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Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the computer-better-person-than-most-people dept.

Education 161

snydeq writes "Companies are doggedly pursuing the next big thing in technology, but nothing seems to be pointing to the right way these days, claims the legendary Steve Wozniak. The reason? 'You tend to deal with the past,' replicating what you know in a new form. Consider the notion of computing eyeware like Google Glass: 'People have been marrying eyewear with TV inputs for 20 years,' Wozniak says. True innovation, Wozniak claims, becomes more human, more personal. People use technology more the less it feels like technology. 'The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in noncomputer ways.' Here, Wozniak says, is the key to technology's role in the education system." And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

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161 comments

I blame textbook monopolies. (5, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#46161977)

And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

Open Source the curriculum, damnit!

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (5, Insightful)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 3 months ago | (#46162073)

And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

Open Source the curriculum, damnit!

Well, the American system is flawed in nearly every direction:

  • Overemphasis on testing
  • Disengaged parents
  • Underpaid teachers
  • De-motivated and disempowered teachers
  • Inadequate funding (especially in poorer neighborhoods)
  • Kids used to passive "entertainment"
  • Poor diets
  • Administrative inertia
  • Cultural bias against education

I could go on and on obviously. There is no one cause and no silver bullet solution. Technology can be part of the solution, but in the hands of morons it quickly becomes part of the problem.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#46162275)

You're right, there's no silver bullet solution, but Open Source curriculum would at least alleviate a non-trivial part of the "Inadequate funding" problem.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#46162333)

You're right, there's no silver bullet solution, but Open Source curriculum would at least alleviate a non-trivial part of the "Inadequate funding" problem.

No, OpenSource can not be applied here.

By law educators must teach to the test.

For those outside the teaching field there is a ton of state standards that need to be implemented in the exact way. 8.16 students must show understanding between x and y, 18.17 students must apply knowledge of understand between x and y with geographical tessellation, etc. Now imagine you have +90 to go over in just 3 months!! Also it varies by state.

There is a concept of common core for all standards but that is still in the process of being implemented.

Does the Open Source standard certified by the state to cover each and all +90 objectives for each course and by each grade level? If not then it is a waste of time of time for educators as they must scramble to find the appropriate content. Those state standards are difficult to read too. Yes if you know math you can look at hte problems and understand them, but the textual objectives like above can look like they are written by lawyers.

Sometimes it can be subjective to interpret the appropriate lesson for each of the +90 objectives the teacher must cram in which leaves no room for innovation or going off topic with alternative learning sources.
 

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162555)

I'm sorry, different objectives state by state, different pieces and parts at each grade level.

It seems obvious that a system of curated content where you could select your state and grade level from drop down menus would be far superior to myriads of other sources. It seems like only a computer could do this job well.

Where OpenSource comes in is that people could continuously update the content for clarity and readability and any states and grades using that content would benefit. This would also alleviate the Bullying California and Texas do on school textbooks, because if you cant sell them to those two states, they probably won't get printed. If your state wants to print its own books it just selects state and grade level then sends a PDF to a print house, or your local FedEx Kinkos.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162771)

Given that the education system has failed so miserably, the legislature told them exactly ow to do their job. By the way, this is called "teaching to standards", not teaching the test. However, if the test is decently written, teaching to the test is a good thing.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163209)

Given that the education system has failed so miserably, the legislature told them exactly ow to do their job. By the way, this is called "teaching to standards", not teaching the test. However, if the test is decently written, teaching to the test is a good thing.

Sure in Theory.

In practic however it results in over-optimization for a contrived environment that does not represent real world conditions. Thus students end up memorizing a bunch of canned answers to questions from past tests, learn to format their responses to hit the targets on the grading rubric, and a bunch of heuristics about when to guess vs leave an answer blank. All the while they are not really learning how to apply the skills they were supposed to develop to novel situations, and usually are not learning the base principles that were supposed to be the basis for their answers.

Basicly it's like writing a general solution vs a hard coded one. The test can be passed by either, but teaching to the test favors the hard coded one because it passes the test and so all the effort to make the more useful general solution is "wasted".

Re: I blame textbook monopolies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163999)

The thing is, knowing how to cater a response to a specific audience is actually a useful skill. Granted it's not useful enough to make up for losing creative, individual thought...but it shouldn't really be ignored.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46164367)

If the test is decently written, your students will get 100% if you've taught them the minimum basics that any reasonable curriculum should include. "Teaching to the test" only becomes relevant if you're spending the majority of your time covering those basics (i.e., the test is too broad).
 

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164613)

If students can regularly get 100% on tests, you aren't challenging them enough.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#46163031)

You have actually no idea whatsoever what Open Source is conceptually, do you?

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (2)

asylumx (881307) | about 3 months ago | (#46163069)

Good job explaining it and clearing the air.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#46163171)

He started with the assertion that Open Source methodologies can't be applied to a situation where the results must adhere to testing and standards. I'm sorry but I'm just too old and too angry to respond to false dichotomies or play circular word games today. If you want to clear the air, please, be my guest.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 months ago | (#46162379)

But it doesn't escape administrative inertia, cultural bias, and more importantly (and not mentioned) extreme government regulation of curricula. There are those who theorize this is all "by design." It's hard to imagine because no one wants to believe it. I had a pretty decent educational experience even if I didn't 'get it' at an early enough age due to a touch of ASD. (I'm actually glad it wasn't diagnosed back then -- I likely wouldn't have been forced to deal with it and adapt. These days when people are diagnosed with a 'condition' they quickly give up and get comfortable in their cozy little category.)

But we also have this culture of blame and lawyers who think the answer is to sue everyone and everything into oblivion. The system is more interested in protecting itself than in doing their jobs well.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

graphius (907855) | about 3 months ago | (#46162955)

The system is more interested in protecting itself than in doing their jobs well.

^^ this ^^

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 3 months ago | (#46163661)

But it doesn't escape ... extreme government regulation of curricula.

Government regulation of curricula exists to protect children from being taught "Creation Science" in public schools. You want to fix over-regulation in schools? Fix the root cause. Otherwise, I'm all in on that one.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#46164073)

But it doesn't escape ... extreme government regulation of curricula.

Government regulation of curricula exists to protect children from being taught "Creation Science" in public schools. You want to fix over-regulation in schools? Fix the root cause. Otherwise, I'm all in on that one.

Root cause being people? How best to fix people? Through education? Should we regulate that?

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 months ago | (#46162659)

Kids used to passive "entertainment"

Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

I'm with you on the other points, though.

Particular to the American education system, I'd add the overprotectiveness of teachers' jobs.
Overprotectiveness prevents bad teachers from being fired, disempowering teachers protects students from bad teachers.
These two factors combine in a race to the bottom.
Give schools the power to fire bad teachers and you can give back power to good teachers.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about 3 months ago | (#46162779)

Give schools the power to fire bad teachers and you can give back power to good teachers.

Well, you may just end up giving that power to upper management, who has no idea who the good teachers are, only who is best at gaming the "teach-to-the-test" system. The only other thing management has to go on is firing people to save the most money (more senior, experienced teachers). Unless you're very careful to give teachers a strong voice in management decisions --- through, e.g., strong, local, democratic unions --- "fire bad teachers" will become "fire teachers who take on difficult students/subjects, and think outside the test."

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 months ago | (#46162899)

Unless you're very careful to give teachers a strong voice in management decisions --- through, e.g., strong, local, democratic unions --- "fire bad teachers" will become "fire teachers who take on difficult students/subjects, and think outside the test."

The problem is, if you *do* give strong teacher unions all the power, "fire bad teachers" becomes "never fire teachers at all, under any circumstances."

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

evilRhino (638506) | about 3 months ago | (#46163573)

strong voice != absolute power. It's a straw man argument to say that he was advocating for absolute power on behalf of the teachers' union.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164403)

True, but there's a fine line between "strong voice" and "absolute power", and teachers' unions across the country have frequently stepped over that line.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

evilRhino (638506) | about 3 months ago | (#46164557)

Which country do you live in? In the US, where I live, teachers' unions have been crushed by scab organizations like "Teach for America", charter schools, and private school vouchers programs.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Informative)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 3 months ago | (#46164131)

Just finished a 3 year stint within a community college and you are spot on. Upper management ("the administration") will reward the teachers who make their lives easy--which is always far from the priorities of providing a good, wholesome, meaningful education to students. The administration can fire bad teachers but they are not interested in legal entanglements with the union. In reality the teachers would back down, in most cases not strike, and get on with their lives...but there is the looming uncertainty, and above all, above every other priority, the administration wants to do their job, get their check and fat retirement, and go home without any trouble or disturbances. There is no incentive to provide a quality education and improve matters--the money just keeps flowing.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 months ago | (#46162839)

Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

Kids have been watching TV for about two or three generations. They've been listening passively to music for perhaps four or five (before recording, people who wanted to hear music mostly performed it themselves--having visiting performers was a special occasion). Reading is a much less passive activity than the the other two, requiring the reader to interpret the written text.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1, Insightful)

malvcr (2932649) | about 3 months ago | (#46164639)

To watch TV and to hear music is useless because they are oriented to commercial goals, they are not intended to teach anybody useful things. With clear exceptions (let me see ... BBC, BBC ... BBC ... ).

Right now I am hearing Arthur Honegger: "Une Cantate de Noël" in Youtube, and I suppose nobody knows this music because of standard TV or Radio ... even, I doubt people, in general, knows that Honegger even exist as a composer or that there is this option to find good modern music; let me see, 6801 people saw this including me. Another test ... Samuel Barber (a very important US composer) ... "Summer Music" ... 958 views ... and a last one ... Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" ... 523,997,788 views ....

I think everything is said.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (4, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 months ago | (#46162933)

Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

You seem to assume that the problems in education have appeared from nowhere in the last few years.

Also, when I were a lad, at least in the UK, Kids TV had a lot more imaginative adventure serials, magazine shows about hobbies and current affairs and game shows where the contestants actually had to know or do stuff; and a lot less cheap cartoons designed explicitly to promote toys, thinly-disguised adverts for music and fashion accessories, mundane soap operas about dull people living dull lives, no-brain-required 'contests' and talent shows designed explicitly to raise money from premium-rate phone lines... all designed on the principle that anything requiring an attention span of more than 5 seconds will hit ratings. Seriously - modern kids television (insofar as it still exists) positively encourages goldfish-level attention spans. Hell, some programmes are flagged 'ADHD' in the listings!

(Boringly, 'ADHD' in the listings apparently means 'High Def' and 'Audio Description available'.)

As for the 'firing bad teachers' bit - the danger is that will only clear up a tiny percentage of teachers who are dramatically bad, while further re-enforcing the obsession with testing. If your job is on the line based on your test results, you're not going to skimp on the test cramming in order to do something creative or interesting.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Interesting)

no1nose (993082) | about 3 months ago | (#46162819)

It really does come back to the parents. I have three kids and they each have about one hour of homework per night. I am a single father so I have to help them on my own each night after I get home from work. I have a B.S. degree so I am not a total moron (haha). The problem I run into after work is that I want to be disengaged and play EVE, but I can't. And I cannot parallel-process my help with each of my kids. They are about 2 years apart in age and if I am helping one, then the other two feel like they can stop working on their homework until I get back to helping them. Another problem is that they each act like the homework is new material every night and the teacher did not go over it during the day. I know I am not alone with these problems because I have had the fathers of their friends call me and ask if my kids were struggling with their homework too.

I am 38 years old. Maybe I am not a very good dad or explainer of homework. Maybe the fact that my state (Nevada) is 50th in the nation for education. Maybe the fact that I am alone in raising these kids are all factors in why it is so tough.

What are the rising star countries doing to pump out such smart people? India, Japan, China are all creating brilliant people who want our jobs. We should be embarrassed of what we have become. People, I think as bad as things are in the USA, this is as good as it is going to be.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (3, Interesting)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#46163087)

Maybe schools should be places where there are enough resources that kids are mostly done learning at the end of the school day. Homework is a nice exercise in and of itself that kids could benefit from doing maybe once a week or so.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

no1nose (993082) | about 3 months ago | (#46163765)

I totally agree with this. The 6 to 7 hours they are in school should be devoted to instruction and the professional teaching techniques that the educators went to school to learn. My schooling focused on I.T. and business management, not in methods of instruction. Perhaps homework should consist of showing me a summary what they worked on in school and briefly explaining it to me. Usually explaining things I understand helps me understand them better.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 3 months ago | (#46163789)

Maybe schools should be places where there are enough resources that kids are mostly done learning at the end of the school day. Homework is a nice exercise in and of itself that kids could benefit from doing maybe once a week or so.

Hear hear...

In recent years, I've been shocked at the amount of homework that kids have. I rarely had to take a book home as I grew up in school. I learned most of it at school, and it was actually rare that I had assignments daily...we did often have in some classes a special project (make a styrofoam mobile model of the planets, etc), but that was not the daily norm.

We seemed to get a decent education, I was in public school for most of my schooling (private in grades 4-5 to avoid being bussed 2 hours across town), and in HS, at the end of my senior year, I had a chemistry class that took me through 1st year college, as well as a calculus class that got me through Cal I and about half of Cal II in college.

And this was in one of the southern states that don't often rank that high in the nation.

What gives with today giving so much homework? That certainly doesn't give much time for kids to play outside after school and get some exercise...

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 3 months ago | (#46163591)

I know you're overloaded, and maybe "helping" your kids on homework is about theonly chance you get to interact with them, but if they really truly need your input for more than 5-10 minutes per week, there's something seriously wrong with either them or the teachers' expectations of their abilities.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

no1nose (993082) | about 3 months ago | (#46163707)

I wish we would have the time to do family night and other interactions other than homework. I would like to be able to teach them to cook and fix flat tires. There may be something seriously wrong with them as the interaction is far more that 5-10 minutes per week. Maybe they are also burned out by the end of the day and need my continual prodding just to get through things. I just don't know. Summers are nice and we have much more time that I can work with them on regular things.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#46164401)

Sounds like if you can arrange it, a talk with their teachers might be useful, so you can at least find out what the expectations are. Your kids are likely finding that not only can they use homework time to get a monopoly on your attention, but that they find the time with you to help them learn the material much better than they can in class... so they don't learn it in class and instead bring it home to do.

Initially it'll take time out of your evening disengagements, but if you talk to the teachers, find out expectations for homework and whether this work is above and beyond classwork or is just stuff they didn't do when they should have in class, you'll be able to address this issue much better with your kids.

It's also possible (unlikely, since your B.S. would have come with large doses of critical thinking) that your kids are manipulating you in to providing them with the answers the teachers were trying to get them to figure out for themselves -- development of critical thinking, tying together the ideas presented in class, etc. If this is the case, your help with their homework is actually getting them farther and farther behind in class, as they continue to fail to grasp the core concepts -- but are slipping under the radar at school as their assignments all come back relatively correctly done, so the teacher doesn't know until much later in the year where the real learning issues are (the teachers spend most of their time babysitting the troublemakers, which your kids probably aren't).

So yeah; make a few appointments to talk with the teachers who are assigning these large amounts of homework. If the kids are in highschool and the homework is distributed across all subjects, it's time to talk with your kids first, as they're obviously slacking off/not actually reading the textbooks/not asking questions when they don't understand. Encourage them to be active learners instead of passive lumps of grey matter -- the incentive is that they'll have more time to play EVE with you after school, because they'll have little to no homework.

The problem is you're a single parent. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164641)

The system can't cater to every person who makes poor life decisions.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164539)

The problem I run into after work is that I want to be disengaged and play EVE, but I can't.

Every working parent feels that way. Unfortunately, if you're a single parent you don't get a day off, which makes things really hard. Even in a two-parent household you generally don't get days off, but on the rare day that you do, it really recharges you.

Regimenting and structure can help. When you and your kids get together, get on to your nightly routine instantly: dinner, then homework immediately afterward. Don't stop. I find that if I stop, I have a hard time restarting.

They are about 2 years apart in age and if I am helping one, then the other two feel like they can stop working on their homework until I get back to helping them.

Motivate your kids to start on their own. My kids know that extracurricular activities (sports, get-togethers with friends, iPads, etc.) get yanked if their school performance goes down and that homework time comes BEFORE any extracurriculars so they focus on their homework and get it done. Other motivations are possible. Focus problems are easiest addressed at a very young age (reading books constantly, music lessons, etc. to force longer attention spans). Older children (beyond age 6-8) that don't have this will probably take longer to develop that level of focus.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164605)

Your kids are another job. If you can't hack it get a responsible spouse and pay more taxes for better quality education. Otherwise, quit externalizing your inadequacies on the rest of us. KTHXBYE

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162867)

Being a PTA board member and knowing many stories/data, I strongly disagree with your list.

"Overemphasis on testing": Wrong! There are not enough tests on certain subject. The depth of tests is also a problem.
- A big banner advocated by schools/teachers is that creativity is completely the opposite side of test/exams. Then, how can you claim that products are good without testing them?

"Disengaged parents": Some parents are disengaging. However, many parents are blocked away by schools even though parents want to engage so badly.
- In my areas, many parents are immigrants. They have first hand experience on how brutal global competitions are. Those ES/MS schools/teachers have no idea at all.

"Underpaid teachers": This is a myth. Teachers have pensions/long vacations. Schools close in "BAD" weather days while many parents go to work.
- Meanwhile, in this country, ES/MS math are taught by teachers with education degrees instead of STEM degrees. Therefore, many are not fully understand what they are doing.

De-motivated and disempowered teachers: This is flatly wrong. Teachers, at least teacher unions are very very powerful.

Inadequate funding (especially in poorer neighborhoods): Please check title 1 from the federal level and other funds from local level. In poor DC neighborhood, what is amount of dollars spent on each kid.

God, I can go on and on and on...

How to change the status quo on education? Make it less political and more technical.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46164529)

It's ridiculous groupthink that this is currently modded "troll". I don't agree with much of it, but c'mon mods, this isn't even troll-shaped, and "troll" is not the "I disagree" button!

No such thing as passive entertainment (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 months ago | (#46162927)

Kids used to passive "entertainment"

I agree with you otherwise, except for this point.

I do not think ANYTHING that holds your interest and takes your mind elsewhere, is passive. Sure you are sitting idle for a while watching/reading. But after that if it was good you are thinking about it, it is affecting how you think about things.

For good or bad that is not passive, it is active in shaping how you think and even what you do (action figures exist after all to "act"ion out the stuff you saw in in the passive medium).

It is why just like food, you should be a bit careful about what forms of entertainment you digest...

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162973)

I keep hearing about overemphasis on testing. I always do good on tests. What's wrong with emphasis on testing?

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163399)

I keep hearing about overemphasis on testing. I always do good on tests. What's wrong with emphasis on testing?

It's easier to teach a student the skill of passing tests than it is to teach them the underlying skills the test is supposed to be validating.

Take a look at SAT prep classes. Their entire courses dedicated to learning how to game the SATs without actually improving the skills (supposedly) being tested.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

penglust (676005) | about 3 months ago | (#46163743)

While getting my BS in computer science, one of my fellow students was one of the most incredible looking women I will ever know. She also had an almost perfect memory, could give you back pretty much any fact she ever read, and aced every test. She could not program worth a damn. Helping her out had it advantages.

That is the problem with just teaching to the test.

Re: I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164365)

I always do well on tests, and generally favor them, but working within the system makes me see why people hate them.

One of the largest problems is the nature of the state standards. State standards, particularly in the liberal arts, are not technical documents, nor are they actually made to aid teachers in reaching the bare minimum competency, which is what they should do. Instead, they're a set of broad political aphorisms in can do statements.

Here's an example: Evaluate how well the rights of individuals have been upheld by american governments. That's a substandard that's supposed to clarify the main objective. How many classes would you devote to that? What definitions do students have to know in order to adequately meet those objectives? What do you do when the standards are just plain wrong, like teaching roots in the radical form rather than as an exponential fraction, or when the state tells me that all politics should fall on a spectrum from Democrat to Republican?

Bear in mind that there are three separate standards we have to use in our school system; common core, nc, and WIDA. You can see how incredibly frustrating and unhelpful standardized tests become, even when I think they are a good thing.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 3 months ago | (#46163111)

Can I add:
          Overly structured days allowing kids no free time to play

What with recess and gym time being cut back or removed entirely, and children being given practically no independent time from when they are first dropped off at school (often as much as an hour before class starts) to when they are picked up from "after school activities" when Mom or Dad comes home at 5, they are being given no time to be kids. They have no time to experiement, to play, to be free and let their minds grow at their own pace. It's industrial schooling, ten hours a day and even when they ARE offered something that might stimulate them, the kids can't engage because it is so mentally exhausting.

For a variety of reasons, gone are the days when kids would be let out in the neighborhood to run and do their own thing under limited supervision. We are seeing some of the effects of that in our education.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (2)

ImdatS (958642) | about 3 months ago | (#46163245)

During the last 10+ years, I came to the conclusion that the worst things that happens to kids is going to school. I'm basically convinced now that the single-source of dumbing down kids is going to school.

The main reason for me is that kids don't learn really right things in school. They learn by the rote, for tests. There is a standard curriculum for all kids - one curriculum to rule them all. It is all based on tests (whether in the US, Europe, or elsewhere - it is the same everywhere).

I can't see any approach where:
a) Kids learn how they learn best
b) Kids learn based on their strengths & preferences
c) Kids have fun learning and learn having fun learning

I'm afraid, the only thing we do in schools is try to created "standardized human resources" for the economy. There is no learning of "creative thinking", understanding how one learns best, what one's strengths are, etc.

Form many, many direct observations, I have seen kids being "tortured" with standardized curricula though these were kids with strong artistic senses, or strong scientific senses, etc. Why, on earth, does a kid who loves STEM and is really a high-flyer in STEM, need to do well in Arts, Sports, and other topics in order to continue school/high-school/college? Same is true for kids who love Arts, Sports, or so who are tortured with STEM?

If someone loves history, geography, social sciences and is really strong in it, why do they need to do all the other crap?

It is a convoluted situation: We actually teach kids in school how NOT TO think for themselves anymore, how NOT to be creative, how NOT to understand how they learn - we just cram information into them for 10+ years and test whether this information-cramming worked or not with all school-tests...

I have no solution, but at least I believe I have (partially) identified the problem (for me) - next step would be to really try to find solutions.

Caveat: Yes, I believe there are basic things that everybody should learn: reading, writing, basic math, basic history, basic geography - but this is something that can be done "on the side"...

Well, just the EUR 0.02 of a frustrated person - frustrated with the schooling system around the world (and no, I don't go to school anymore, I'm 45, but I also don't stop learning new things and am actually thinking about going to College - again...)

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

miller701 (525024) | about 3 months ago | (#46164457)

Form many, many direct observations, I have seen kids being "tortured" with standardized curricula though these were kids with strong artistic senses, or strong scientific senses, etc. Why, on earth, does a kid who loves STEM and is really a high-flyer in STEM, need to do well in Arts, Sports, and other topics in order to continue school/high-school/college? Same is true for kids who love Arts, Sports, or so who are tortured with STEM?

The ace STEM kid and the future art major needs sports to stay in shape.
The star varsity athlete needs to take history and government to be a good citizen.
All students need the Arts to give them a richer life, It's not necessary, but it makes life better.

They can specialize post-secondary. For the truly talented, there's "Fame" schools and private elite sports schools.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46164577)

That's simply a load of crap. Look around you. Do you see the luxury to deprive kids of skills relevant to earning a living (not to mention enjoying life) in order to spend time on crap that neither fun nor useful? We need a reasonable balance between studies the kids will find "fun" and "useful", but anything that's neither one for a particular kid should just vanish.

Another hippy-dippy parent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164683)

who thinks the workplace needs basket-weaving snowflakes instead of workers who can concentrate and focus.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163285)

All of that boils down to:

Entrenched monopoly.

Get rid of the entrenched monopoly and a lot of this goes away. As somebody whose K-12 experience included 3 years of private school I have some perspective.

Both systems had their merits. The religious private school had superior discipline and literature. They weren't afraid to challenge students above their level, and students of all abilities and handicaps were mixed. My class had a guy who was like Forrest Gump, but he was required to read out loud with the rest of us, and anybody who poked fun or said "come on" was soundly disciplined, possibly with a paddle to the behind!

The downside of the religious school was that it (predictably) sucked for science and lacked the resources for a music or organized sports. Public schools excelled at these things which is why I transferred back into the system for 7-12 grades. I went from "good morning Mr. Teacher" to a school where some students were dealing drugs under the table!

A teacher tested me to make sure the private school was doing OK. You could see the disappointment in her union eyes when I blew through the test.

My family had enough money to send me to private school because the disciplined environment was what I needed at the time--"Good morning Mr. Teacher", and silence in the class room. The public school at K-3 had lousy discipline as a matter of routine. Students were told to quiet down, and then over the course of 10 minutes the talking rose to a crescendo and it repeated like that. It was ridiculous and violence was a constant threat.

All students deserve a choice, regardless of how much money their parents have. Bust the fucking teacher's unions and the monopoly shit schools they run. Keep just a few resources in common that have to be public, like gyms and music. Make those after-hours activities in public spaces. Academic stuff works *much better* with competition. Yes, this isn't practical in rural areas. Those people will still have to deal with some centralization; but even there you'd be surprised. You see plenty of parochial and even secular private schools in rural areas. That's how bad the incumbent monopoly is--people that care are willing to sacrifice. Mentioning disengaged parents but not calling out the monpoly? I think maybe you're just a bit of a Liberal (in the American sense).

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 3 months ago | (#46163311)

What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

America spends more per student on education than most countries.

http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 3 months ago | (#46163829)

What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

America spends more per student on education than most countries.

http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

Your link shows per pupil spending, not teacher pay. I have no figures and am not looking them up now, but while I know the mid-high end teacher pay is pretty good, the low end in lower paying states (read: mostly the south) is low.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#46164497)

What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

America spends more per student on education than most countries.

http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

Your link shows per pupil spending, not teacher pay. I have no figures and am not looking them up now, but while I know the mid-high end teacher pay is pretty good, the low end in lower paying states (read: mostly the south) is low.

I'd also like to mention that teaching supplies and materials (curriculum's the big one) and insurance are big chunks of that $/student ratio in the US -- most countries use old books or "open source" materials which cost very little, and spend most of the money on teachers and teacher training. A good teacher can teach well out of pretty much any material -- good material is useless if you've got overworked and underpaid people teaching to the test. Kid's don't read the material; they are walked through it by the teachers. Only the kids that discover they can read the material themselves and learn what's needed, and ask questions, will excel. And that's not taught in most schools.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46164611)

You have to include pensions in the compensation analysis. There are many places where the teacher's up-front pay is about median income, but the value of the pension funding is $40k/year on top of that pay. Public sector pensions now dominate the budgets of most state and local governments, so it's not some minor thing to handwave away.

Problem is HOW we pay teachers (1)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#46163857)

Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

You are correct that teachers are very well paid in the US. This is especially true when you look at the quality of applicants we get to apply for our teaching colleges (very poor, literally among the worst of any major). One major problem is how we pay our teachers. We pay them with huge benefits packages that no one ever realizes the value of. People are drawn to high salaries, and teachers don't get that. What they get is a huge amount of vacation days and a huge pension. If more people understood how valuable the pension is then many more people would have been going into the profession, and the quality of teachers would go way up.

Since humans are unlikely to start becoming more future focused in their decision making, the better solution is to raise teacher salaries by 30-40% and get rid of the pensions (which would be a budget neutral solution). We should also enact more summer school programs since we are already paying teachers as much as similar private employees who work around 230 days instead of 180.

Even with a longer work year, I think we would get much better teachers if average salaries were closer to $60k instead of $45k even if the pension went away. Very few people factor in the pension when deciding what career to enter at the age of 18 anyway.

Re: I blame textbook monopolies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164177)

US teacher pay is in line with other countries if you consider per capita pay. Of course a teacher in spain, poland, or ireland is going to be paid less; people on average make less in those countries.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/eiip/eiipid40.asp

reply to comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164179)

How about having more than 1 monopolistic education system.

i.e. it's that very thinking that there should be "a" system or "the" system which is the problem.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#46164199)

I could go on and on obviously. There is no one cause and no silver bullet solution. Technology can be part of the solution, but in the hands of morons it quickly becomes part of the problem.

Technology may not be a silver bullet but in my opinion it has the potential to be the most cost effective solution, and by a wide margin. Technology has been a failure so far because there has been no accompanying process improvement in education. MOOCs are starting to show that lectures can be scaled out further than one teacher per twenty students. Think of all the time saved if there were merely a hundred lectures about numerators and denominators, varied by skill level and learning types, that every student in the country could watch in class. A smart student could watch one of them once and demonstrate to their teacher that they know the material, while another student could watch a dozen of them. Teachers could spend their time individually motivating and helping students. I assume lecturing takes up close to two thirds of teacher time now, so students could get three times the individual instruction for the same cost (minus the minuscule overhead of creating the lectures and improving them).

This is just one example of how technology could help if we start modifying how teaching is done instead of just adding technology. I didn't even go into how the lecture quality would go up as well since only the best of the best would be creating these lectures. And they would get significant feedback on how to correct them since millions of students would watch each lecture. A combination of teacher comments and testing would give a very good measure of how well students are doing with each lecture, and experiments would be easy to run (just give 10 almost identical lectures to 10,000 students each and see which helps comprehension more).

And all of this could be possible with very little spending (proportionally to the amount we already spend) and requires no social engineering of society.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162085)

Open Source the curriculum, damnit!

Are you saying that we should make an effort to make this year - and every year - the year of the Open Source Desk(top) for schools?

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163155)

I blame the chalk. It's not humane.

Re:I blame textbook monopolies. (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 3 months ago | (#46164129)

Presumably you mean develop syllabi and curricula under liberal, permissive Creative Commons licences and/or in the public domain. This is a good step towards releasing educational organisations from the dominance and control of the big publishers, e.g. Pearson and McGraw Hill, and yes they have captured a lot of K-12 education and manipulated it to their own benefit regardless of learners' needs, but it doesn't address education policy itself.

Publishers are only part of a bigger system with vested interests pulling in multiple directions simultaneously and with the people that really understand how learning and education actually work being marginalised by political considerations. A lot of this is coming from the private sector, especially the IT sector, which wants a slice of the lucrative pie, and their attempts to privatise parts of the system to give them a stronger foothold, free from regulation and from annoying details like learning gains and effect sizes, dropout rates, etc.

MOOCs are a case in point. The IT sector is driving this, with the help of a few universities that welcome the corporate money, but AFAIK, nobody researching MOOCs' with pre-, post-, and delayed-post tests or, more importantly, doing long term studies. All they're doing is gathering web metrics which may be fine for selling advertising to corporate sponsors but are utterly useless at measuring learning (whatever they may tell you on flashy TED Talks presentations).

Bottom line: computers and computer mediated assessment are stupid, teachers are smart. Invest in teachers if you want smart learners.

Analogy to Movies (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 3 months ago | (#46161999)

A similar comment can be made about movies. I hate remakes and especially reboots. Even movies made from book are better than remakes. Can you come up with something new?

However, I disagree a little with Woz here because it's critical to improve existing technology. True innovation is difficult and important, but improving those first bits of technology is probably as crucial. The obvious case in point is the mobile phone. It has been around quite a while, but our lives are greatly affected by recent technologies (including infrastructure).

Re:Analogy to Movies (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 3 months ago | (#46162133)

Ok but bearing in mind that Facebook is an evolution of Friendreunited I'm not sure if I like where this is going

Re:Analogy to Movies (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 months ago | (#46162419)

"A similar comment can be made about movies. I hate remakes and especially reboots. Even movies made from book are better than remakes."

I don't mind a remake if the original film was made from a (classic) book, like the plays of Shakespeare, Frank Herberts Dune, Lord of the Rings etc
Or even dramas based on historical events, or legends.
But if something was originally a movie, or TV show, and presumably worked with the original cast, then they don't need to do a remake.
I also hate prequels, If they want to contiue a franchise (like Star Trek) they should make one that is set after TNG, Voyager, and DS9

The class room (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162001)

I have to agree with Woz, we're going down the wrong path. We tried throwing resources at this in a million ways and nothing is really moving it forward. I don't blame people who don't see a place for a lot of things in the classroom because we just aren't getting the results from students that we did before we have computers and cash in the school systems.

Meanwhile we go on these rants about students not learning evolution in the schools while the point is totally moot since the system is pushing students through to graduation who can't read at the 5th grade level.

Technology can be great (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#46162093)

It can revolutionize teaching if done the right way [wired.com] . You need structure and a learning environment where the students have freedom to pursue as well.

Bare in mind this citation above was in Mexico where there is a ton less presure on teachers to follow through circulumn to ensure test scores. Teaching today folks is very different than when we went to school thanks to No Child Left Behind. Teachers are handed a list of +90 topics to go over in 3 months! So the time to experiment which has proven test results can not happen as the only goal is to raise test scores based on all +90 topics in a very short window to teach it.

But it is possible and technology can help garner research, display data visually (nice aid for students learning graphing), and can apply math and science principles to projects like Lego mindstorm make learning it easier.

Re:Technology can be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162315)

Bare in mind...

Yes, this happens a lot when I think about Kat Dennings. I can hardly bear it.

Analogies (2)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 3 months ago | (#46162181)

From the summary: "People use technology more the less it feels like technology. 'The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in noncomputer ways.'" Take a world where you have a pen, and then you have a typewriter come along. The uptake in typewriters may have been relatively slow, taking a few decades, never really displaced the pen in many uses. Now computers replacing typewriters - a little faster. Internet replacing non-internet sources of information - definitely happened much faster. But in all these cases it is using technology that feels more like technology. So I don't know what he means by working in non-computer ways.

Re:Analogies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162437)

So I don't know what he means by working in non-computer ways.

Try rewriting your reply on an Altair 8800 using the front panel and maybe you will understand what he means.

Re:Analogies (2)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 months ago | (#46162451)

I certainly have a ton of respect for the woz, but this sounds like someone just saying whatever in a desperate attempt to sound relevant. Worse, it sounds like he's trying to channel Jobs. Woz's a brilliant man, but he knows damn well his innovations in computers were not inventing something nobody had seen before. And while they might have made computers more approachable, they were definitely not hiding the technology.

He should also know that innovation is rarely, if ever, inventing something totally new. Usually it involves putting together some stuff that has existed for 20 years in a way that causes people to say, "oh! i never thought that would have worked, but it surely does!" (though in my experience, google glass sucks and doesn't make me say that. still, you can't really innovate without failing a few times.)

Generally, when something totally new is invented, it languishes. Nobody knows what to do with it. It needs to sit for 20 years until someone realizes they could now put it in some eyeglasses.

Re:Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163033)

But the interesting thing about the computer is that it is more than a typewriter. The 'computer' replaced'' the typewriter, the telephone, the radio, the gramaphone, the television, the calendar, the mail service, the book, the ecyclopedia, the library, the office clerk, the playground and is currently replacing the driver.
What Steve refers to is that the computer is done replacing the typewriter, and for innovation to take place we should no longer focus on what a computer does (calculating, processing data), but on what it enables.

Re:Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163141)

the big flaw in your analogy is the typewriter. nobody ever willingly used a typewriter out of convenience. nobody wrote letters to friends and family members with a typewriter. typewriters were used only used professional situations.

a better analogy for what woz is saying: human-technology interaction a jig-saw or tetris puzzle. while their shapes and sizes do vary, humans have some fairly standard puzzle-piece configurations. technology is most innovative when it is designed to fit into the human puzzle-pieces tightly, almost seamlessly, and with little adaptive effort on the part of humans.

obligatory car analogy: hover cars would be great, right? which is better: requiring the whole car to be replaced or little hover-engines that bolt right on to existing cars where the tires used to be, without modifying the car?

Re:Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163425)

summary: it is best to adapt to nature than try to change it.

Or maybe it's over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162219)

Maybe there just isn't that much left that needs doing. Oh, except maybe creating a society for people, instead of for consumers.

Re:Or maybe it's over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163061)

Maybe there just isn't that much left that needs doing. Oh, except maybe creating a society for people, instead of for consumers.

This.

On Education (3, Funny)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 3 months ago | (#46162481)

The biggest problem with the Public Education system is

IT IS DOING EVERYTHING WRONG!!

Start with having Standard Reference E-Books on Everything on a EduCORE server network. When a kid starts school issue the kid an EduSlate (something good enough to work but cheap enough to not be a target for theft). As the kid grows up unlock more and more info (redact less and less). For the things where there are recognized Alternate ViewPoints have the Alternate availible if asked for.

as far as how the teaching should go

1 In preschool teach exactly 3 things 1 YOU CAN LEARN 2 HOW TO LEARN 3 The rock basics of learning (numbers letters colors ect)

2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess) 2 teach every kid physically able to how to dance (ballet/gymnastics type)

3 group things into K5-3 4-6 7-9 and 10-12 worry about graduating a kid when s|he can jump bands (btw put the Ladies and Gentlemen together in class during the upper 2 bands)

4 use the older/smarter kids in each band to help the other kids

5 end of the second band and during the third band start sorting kids for where they will be going after graduation (use a "Nut Filter" also)

6 create Sanctuaries for kids to go when they can handle "home life"

In Short STOP KILLING OUR CHILDRENS MINDS.

Challenge for Apple: Create an ISlate and i will front you your Kinder Garden

Very smart, will never happen - in public schools (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 months ago | (#46162977)

You know what is funny though, is that your list is exactly the process that a lot of homeschooled kids go through.

I know, I was one.

Re:On Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163179)

Why dance? How about shop? How about Latin, so that we can spell et cetera correctly?

I just think there are lot of traps for "everyone should do X", when X is something the speaker does well or values.

Re:On Education (3, Interesting)

dmiller1984 (705720) | about 3 months ago | (#46163233)

2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess)

This has been tried before and it's been found to not work. It's one of the few things in education that has been pretty much proven not to work. I just read an article [indiatimes.com] the other day about seperating by gender, and it just serves to reinforce sterotypes when the genders are not together. Boys are allowed more freedom to move around since "boys will be boys" when there are girls who could use freedom of movement as well. If you were going to break up classes, break them up by the way they learn.

Doing a theoretical valuation for an M&A (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162491)

Social network sites at that time were blogger aggregators, where you shared with relevant bloggers. The cost model proved the product made the company valued at 5 million. Investment models could not put a company beyond 200M.
This reasoning in valuations is wrong as valuations use deals, branding, investment banking and rolling of money.
And never say the technology existed or "really you were able to patent that".
Go figure....

Rock-star status needed (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 3 months ago | (#46162571)

What's needed to make STEM pursuits attractive to kids is rock-star status that they see everywhere in entertainment and professional sports (technically entertainment too).

Re:Rock-star status needed (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#46162931)

What's needed to make STEM pursuits attractive to kids is rock-star status that they see everywhere in entertainment and professional sports (technically entertainment too).

You wish.....

He hit the nail on the head... (5, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 3 months ago | (#46162823)

And the tech community says, "Ouchie" and runs back to their offices. I've been lecturing developers on this for years, and gotten little but hostility back. When you tell them "The fucking computer DOES NOT MATTER" they just look at you blankly.

The computer. It's a toaster, OK? It should turn on immediately. Do what the fuck I tell it to do and stay out of my face. It's not even a servant. It's *less* than a servant. It deserves no regard whatsoever.

More to the point, the toaster should not ask me a bunch of questions, steal my input focus, wait for it's little processes to complete in the foreground before moving on, take minutes to start, or stop, refresh my screen randomly, puke out unhelpful pointless error messages that require my attention, and so on. Aside from all of this being a sign of lazy, careless design and programming, all of this will drive consumers to devices that *don't* do this, or do it less. This is one reason among many why Android is taking over the world, while Windows is dying a well deserved death from it's ossified, well preserved stupidity.

Re:He hit the nail on the head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163553)

The computer. It's a toaster, OK? It should turn on immediately. Do what the fuck I tell it to do and stay out of my face. It's not even a servant.

The problem is that what you actually mean is "Do what the fuck I want it to do but don't know how to articulate unambiguously and stay out of my face.

The earliest computers did exactly what you asked for, and no one liked them because they do what you tell them not what you meant to tell them. All the things you point out as undesirable are artifacts of or coping mechanisms for the behavior of users.

Re:He hit the nail on the head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163657)

yes and no.
the "perfect" computer stays out of the users way. but how many here and elsewhere have cut there teeth on computers that were NOT helpful?
my personal opinion is that there needs to be a "backdoor" to the behind-the-scenes part of the computer and then obviously shit can happen once you get access to it : )
i'm against a completely blackboxed computer even if it were super user friendly. some people want to know "how the magic trix" works!

Re:He hit the nail on the head... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46164183)

Could you keep your pointless apostrophes out of my face? The possessive pronoun. It's a toaster, OK? It should not be replaced with the contraction for IT IS.

Creativity, Innovation and the Previous Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46162871)

The re-use of old thinking with new technology is akin to the adage "we always prepare for the previous war".

Frankly, there are people frightened of "creative thinking" because it often is "disruptive" and breaks the pre-existing social-- and financial-- order.

Innovation starts at the bottom of the corporate food-chain in an effort to solve problems... yet there are usually efforts within any organization to "reserve creativity to the qualified"... is it any wonder that education seems engineered to make more drones?

Invisibly advance (2)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 3 months ago | (#46163021)

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

- Alfred North Whitehead, Introduction to Mathematics (1911)

Technology that Woz describes is essentially invisible, because the user can focus on the task and not the tool. As tech people, creating such technology should be our goal. I imagine that the vast majority of us want to do that, anyway. What we need to do is convince the people in charge of the money to let us.

Technology will not cure what truly ails you (5, Interesting)

korbulon (2792438) | about 3 months ago | (#46163035)

Teaching is hard. It requires talent and a whole lot of effort, in spite of what that ass G B Shaw once sad ("ha HA!"). The problem with technology is that it gives so many people in the school systems the false assurance that it can solve the main problems plaguing the education system (see the recent episode of South Park parodying the ObamaCare website fiasco). But what's really plaguing the eduaction system is that parents are getting less involved and more demanding even as teachers become increasingly overworked, underpaid, and poorly trained.

A big part of it has to do with the squeezing of the middle class. Decades ago you could actually earn a decent wage on a public school teacher's salary, enough to buy a house and raise a family. Who can do that now? And in a metropolitan area? Fuck that. I honestly don't see how people are making it. I think the best teachers now go to private schools or colleges, and many (but not all, mind you) of the ones who remain are the ones who just aren't very good. People love to blame the unions for protecting bad teachers, but without the unions I think the situation would be far far worse.

Re:Technology will not cure what truly ails you (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163243)

Teaching is hard. It requires talent and a whole lot of effort

Maybe, but there is a lot of repetition. Seems like teaching counting or simple math should be a solved problem with an expert system providing individual, best practices instruction. A classroom teacher can't do that because she has many kids to help. If the computer could to the individual, routine stuff, the the teacher should have more time to handle special cases. In short, technology ought to be able to help, but for some reason it isn't.

Perhaps a good proof of concept open source project would be something that teaches the first grade core curriculum math requirements.

What's the best iPAD app out there to do this now, and is it capable of doing the job for some percentage of the students?

Re:Technology will not cure what truly ails you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163273)

Technology can never help us if we don't understand exactly how we need to change and why. At that point, technology is not the deciding factor for success, but your understanding-testing-experience feedback loop IS.

However, technology can rapidly bring change, when coupled with irresistible and obvious advantages. Just look at Khan's Academy, which has the potential to completely turn the education system up-side-down. At it's core, Khan's Academy IS NOT about technology, but caring and listening to your students (feedback loop), as a teacher. However, since most people lack these exact skills, videos can act as a substitute, inspiration and even teacher training. True teaching still need to be prioritized though, instead of budgets, so it's not a silver bullet. Again, here the technology can bring cost down to pratically zero, so can turn the tables, especially in poor areas, IF internet is prioritized enough.

So it's about the whole becoming more than the sums of its parts, not just about promising technology, and not just about promising business cases either.
Too bad our society is constantly punishing all those focusing on the whole, and promoting everyone to focus on their own little part..

Re:Technology will not cure what truly ails you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163723)

In Russia they are taking the teacher's salary problem seriously. They are building lots of new housing units and teachers get special support in the form of reduced prices and government guarantees for their mortgages to buy a home. This applies even to recebt graduates who are just starting their first teaching job. And the government has increased teachers' salaries and has stated that it intends to continue increasing their salaries.

Why do American journalists spend all their time complaining about Putin this and Putin that, when they could be doing some deep investigative journalism by talking to ordinary Russians and finding out what drives them, why they vote for Putin in such overwhelming numbers? There is a huge amount of redevelopment happining in Russia that is transforming that country and will help it overtake the USA in terms of economy and quality of living. The 50 billion spent in Sochi should be a clue. No way did they spend that on just the Olympics. They built an new airport, new train station, new highways with bridges and a massive tunnel bypass, hotels, sports centers, housing units. They essentially went into a small coastal town and transformed it into a modern city.

And while the world was watching Ukrainian demonstrators in Kiev, Russia and Ukraine signed and agreement to build a transport link on the Kerch peninsula which will provide a tunnel and bridge that links road traffic from the EU right into Southern Russia and Sochi.

And a bit of digging will show you that the Sochi project is only one of dozens of big infrastructure development projects in Russia. Can you even name one big infrastructure development project in the USA?

Re:Technology will not cure what truly ails you (1)

Payden K. Pringle (3483599) | about 3 months ago | (#46164309)

Maybe that's what we need. Something far far worse. So that maybe, just maybe, people will actually try to fix the problem. Don't get me wrong. People are trying. But apparently not enough of them are. Or they aren't trying hard enough. Or they don't understand the problem. Or they don't really care. (I'm sure it's a mix of all that.)

Something needs to change. Sometimes the only way to get that to happen is for things to get worse.

next step (1)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 3 months ago | (#46163415)

If I was going to do something crazy, I'd look at getting rid of our screens, and replacing it with voice. That means probably doing better with voice generation, and leveraging and improving voice recognition. I have a thought or two about the idea at a basic level, but I don't have the programming or theoretical chops to make it happen. That would be neat though to see something go that way. Granted that's not all that crazy as evidenced by the movie "Her" but it's a start in the direction Woz was talking about.

Dig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46163975)

So no one sees this as a dig at Bill Gates and his new interest in curriculum? Bill has been linked to pushing the new "common core" scam system that is making it's rounds in the US. I see it as a slight to Bill and common core, which is fine by me. Hats off to Woz.

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