- Amy Hetzner:
Underheim argues that technology could save schools money if they used it more creatively. Instead of funding two classes of 10 students apiece with both an algebra and a geometry teacher, he asks, why not combine the classes, give every student a computer with software for the specific subject they are trying to learn and keep just one math teacher available to help with special problems?
- Matt Richtel:
Yet in less than five years, that entire market has come undone. By 2004, sales of educational software – a category that includes programs teaching math, reading and other subjects as well as reference works like encyclopedias – had plummeted to $152 million, according to the NPD Group, a market research concern.
“Nobody would have thought those were the golden days,” Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review, said of the late 1990’s. “Now we’re looking back and we’re saying, ‘Wow, what happened?'”
- Troy Dassler, Larry Winkler, Tim Schell and Ed Kowieski posted a number of useful comments and links regarding Technology & Schools.
UPDATE: Hetzner posts the 3rd and last part of her series on Technology & Schools here:
University Lake School in Delafield has enough wireless laptop computers for every student and teacher in grades six through 12 — a 5-year-old venture that is part of an experiment known in education circles as one-to-one, or ubiquitous, computing.
One thought on “More on Technology & Schools”
From Technology and Schools:
“In Upper School teacher Nate Smith’s class, the classroom technology primarily comes in handy with visual demonstrations of some of the more abstract concepts in mathematics or physics.
Web sites can show students in his pre-calculus class how a plane slicing through a cone creates an ellipse or how the points of an ellipse plot out on a graph.
“We were kind of nervous at first and unsure what the expectations would be,” said Smith, who started at the school just as the laptops were being handed out to students. “But really it’s been great.”
I find it ridiculous to use a computer to graph out an ellipse or any equation that most students see in high school. Using the computer is a crutch to prevent understanding and thinking.
I have an MS in computer science, and during my studies, both prior to and in the program, to understand statistical theory and to help solve differential equations and other mathematics, I (we) often plotted out by hand the equations to see their general patterns. It does not take long and it forces you to observe the effects of various terms of the equation — say, as x increases certain terms become more dominant, other less dominant. Computers, especially prior to college, will never be useful as a true learning device.
Clearly, the use of computers have become, and policy makers want the computers to become, a substitute for thinking.
Kids, adults simply need to start thinking! It ain’t that hard.
We are currently in the throng of believing that kids (people) are say, visual learners, verbal learners, kinesthetic learners, etc, and that we must directly indulge these kids by doing the verbalization, visualization, etc for them.
Better, they need to learn that, no matter how the material is presented, they have a bag of skills to translate the presented material into whatever form that helps understanding — giving them the skills to do this, then placing on them the responsibility to do so. That is the role education — not giving them the answers — giving them the skills.
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