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Do E-Readers Spell the Demise Of Traditional Schooling?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the bender-teaches-first-grade-english dept.

Education 301

Attila Dimedici writes "I came across a an article this morning that suggests that the Nook and the Kindle have changed things in such a way that schools are becoming obsolete. His premise is that the ideal way to teach children is by a tutor ..., [and] the Nook and the Kindle have allowed large amounts of written material on many different subjects to become accessible enough that parents can tutor their children at a price that just about everyone can afford." The author is a bit off-base on the nature of the public schooling, but easy access to resources like Project Gutenberg and Wikibooks certainly removes some barriers to self-study and the limitations of the 20+ child classroom.

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301 comments

Sureeeeee (4, Insightful)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501224)

Yea this will replace tutors just like books have replaced tutors since days of yore. EReaders are great, they may replace books someday but when it comes to education, the biggest barrier is getting kids to pickup a book/e-reader not how much space they occupy.

Re:Sureeeeee (3, Informative)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501274)

Yea this will replace tutors

The article is talking about replacing traditional schooling methods (ie classrooms+lectures etc), not replacing tutors. The article is talking about MORE tutors - in short, you completely missed the point of the article.

Personally I believe lectures will soon be a thing of the past. Teachers should be spending their efforts actually interacting with students rather than a one-way recitation of material, which can be accomplished through video lectures (ie the guy from Khan Academy is a much better lecturer than 90% of teachers out there).

Congratulations on first post though

Re:Sureeeeee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501330)

I love the Khan Academy, now if they would just get a progress tracker set up for all their videos, the public school system would be in serious trouble.

Re:Sureeeeee (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502050)

"they"? Set up a website that links the videos and has self-paced units and automated tests. Then start handing out degrees.

Re:Sureeeeee (3, Insightful)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501696)

I feel the points are still valid. The e-reader is verrrrry specific in what it does and it replaces books. If video tutorials were better, traditional schooling methods would have been replaced by the time computers became prolific in the classrooms, or when laptops started getting real cheap but they haven't. Perhaps the e-readers are getting bookworms thinking about the benifits of technology and that is having a trickle down effect? Im not sure. I do agree that the method of schooling you described in your comment is better though, I just dont see how e-readers can enable it any more than the tech that has been available for 15+ years.

Thanks, i never get fp!

Re:Sureeeeee (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501738)

Schools have had TVs and video players for decades - delivery in not the issue.

The internet has given more feedback to video producers (especially that Khan guy), and helped identify what is popular, but it's not like no-one ever thought to put classes on TV before.

Re:Sureeeeee (2, Interesting)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501852)

I think the main barrier to having video lectures at the moment is cultural.
The current system involves in-class lectures, with homework done at home. If you switch that, have the students watch lectures as homework, and solve problems in class, the teacher (and other students) are actually available when the students need them most - while trying to solve the problems. It also allows greater flexibility for the students to "learn at their own pace" - students will have more options as to which lectures to watch rather than the whole class forced to watch the same lecture at the same time.

I could go on, but I think these guys discuss it much more concisely than I do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtmdiPUGGe8 [youtube.com]

Re:Sureeeeee (3, Interesting)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502028)

There's no such thing as a video tutorial, or at least most things that claim to be such are actually lectures. A tutorial is an interactive discussion between a teacher and a small number of students.

Yes, it can be done via intermessengers and skypecams, but it requires considerably more manpower (and skilled manpower at that) than The Teaching Company's[1] "shoot & 'bute" model.

[1] This not an insult to TTC; I've found some of their material to be entertaining and informative. But when I put my hand up to ask a question the prof never picks me.

Re:Sureeeeee (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502148)

The e-reader is verrrrry specific in what it does and it replaces books.

Well, in fairness, at the moment it replaces hard-copy, text-only books. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I got a Sony PRS-T1 for Christmas, and I'm very happy with it.

But the technology just isn't there yet for e-readers to fully hit mainstream education. We need low-cost, high resolution colour displays (probably in a larger format than most current offerings) and more consistent file formats with much less fragmented DRM (assuming we're stuck with that) before the devices can become universally useful in education.

But bring it on...

Re:Sureeeeee (3, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501320)

It'll prevent kids forgetting their $subject book every few days... and cause less back pain. Not much more though.

Re:Sureeeeee (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501508)

cause less back pain

I think many people develop chronic back pain as children in this way.

Re:Sureeeeee (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501588)

I thought about doing that when I had the opportunity, but decided I'd develop chronic back pain as a teenager by unnecessarily lugging my 3e D&D core rulebooks to school every day instead. Worked out pretty well.

Re:Sureeeeee (4, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501356)

...the Nook and the Kindle have allowed large amounts of written material on many different subjects to become accessible enough that parents can tutor their children
  at a price that just about everyone can afford."

I guess this guy thinks that the public library (and inter-library) system, the used book market, or even the internet, was never affordable enough (or convenient enough) for most homeschooling parents.

Re:Sureeeeee (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501786)

Homeschooling only works if you can afford the loss of income of one of the parents (or the time-equivalent of one of the parents, or the split of work-hours such that neither parent gets to see the other one most days...).

Which brings to mind another question - productivity is now many times what it was when the country was founded - we're down to less than 2% of the workforce needed for agriculture from something like 80%, and that's not even the industry with the most significant gains.

So.. why DO so many families need two full-time incomes just to make ends meet, or even to live in a modest amount of comfort?

Re:Sureeeeee (2)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502064)

Do you really not know the answer? Real incomes have steadily declined in the U.S. for around 40 years, with a few brief upticks now and then. Since the 80s, our society has invested less and less in the basic infrastructure of society, especially schools. And also people in the U.S. have spent more and more, as frills became essentials (cable TV, cell phones, satellite TV, game consoles) and other products have become increasingly expensive, like cars. Then throw into that the declining dollar.... It's pretty simple, really, and it's talked about all the time. And government has done a poor job of addressing the problem, instead tending toward banking deregulation and free trade, both of which have tended to stifle or end investment in jobs here. Oh well. At least we do a good job of fretting other other people's sex lives, religions, etc. God knows, that's what's important.

Re:Sureeeeee (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502130)

So.. why DO so many families need two full-time incomes just to make ends meet, or even to live in a modest amount of comfort?

Everyone is busy stuffing themselves into distribution/maintenance overhead (management, import/export, retail, marketing, finance) on production of something everyone needs. Production mostly happens elsewhere, or requires appropriately tiny amount of local resources.

Re:Sureeeeee (4, Insightful)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502182)

Because we are spending twice as much per child in real terms as we were 15 years ago, with no discernible improvement in outcome.

Re:Sureeeeee (0)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501608)

I was going to mod you up, but then clicked on the wrong option... So I'm just replying to get that negative moderation off you.

Re:Sureeeeee (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501728)

What I'm not missing in this promotional hyperbole article is that Computers, which don't have the drawbacks of e-readers, have changed things in a way that public education should be obsoleted..... ok? Now, what were they blathering about, before I corrected their folly?

Yes (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501240)

or maybe No.

I Love How Complex Problems Always Have Simple Yes/No Answers.

Re:Yes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501310)

Looks like slashdot has got the banhammer out again. Fuck you and your lazy tabloid-style editorializing, slashdot.

What would have been wrong with "How will traditional schooling be affected by e-readers?". Nope, the yes/no crap comes out of the cupboard.

No wonder Taco called it a day.

The problem is the parents (4, Insightful)

IAmR007 (2539972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501248)

A lot of parents just want to dump their kids off at school and let them do the parenting. Unless there's some type of supervision, I don't see how this could work well.

Re:The problem is the parents (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501838)

Parents never were supposed to do parenting 24 hours a day. Kids need to learn from their environment as well. When you don't let your kids go to school you are stunting their growth as a human being.

Re:The problem is the parents (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502200)

When you don't let your kids go to school you are stunting their growth as a human being.

Don't "let" them go to school? As in, force them to be home schooled even if they want to go to school? Well, I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate that. Or did you mean just home schooling them? If so, I doubt that. You don't need to be locked in a school building to 'grow' (whatever that means) as a human being.

Re:The problem is the parents (2)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502204)

Parents also used to have "extra" children in case they lost a few when they were young. Nowadays parents tend to not lose as many children to disease, farming accidents, etc.

Parenting is a 24 hour job, but that doesn't mean you have to stay with the child 24 hours a day - that's not parenting, that is, at best "hovering" and at worst "stalking".

I'm not a fan of so-called "free range parenting" nor am I a "helicoptor parent" - for my children a balance of both is best, and the balance that works with my children may not work for your children.

Re:The problem is the parents (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501970)

I don't like the sentiment of your post. The way you use the word "parenting" would seem to imply that they don't give a rats about their kids. I think quite the opposite. Sure parents who employ a full time live in nanny may be trying to palm off "parenting" but sending kids to school on the other hand is using a system we have in place to get more done.

I think my kids would benefit from being taught by several different people.
I think my kids would benefit from the stimulus provided by their peers.
I think my kids would turn out quite different if they didn't receive the wide social interaction provided by their many peers.
I'm on the fence about if I could do a better job teaching my kids than someone who does this as their day job. Sure I think I'm better than some, but not better in an all round education.
I definitely couldn't afford the lifestyle I have if I were to take up home schooling my own kids.

"Parenting" isn't about total time spent with a kid. It's about how you spend time with them. I say let the math teacher teach them math, but at the same time don't come home from work, grab a beer and sit down at the TV for 2 hours ignoring everything. It's the time at home where people fail at parenting, not the time spent apart.

I homeschool. (2)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502282)

My kids are taught by several different people (various classes, working out a deal with a local vet clinic for a kind of 'job shadow' every week, etc) My kids gets lots of stimulus from their peers - they have friends inside and outside the classes they take, and other activities they do throughout the week with other kids. They sure could turn out different - good thing the alternative isn't locking them in a basement all day or homeschoolers would sure be in trouble! I'm not on the fence - I can do a better job of providing my child's education when possible and coordinating it when necessary - I'm convinced most parents could do the same. Money is the only legitimate barrier for most people, but based on my own experience and the experience of people I've met I think most couples can afford to have a parent stay home even if they don't think they can. For most people, it's a question of how much importance they place on being able to have a parent stay home with the children. 'Learning' isn't something that has to happen in a class room, and the idea that 30 kids listening to one adult who may or may not be qualified in the subject read from a text and ask questions is the optimal way to provide education is severely lacking in credibility. Sending the kids to school is the path of least resistance and it's 'what's done'. There are arguments for doing that but 'that's the best possible option' is a hard one to defend. School takes the form it does in our culture because of the day care aspect of it - if that weren't a factor we'd all have education that combined real experience, specialised tutors and classes, and was targeted at the learning style and interests of the child.

Everything is entirely different now! (5, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501252)

Of course, you couldn't do this previously using the Internet, only e-readers make this feasible. Before that, the distance to the library clearly made this entirely impossible.

No, new shiny technology of the day has not changed everything. Parents who may have struggled to build a teaching plan yesterday will still struggle even if you give them a Kindle. Most families will still need both parents to work these days, anyway.

Something is entirely different now! (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502216)

Mom, I could have sworn that I had 1984 on my Kindle! How am I supposed to do my homework now?

Back when I was in school, if you had a book in your house when you went to sleep, it was still there when you woke up.

So... (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501268)

Who exactly is going to be doing this tutoring? Parents with nothing better to do all day, perhaps? Maybe one of the private tutors currently working, of which I'm sure there are plenty to meet demand. What about letting the kids just teach themselves? It's not as if they'll just spend their time screwing around instead of working.

Schools aren't just there because we want to give kids a sub-standard education, they're there because they're the only practical way to provide education to large numbers of children.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501380)

Schools are there to help keep the country working. The schools have not changed much since they were designed to produce obedient factory workers. I have some of my paperwork from third grade where I was getting in trouble for looking at other children, I should scan it and post it on my website as a badge of honor I guess. The school functions as day care so that parents can go to work for the good of the nation. It also provides indoctrination through history classes with approved texts, the manipulation of the pledge of allegiance, the aggressive maintenance of the status quo by educators and administrators alike, which leads to various forms of bullying designed to make us all alike so that we are easy to manage, interchangeable, malleable.

Schools aren't there because we want to give kids an education, they're there to promote a fascist agenda. Oh sure, you COULD use public education to educate, but that's not what it's for in this country. The people I feel most sorry for are of course the students, the future being corrupted through today, but the people I feel second most sorry for are the instructors, who are for the most part unwitting dupes being taken advantage of by the powers that be, doing their part to keep us all mediocritized.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501666)

And yet students are usually the ones doing most of the protesting.

Re:So... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501892)

When you're talking about K-12 students like we are, I really don't think that's particularly accurate...

Re:So... (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501996)

Which shows that the alleged brainwashing doesn't work as as soon as they get a bit older, they make up the main part of the demonstrators.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38502264)

Don't know what school you went to or what teachers you had, but not the experience around here at all. In fact it was quite the opposite. The teachers encouraged you to ask questions even if they were open ended, out there questions. I learned a lot and had fun, as did many other people I went to school with (who I'm still in touch with)

Now to point out the flaws in the article would take quite a lot more typing.. so the short story is you wouldn't just be trying to teach your kid, you'd have to learn it all over again yourself. And I'm not talking just repeating what you read.. that's not learning but just repeating... to learn you ask questions, practice etc.. and with just a kid and their parent reading from *an* e-book.. this won't happen. Plus the kid doesn't learn how to work on teams (group projects etc) socialize, build self confidence when it comes to talking in front of a group, etc.

Re:So... (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501468)

"Who exactly is going to be doing this tutoring?"

Millions of Socrateses teaching for free in the internet agora: on irc, khan academy, wikipedia, stanford ai classes, quantum physics courses (http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/quantum-computing-for-the-determined/) ...

Count them (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501906)

Each parent has two days off each week. If employers were more willing to move those around, two parents have four days off work each week. Most grandparents would love to participate in their grandchildren's education, so that's four more people with eight free days a week, for a total of twelve days a week. If only one person is needed to watch all the kids, then each only needs to move Saturday, with Sunday being off for everybody. This way you have enough time to school your kids six days a week and they'll actually get to spend time with you and to like you.

Meanwhile, in a public school other people choose what your kids get to learn and how they get to learn it, other kids get to teach yours social skills, and you get to, well, basically nothing. Is it any wonder that kids end up as ignorant sociopaths who can't stand their parents?

Depends on what "traditional schooling" is (3, Insightful)

Lumpio- (986581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501288)

If "traditional schooling" means burying your desk/shelf/whatever in a lot of physical, printed books, yes. Otherwise, no. Physical books are the only thing e-book readers might replace, and while they may do that, that alone is not going to change education as we know it.

TFA is flamebait (5, Insightful)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501296)

It's having to live on one income that stops most families home educating, not the cost of educational materials. I've never heard anyone say they would home school but don't because they can't access educational material.

That and the fact that most people don't want to home school. I predict that the nook and kindle will have negligible impact on home schooling numbers. My kids are home schooled without a nook or kindle.

TFA is flamebait, an anti-school piece, not a technology piece. Not really news for nerds.

Re:TFA is flamebait (0)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501526)

+1 lots of flamebait filled with personal opinion and lean on facts. Whatever this guy was smoking I think he should put it down.

Re:TFA is flamebait (3, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501542)

I think your child also learns better with someone who is not his parent. I see the kinds of things my son is capable of learning from third parties when I can't get him to tie his shoes without an argument and it only reinforces this.

I wish I could afford a personal tutor but then again their are social aspects of school, even the negative ones, that teach lessons at least as valuable as some of the academic ones.

Re:TFA is flamebait (2)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501636)

I think your child also learns better with someone who is not his parent. I see the kinds of things my son is capable of learning from third parties when I can't get him to tie his shoes without an argument and it only reinforces this.

If that is how it is for you I can see why home schooling is not for you. School is definitely designed to make kids easily manageable.

I wish I could afford a personal tutor but then again their are social aspects of school, even the negative ones, that teach lessons at least as valuable as some of the academic ones.

As for socialization, here's a summary of Australian research on home education. [vic.edu.au]
Socialisation
Studies which have looked at the social experiences of home educated students indicate that the students have broad, healthy social interactions although a few students would have appreciated more interaction with peers, particularly in home education network groups. Studies have also shown that some students who have been hurt socially at school have been able to recover when home educated.


Our department of education monitors our progress of "socializing" our kids while kids in their system commit suicide to avoid bullying. The widespread acceptance of the idea that people need to attend a government institution so they can learn to make friends is one of the most tragic examples of the damage school does to people. Such a thought should not occur to a healthy, whole human being.

Re:TFA is flamebait (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502166)

When I was a child I remember reading about Australian students that were taught school subjects at home via Amateur Radio broadcasts. The kids would sit at a HF transciever and listen to the instructor and pose questions over the radio link [wikipedia.org] .

There is no one single answer - if there was, public schools would adopt that one model and everyone would benefit. That reading a tower of books helped a disadvantaged foster child is fantastic, but that child's experience is far from typical, so mapping his success onto other children is, at best, misguided.

Re:TFA is flamebait & a malware vector (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501672)

He should swap places with GMGruman [slashdot.org] . They could hardly be worse informed about each other's pet subject than their own.

P.S. the linked site wants to do a free scan on my PC because it's at risk. How kind!

Re:TFA is flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38502254)

Total flamebait, just read any of this other blogs.
to quote from one about liberal fairy tales:

"A well-worn device. Just in recent memory one can recall the fairy tale about the thirty-seven million uninsured without any medical treatment which precipitated the disastrous health-care bill. The fairy tale about the earth warming because the air was polluted by industry which produced any amount of regulation and the craziest ideas for destroying the power generation industry. The fairy tale about BP cutting corners and producing the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico which effectively led to a ban on all drilling there. The fairy tale about greed, not the government manipulation of the market, having caused the housing bust which led to TARP. The fairy tale about public-school teachers being underpaid and overworked, about black churches burning, North Korea getting serious about nuclear proliferation, about JFK, RFK, and FDR, about thousands of FBI agents poring over everybody's library records, about self-esteem being American children's biggest problem, or the fairy tale that it makes sense for airport screeners to strip-search eighty-year-old Norwegian grandmothers rather than young men of Middle Eastern origin."

It was the Internet (3, Insightful)

jprupp (697660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501322)

It's the Internet that changed the way we access information for our own betterment. In most companies no one cares anymore about your credentials as long as you're capable of performing the required tasks. The school - college - university system that was the means to get started in a career in the 20th century has been eroded from the top: It's universities and colleges that are losing relevance. School is still somewhat relevant, but I wonder how long will that last. More unconventional ways of learning that leverage technological advances like the Internet, ereaders, tablets, and possible future advances as well, will surely come to erode more of the current practices in education.

Intellectual property must be rendered obsolete for the Internet can reach its full potential, and for these advances in learning and education to materialize.

Yes! (1)

Zelaron (1358987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501338)

I came across a an article this morning that suggests that the Nook and the Kindle have changed things in such a way that schools are becoming obsolete.

Agreed; soon there will be absolutely no need for a an education!

Nothing can replace that human touch, nothing! (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501350)

While at university, in the Discrete Mathematics course, I had this professor who made this strange type of maths easy and fun to learn.

It is what introduced me to what computer science is all about, and how to analyze problems. This type of course cannot be properly delivered via 10" screens. Nothing can replace that face to face human touch.

Re:Nothing can replace that human touch, nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501488)

Ah, you're talking about the old "grading couch", amirite?!?

Re:Nothing can replace that human touch, nothing! (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501778)

This type of course cannot be properly delivered via 10" screens. Nothing can replace that face to face human touch.

Could you expand upon this, like maybe a "why"? People who already agree with you will see it as preaching to the choir, people who don't, like myself, are mystified.

Is it a resolution thing like you cannot read the blackboard for video lectures? Language barrier?

Note I took discrete math a decade or so ago from a genuine professor (not a TA) and I also enjoyed it greatly, but I can't understand what mysterious force would intercede were a camera and TV placed in my line of sight.

It sounds like the biological concept of vitalism, or perhaps the catholic concept of bishops laying on hands down thru the ages when a new priest is made. I don't subscribe to magickal thought that merely placing silicon and glass in my line of sight would have ruined my experience.

Re:Nothing can replace that human touch, nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501800)

Feh. Plenty of horrible teachers abound, on universities too. We could use a wee bit of fixing there.

Inefficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501362)

A teacher can teach twenty children simultaneously. A parent will, in most cases, teach only one. A family obviously can have multiple children but in most cases they will be of different age. This will slow down the older children if taught simultaneously.

But since most jobs are outsourced anyway, parents have nothing better to do.

On second thought. Maybe these e-reading devices will make it possible to outsource teaching as well. If I understand the article correctly no real teaching skills are necessary anymore with this technology.

Re:Inefficient (2)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501418)

A family obviously can have multiple children but in most cases they will be of different age. This will slow down the older children if taught simultaneously.

Our experience runs directly counter to this. The younger children see the older at their lessons because they are not separated off at a school. They then start learning the material so they can join in. All our younger children were doing their studies of their own initiative before school age.

Re:Inefficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38502172)

Tutoring programs like Sylvan also counter it, each teacher usually has 4 or 5 kids per table of different ages and skill level, the majority not related like homeschooling. also with such a small number the kids really do benefit from having someone able to dedicate more than 3mins of time to help them.
Only downside is their price per hour ($45/hour here, although they can work with parents on payment plans) and the low wage they pay teachers, little over minimum wage. But the work is a lot less compared to a teacher with 20-30kids per class who only gets a set wage, from 9am-4pm even if you have to stay late to finish grading etc.

Re:Inefficient (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502120)

A teacher can teach twenty children simultaneously. A parent will, in most cases, teach only one.

A teacher can march 20 kids along at the pace of the slowest in the room, a parent can teach as fast as their child can learn.

Teachers tend to march the class along as fast as some arbitrary middle child in the class can keep up, sacrificing the lower students and slowing down the top students.

There are problems with public school education, and a $150 eReader isn't what is standing in the way of improving it.

If such an easy fix were possible, there's an easy middle step - have schools buy eReaders - twenty kids plowing through books on thier kindles in a classroom would be a great proof of concept... When iPads, Kindles, Nooks, etc. are deployed in classrooms they become distractions that keep children from learning, not levers that multiply the educational process.

Doubtful (1)

beef623 (998368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501372)

I don't think it will or should change things as much as the article seems to imply. Different people learn differently, and for some, lecturing works. Personally, lecturing did practically nothing for me, I just need the time set aside and the goal to work toward because I'm not very good at setting those for myself. Nothing irked me more than comp sci professors who insisted on having computers turned off while lecturing.

For e-readers, while they may contribute, I just don't think there is enough of a difference in tech for them to cause that large of a shift in method. Also, for several (myself included), some things are just easier to do with a physical book.

No! (4, Insightful)

trydk (930014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501406)

This assumption goes wrong in a number of places, of which some obvious are:

1. Parents have the time to school their children
2. Parents have the inclination to do it
3. Parents have the capability to do it. (How many know parents whose maths is non-existent or whose spelling is beyond comprehension?)
4. The parent/child relationship works towards learning and not against it. (Think obstinate teenager here.)


I am sure there would be many other problems too, like very few parents have learned the tips and tricks a teacher has.

So in my humble opinion, it will not work!

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501522)

Khan's got the time and the inclination and the capability and the hypnotic voice that makes you want to keep going back!

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501982)

How is it possible for an average ordinary parent in the United States (100 IQ, has some college, but did not graduate with a bachelors, who has a 8 hour a day job. with 2 kids) supposed to teach a course in Chemistry or in a subject area in which they don't have training? Sure, a motivated, extremely intelligent kid could get it all from the book, but setting up a home learning lab or even going online to get an answer using Google takes more knowledge, time, and experience than most average ordinary people have.

This is why home schoolers typically band together and share resources and even hire their own teachers. Because education is cooperative, not individual, in nature.

Unsubscribe from Slashdot RSS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501414)

I think this will be the article that will make me unsubscribe from the Slashdot RSS feed. I want to hear opinions but give me something that is at least well thought out. The decline in the quality of posts on Slashdot is socking.

Re:Unsubscribe from Slashdot RSS (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501422)

The decline in the quality of posts on Slashdot is socking.

See if you had your kindle handy you would have known put an h in there.

Re:Unsubscribe from Slashdot RSS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501752)

To True!

Re:Unsubscribe from Slashdot RSS (0)

gomiam (587421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501758)

See? If you had your kindle handy you would have known to put an h in there.

FTFY ;)

BRUCE TINSLEY IS THAT YOU (0)

d0s (550629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501430)

The author is a bit off-base

yes

Re:BRUCE TINSLEY IS THAT YOU (0)

d0s (550629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501466)

politically correct social-transformation curriculum

dont want mah babies learnin bout fuckin and darkies

No Teachers - No Education (1)

SoothingMist (1517119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501434)

The "education" community has long forsaken their responsibility to teach and educate. Putting electronic devices in the hands of the uneducated is easy. To actually educate the uneducated is very difficult. What form the book takes is of no consequence. Relying on the book alone to educate the uneducated leads only to a very naive, uneducated, and easy to control population.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501440)

Because the teachers will fight this like everything after Gutenberg, with teeth and claws.

The key is the teacher (2)

haggus71 (1051238) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501444)

Tools like the Kindle are great to assist learning; but let's face it: the weakness/strength to learning is always the teacher. These are great as a substitute for the books/paper in the classroom, but not as a substitute for human instruction. Yes, there are a few who are able to learn from Khan Academy or from e-books alone. The vast majority, however, need that human to get them through the rough patches. Most home-schooling relies on mom and dad for that, and they tend to not be the greatest of instructors, as a whole. It's the reason most states are considering requiring parents have the same qualifications as teachers. It also eliminates the social factor for these kids. Where I am, I've seen more than a few "veal" being home-schooled. If they associate, it's with others who are home schooled. They will never be required to deal with social interactions of differing social groups until they go to college, unless they happen to be lucky enough to have a parent that forces them into these situations.

I'm all for the elimination of the textbook industry that makes millions each year off changing a few sentences and claiming a "new edition" for which you have to pay $50-$200. Unless you have a certain physical or mental handicap, however, homeschooling offers no advantages other than raising your little baby sheltered from having to face the real world.

Re:The key is the teacher (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501992)

The vast majority, however, need that human to get them through the rough patches.

Is that just your opinion, or can you back that up? Have "the vast majority" actually used something like Khan Academy?

Re:The key is the teacher (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502026)

If they associate, it's with others who are home schooled.

Oh? So it's impossible to find friends without being locked in a building with a bunch of people your age? You don't need to associate solely with people who are home schooled. You can do it with just about anyone.

They will never be required to deal with social interactions of differing social groups until they go to college

Required? No. I wouldn't force someone to, either. Some people are introverts. It might be difficult to believe, but not everyone cares deeply about socializing.

unless they happen to be lucky enough to have a parent that forces them into these situations.

Personally, I wouldn't call that "lucky." There is no reason that I see that you need to force them to hang out with other people. Either they want to or they don't. Maybe they're too shy or something such as that, but that's their own problem (and they still might want to associate with others anyway).

So why DOES the classroom exist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501490)

Figure that one out and you can answer the question. e-readers (I have a non-nook, non-kindle one here) improve mobility, but amazon already let you order books to your heart's content, and before that there already existed bookshops and libraries that allowed orders, reservations, remote fetches, and so on.

What none of these things have changed is how we learn. What's changed even less is that as a parent you're at your day job by day and your kids still need watching over. Hence, schools. Even if you'd replace teachers with telepresence robots then that still wouldn't necessarily spell the end of classrooms. As such, this like the previous question is hopelessly myopic and looking at the wrong thing.

It is of course not wrong to revisit why we do what we do from time to time. But the methods shouldn't be taken as more important than the goal. The goal is to impart knowledge as much as to keep an eye on the kids. Look at that first. If technology might help there, sure, try. But don't take the technology solution and go shoehorn in or even invent a problem that your imagined solution might solve.

Also: You need a haircut. The points are sticking out.

Way off base (2)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501498)

How many parents do you know that can afford to stay home and tutor their children in place of going to school? The author of TFA also fails to understand that children learn in different ways and book learning alone is not the best way for everyone. E-readers might be a good way to supplement learning but I can't see how it could replace a teacher in a classroom setting.

Another "revolution in education" article (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501500)

The Kindle and Nook may make for not only the most important advance in reading since Gutenberg, but also, quite likely, a major lesson in unintended consequences.

Can anyone work out what language this was automatically translated from?

Paperless Office (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501604)

Does this notion sound a lot like the paperless office to anyone? I reckon ereaders and tablets are just a fad at the moment.

Sure the analogy isn't a really good one, but i went in to a departments store today, and there was an ipad display with functioning units, and it was surrounded by kids playing on them, so i think they're popular with kids, all this talk about them being used for education is probably more a marketing excercise to make parents think that these things will turn their kids into prodigies.

Re:Paperless Office (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501810)

Does this notion sound a lot like the paperless office to anyone?

That's a popular meme to laugh about, but this being the end of the year, I realized I haven't printed anything at work, for work purposes, in 2011. I suppose there's a few days left...

Kind of like the death of FAX machines. I had to sign and fax a medical receipt a couple months ago, and I realized I hadn't used a FAX for business purposes since sometime in the early 00s.

I did personally ship something via UPS and printed out my own shipping label back in '08. That's the last thing I printed for work?

blog-level thinking (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501652)

Really? Journalism is going downhill with the standards hitting all-time lows, I fear.

No, schooling will not be replaced by Kindles. There is a lot more to education than making the kids read stuff, or reading it to them. There's a reason we have a whole field of science dedicated to teaching - educational science.

Close but no cigar (1)

UniTasker (2533914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501658)

In the west there's a big push to e-everything in education. Governments love e-learning and distance learning because it promises reduced labour costs, whilst maintaining the illusion of high educational standards. The cost of e-learning (in all forms) are pushed onto the parents of schoolchildren, in the same way that the costs of higher education are pushed onto parents and students. The reality of education in the UK is that e-learning hasn't delivered higher quality education or better qualified students.

What has happened is the erosion of education standards to the point where everyone appears to be doing better, and an enlarging of higher education to make people feel that a degree is available for everyone, as a right, not a privilege. Teachers become minders and entertainers, exams become minor bumps in a student's progress and the student arrives age 21 spectacularly ill prepared for the reality of the 21st century jobs market.

At best e-learning helps from the sidelines, but there is no way you can replace small class sizes, good teachers and motivated parents who have a desire for their children to learn something. A Kindle cannot teach a student, just by virtue of being a Kindle, in just the same way as a book won't teach you how to be a brain surgeon.

I'm not going to take away from the positives of iPads or Kindles though: they're fabulously convenient form factors for certain types of media consumption. There is however a problem: people are attempting to use the iPad and the Kindle as a solution to every problem out there, rather than decent media consumption platforms.

More Technologist Wanking (2)

water-and-sewer (612923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501660)

I am bored to tears with all the "Does XXX mean the death of YYY" articles these technologist wankers drool out. It's always the same: "do computers mean the end of TV?" "Does the internet mean the end to commuting to work in your car?" "Does the Wii mean the end of Computer gaming?" and so on.

In EVERY case, the new technology has had an impact, sometimes even a limited one, but failed to do away with the previous. And anyone that thinks a technology for displaying information (and that's all an ebook is) will do away with a fundamental societal need like formal education is a fool, a wanker, or both.

moncler coats (1)

cheap true religion (2053288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501698)

Yea this will replace tutors just like books have replaced tutors since days of yore. EReaders are great, they may replace books someday but when it comes to education, the biggest barrier is getting kids to pickup a book/e-reader not how much space they occupy. Yes, go ahead you can find cheapest moncler coats online

Math and Science ? No Chance. (5, Interesting)

jimbrooking (1909170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501726)

I have tried to read a couple of science-type books on my Kindle. I find when you have to back-reference a previous page containing an equation or diagram that's important to what follows in the book, you often need to refer back to a previous page. On a Kindle this process is complex, irksome, disruptive and slow. There is nothing (yet?) on a Kindle that will replace little slips of paper (or - horrors - dog-ears) used as bookmarks for important predecessor material.

Not really (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501764)

I like the idea of tutors, but the idea that a Kindle is something that "just about everyone can afford" is wildly innaccurate. I got one as a gift, but I am the only person I know who has one. A hundred dollars may not seem like much to many readers, but for a lot of people it's food for a week, not an e-reader.

The students need detailed feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501798)

It is difficult to use e-learning to learn how to read an essay. Someone has to correct it and talk to the student about it.

It is difficult to use e-learning to learn to how discuss whether a mathematical model can be applied to a given dataset.. Someone has to understand the arguments and talk to the student about it.

The students learn a lot from discussing a problem with eachother. And e-learning does not facilitate that.

Author is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38501818)

The author is stupid. Libraries have been around as long as I have lived. One can get a library access pass far cheaper than a Nook. One can lend a lot of books to learn from, yes children's teaching books too. A digital ereader ain't that different.

Nope.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38501868)

E readers cant replace "traditional schooling" it can replace "traditional textbooks" though. Tablets Could with interactivity and specialized software certainly can.

But unfortunately e-reader cant play video, cant display color, etc... only a small subset like the ipad and the high end android tablets can do this, and those are not e-readers but tablets.

I'm thinking the author does not know what he is talking about, or is confused, his comment about libraries is also incredibly misinformed. His point on "e learning" is also very misguided.

The biggest problem I see is that schools will have a significantly increased cost because greedy publishers will make sure the math textbooks the school buys will have to be "renewed" every year or even every semester. so the "beginning algebra" books from the 1980's a school will use today and costs them $0.00 to store for the year will now cost them $21.95 each student per semester for "licensing fees"

Publishers are drooling all over themselves with the idea of raping the school systems with book licensing fees they can have with digital editions.

BS (1)

CaptainJeff (731782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502010)

"the ideal way to teach children is by a tutor" Every child learns somewhat differently from others. Some learn best in a large group lecture/suck-in-the-information model, some learn best by experimentation, and yes, some learn best with one-on-one tutor-style interaction. There is no such thing as the ideal way to teach children, there is only an ideal way to teach this singular child and that will never be exactly the same between two different children.

Um, not really... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502014)

It's true that e-readers are coming down in price. However, homeschooling a child incurs another considerable expense that the lower price of e-readers cannot defray: namely, requiring a parent to stay home. Far fewer people can afford that than can afford a Kindle or others of its ilk.

Yeah, right!? (4, Interesting)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502056)

Asinine.

The author has a serious problem with public school teachers that borders on the obsessive, and clouds all reasonable discussion with him on this subject, it would seem.

The problem in schooling isn't teacher salaries, administrative overhead, the cost of school construction, etc. it really has to do with the basics (and while I'm no fan of public school teachers, they are but one piece of a much bigger puzzle).

We've had free lending libraries since the time of Franklin, and to imagine that by somehow taking books off a shelf and injecting them into a shiny electronic device will somehow get kids to read and read and read for 5-10 years is just silly.

Homeschooling is not a new phenomenon, it's how people used to learn things. People homeschool their children for many reasons, teacher salaries isn't typically the main reason - either because the parents want a faith-based education for their children, or they feel the public schools wouldn't benefit their child, OR the parents simply think they "know better", which may or may not be true.

There are many, many subjects that require more than simply "reading a book, writing an essay" to impart mastery. I'm reminded of the scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin William's character dresses down Matt Damon's character and explains "living a life" as opposed to reading about other people's lives in books.

Most parents have no time for this. (1)

csumpi (2258986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38502236)

Be it for economic or selfish reasons, most parents I know spend very little time with their kids. Not counting school time, the kids are with babysitters, nannies or in day care.

This is just as silly as suggesting that kids need tablets because they will use them for educational purposes.

Khan Academy - Great Site with Student Monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38502266)

Go to the Khan Academy site. It has 1000's of short lessons in many subject areas. It has student monitoring/testing and feedback. It is free. I use my nook color to view it. I think it complements classroom learning

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