Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More High Tech Hype

RightWingNation has a good denunciation of a new high-tech school.

Education, beware. The forward-thinking and better-than-I folks have decreed that I am a dinosaur and that this is the face of education. I have to laugh at the list on earth-shattering newness ...
  • Bill Gates has money, therefore he is a good teacher
  • Authentic Learning (because it's all fake now and has been since Medieval Times)
  • Discovery Method is good. (because everybody knows how to teach, mostly the kids. I guess the teachers can't.)
  • “School of the Future” (Good thing, too. I'd hate to see that money go to waste on a boondoggle.)
  • first-of-its-kind model for technologically advanced schools worldwide (Note: not the model for education. Just for tech school.)
  • jaw-dropping awe (They spent THAT much?)
  • A laptop for every child (Wait, isn't that phrase copyrighted?)
  • Lockers that open with the swipe of a smart card. (Or a push against it with the card in the back pocket.) Or the inevitable run on magnets from the physics lab to wipe all those cards.
  • A fully wireless building. (God knows that never screws up)
  • Virtually no textbooks. (Ummmm, good pun. Stupid Idea.)
  • Not even an encyclopedia in the library. ('cause Wikipedia is so good.)
  • “It’s going to be as close to a paperless school as we can manage,” (Because paper is what you make contracts with and we don't want accountability.)
  • Plasma screens, ceiling projectors, interactive white boards, and laptops abound, and classroom furniture is on wheels to allow for group work in varying configurations. (Just like a business, don't you know. -- of course, not like the parts of business where they actually teach things -- this is like the parts of the business where the Board sits around amazed at all the wasteful techiness, thinking "Can I get a Bailout with that Cheeseburger?)

Right Wing Professor says, correctly, "The technology is nothing more than a tool, and it will not improve anything if there is no substantial content."

Curmudgeon thanks you, Professor.

Let's continue ...
  • toilets that flush themselves (Was it necessary to include this in a school? Can't the kids do this? Maybe the school is filled with airport travelers?)
  • the rainwater recycling (Great. Pigeons and rats defecate on the roof and you're re-using the water?)
  • Traditional education is obsolete (Then why are we constantly comparing ourselves to other countries and their traditional education systems?)
  • teach students the skills of problem-solving, critical thinking and effective communication, which they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Last time, people.

You can't teach students to think about a problem if they have no frame of reference and no background knowledge. They can't think critically before they know how to read, write, and do arithmetic. The whole point of critical thinking is comparing the new situation to old situations and experience.

Basics must be practiced. Drill and Practice, not Drill and Kill.
Preparatory knowledge is necessary to extension of knowledge.
Educationalists are idiots.

1 comment:

  1. I've been saying the same stuff for a long time.

    Computers will not solve the problems of education.