July 16, 2003

The most recent issue of NetFuture has some good articles, including a series of aphorisms about computers and learning, extracted from previous NetFuture articles on the subject, and Notes on Genetic Engineering, a strong criticism of corporate science. Here are a few of the aphorisms:

Lack of information has not been the bottleneck in education for decades, or even centuries. Rather, the task for the teacher is to take the infinitesimal slice of available information that can actually be used in the classroom and find some way to bring students into living connection with it.

Computer labs have been displacing art, music, craft, and physical education classes. Does anyone pretend to have shown that the exchange is beneficial?

Given how many hours a day children pursue mediated experience through cinema screens, television screens, and video game screens, it hardly makes sense to add a computer screen to the mix while saying reassuringly, "Let's make sure the children use it in a balanced way".

The quality of kids' play is correlated with their later cognitive, aesthetic, and social skills. There is no demonstrated connection between these skills and early computer use.

The task of schools is to encourage the development of children who can decide what sorts of jobs are worth having in the coming century, not to train children to fit whatever jobs the system happens to crank out.

The computer is often used as a gimmick to lend a touch of glamor or excitement to a subject. Why is this artificial glamorization more appealing than making the subject itself exciting -- something good teachers have no difficulty doing?

posted by dru in politicsoftech