Role of computers in education - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 07-18-2004, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just came across this interview from 1985 with a very interesting discussion of the way computers are brought into schools.

http://www-tech.mit.edu/V105/N16/weisen.16n.html

No, it isn't about waldorf schools.

Nana
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#2 of 33 Old 07-18-2004, 10:35 PM
 
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I think what he has to say is very true. We should be teaching children to write, read and think. Computers can come later. I don't see any advantage to using a computer before the age of 10 or so. I think the author is also right in saying that computers are bandaids that don't fix the underlying problems in schools. They just look cool.
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#3 of 33 Old 07-20-2004, 02:59 PM
 
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The things that have been SHOWN CONCLUSIVELY to help kids with school, develop the brain, etc. have been axed.

Music? Gone.

Art? Cancelled.

Physical Education? The kids are too damn lazy.

Computers, TV stations, radio stations, etc. are nice to have but otherwise a complete waste of time.
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#4 of 33 Old 07-20-2004, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just had a job interview at a library today. The librarian was bemoaning the fact that parents will encourage their 3 or 4 year olds to play with a computer program instead of sitting down with the kids and reading them a book. Priorities?

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#5 of 33 Old 07-20-2004, 10:46 PM
 
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For visual learners (oftentimes boys), computer are an excellent teaching tool. There are many outstanding educational computer programs out there for kids. My son taught himself to read with a Reader Rabbit CD ROM by age four, and later on learned Pre-Algebra with a Math Blaster CD ROM. I am constantly amazed at the quality of some of the software we pick up.

But, if kids are just surfing the 'net, or playing entertainment-only games, that is a waste.
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#6 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 06:46 AM
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I agree with your view on computers Deborah. But it's ironic that the libraries here in NZ are usually fully equipped with computers for children and preschoolers. Of course the children head to them first.

Meowee I'm sure glad my 4 yr old ds sings, plays make-believe games, digs the garden/sandpit, bakes with me, draws, paints, builds, creates, climbs trees, plays music etc. He's too busy to sit and stare at a screen. He's got years to learn and relish the joy of reading and you can bet my dh and I aren't in a hurry for that yet. He's got more important skills to develop at present. His thirst for the world of literacy is getting stronger, but hey, the innocence and flourishing world of imagination in childhood is so short lived, we aren't going to make it any shorter!

Sorry to stir, the waldorf streak in me is a bit strong. Don't be offended meowee, I think we just have different philosophies.



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#7 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 11:27 AM
 
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Viv,
I don't mean this in a snarky way. I'm just trying to create food for thought. What makes you think Meowee's kids don't do all the things you listed? I respect others' views on media use in children, but I don't believe that computer use and imagination/dress-up/make-believe/baking/outdoors play are mutually exclusive. My 3yo will occasionally use our computer; he taught himself at 2.5. But he still has imaginary friends, often pretends to be in the ocean or up in a tree. He pretended he was rain once. He draws and bakes and gardens. He does all the things you listed about your son. He is the most delightly imaginative child I've known. But he does use a computer. The computer and his books have not diminished his childhood in any way.

I don't see a connection between computer use and a shorter childhood or a less imaginative one. Pushing a child to read or limiting imaginative activities would be a way to do that, but it's the parent then, not the computer to blame. I also think a person could go the other way, in pushing a child to do activities from a Waldorf book when they would rather read. I'd rather follow my child's cues. Just my two cents.
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#8 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The question of early versus late learning is an interesting one. Why do people assume that early is better? What is the evidence for long-term benefit from reading at 4 as opposed to reading at 7 or 8?

My own experience: My family has 5 kids. We all learned to read at different points from very early to somewhere around 6 or 7. We're all intelligent, did well in school and have managed to survive, more or less, in real life. The early reading didn't seem to "do" much. My daughter went to a waldorf school and learned to read at a very slow pace. The summer between 2nd and 3rd grade her grandmother was reading the Lord of the Rings to her (I agree, a bit early!). She got impatient at the slow pace and started reading it to herself. Surprise! She knew how to read!

But this question doesn't actually have much to do with computers as an educational tool, since lots of children have learned how to read at age 4 or 5 without computers.

What I've noticed with computers is that I am most effective at using them when I "think" like a computer. This is not equal to a lively, free, imaginative sort of thinking. I worry that encouraging children to be good with computers may actually limit their intellectual development, while providing an illusion of competence. I hope I'm wrong, since millions of children are being encouraged to use computers starting at a very early age.

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#9 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 01:32 PM
 
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yes, you did jump to conclusions! I would have preferred my son be doing all the non-screen activities you enjoy with your child, but those things were never possible with him. He would throw violent temper tantrums if I tried to take him outside, would go crazy if his hands or face got dirty, and was non-verbal until he was five. I spent the first five years of his life bruised all over from the waist down from his violent outbursts. Everyone thought he was autistic.

He changed into a different boy when we bought an iMac shortly after his 4th birthday. Something about the computer made him open up. There are certain children who respond amazingly to these machines. We were able to potty train him, he began to talk, and he became calmer overall. He finally found "someone" he could communicate with, I guess.

I'm just trying to say that if you have a child who responds with joy and excitement to a computer, don't deprive him of it just on principle.

BTW, today he talks non-stop and loves to play make-believe games, dig in the sand, bake with me, draw, paint, build, create, but he can't climb trees! Too scary, he says.

And he still loves his iMac!
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#10 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 02:02 PM
 
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I think there have been far too many assumptions in some of the responses above. Namely that (1) computers are the equivalent of mindless entertainment, (2) that computer use is divorced from the use of language, reading, math, and other subjects, and (3) that computers, by nature, prevent creativity.

Language, reading, math, art, music, etc. and computers are not in separate spheres in the Venn diagram of life. Look at how many of us, for example, are using language to communicate right now, online, utilizing a computer. We're composing sentences, forming viewpoints--becoming more aware of word choice, nuance, syntax, grammar, etc.

Want your child to work in the medical field? Become a graphic artist? Architect? Engineer? Writer? Business manager? Musical composer or producer? These are just a few professions that utilize--and have been greatly enhanced by--the advent of computer technology. ASK someone who works in the field.

Think that computers aren't creative? Perhaps you haven't worked with relevent applications.

In this day and age, computer literacy IS an important skill. I daresay as important as reading, writing, and solving equasions. We no longer use manual typewriters and abacuses because they are no longer culturally relevant.

Bottom line, a computer is a tool. If parents or teachers are letting children "zone out" with them, that's a separate issue.
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#11 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 02:14 PM
 
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Well, we still use an abacus around here because it's a terrific manipulative! However, I think the problem that I have with computers is that they're often touted as the panacea for all the educational woes out there when in fact, they do very little to *solve* existing problems or to educate any BETTER than pen and paper.

They can educate, certainly. Certainly the Internet is one of the greatest intellectual resources we have -- it's an amazing invention that has done more than almost any invention since the printing press to revolutionize the ordinary person's access to information.

However, that said, you can give the greatest computer in the world to a chimp and all that it becomes is a fancy rock.

The point I'm making (hey, there IS one!) is that computers do not teach MOST kids more effectively than human beings do. I teach English. The computer, in my class, is largely a fancy encyclopedia. My kids learn through Socratic discussion -- about as low-tech as you can get. They learn to read by...READING. They learn to think by discussion and argument and writing. Armed with those mental tools, they then can use the computer not as a fancy rock, but as a genuine tool.

In other words, it's only as good as the mind in front of the screen.

Thanks for letting me rant! ;-)
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#12 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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there's a need for balance and moderation here at least

however salt peanuts I think that a skill needed professionally and a skill needed for a preschooler are worlds apart in their implications

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#13 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Charles,

Thanks!

I love using computers. I've had great fun working on databases, figuring out how to produce better reports from bookkeeping systems and chatting on the Internet. I am just doubtful that my grandkids can't wait until they are 10 or 12 to start doing the same? What is the rush?

I feel sometimes that early computer education is a bit like early driver ed or first grade business classes: a bit premature. Certainly, many jobs require computer skills. Do we start training people for their jobs in elementary school? No we are supposed to be providing a foundation of basic skills that can be applied in any life path. Again, for most children, what is the hurry? There are things that have to be learned at the right time. Language is probably the biggest. Other skills are more flexible. Even illiterate adults can master reading. Computer skills are not tied to developmental age: even people in their 70's or later have learned how to use them effectively.

Dear Meowee,

Your story is a good reminder not to be an absolutist! Thanks for sharing.

Nana
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#14 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 04:07 PM
 
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I do agree 100% that plopping a bunch of computers in a poorly performing school is not the answer to its educational woes. I recently read in the NY Times that there is a burgeoning scandal about these huge government grants that were given to impoverished schools so that they would have internet access and lots of computers. I can't remember all the details, but basically all these companies got gazillion dollar deals to go into these schools, hook them up, and set up incredibly expensive tech support centers. I remember one line, how all the educrats thought it would be wonderful, that "every first grader could have their own web page." Excuse me, by why on earth does every first grader need their own web page?? Isn't it more important that they are given the basics that impoverished schools seem incapable-- for whatever reason-- of giving to poor students?

Well, when all the gazillions of dollars ran out, the tech centers were shut down and left empty. The teachers didn't know how to deal with any of the technical problems they encountered. Basically, the entire program has in some places been abandoned. The article mentioned one school in Florida that had a million dollar server just sitting in it, unused.

Why didn't they use those gazillions of dollars for something really useful, like halving the size of classes?
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#15 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by deeporgarten
there's a need for balance and moderation here at least

however salt peanuts I think that a skill needed professionally and a skill needed for a preschooler are worlds apart in their implications
My point is that computers and learning are not mutually exclusive, and that computer literacy is a cumulative process with a wide variety of applications.
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#16 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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of course salt peanuts--I agree

I happen to think that there is a wide range of legitimate positions on this issue

I don't think it's a compromise if the first time a child encounters a computer is when they are ten or something. That might be a good thing.

I have mixed feeling about preschoolers on the computer but mine are.

ITA with people who criticize the computers in schools efforts because I do think it is basically unwarranted/overemphasized especially in young gradeschool and that there are many things more important being dropped from the standard curriculum/schedule

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#17 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee
I do agree 100% that plopping a bunch of computers in a poorly performing school is not the answer to its educational woes. I recently read in the NY Times that there is a burgeoning scandal about these huge government grants that were given to impoverished schools so that they would have internet access and lots of computers. I can't remember all the details, but basically all these companies got gazillion dollar deals to go into these schools, hook them up, and set up incredibly expensive tech support centers. I remember one line, how all the educrats thought it would be wonderful, that "every first grader could have their own web page." Excuse me, by why on earth does every first grader need their own web page?? Isn't it more important that they are given the basics that impoverished schools seem incapable-- for whatever reason-- of giving to poor students?
I think depriving children of under-resourced communities of the opportunity of exposure to an important cultural tool--one that is vital for research (at any grade level), college, and eventually, job skills, is a shame. Perhaps the problem isn't so much the computers, but the band-aid mentality. That sort of educational dysfunction can come about whether one is speaking of money, curriculum, computers, etc. It has to be implemented properly.

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The teachers didn't know how to deal with any of the technical problems they encountered. Basically, the entire program has in some places been abandoned. The article mentioned one school in Florida that had a million dollar server just sitting in it, unused.
BINGO! Because of computer illiteracy! I don't blame the teachers for not knowing--they didn't have the background or the opportunity. It has taken my MIL the last 3 years just to be able to learn how to send an email. Her 8-year-old grandson, who was introduced to and was comfortable around computers from a young age, is adept at many applications.

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Why didn't they use those gazillions of dollars for something really useful, like halving the size of classes?
I guess it really boils down to my objection to blanket statements like the above (no offense, really) and computers "are a complete waste." I think common sense, proper use, and recognition that it's a TOOL and not a personality, babysitter, nor a band-aid are key.
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#18 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 05:31 PM
 
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We all learned to send e-mails as adults or close to it. How long has this technology been around? I can do it and I was twenty or something when I got on internet. How much exposure does it really take? Computers really aren't so complicated that children need such continuous contact to use them later in life.

I have e-mail but my dd 9yo doesn't have her own because I 'm not yet sure about the implications and whether she'd have problems.

I think a middle scool w/o computers is pretty lame but it seems like it should be a very low priority to have them in gradeschool classrooms.

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#19 of 33 Old 07-22-2004, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are computers essential to education?

The Chicago Waldorf School where I worked as business manager for three years had no computers in the grade school, 1st through 8th grade. Now, if kids deprived of computers were really being messed up, the 8th graders who left the school should have run into serious problems going into high school. They should have been far behind all the kids who had lots of computer exposure. High schools should have been worried about accepting these poorly educated, handicapped kids.

Well, the school had a problem. They were trying to build a high school. One of the problems was the scholarships offered to the waldorf school kids from the other private schools in the area.

The waldorf kids went into a variety of schools, public and private. Not one of these schools ever called up and complained about inadequate educational methods. None of the parents ever had a problem getting their kid into their choice of high school. Nobody came back and said, my education failed me, we didn't have enough exposure to computers.

The high school has survived and several classes have now gone on into college. Again, no college has complained that the lack of computer exposure is crippling these kids.

Sidebar: I'm a librarian. All the academic librarians I have encountered are totally bummed out by the miserable computer skills that kids bring to college. Oh, they know how to do word processing and e-mail. A few understand a bit about spreadsheets and databases. How to construct a search? Nope. A real understanding of the limitations of computers. Nope. True information literacy. Ha!

The first computers went into schools in the 1980's so some of the teachers in todays public schools should have the wonderful computer skills that come from early exposure. This probably doesn't include knowing how to run a network, any more than it includes a solid understanding of how to construct a boolean search statement. The skills needed to do real stuff like run networks and manage databases and run a reference desk require professional training. Computer "exposure" is not equivalent to professional training.

Darn it, I'm ranting. Sorry.

Nana
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#20 of 33 Old 07-23-2004, 12:21 AM
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Sorry Meowee, I didn't pick up your son's unique needs in your post. Yes perhaps there are some kids who do well with a computer to support their communication. I know an autistic boy who always just sat and stared or banged his head on the wall. When he was given a computer he worked out how to use it and began writing very beautiful peotry. Following that he really began to open up. I admit he's at a Steiner school now, so I can't say if it's the computer or all the artistic work he does which has helped him more. The computer was like a door to a new world though. I had forgotten him, yes, I'll eat humble pie.

Leftfield I think by the computers nature it does indirectly affect childrens play and imagination. It provides instant intellectual stimulation which breaks the innocent and immatative aspects which are vital in play. I also distorts the 'human' aspect of play, adding only pre-programmed ideas to the child's imagination. Don't be fooled, humans imaginations are far superior to what the computer has been programmed to do. I hope people out there aren't taking Waldorf activities straight from books! It is a philosophy not a methodology. The way each child and adult approaches education is unique.

Salt Peanuts obviously computers are abundantly full of lang, math, reading etc resources. They are a fantastic tool. Thats why we use them. I had the pleasure of working with a graphic designer in my final highschool year as I was studying art. He was hopelessly inartistic in the fine arts way of speaking. He was good on his computer, he knew his applications intimately, it really helped him to be a graphic artist, to be creative. But he would have been fantastic had he only learnt two to draw too.

I think the key is that the computer is only a tool, not a personality, as Sp said. Therefore realise that it won't give your child the human responses they require for their physical security or emotional development. I believe this is what they need lots of during their preschool and primary (grade?) years, real teachers (like your way Charles!) and parents teach far more effectively from 'real life' than fancy pre-programmed computers.

But I think computers are great in high schools, fantastic for communication - hey I live a world a way from you all, isn't it great that you can ' hear' me?! (Even if you don't agree with me..!)I believe younger children really need to live in the 'real' physical world with continious emotional contact with caring people in their environment. Computers don't provide that and young children learn very quicky from them.

Great discussion, thanks!


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#21 of 33 Old 07-23-2004, 10:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viv


Leftfield I think by the computers nature it does indirectly affect childrens play and imagination. It provides instant intellectual stimulation which breaks the innocent and immatative aspects which are vital in play. I also distorts the 'human' aspect of play, adding only pre-programmed ideas to the child's imagination. Don't be fooled, humans imaginations are far superior to what the computer has been programmed to do. I hope people out there aren't taking Waldorf activities straight from books! It is a philosophy not a methodology. The way each child and adult approaches education is unique
Has this been proven somewhere or are these your personal beliefs? I can only counter with anecdotal evidence of my own that my son has never acted out anything he's seen on a computer. Based on personality, he is far more imaginative than his 4yo friend, who has never seen a TV image or a computer. His imaginative play usually consists of natural things, like rain, trees, oceans, that sort of theme. He plays alone for hours and talks quietly to his toys. I will share my bias: I am not a Waldorf fan. I understand that Waldorf believes (I think) that early exposure to intellectual pursuits causes a crystalization of sorts in the child's spirit. I respect your beliefs, but I do not share them. Some children independently pursue things that provide "instant intellectual stimulation". When I hid all my son's books at age 2, he simply dug through the recycling to find things with letters on them. I don't agree with the Waldorf belief system of child development. I think it works well for some kids, but that's all I believe.

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to say that I disagree with your conclusions above. But I have enjoyed reading your posts.
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#22 of 33 Old 07-23-2004, 11:54 AM
 
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Computers can help enhance the basics but I would rather have my children learning from living, breathing people. As an engineer, I use computers everyday yet I did not learn my computer skills until high school. It wasn't until I started working that I learned email. The skills are not difficult. Most people who have hangups with computers (I work with a lot of older factory workers who are frightend of computers) are worried that they are going to break them with a missed keystroke. Usually after having a couple of classes they are fine.

My children attend Waldorf so they will not be exposed to a computer until 8th grade when the teacher will have them start doing reports on the computer. We have a computer at home so they know what it is and how it works but I don't really let them play on it. If they attend the local Waldorf high school they will really learn computers. In 9th grade the students build a computer from the ground up, they write software in 10th grade, and they begin learning computer programs in 11th and 12th grade. Most by that time have a computer at home to use. I haven't seen this process slow these kids down. In fact two boys who graduated from 8th grade 3 years ago are now employed by a local software company while they are in a public high school.

It is obvious from hearing from Moms of autistic kids that computers can really open up a world to children but I think most children would do better with smaller class sizes rather than a totally wired school.
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#23 of 33 Old 07-23-2004, 05:39 PM
 
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Leftfield, I understand not being a "Waldorf fan" but I think there is wisdom in much of the philosophy and we should always understand that Waldorf has its historical roots in legitimate anti-industrial ideas about how people lived and how children were raised at the time--it was an effort to counter negative currents in society at that time. It also has much to offer in countering similar negative currents in child-care and education today. I think that is why it is so popular.

I see that the public ed system for instance, along with preschools both public and private, has a real problem with pushing formal academics and not fully respecting how play activities and physical activities are integral to children's development. They don't invest much $$ into unmeasurable activities that don't produce results that reek of obvious job skills. Waldorf honors play when many schools pay it lip service and relegate it to the sidelines very quickly.

With early reading pushing programming and extravagant efforts to bring computers to gradeschools we are displaying a certain ignorance and lack of faith in children's natural develpoment. We seem to prefer visible results that look like mini-components of successful adults: Give em a C, next an A, and sooner or later they'll all have a C-A-R-E-E-R!

Waldorf can seem extreme. But they sure make some good points and have good reasons for makng them. I homeschool and I like Waldorf ideas and many other perspectives too. There is no compelling good reason for early computer ed. for most children IMO.

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#24 of 33 Old 07-23-2004, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to thank everyone for truly thoughtful posts. This has turned into a very interesting and diverse thread.

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#25 of 33 Old 07-24-2004, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ad.php?t=76892

Just bumped into this thread with an interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce discussing TV and computers and brain development. I think the interview was pasted into the 8th or 9th post.

Quote:
Chris: Jerry Mander pointed out in his book on television that when television was first introduced it was advertised as this wonderful, democratic technology that would make everybody's life better and serve as an educational tool available free of charge to all. And the American culture of the fifties bought this fantasy lock, stock and barrel. So how about computers in the 90s?

Joe: Well, computers fall into essentially the same category. Here's one example that demonstrates how they can have the same debilitating effects on the mind that television has. Researchers took a single page from a fourth grade level textbook that had explanatory writing and a couple of diagrams or pictures on it and asked three groups of people to review the information. Group A was given the piece of paper itself to study. Group B was shown a movie of the page, and group C viewed it on a television screen - which is exactly the same as a computer monitor. Twenty minutes later they tested them on their comprehension and retention of the material. Group A, who held a paper copy in their hands, averaged a retention level of 85%. Those who saw it on the movie screen had a retention level of between 25 to 30%, and those who studied it on the TV monitor had a retention and comprehension level between 3 and 5%. When they mixed the groups up and tested them again with different pages from the book, in every case the retention and comprehension was identical.

This again has to do with how the brain is constructed and the way it responds to radiant light rather than reflected light as a source of information. And it should make us pause to consider, but it won't.

Chris: Why?

Joe: I attended a computer conference at the University of California at Berkeley during which twenty-one of us from all over the world spent four days discussing the computers-in-education issue. At that very time the State of California had a 500-million-dollar bill pending for a pilot project of K-12 computerized education. They asked me to come and speak to any legislators who would listen and give them a report on what we had discovered during those four days at Berkeley. The woman engineering this, who at the time was head of the Republican strategy department, was fired for asking me to come and speak. It just goes to show you how much money and power is involved.

Kim: But, so many occupations these days involve computers. How do we teach young people what they need to know about computers without relying on them too much?

Joe: At that four-day symposium at Berkeley we concluded that everything hinges on age appropriateness. One professor from MIT made the passionate plea that we must encourage children to develop the ability to think first, and then give them the computer. After that the sky's the limit. But if you introduce the computer before the child's thought processes are worked out, then you have disaster in the making. This is because, as Piaget pointed out, the first twelve years of life are spent putting into place the structures of knowledge that enable young people to grasp abstract, metaphoric, symbolic types of information. The capacity for abstract thinking developed as a result of the natural concrete processes that have been going on for millions of years. The danger here is that the computer, which operates by the same artificial, cathode-ray-tube technology as the television, will interrupt that development.
Nana
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#26 of 33 Old 07-25-2004, 02:30 AM
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LeftField I think it's fantastic your son plays so imaginatively. If only all kids could. Some kids can't with or without computers, I agree. My 2yrold ds learn't far quicker than my 4yr old ds. They're all differnt!

My evidence is anetdotal, through my own visual and written observations of children I have worked with. I'm a science grad. and primary teacher (state trained and a Waldorf teacher), I'm also studying (finishing an Educ degree and looking at post grad research in Educ) and I'm currently working part time in my chilren's Playcentre doing a lot of written observations of children for our session and individual planning. It's pretty interesting, as you can imagine. I've noticed the effects of TV more on the preschoolers I work with at present (although many of the non-steiner familys in our state pre-school don't let their kids use computers, but most watch TV though), and when I was teaching primary full-time (pre motherhood) it was pretty obvious by the chilren's play who regulary played/worked on the computer, it was usually quite a focus for them. In my eyes computers (and TVs!) aren't nearly as good a role model for children as their parents/friends/family/teachers were. There's so many ways to sepend your time. We all see things differently though. When you take, or are given, the time to closely and carefully observe a range of different chilren it is suprizing what you see. And it's an honour to be allowed to do this.

I don't hide books from my boys. My 2 and 4 year old love thier books. We read and sing to them little stories and many nursary rhymes, they 'read' to each other and love their books. I also tell and sing to them alot without books. They love that too. I had several children in my Steiner class one class years ago who had taught themselves to read. I think thats wonderful. They wanted to, no one pushed them too. They were both girls. In general I do see some pretty big differences between most (not all) girls and boys when it comes to learning to read. Many boys do better to learn slower, and doning physical things. But each individual is differnt of course.

Oh, I learn't to read at 6-7yrs at a Steiner school and that hasn't heald me back. I've been a bookworm since then and so have all my sibilings (they aren't all girls..).

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#27 of 33 Old 07-25-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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Viv:
Thank you for explaining further. I do know what you mean about media affecting play. I have nieces and a nephew who have been exposed to a great deal of media, including some graphic content. My nephew constantly acted out Power-rangers. He was so aggressive with it that I could not play with him; it ended up with someone getting hurt (me). My young niece is extremely imaginative, but she tends to pretend to be characters from movies. I can see the influence there. I don't know why my son has never pretended to be Maisy the Mouse, for example. I do have to limit what and how much he watches, because it becomes addictive to him. I do notice that he often plays alone for longer periods of time if the TV is off all day.

I guess there are a lot of variables involved, a major one being the child's personality. I tend to be oversensitive on this subject, b/c my son initiated stuff like books and computers (he likes to use Paint programs) and it has been incorrectly suggested by some that I coached him.

Thank you for further explaining your position.
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#28 of 33 Old 07-26-2004, 01:19 PM
 
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My boys are a little older than the preschoolers I see being discussed here so I suppose the context of our situation is a little different. They attend a classical magnet program where a huge portion of the curriculum consists of literary composition and publication. The students actually use their computer time to learn how to publish their own newsletters, books & compositions and also how to use the computer to access research materials. BUT- all of their work is composed with pencil & paper first & computer time is for actual publication. And while they might use the computer as a research aid, they are also in the library learning more traditional "manual" strategies. They take field trips to local newsmedia offices to observe real life publishing processes in action. I personally find that to be a valid educational use of computers. Their curriculum is also very heavy in fine arts (theatre, art, music, piano) & language (spanish & latin) so I don't feel that their creativity is stunted by this computer presence.
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#29 of 33 Old 07-26-2004, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Amnesiac,

That sounds like a very thoughtful use of computers in education. I'm impressed. Most of the programs I've come across still seem to feel that the mere presence of the computer will have good side effects.

Nana
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#30 of 33 Old 07-26-2004, 03:13 PM
 
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ITA Deborah. They act like it's some kind of magic, as though just having them around is supposed to be impressive. Our program is a unique one to our area- it's the only elementary level one in our district & the only one that I am aware of in our metro area. The vast majority of others fall in line with the attitude you describe.
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