject (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 2 years ago | (#37809910)

I have a copy of a book on the same subject, "The Child and the Machine: Why computers may put our children's educations at risk". It's pretty interesting even if the author is obviously not a computer tech.

Not about attention (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#37809918)

Schools should realize that with the changing of times they should update their methods and also their subjects.
There are many advantages of computers in teaching:

  • A single ebook or netbook can replace all the books needed. Many children develop scoliosis because they have to haul tons of books every day.
  • Children are taught to write in cursive, wich is a torture to most, for years. Handwriting is an obsolete skill they will never use in their lives. This time would be much better spent by teaching them typing that they will need every day.
  • The Internet is, among its other uses, a wonderful repository of the collective human knowledge. I learned most of what I know from there. Teaching the children how to use it might be the most important skill they will ever learn.
  • With modern technology a lot of old skills are losing importance while new ones appear. Calculations can be made by algorithms, data can be looked up on the Internet. But learning to use digital devices is a very important skill in itself.

Re:Not about attention (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | about 2 years ago | (#37810010)

Handwriting is an obsolete skill they will never use in their lives.

because no one is using whiteboards in business meetings, especially small ones.

Re:Not about attention (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#37810062)

Handwriting is an obsolete skill they will never use in their lives.

because no one is using whiteboards in business meetings, especially small ones.

I have never seen cursive handwriting used in two decades of business meetings. Neat block print, yes. Scribble block print, yes. Flowing artsy calligraphy cursive, never. It's right up there with "shorthand", which I had to learn the rudiments of when I was a teen "because you'll use this all the time"

Re:Not about attention (3, Interesting)

Strider- (39683) | about 2 years ago | (#37810024)

Children are taught to write in cursive, wich is a torture to most, for years. Handwriting is an obsolete skill they will never use in their lives. This time would be much better spent by teaching them typing that they will need every day.

I don't know what planet you live on, but neat, legible handwriting is still absolutely required in nearly any industry. Case in point, a friend of mine ordered some copper walled cavity filters for VHF radio repeater. He specified that the cavities were to be made from 1.0mm wall thickness tubing. Unfortunately the guy who took the order couldn't write worth crap, and the machinist who built the unit read that as 10mm wall thickness.

As an Engineer myself, most of my work is done on computers, but my note taking and what not is still done in long-hand. Under our corporate rules, we have to do this, and sign/date the pages as we go. The whole point is that these notebooks can then be legally used as evidence should there be any patent dispute or the like. A signed, and dated page from an Engineer's notebook is much better evidence of prior art than some computer file you dug up.

Re:Not about attention (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#37810314)

I don't know what planet you live on, but neat, legible handwriting is still absolutely required in nearly any industry. Case in point, a friend of mine ordered some copper walled cavity filters for VHF radio repeater. He specified that the cavities were to be made from 1.0mm wall thickness tubing. Unfortunately the guy who took the order couldn't write worth crap, and the machinist who built the unit read that as 10mm wall thickness.

This just shows one of the disadvantages of using cursive.

As an Engineer myself, most of my work is done on computers, but my note taking and what not is still done in long-hand. Under our corporate rules, we have to do this, and sign/date the pages as we go. The whole point is that these notebooks can then be legally used as evidence should there be any patent dispute or the like. A signed, and dated page from an Engineer's notebook is much better evidence of prior art than some computer file you dug up.

You can write whatever you want in a notebook with your handwriting, sign it and date it back, it will be impossible to tell. This is just an example of a bad law that will hopefully get fixed by the time the kids of today finish school.

Re:Not about attention (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#37810050)

Cursive is still useful, I find that it's a lot easier to use cursive to take notes than with block printing as it takes longer for my hand to cramp up with cursive. OTOH, it's not very useful for interpersonal communication, which is why it's been downgraded in importance. When all is said and done it would probably be more useful to teach short hand than it would be to teach cursive.

Notes require little skill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810226)

True, taking notes on paper can sometimes be more convenient but I wouldn't count that as writing. When you take notes, you use abbreviations in capital, and most of it are just arrows and other symbols. Nothing a 5 year old couldn't do. At least I only use paper when I don't need to write long continuus text.

Re:Not about attention (2)

futuresheep (531366) | about 2 years ago | (#37810300)

Scoliosis isn't caused by hauling around a ton of heavy books.

http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/arthritis-scoliosis [webmd.com]

There are many types and causes of scoliosis, including:

Congenital scoliosis. Due to a bone abnormality present at birth. Neuromuscular scoliosis. A result of abnormal muscles or nerves. Frequently seen in people with spina bifida or cerebral palsy or in those with various conditions that are accompanied by, or result in, paralysis.
Degenerative scoliosis. This may result from traumatic (from an injury or illness) bone collapse, previous major back surgery, or osteoporosis (thining of the bones).
Idiopathic scoliosis. The most common type of scoliosis, idiopathic scoliosis, has no specific identifiable cause. There are many theories, but none have been found to be conclusive. There is, however, strong evidence that idiopathic scoliosis is inherited.

Cursive may be harder to learn, but once learned it much more efficient than block writing is. Most efficient is a combination of the two styles, but without learning cursive first students will never get there.

The internet IS a very useful source of information, but what you're describing isn't any different than learning to find the resources you need at your local library.

Could you be more specific about:

Which skills are being replaced? How the internet replaces a quality library and teacher?

Both My Kids GO To A Waldorf School (3, Interesting)

szyzyg (7313) | about 2 years ago | (#37809924)

They're pretty tech Savvy (Skye is even e-famous for playing Eve Online [youtube.com] ) but we felt that the school environment worked well for them. They're learning knitting as part of the hand skills but it's not just picking up some needles and yarn, they started out making their own yarn and needles - it's like those crazy hacker types who want to build their own computer and operating system :)

Waldorf School and computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810008)

I think Waldorf philosophy is to only use tools you already understand. So they their philosophy would forbid them using computers in class anyway until all the pupils know how to build their own....

An interesting idea (1)

werepants (1912634) | about 2 years ago | (#37809940)

Technology is one of those cases where everybody assumes more is better, without really thinking about where it makes sense and where it doesn't. Now, I don't know that this school's results are all that impressive, especially considering the selection bias that comes with being an expensive private school. But, I have seen lots of money spent on technology at schools, and seen that technology used in a pointless or counterproductive way.

As with most things, I suspect the answer isn't yes or no, but that in some situations it is appropriate and useful and in others it isn't. And, we need the discretion of skilled educators to make that call.

Luddite High. (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#37809970)

The problem isn't computers, the problem that other school districts face isn't the lack of great teachers.

The problem is socioeconomic. These kids are fucking upper crust yuppies. No shit they're going to turn out good results. It's easy to say that hitting a triple is easy when you were born on third base.

I wonder how their Computer Science curriculum is. I hope they don't have them break out pencil and paper and make them write down opcodes like Woz did in the fuckin' 70's optimizing disk drive routines.

Re:Luddite High. (2)

glodime (1015179) | about 2 years ago | (#37810302)

I agree that socioeconomic effects are a real issue in education. However, I doubt that the "no computers" elementary school has a Computer Science curriculum.

Re:Luddite High. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810340)

You either can't hit a triple if you're born on third or else you're going to end up on second, in which case, you're worse off than when you started. Think your metaphors through. Geez.

Re:Luddite High. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810416)

Sorry, it's not just 'upper crust yuppies' - there are even 'inner city' Waldorf programs [youtube.com] that have to follow the same rules as public schools for student intake (they're charter schools funded by the same source as public schools) and they still produce students that are above average.

It's The Teachers (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 2 years ago | (#37809978)

It's dedicated teachers that make the difference, not the technology (or lack of it). If the teachers are dedicated and free of micro-management, then their students consistently preform well. That's the lesson to be learned.

Re:It's The Teachers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810162)

It's dedicated teachers that make the difference, not the technology (or lack of it). If the teachers are dedicated and free of micro-management, then their students consistently preform well. That's the lesson to be learned.

Very true. Unfortunately the conservatives and corporatists engage in the very kind of micro-management that causes good teachers to leave, which is pretty much what they really want. They don't want to improve the education system, they want to monetize it and privatize it. To do that, they can't allow success in education. To them, "inspiring" teachers = "bad teachers" because the students might be inspired to think for themselves and figure out when they're being lied to, while "teach to the test" types who bore their students to death are rewarded.

Imagine this: you walk into a job interview and you tell the interviewer "I don't believe in what this company does, in its values, or anything--but I want you to put me in charge of it." You'd get laughed out of the interview, but that is pretty much the behavior of conservatives wanting to be in charge of education.

computers at home (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#37810012)

If all students have full access to computers with parents knowledgable in the technology, then they are not really needed in school. Parents will teach the kids to use the computers and there is no issue with homework requiring computers getting completed. Reading can be online. School can focus on content exploration

The same is true if all parents are college educated. The parents likely have a knowledge of study skills and the basic taught at school. Therefore if the teachers are lacking, the parents can make up the slack. Teachers don't have start the SAT of AP work from scratch because parents already know.

However I would suggest that the public school has to be mindful of the 20% of the population that did not complete high school or the 80% that never took a college course. Or the majority that do not now know how to use a computer as a productive tool.

But deep-tissue massage in the classroom is OK... (5, Interesting)

erac3rx (832099) | about 2 years ago | (#37810018)

Just a little background here. My wife, two boys and I recently relocated back to the bay area. My son (and wife and I) interviewed at the Waldorf school, and my son was admitted. We decided not to have him attend because 1) the cost was high (roughly $15K a year for 3 half-days a week for a pre-schooler) and 2) the people making decisions there are little bit... eccentric. They made it very clear that they are anti-computers and anti-video (TV or videos of any sort). That's fine, if a bit unrealistic. Next they let us know that the teachers provided deep-tissue massage to the kids during each day's nap time. And explained how cell phones and electromagnetic radiation are giving people cancer. And talked about how a montessori education (aka actual learning in the classroom versus solely focusing on play as they do for preschoolers at Waldorf) isn't effective at an early age. I'm fine with these folks taking whatever positions they like, but I don't need my son to go to a school that believes technology is evil and learning is inappropriate in a preschool classroom. We're paying roughly the same money for my son to attend a montessori school nearby (5 half-days a week) and are pretty happy with it. To each their own, but honestly the attitudes present there really didn't work for my family.

Re:But deep-tissue massage in the classroom is OK. (1)

glodime (1015179) | about 2 years ago | (#37810276)

Thanks for your perspective. I would have literally walked out when they said, "the teachers provided deep-tissue massage to the kids during each day's nap time".

That would be a Steiner/Waldorf School? (5, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | about 2 years ago | (#37810026)

Described as "Mystical Barmpottery" (a lovely english expression we should all use more):

http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3528

and some wonderful racism in there too:

http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853

  The only Waldorf I'd want my kids taught by is the one who sits next to Statdler on The Muppet Show.

Re:That would be a Steiner/Waldorf School? (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | about 2 years ago | (#37810184)

How come more people don't know this school has a methodology based on, "yeah that feels right" and was founded by a guy who decided he was the Messiah? If you got a good education from a Steiner school it was an accident.

Re:That would be a Steiner/Waldorf School? (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | about 2 years ago | (#37810200)

Can we tag this article with "pseudoscience"?

Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810030)

I agree - young minds are not in a formative stage to use most computer software as it is,,,
There is an insane excess in video, instant msging and gaming in the very young now

The poverty of practice in the classroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810038)

Being a trainer of teachers, I can tell you that teachers more often than not get in the way of learning. Teachers cling to the notion that learning is 'something they impart to students', when in fact the most effective learning is done when teachers guide the learning process with the students being responsible for their own learning. The majority of teachers have no idea how to integrate computers into their curriculum, so mostly they are used as a token 'technology lesson' where the students sit around learning keyboarding (not a bad thing, in itself) or are used for banal research, which is regurgitated back to the teacher. (with very little guidance on critical thinking and problem solving) Putting computers into a school does not mean teachers or students will use them well....or even open them. Last year I ran a workshop for teachers at a CA school where they had purchased 25 brand new iPods, and after 12 months they had not even been taken out of their boxes! They had the money to spend on technology, and someone had the bright idea to buy the latest shiny object, with no clue how they would be used. My small attempt to drag teachers into the 21st century has very often brought no change within the classroom. In many cases it would be more productive to bypass the teacher and give the students directly the skills they need to use technology critically in their learning. Technology is a tool that effective teachers should be using to raise the standards in schools. The poverty of teaching practice is pervasive, both in general classroom teaching and with the use of technology. The problem is not with the use of technology. The problem stems from the inability for schools and teachers to bring passion, engagement, and critical thinking skills to their students - with or without technology.

Re:The poverty of practice in the classroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810076)

The "all students are genious" theory and they can reconstruct by themselves all past human knowledge. Your system only works if all your students are as smart as Ramnujan. Unfortunately, there's only a handful of people like him per century and they succeed no matter what.

Re:The poverty of practice in the classroom (1)

glodime (1015179) | about 2 years ago | (#37810258)

"teachers guide the learning process with the students being responsible for their own learning" != "'all students are genious' theory and they can reconstruct by themselves all past human knowledge"

Re:The poverty of practice in the classroom (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | about 2 years ago | (#37810170)

Similar issues arise in the corporate world, which is why we need courses in training development and delivery, and presentation skills. It's unfortunate that many people come in to the workforce with little knowledge of either - leading to those immensely forgettable presentations where the slides and notes (if any) are pretty much identical walls of text with little thought given to how they'll help attendees retain the important information.

From a corporate perspective I there'd be a lot of benefits found in critical thinking skills and in teaching people how to present their ideas and information in convincing and useful ways. I learnt the mechanics of Powerpoint in college, but little about how to professionally get my message across. With critical thinking people would learn how to evaluate proposals, others and their own, to arrive at something that's actually going to help the business.

Re:The poverty of practice in the classroom (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#37810310)

critical thinking skills

But is critical thinking a matter of skills, or is it more like a character trait?

That's just luddism. (1)

Lejade (31993) | about 2 years ago | (#37810072)

It's really not that hard to imagine how game-inspired software could tremendously help learning in every field.

The only problem is very few people are actually sitting down and doing it properly. There are precious little good exemples for the time being but it will come, eventually. One such good exemple is Chaim Gingold's upcoming interactive primer on geology [vimeo.com] . I also read that Khan's academy is developing a sort of leveling structure [wired.com] on top of its courses and I would not be surprised if that turned out to be tremendously effective.

I'm not arguing that computers will completely replace a teacher anytime soon (especially for good, one on one teaching) - but in many, many less than ideal cases it seems obvious good software would be very useful.

Wot? no Faceblock or Twatter? Brilliant. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810082)

As my University Pure Maths Prof used to say when we got into a mess proving a theorem,

"Go back to first principals."
That has held me in good stead for more than 40years at work.

I've looked at some of the School's philosiphies. The fact that those attending will learn the basics of problem solving is IMHO a big plus.
Frankly the young people coming out of the education system these days frankly don't have a clue about that essential life skill.

I only wish I'd taken up that job offer in Silicon Valey in 1977.... I would have sent my kids to this school in a flash.

Computer Assisted Education (1)

djl4570 (801529) | about 2 years ago | (#37810084)

It isn't computers that are the problem in the classroom. It's how computers are used in the classroom. Computers should not be used to give students the answers; rather computers should be used to ask the questions and provide examples to help students find the answers. Textbooks are pathetically weak in this regard and teachers are constrained by time. A typical algebra textbook has few examples (I suspect the authors include more examples and the publishers delete them to cut printing costs.) Computer assisted education can provide examples by the dozen. The same computer could provide lots of examples of conjugating forms of the verb "to be" in any language the kids happen to be studying. The same could be done for tense and case and more complex grammar such as transitive and intransitive verbs. Without computers such schools run the risk of producing technologically illiterate graduates.

blackboards (2)

nerdyalien (1182659) | about 2 years ago | (#37810116)

I am always surprised to see the heavy usage of blackboard at places like Stanford, MIT (check http://www.academicearth.org./ [www.academicearth.org] Even some of the later successes, like the Khan Academy or Paddy Hirsch's financial market mini-lectures, are primarily relying on blackboard centered teaching methods. One may disagree, but I still think analog-alike blackboard based teaching is still the best, compared to power-point based lectures.

Overall, I consider technology is merely "a tool" to get information faster and crunch numbers faster. Still, education or any other intellectual pursuit is down to heavy-use-of-brain, discipline, and hard work/perseverance. And yes, I do not deny, having good teachers is always a plus.

Question more largely public vs. private education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810140)

The total enrollment at Waldorf in Los Altos is about 300 students, for kindergarten through 12th grade, so there are also many employees of Google, Apple, Yahoo, and HP who send their children to schools other than Waldorf. My son had generally good experiences in a public elementary school, but when it came to middle schools we found our local system sorely lacking for resources, with class sizes of 30 kids, many of whom were from households with less support for their education than I am able to provide my boy. The private schools we looked at included Waldorf, Nueva, Friends, and a few others, all of which provide healthier environments than cash-strapped public schools. I think the Waldorf choice involves an endorsement of the Rudolf Steiner philosophy which goes far beyond eschewing the use of computers in the classroom. I’d frame a discussion of high tech employees sending their kids to Waldorf in terms of private vs. public education, and look at the entire Waldorf picture, which includes a curriculum quite different from local public schools in areas apart from the use of computers.

Grammar schools do not have to have computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810188)

1) Do grammar schools need computers to be successful? Absolutely not. People 40+ did not have much in the way of computers in grammar school and many are wildly successful.
2) Can computers help a school be successful? Sure.
3) Can a school be successful with bad facilities? Some seem to do just fine.
Schools can do great while lacking many resources. But nearly all could afford knitting needles.

Schools and computers (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#37810208)

Using computers in school as a tool is great. Using computers to hold a child's attention, is STUPID. The problem has been that software companies make software to do the later. What is needed is for applications to be ran by an adaptive AI. Children learn in different fashion. With the AI, it would automatically adjust to the child while moving things forward. Right now, I use gcompris at home for my 2 kids (5 and 7). They also go to cool-math, but I has issues with that. Otherwise, I spend loads more time with them then they do with computers or games.

how long does it take to learn how to use a mouse? (1)

protonbishop (516957) | about 2 years ago | (#37810224)

Note that in the "Silicon Valley Waldorf High School", which is in San Francisco, does use computers and other technologies. The philosophy is more geared towards appropriate technologies at appropriate stages of student development. The Waldorf high school kids don't seem to have problems learning how to use a mouse... (and xbox, and smartphones). So IMHO, having/not-having ipads by fourth grade isn't slowing the kids down: perhaps (perhaps...) they actually spend more time in meatspace.

Lol America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810242)

While an 86 year history might be ancient for America, my school happened to have a 500+ year history. Certainly some of the masters dated from pre-columbian times. There's nothing quite like Europe to put you in perspective.

Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810282)

plus properly trained teachers equals interesting lives.

There are two great logic fails in technology (1)

mmmmbeer (107215) | about 2 years ago | (#37810296)

The first is assuming something must be better because it's newer.
The second is assuming something must be better because it's older.

Transhumanism (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#37810336)

Yes, let's not teach them about computers. That'll prepare them for a word filled with electronics.

couldn't afford it if they would let us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37810364)

we took our son for an interview at a local waldorf school where we were informed that he could not attend since at the age of 4 he could already read, and since he had also seen television he was effectively tainted and could not be in the class room...

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