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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.

Education 310

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A teacher's union in Northern Ireland is asserting that children spending too much time on computers are impairing their ability to learn. The asserted excessive computer use is being blamed for an inability to concentrate or socialize. As one teacher puts it, '... these gadgets are really destroying their ability to learn.'" This has been a topic of debate for as long as kids have had computers.

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Really? (2, Insightful)

simonbp (412489) | about 6 months ago | (#47072177)

And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072193)

No.

A good teacher beats babysitware any day.

The trouble is that teachers have been trying to replace themselves for years. You know how many "teacher prep" periods the average US teacher gets now? The vast majority of teachers don't "prep" shit during thier several breaks of PE, music, art, computer lab, library time, and various feedings. In these time blocks, "paraprofessionals" (read: everyone caring for and teaching kids who get paid half as much) take over another chunk of the day and the teacher can chill out for some much needed "prep" time.

Ask anyone who has done IT or technical work in a school district. Technology is the coolest buzzword for driving a pedagogy of student idea synthesis or somesuch fucking bullshit. The real deal is all the grant money is in tech, and teachers LOVE another break. So plug the kids in, and tune the teachers out.

People learn best from people. Computers are tools. But the trend is to drop 30 kids off for some babysitware time.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#47072241)

You know how many "teacher prep" periods the average US teacher gets now?

Nope. I don't know. And based on your insinuation without cites or numbers, I don't think you know either. At my high school, the teachers had 0-1 prep periods.

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

chasisaac (893152) | about 6 months ago | (#47072315)

Currently it is 0 or 1. Most high school teachers have one prep per day. For me it is my only break of the day.

Re:Really? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#47072563)

At my high school, the teachers all got 1 and only 1 prep period. And some of those were lost to administration (hall monitoring, and other duties). So ti becomes 0-1.

For me it is my only break of the day.

Now that you mention it, the problem of unions is that they are required (essentially by law). The law (in many places in the US) requires a 30 minute lunch minimum, with no work duties, and a 15 minute break in each 4 hour block. The teacher work schedule is illegal. So they get out of that with special deals with unions and such. I have no idea how much of those laws are state and how much is federal, but it'd be interesting to see a challenge go through for the illegal sweat-shop rules imposed on teachers.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#47072343)

Sounds like someone works in IT, has a super cushy job -- but is too god damn entitled to realize how easy they have it.

Or, you're a simpleton who has no idea what he's talking about. Hard to say.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#47072425)

Most people learn best from people.

FTFY.

I, like others out there, was totally incapable of learning from others. They basically thought I was retarded until I taught myself to read and started reading lots and lots of books. Which, unfortunately, meant I talked like one of the very first text-to-speech algorithms.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Chrisje (471362) | about 6 months ago | (#47072453)

You, as an individual, are not statistically relevant, even if what you describe is the actual truth. I say that last bit because infants, as soon as they are born, start sucking up language from their parents / caretakers, and I cannot really imagine you growing up in a total vacuum.

I do tend to agree most people learn best from people, because of the simple reason that there is so much evidence all around us that supports that claim. It is wired into us to mimic and learn from the people in our environment.

Re:Really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072509)

There's this thing, it's called Autism.

It is NOT statistically irrelevant.

jmc23

posting anon because fragile minded mod-bombers sunk my battleship.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072533)

Depends if you're a fucking idiot or not. I have a form of autism - it was gifted to me by an abusive parent and her foot on my head. Strictly speaking, I have all the symptoms of autism, but when I reached teenage years the particular part of my brain allowing emotional control didn't grow as it would have for someone born with autism.

In common with autism, I do not learn from written material, nor do I learn from repetition. I learn from people, when they teach a particular way.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 6 months ago | (#47072469)

No.

A good teacher beats babysitware any day.

The trouble is that teachers have been trying to replace themselves for years. You know how many "teacher prep" periods the average US teacher gets now? The vast majority of teachers don't "prep" shit during thier several breaks of PE, music, art, computer lab, library time, and various feedings. In these time blocks, "paraprofessionals" (read: everyone caring for and teaching kids who get paid half as much) take over another chunk of the day and the teacher can chill out for some much needed "prep" time.

Ask anyone who has done IT or technical work in a school district. Technology is the coolest buzzword for driving a pedagogy of student idea synthesis or somesuch fucking bullshit. The real deal is all the grant money is in tech, and teachers LOVE another break. So plug the kids in, and tune the teachers out.

People learn best from people. Computers are tools. But the trend is to drop 30 kids off for some babysitware time.

What is this "prep" time?

You are teaching high school students. You have a Masters degree. You should be able to walk in the room, pick the fake chalk up, and start going.

If you put your lesson plan together the night before, or at least looked over it, you'd be good to go. (You did put your lesson plan together, right? You only need to do it once, the first year you teach the course.)

And don't whine at me about working nights or summers. My parents were teachers... Back before "prep time" and days off for parent/teacher conferences.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072525)

A "prep" is a period during the day where you grade/phone parents/work on individual education plans for sped students/make new assignments/grade/grade/grade/do endless paperwork for the district/&c. That stuff doesn't just do itself. And damn the teachers for wanting to get that stuff done during their work day and not all night long, amirite?

You show an astonishing lack of knowledge about teaching. This would be analagous to "what is this debug time? You are a computer programmer. You have a degree. You should be able to type it once, and run the program."

Don't degrade the people who really do work their asses of to try to teach kids.

Parapros do a lot of great stuff. But they do get paid half as much for a reason. Professional development, building curriculum, pedagogical training, etc.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072527)

I guess you parent were really poor teachers...

BASICally (2)

Malkin (133793) | about 6 months ago | (#47072237)

My thoughts exactly.

This sounds like round 36 of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music." Teachers indulging in future-shock is just plain trite. Boring classes have always been boring. Kids like me have always had trouble slogging through them. If the kids have trouble paying attention to something that isn't exciting, then, for the love of all that is good, be more engaging. The only way to stop boring people is to stop being boring.

If computers actually impeded the ability to learn, I'd still be coding in BASIC.

Re:BASICally (5, Insightful)

lsllll (830002) | about 6 months ago | (#47072303)

If computers actually impeded the ability to learn, I'd still be coding in BASIC.

I hear you, but sitting behind the computer and doing Facebook and Trackmania is not the same as peeking and poking your Apple II in BASIC.

Re:BASICally (1)

Malkin (133793) | about 6 months ago | (#47072363)

I hear you, but sitting behind the computer and doing Facebook and Trackmania is not the same as peeking and poking your Apple II in BASIC.

That's a valid point. Though, it is the things that we love on the computer that first inspire us to learn to program. For me, it was games.

The problem now is that people take computers for granted. It's a freakin' toaster, as far as most people are concerned. People are never given any incentive to look under the covers. I'm interested in what we can do to encourage more exploration.

Re:BASICally (5, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 6 months ago | (#47072321)

This sounds like round 36 of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music." Teachers indulging in future-shock is just plain trite.

I'd like to direct you to the following quote:

"That a century of the younger men wished to confer with their elders on the question to which persons they should, by their vote, entrust a high command, should seem to us scarcely credible. This is due to the cheapened and diminished authority even of parents over their children in our day." - Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 26

This was the earliest, but by far not the only example of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music", as you put it. Examples exist throughout the last century, especially around the turn of 1900, where long and boring essays were published on the subject. However, the above excert is from Livy's History of Rome, written around 25BC. So when you say it's trite, that's a bit of an understatement. 2000+ years we've been listening to this shit.

Re:BASICally (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 6 months ago | (#47072395)

If I can direct you to this reference http://www.usingenglish.com/re... [usingenglish.com] . Are computers causing education problems, very bloody likely as computer geeks and nerds, a minority, are the only ones that really effectively thrive on that interaction and in that environment. For the rest, they very likely are not exploring that computer educational environment but doing the very same dopey social interactions over and over and over again, like wired up monkeys getting a jolt from a joy buzzer each time they get another like or make a 'friend' or what ever other socially manipulative interaction designed by some shit head doctorates in psychology, working for social network companies, to keep their victims seeing and clicking adds.

All the older geeks and nerds should fully appreciate by now that computers on their own are not the best educational environment for the majority and that their use needs to be limited and properly implemented and logically adjusted to suit the psychology and personality as well as of course existing measured outcomes of each student.

Stop thinking only about what works for you and demanding that everyone else aligns with you and start focusing about what works for each individual and how computers can be used to tailor the educational environment for each student and ensure human social interaction still remains dominant, we are humans after all not machines. Computers should augment the education of the majority not dominate. For us computer geeks and nerds, the story would be different, leave us in the computer lab with the other geeks and nerds and we'll be happy and thrive.

Re:BASICally (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072361)

If the kids have trouble paying attention to something that isn't exciting, then, for the love of all that is good, be more engaging. The only way to stop boring people is to stop being boring.

Just asked my 9 year old and he disagrees. Maths is boring. It just is, doesn't matter how it is taught. Maths is just boring.

And English is boring too. Terraria, on the other hand, is fun.

"I like Terraria, because it's the only thing I'm good at."

Science, by the was, is boring. In case you didn't know. Playing with a ball, walking or even going outside is boring too.

And when make him walk away from the PC or take the damn iPad off the kid, I'm boring too.

"You said no computer. The iPad isn't a computer ... What the heck am I supposed to do if I'm not even allowed to play on the iPad?!!! Wahhhh."
"Why don't you read a book?"
"I HATE reading ... reading is BORING!!!! Wahhhh."

Re:BASICally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072433)

"If the kids have trouble paying attention to something that isn't exciting, then, for the love of all that is good, be more engaging. The only way to stop boring people is to stop being boring."

No. The solution is the take the kids who are internally motivated and place them in a separate class where they can explore subjects to their full potential, instead of dumbing them down with games. These classes should be taught by real teachers, ones with proper credentials and experience.

Then for the other kids, you can make the class fun and try to inspire them. This can be through games and other less educational but more entertaining methods. If they get inspired, they can move up to the advanced class. If not, just focus on teaching them as well as possible. But these normal classes should be kept separate from the bright kids so as not to bore them or slow them down. These can be taught by just about anyone who can entertain kids and is likable. Basically a glorified babysitter.

Teachers can help a little to motivate and inspire kids, but most of this motivation, or lack of it, is built up before the kids even enter school. Even a good teacher can't save a kid from shitty parents (or usually a single mother, in the case of most troubled kids). Save the good kids and produce the next generation's leaders, and placate the average ones so they can grow up to be teenager mothers, American idol (idle?) watchers, and serve us geniuses our dinners and cut our hair.

Re:BASICally (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072575)

No. The solution is the take the kids who are internally motivated and place them in a separate class where they can explore subjects to their full potential, instead of dumbing them down with games.

You're right about the "no" part, but it's to your bullshit response not his.

Your whole argument is flawed because you've made a single assumption, and that is that kids are bored because they're more advanced. They're not - kids can be bored for many reasons, so shut up and stop being a dick.

You're not this great big brain just because you assume you are.

Re:BASICally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072477)

Boring is a word for "my imagination is dead because I spend too much time on a computer". If it's a kid, you can make the other things not boring by keeping the computers away from reach for a couple of days. After a week or so the kid will find things to be fun again, if given the chance. I've tried this with my own. It works. Yes, the couple of days when he tries to get his computer access back are annoying. It'll ease up and stop when the kid realizes it's not going to happen with that strategy.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072245)

And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

That's a false dichotomy and you know it. There are lots of teachers that can manage a classroom to make it interesting to those kids that are willing to pay even the littlest bit of attention, and there are far too many teachers that have to rely on electronic babysitters just to maintain enough order in the room to keep their jobs.

How about holding parents accountable when they don't provide an environment at home that's conducive to their kids doing well in school? Most of the problems start in the home, and punishing the schools because the kids aren't taught by their parents that they need school in order to do well in life doesn't make the situation any better for those kids. I guess it's too much to ask parents to turn off the television and actually talk with their kids or to check over their homework, or to read to them before they go to bed...

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#47072341)

I guess it's too much to ask parents to turn off the television and actually talk with their kids or to check over their homework, or to read to them before they go to bed...

You're making assumptions about a family's situation that suggests a rather limited understanding of the world around you.
So yes, it might be too much for a parent if they just worked two shifts and then spent an hour on the bus to get home.

I mean shucks, everyone could have a beautiful nuclear family just like the 1950s, if a single blue collar salary could support a family of 4, like it did in the 1950s.

Re:Really? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072381)

If that kid is under twelve, that kid should have adult supervision of some sort even if there's no parent around. Whoever provides that supervision should be engaging that child in the manner described at least some of the time.

Humans learn through interaction, and if they don't interact with people with more experience then they don't learn what they'll need to be successful. That's why being a parent comes with an awful lot of responsibility, but I guess it's easy to forget that when the hormones are flying...

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072625)

So yes, it might be too much for a parent if they just worked two shifts and then spent an hour on the bus to get home.

It was highly irresponsible of them of getting that child before having a stable economy and now the child won't be properly raised unless someone else like a teacher or a neighbor takes it upon them.

There will always be people who get children even when they can't really afford it.
That doesn't mean that we should design our society around them.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072375)

Isn't it time you turned off the TV, sat down with your kids... and hit them? -Bender

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

lsllll (830002) | about 6 months ago | (#47072289)

Ummm, let me guess. Yes? Sitting in boring classrooms got us to the moon and got us the computers we're sitting in front of, so I think we must have been doing something right.

I am not saying that we got it all right before computers. Sitting in boring classrooms may not be the optimal use of time, but it sure beats wasting the same amount of hours sitting behind the computer. I am a computer programmer and I spend much of my time behind the computer, but had I been in school I would have thought it would be better to attend classes, whether they were boring or not. What TFA is saying is that children have lost the ability to concentrate and that multitasking and online social media has robbed the kids of their ability to relate to their peers in the real world. I have raised two kids and always attempted to curb their use of computers, not harshly, but sensibly. In addition, they were not allowed to have televisions, game consoles and computers in their bedrooms. This was all an attempt to get them to spend time on the first floor with their parents or with their friends around the neighborhood. I am fairly certain that now that they're in college and looking at their peers, they appreciate the way they were raised.

A part of life is actually learning to deal with the boring parts, since there are many instances in our lives that are spent doing things we really don't want to do. Calming down, taking a sip of coffee while looking outside the window and admiring the bird, passers by, and the clouds, is something today's kids do NOT understand.

Re:Really? (1)

Americium (1343605) | about 6 months ago | (#47072405)

There are several studies that show income based disparities. High income people's kids use the internet for leaning (wikipedia, etc..), low income famlies buy xbox's and games which actually cost more.

It used to be hard to find interesting material, computers make it easier. The parent needs to direct the child to VALUABLE interesting material, relaxing and watching birds may be something of value, as is science on the internet.

Today's kids also are fed a diet of nothing but sugar and refined carbs, which in turn reduces their ability to focus. Personally I was just utterly bored and had nothing but video games, books, and magazines to read, all with significant cost for more information. Wikipedia alone is much more exciting than my alternatives I had during childhood. If journals were free, there would be no limit.

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072417)

A part of life is actually learning to deal with the boring parts, since there are many instances in our lives that are spent doing things we really don't want to do. Calming down, taking a sip of coffee while looking outside the window and admiring the bird, passers by, and the clouds, is something today's kids do NOT understand.

Kids don't understand at all, in any generation. A lack of technology previously forced kids to learn, and the ever-growing invasiveness of technology is delaying that lesson and making it harder to learn.

I like to think of it similarly to fractals, but not necessarily the identical-endlessly-repeating style. Look at spartanly-furnished room cursorily, it's boring. Look at the chair, notice the characteristics of the back, the curvature of the seat, the styling of the legs and feet. Look at the particular choices of color, at the wear. Consider the chair, what the design and the wear mean for its history. Repeat for any other thing in the room, or even for the room itself.

I can always find a way to entertain myself. When I was a kid eating breakfast I'd memorize the box. We all did. We didn't have computers to distract us from what was literally right in front of us.

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072617)

The first part is a response to your reply to Tubesteak further up. I've combined them, because you seem pretty full of shit. Here's the first response:

Was Tubesteak's response too much for you? You seem pretty fucking opinionated. You're not some font of knowledge that we all bow to, so pretty please, stop being an idiot.

Now, for the next bit:

I can always find a way to entertain myself. When I was a kid eating breakfast I'd memorize the box. We all did. We didn't have computers to distract us from what was literally right in front of us.

Lucky you. I was too busy moving from house to house. I moved 21 times by the time I was 20. By the time I got to high school, I had moved 15 times, and I was only 12 - those are only the houses I can remember living in, too.

I didn't have a computer in front of me until I was about 10 years old. By the time I was 14, I was failing every course I took, I'd dropped from top of the school to bottom quartile. Now, you in your genius dipshittery will be standing on a chair, screaming for all to hear how you were RIGHT!

My mother and step-father did the same: I was watching too much TV, playing too many computer games.

Oh, did I leave something out? While I was moving from house to house, I was too busy being beaten up by an abusive parent. Permanent and severe brain damage can fuck your chances up dramatically.

The result of my brain damage is an inability to learn in a classroom situation, due to combinations of teaching style, the brief method of touching on a topic then moving on expecting everyone to be up to speed. One teacher just refused to teach me because I was lazy, in his mind.

I'll bet you're one of those ignorant fucks.

What I needed was a qualified assessment, rather than a teacher sitting me down, giving me a demonstration, having me work through it, then announcing "See? You can do it!" Assuming I'm lazy and not doing the work is about as wrong-headed as it can get.

Anyway, having a thorough assessment by qualified personnel would have revealed that I don't learn like others. It'd also have revealed that the teacher who ignored me got me 90 minutes of standing in front of my mother and stepfather while they tell me how lazy I am and I need to stop everything else in life - not that I was allowed anything at all - and focus on my school work. Then, after throwing in the swearing, name calling, and a few other bits and pieces, they beat me up as a lesson in "tough love."

I was always in trouble for being talkative - that's how I learn, through one-on-one discussion with the educator. Too bad.

But you know what the key element here is? It was not the computer. It's not being unable to focus on things because I was using computers. There was absolutely no relationship to my computer in it whatsoever. Fucktards such as yourself should take your opinions and stuff them - and your cock - in a blender, then turn the damned thing on.

You see, some of the key indicators of the type brain damage my mother caused by stomping on my head are that I have an affinity for computers (reptition is the key, I can keep doing the same thing over and over again until I work out the correct solution - I build a rule set to work with), and most importantly, my grades dropped from exceptionally high to exceptionally low.

Of course, determining the cause for this implies a caring parent, rather than being beaten up yet again because you've got a bad mark.

I think the best summary for this is that you need to stop being such a know-it-all fool. You don't know what you're talking about, you've created a half-baked opinion based on your own experiences and are attempting to force it on the rest of the us as if you were some kind of expert on the topic. Get the fucking point: your experiences are not the same as for the rest of us. Not all of us had the advantages you experienced as a kid - and yes, not being beaten up by a parent who then explains it as a kid who smacks his head into things all the time definitely counts as an advantage

Re:Really? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 6 months ago | (#47072567)

...children have lost the ability to concentrate...

No. Today's children haven't lost the ability to concentrate, because they've never been forced to learn it. People who, unlike you, let their children spend all of their time playing games, fooling around on social networking sites and, in general, use computers as electronic babysitters have never given their children a reason to learn how to concentrate on a task until it's completed, just as an earlier generation let their children use TV the same way. Computers aren't the problem, the misuse of them and lack of parental supervision is.

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072379)

Define "boring". As a science instructor at a four year school I can tell you "boring classroom" is a subjective thing. In my environmental science classes I would bring in news releases/summaries about scientific articles and have the students read and discuss and if I could get 10% of the class interested in the material it was a tremendous success. Most students would stare at the article, let the rest of their group discuss the article, then check their phones. If I was talking about some topic or trying to explain a concept I would not see any response/interest unless I had some flashy powerpoint slide. The subject matter is not important but, if you have "cool" graphics.

To be honest, this generation scares the crap out of me (and I am only in my late 30s). You can tell that their learning process was developed by the Internet and they have become consumers of information and factoids, but heaven forbid you ask them memorize or think or try to understand something. Interpretation, analysis, and application of knowledge is so foreign to them.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072521)

"To be honest, this generation scares the crap out of me (and I am only in my late 30s). You can tell that their learning process was developed by the Internet and they have become consumers of information and factoids, but heaven forbid you ask them memorize or think or try to understand something. Interpretation, analysis, and application of knowledge is so foreign to them."

You sound like your father, and his father. I mean, calculators have completely ruined your generations ability to memorize even the simplest guidelines of how to calculate things in your head, or on paper. And the ability to analyze it. Just clickety ckilc it in the calculator and out comes the answer, and then you don't know what to do with it.

For real, I remember having classmates that could calculate math very well, but had absolutely no idea what the results meant. And people that could remember answers to all question on an exam in, say, history, but still had no idea of the bigger picture. There were people who were very good on computers, but were very bad in being human. People are different, I'm not willing to believe a whole generation is going to hell for staring at facebook too much. Sooner or later they will have to face the reality, or die. Humans are very capable of learning the skills needed for survival. They will learn everything they need, and fast.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072559)

And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

"Learn?" The exceeding short head note said talked about an "inability to concentrate and socialize." I'm just italicising those words for your, because your concentration is apparently badly degraded.

If the classrooms were truly boring (they are probably filled with many distractions) it would probably enhance their ability to concentrate. I would have thought the old sensory deprivation experiments established that fairly clearly. You are obviously in need of some quality boredom yourself.

Re:Really? (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 6 months ago | (#47072591)

I'm not sure why everyone here is discussing teaching and the use of computers in school - it has very little to do with the premise of the article.

This has nothing to do with the classroom or school and everything to do with outside of school.

I'm also convinced that excessive computer (read Internet/Games/Entertainment) use does hinder the social and real world skills of children.

Instead of climbing trees, going fishing, building things in dad's shed, experimenting with the things around the house and most importantly doing these things with their friends/siblings/etc (ie, developing social skills) a lot of children now just play games, browse the web (read social sites), etc.

I don't believe that the social interaction they have online is a replacement for real world social interaction - if anything is mostly harmful (physiologically) albeit entertaining, nor is are the skills they learn online a replacement for real world skills.

Common core (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072183)

Sounds like a common core lapdog cunt

Re:Common core (4, Funny)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 months ago | (#47072223)

Yeah, they're all about pimping the US Common Core standards in Northern Ireland.

I assert the opposite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072187)

There, done. Making assertions is easy. Hell, linking to pseudo-scientific psychology studies (Read: Almost all of them.) that reach conclusions you like is easy. What it isn't, though, is proof.

reworded.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072191)

re-worded this is some old fudy dudy teacher saying, "those damn kids never listen just sit there playing on their computers ignoring the world around them"

Re:reworded.. (2)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072421)

And that teacher is right, and things will be going on around them that they completely miss on, because they're just participating with a huge navel-gazing culture that doesn't do anything.

The most important question is... (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 6 months ago | (#47072205)

Is are kids learnding?

Meatspace is losing to userspace (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072209)

Computers are the new primary conduit of communication and learning for this generation.

Adapt or make room for someone who can deal.

Re:Meatspace is losing to userspace (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072273)

Computers are the new primary conduit of communication and learning for this generation.

Bullshit.

The primary conduit for learning, especially in the younger grades, is being shown a skill, being shown the particulars of how that skill works, and then practicing that skill until it's mastered. You don't need computers to learn how to add or divide or to solve for a variable. You don't need computers to learn how to form sentences in language. You don't need computers to learn how to interact with the same people day in, day out in a fashion similar to how one will interact in the workplace once out of school. And you'll learn a lot more about the natural world by actually observing the natural world as opposed to just reading about it or conducting fake virtual experiments though a poorly written educational "simulator".

Ironically the one place that computers would be perfect is in social studies. History doesn't really change, only interpretation of it does, and computers as a conduit to access databases of historical information are perfect and would allow for one to read about differing positions on the reasions for historical events.

Re:Meatspace is losing to userspace (1)

E-Rock (84950) | about 6 months ago | (#47072473)

Like most things, it depends. It depends on the subject, the kids, the computer program, and the teacher in question. Change any of those up and you change the outcome.

Now for some anecdotal evidence. I know with my son, we got a subscription for a home schooling program for use over the summer. He's naturally good at reading, so he's flying through those parts and learning quite a bit. He also seems to be learning more in the social studies units online then he did at school. Math, not so much. He's on track and still doing good work practicing his skills, but it's not as good at teaching new ones. However, even with the math I think that if it was paired with a teacher it would be better than either alone.

Re:Meatspace is losing to userspace (4, Interesting)

chasisaac (893152) | about 6 months ago | (#47072345)

NO! No! NO! No!

"Computers are the new primary conduit of communication and learning for this generation."

As a teacher I am amazed at how inept most kids are with computers. I did a simple ctl-c and cmd-tab and ctl-v. Just a simple copy and paste. Students looked at me as if I had just done voodoo.

These are not students new to computers. They were high school seniors who have had 1-to-1 laptop program since 7th grade.

The amount these students do not know is amazing. I taught a college level class as an adjunct. The college students could not use the computer.

The best part of the computer is writing papers. I get longer and better edited papers that are word processed.

Of course the students can get on facebook, games, and other such toys. Real work not really.

For a given definition of learn (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072211)

Computers are devastating for rote learning for the same reason calculators are: why memorize something when a computer can find it for you in seconds?

Re:For a given definition of learn (2)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072301)

Fundamentally it comes down to why one uses an aid.

I went through basic math operation, single-variable algebra, and double-variable algebra with no calculators permitted. Once I had that foundation and was proven strong in my ability to do simple arithmetic I was then allowed to use the calculator to do the simple arithmetic required to do trigonometry. Once I had mastered geometry and trig I was allowed to use the calculator to do that rote math to make learning the mechanics of calculus easier. Once I learned basic calculus I was allowed to do the basic calculus on the calculator to make it easier to learn more advanced calculus.

Applying that skill to computers, I learned a lot of how computers work in my teenage years, and I've kept up, on and off, with further developments. I can apply my knowledge of how things have worked in the past to know how to ask the right questions or how to do the right research for how they will progress to work in the future, and how systems in-general work. I know how a particular task works in Linux, or how it did work in Linux in the past. Knowing what the task is I know how to figure out how it works now, or will in the future, or how it works on Cisco IOS, or how it works on BSD, or how it works in Windows. I certainly look up the answer, but I also have to know how to look up that kind of knowledge, and what questions to pose to a search engine to actually find out what I want to know. You have to know how to think before that really works effectively.

Re:For a given definition of learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072335)

Computers are devastating for rote learning for the same reason calculators are: why memorize something when a computer can find it for you in seconds?

Came here to post that, and this [slashdot.org] previous story.

I find it to be true. The internet has affected my memory insofar as I tend to remember how I found a fact rather than the fact itself.

This obviously posed an issue for me in medical school. Coming from an engineering undergrad (light on random facts, heavy on modeling solving intense reasoning problems), I expected a shock in med school. It's true: it's basically a bunch of facts thrown at you, and unless the prof is superb, you are on your own to come up with a conceptual framework for them. This is because the stereotype about med students has some truth: "med students are all excellent memorizers... some of them are even smart."

Anyway, I refused to accept that my learning style of building a conceptual framework and decorating it with facts is a problem. It has served me well from grade school through a BS in engineering. However, I wasn't about to let rote memorization be my downfall. I decided to start using SRS software to hammer these random facts into my brain, and it works. I still lament the inescapable truth that random facts suffer much higher bitrot in memory than facts that are attached to a conceptual framework. The truth is that while I believe my learning style is superior, I am the odd one out. Med students are memorizers and the curriculum is tailored for that.

Re:For a given definition of learn (1)

Americium (1343605) | about 6 months ago | (#47072451)

That's because the profession requires that. Unless you are a medical researcher, doctors are supposed to use facts and prescribe meds/give advice/do surgery based on said facts. Like a lookup table for what to do.

Asking questions and understanding basic concepts is great for science or engineering when you have time for it. But if I walk in with a medical condition, you need to fix me using the best practice that researchers have proved. So please have it memorized, or look it up if you aren't in the ER or surgery room and have time for it.

However, your argument that building concepts increases memory longevity of said facts may have great value. Please become a researcher and prove it is possible to do this, while still accumulating the same amount of facts in medical school, or that current apps/internet resources supplement it in a meaningful way. Then perhaps will become standard practice in medical school, otherwise I don't see it changing.

The reality is... (1, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 months ago | (#47072213)

... learning is trapped in the 19th century. I'd love to take this game and get a developer to polish it to AAA level graphics.

http://immuneattack.org/ [immuneattack.org]

We learn from things we do repeatedly, so it would make sense to discover how to take advantage of our pleasure centers to make certain kinds of learning addictive in and of themselves. Now this is NOT to say that traditional learning is all bullshit but there is definitely a severe dearth of talent and intelligence when concerning how data is displayed, interpreted, thought about and engaged with. Ideally you should take things that are complex and break them down into things that are both interesting and easy to understand to build bridges to higher order understanding of concepts. I think one of education's greatest downfalls is not realizing that presentation, aesthetics, etc, are just as important because they HOOK the interest of kids. If you can't hook kids curiousity and just say 'here grind through all this boring work for no particular reason' I don't think we're doing them any favors. How many adults really remember anything from school if we're honest? I bet most of us could embarass our political leaders by just flipping open a highschool textbook and asking some basic questions.

I look back on my own education and I see how limited in imagination the current system really is on a whole host of things, schools tend to kill kids curiosity if we're honest with ourselves. Many of us didn't enjoy learning until we got out of school/university completely because of the nature of schools structure itself.

I think there is still plenty left to learn about learning and things we don't yet understand that the old guard has trouble dealing with.

Re:The reality is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072255)

additionally what we know already about computers effect on learning is that we offload tasks as long as the computer solves if faster or more reliable than we do - and mostly it's not a problem, eg. calculators: It does not matter if I am able tell you that 5x5=25 (or something more complicated) as long as the principle of why that is, is understood. There's no need to waste time on having children memorize the multiplication tables (in fact I'd argue that memorization of facts instead of deeper understanding in general is counterproductive with regards to learning) and the time could be better spent on other things. And the funny thing is that we know a lot of stuff about learning, check research done by cognitive scientists - but these findings are not embraced by the so called pedagogues because they are raised by institutions which they reflexively defend.

Re: The reality is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072331)

Your argument that "memorization of facts" gets in the way of "deeper understanding" is flawed. When students that rely on calculators for basic arithmetic get to higher level math classes their lack of math facts gets in the way of deeper understanding. They cannot follow from one step to the next because they can't figure out (without their precious calculator) that 2/3 divided by 4/5 is 5/6. The deeper learning goes out the window while they are trying to figure out where the 5/6 came from. Asking students to do higher level mathematics without basic math facts is like asking them to read without knowing the alphabet.

Re: The reality is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072543)

" Asking students to do higher level mathematics without basic math facts is like asking them to read without knowing the alphabet."

This is actually possible. You don't really need names for the letters. Take chinese for example, there are no letters at all. You could as well replace all words with unique symbols, which they are, if you never learn to think of them as a collection of letters. Granted, math does not work like that. But even there you wouldn't really need numbers at all the teach the higher level concepts. ( as is often the case in university level math, no numbers used or needed, just kind of abstract symbols )

Re:The reality is... (2)

Americium (1343605) | about 6 months ago | (#47072337)

You should be able to work it out the long way, or know how to find the information necessary and then work it out the long way. But reading and writing is where there's a way that you can use computers to compel children to want to learn how to understand the written language. Otherwise it's really forcing them to learn something they don't want to learn, which starts their bias toward schooling.

Article is about computers OUTSIDE the classroom.. (5, Informative)

CorporalKlinger (871715) | about 6 months ago | (#47072219)

The summary makes it sound like computers in the classroom are the problem. That's not what the article says at all. The teachers' union is accusing out-of-school exposure to "instant gratification" digital devices and games for ruining attention-spans before kids are old enough to go to school. The article claims youngsters are aggressive and inattentive due to past conditioning by games and always-on entertainment. It doesn't even mention computers or tablets in school. Misleading title & summary.

Re:Article is about computers OUTSIDE the classroo (1)

Americium (1343605) | about 6 months ago | (#47072327)

Wait, wait, are you saying that slashdot editors are dramatizing news just because it's related to computers?!

Surely that can't be. Next thing you know, I won't have to insert html to make a new paragraph.

Re:Article is about computers OUTSIDE the classroo (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#47072351)

The summary makes it sound like computers in the classroom are the problem. That's not what the article says at all. The teachers' union is accusing out-of-school exposure to "instant gratification" digital devices and games for ruining attention-spans before kids are old enough to go to school.

It is entirely possible that computers both help kids learn (with the right software) and they ruin their attention-spans.

I was about to delete the last half of that sentence, thinking maybe it isn't true that computers ruin attention spans, but then I got distracted by two other tabs at the top of my browser before later in the day realizing I had this comment half done.

Click submit quick before I get distracted again!

Re:Article is about computers OUTSIDE the classroo (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 6 months ago | (#47072461)

Same can be said with TV. TV makes people stupid but a tiny bit of it is informative and constructive... so it's good! We need that 1% so we can excuse something we like. McDonalds has healthy food! I got a yogurt with my big mac, fries, and sugar water.

Didn't we just have something on /. about how it is harder to READ in a linear normal fashion because people are skimming online all the time and it's impacting how our brains work to the point of diminishing reading skills (that is, conventional reading skills.)

There is plenty about delayed gratification problems and it's trends. Then if you get into video editing, they have reduced the attention span down to 2.5 seconds when it used to be higher (just watch an old film and count the cuts and transitions vs a new film.)

It's a Brave New World.

Re:Article is about computers OUTSIDE the classroo (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | about 6 months ago | (#47072657)

Plus, the general comment seems to be that the children are used to getting their own way, and have become used to immediate gratification of their wishes. Doesn't sound like it's got a whole lot to do with computers to me. It's certainly easier to leave pre-school kids in front of iPads that it would have been to leave them in front of the TV - they have more fun with the iPad than the TV. But it doesn't change the fact that this is simply bad parenting, and not a problem with technology per se.

There is nothing in this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072221)

"We're finding that, for many children, when they begin school, it's the first time they've been told what they can't do - as opposed to simply being left to do what they like," she said."-- So the kids are coming from home and they do not like school? When? When they are 5? This is because they have computers at home? What?

I think Ireland just received a stack of bad test scores, and they are putting the smackdown on the teachers.

Show the research. Show the data. So a correlation. Show anything.

Re:There is nothing in this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072403)

I think Ireland just received a stack of bad test scores

It's not about Ireland (which for all intents and purposes is taken to be the Republic of Ireland). This is Northern Ireland, a British territory.

Get computers out of primary school (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072225)

Schools do not know how to use computers for primary school students. They simply don't have the curriculum and they're unwilling to take general-purpose PCs and turn them into specific-purpose PCs that don't let one get off-task. They're also addicting and kids that aren't using PCs but see PCs in front of them are jonesing for their next fix.

I grew up in the tail-end of the era of the Apple II in schools, and the beginning of the Macintoshes, before wide-spread TCP/IP networks and before Internet connectivity. The Apple II was well-suited to educational use, as the student could only run the program that they were given the disk for. They couldn't distract themselves from the educational goal. They had one program and one program only, so they could either use that program or do nothing. PCs running DOS had a similar situation, though that was usually more because of DOS being hard enough to use that if one exited the game one generally didn't know how to go about distracting one's self.

Then the Macintosh and early Windows came around. Now they could do some other things in addition to the assigned program, but admittedly there weren't a whole lot of other things to do, so it was fairly easy to keep students on-task.

Then the local area computer networks came about, and if a campus had multiple tasks on their computers, then the students could often figure out how to do those other tasks not for the curriculum for the current class, and suddenly it became that much hard to keep on-task. It became possible to share things with other kids without the teachers catching on, or possible to mess with other kids. Proto cyberbullying if you will.

Then the Internet came along with the browser and general-purpose computers with hundreds of preloaded programs and at least tens of thousands available through the Internet, and now it's almost impossible to keep kids on-task. They can do anything, and with 9,999 wrong choices but only one right choice, that one right choice simply gets drowned out.

Primary school kids need to learn how to read, write, perform basic mathematics, and to learn how to find information the old-fashioned way. They need to learn what an index is, and how information can be sorted and archived, and how to sort the information that they want to present. Learning these skills manually will teach them how these skills work when they can do them electronically or with some other form of automation. Technology as classroom aids in elementary grades needs to be limited to special-purpose machines, like things that help present curriculum, or help in classroom discussion to let the teacher or the students aid their point, or if they're used for things like testing to make grading easier, they need to be locked down so that they only do the function that they're called upon to do at that time.

Once the kids get to secondary school, then start introducing the general-purpose machine. Let them learn how to use a productivity suite, or how to do research electronically, or how to use programs to aid in science education. At least at that point it's possible for the skill to actually still apply to the person's life once they reach adulthood where it might have to be applied.

Re:Get computers out of primary school (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072309)

When I was in High School, there were four computer labs, each with hardware tailored to the specific needs of the class:

School Newspaper -- Macintoshes, color displays, laser printer
Drafting -- 32-bit PC clones with color displays, with AutoCAD, on a LAN
Typing -- 16-bit PC clones with monochrome displays, on a LAN
Computer Science / Programming -- 8-bit TRS-80s (a couple with Turbo!), plus one 16-bit Tandy clone for the teacher

I don't know if they were just lucky idiots or if it was really part of a master plan, but I think learning programming on a machine where that's basically all you can do (the TRS-80s booted into the Pascal editor) actually helped.

Re:Get computers out of primary school (2)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072333)

Probably. We had PCs running Windows 3.1 and later Windows 95, and all we did was to play DOOM and Quake and Warcraft II and the original Grand Theft Auto on them. Eventually the school district IT department locked the PCs down, but we found ways around that to still play games while now losing the ability to compile because the security software wouldn't let us.

Re:Get computers out of primary school (1)

lsllll (830002) | about 6 months ago | (#47072339)

Technology as classroom aids in elementary grades needs to be limited to special-purpose machines, like things that help present curriculum, or help in classroom discussion to let the teacher or the students aid their point, or if they're used for things like testing to make grading easier, they need to be locked down so that they only do the function that they're called upon to do at that time.

Once the kids get to secondary school, then start introducing the general-purpose machine. Let them learn how to use a productivity suite, or how to do research electronically, or how to use programs to aid in science education. At least at that point it's possible for the skill to actually still apply to the person's life once they reach adulthood where it might have to be applied.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Except that kids have access to the nuances of the Internet at home and on their cellphones. As others have said above, education must start at home and be extended at school. It cannot just be pushed unto kids at school. Schooling and parenting go hand in hand.

Re:Get computers out of primary school (1)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072365)

Except that kids have access to the nuances of the Internet at home and on their cellphones.

And I had books, video games, a television, hell, even a radio at home, I'm talking about at school. When I was a student, having a music player like a portable radio or a walkman, or having a pager, or having a video game system, or having a cell phone out was grounds for its confiscation. If a school wants to prohibit students from using the Internet during class then all they have to do is ban the use of portable electronics during instruction and practice time, and actually take those devices when they come out of backpacks.

I learned a fairly important lesson on this in the seventh grade; a friend of mine traded Playboys and other adult magazines with other boys at school, during the day. They all just had enough brains to not take them out of their backpacks when they were likely to be caught. The lesson was that teachers and faculty can't bust you for having something with you if they don't know that you don't take it out in front of them and so long as it doesn't become widely known that you have it.

That should mean that a kid in school should keep his or her phone in the backpack while in class and silenced. If the teacher doesn't know about it then it's not a problem.

The same thigns was said about.... (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 6 months ago | (#47072229)

Comic book
Dancing
Movies/Cinema
TV, cartoon/anime etc...


So yeah. Pretty much anything which might interrest a kid and is not school related is seen as a distraction. Call me back when tehy have a peer reviweed article showing it is worst than any other distraction source. Until then : BFD.

Re:The same thigns was said about.... (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072431)

The difference between all distractions before the Internet and the Internet-connected computer is that for the first time, one has absolutely limitless possibilities for getting distracted without end. The TV show ends and the credits roll. The comic book runs out of pages. The dancer gets tired and the dance hall closes.

The limitless possibilities are addicting. It's almost impossible to stop. Hell, I'm a grown man with a good job and here I am arguing on the Internet in the middle of the night, I've got the defenses to fight this to a greater extent and I even struggle with it.

Mod parent up. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 6 months ago | (#47072629)

Best post ever!

Re:The same thigns was said about.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072675)

Good god, you just can't stop posting your personal experiences as if they were the only facts in existence.

Now, I've read your posts and I've come to the conclusion that you're 2-5 years younger than me (guessing mid-30s), so that makes our experiences in school almost identical, right up to the abuse and brain damage part, which is where I'm set apart from you.

My whole point there, that I'm repeating here, is that not everyone has lived your life, nor had your opportunities. Stop equating everyone's life choices with how you lived your life, and your understanding will improve. Let me put it another way: years ago, I saw a poster in the local university magazine on how to deal with homosexual people, and it said "Don't assume they want you. Don't assume they don't."

Don't assume that all kids will spend all their spare time playing video games or using the internet or going for instant gratification. Don't assume they won't. Don't assume that all kids will have access to the internet. Don't assume they won't.

I can sum it up into just a single sentence, if you like:

Stop being a dick about it and shut the hell up.

what is really important.... (5, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 6 months ago | (#47072239)

What is really important here is:

us /. nerds, being geeks who are almost always involved with computer technology of some sort, in capacities professional, hobbyist, or both, immediately become defensive and insulting toward anyone who talks about technological devices in a negative way.

Never mind the claim, immediately condescend and attack anyone suggesting that electronic devices may not be the optimal solution for every situation!

Bonus: the teacher's union angle! The few right-wing of us (which is me, actually) can immediately jump on that one too. These fucks don't care about kids! There's no way professional teachers know anything about teaching kids! Because they are a teacher's union, they must be speaking on behalf of the anti-ipad wing of the Kremlin!

There is no way that parking a kid in front of a screen for several hours a day can have any ill affects, you socialist pinko union teacher!

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072281)

> Because they are a teacher's union, they must be speaking on behalf of the anti-ipad wing of the Kremlin!

I'm not right wing, I'm just aware that the teacher's union really doesn't know much about teaching. They protect teachers and they do that regardless of what a teacher might have done. At the same time they spend the majority of their high dues on nice salaries for far too many administrators. This is a statement to try to support teachers, done badly, as I would expect from them.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072549)

This is the same as saying that mechanics unions don't know anything about fixing machines. Logically, yes, an institution designed for one thing doesn't specialize in another. The point is to protect the workers from the excesses of the employers. But keep in mind that teachers unions are made of teachers. You know, education professionals.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072319)

"The few right-wing of us (which is me, actually)"

There is no left wing in america, the republicans are extreme right and the democrats are hard right.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072589)

This is so true. If we had a party like the republicans they'd be laughed out as being so extreme right as to appear nutcases. Even our extreme right wing neonazis are more left thatn republicans, which would be kinda funny if it wasn't so scary.

Re:what is really important.... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#47072323)

*grin*

Computers have their place, but only once the kids have learned the skills that computers don't really help with. Trouble is, computers in primary school are a solution looking for a problem, and thus end up making more problem then they do solution.

Once the kids have learned, well, how to learn, and have begun to learn how to think, then have them start using computers. Not until then.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072353)

My kingdom for a mod point.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072391)

> There's no way professional teachers know anything about teaching kids!

Doesn't matter when they're prevented from doing any teaching by the incomprehensible federally mandated standards and materials.

Re:what is really important.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072465)

Then there will be the 'other side', probably not here among us, but it exists. They will claim that video games are all bad an should be banned, because they can't possibly do any good. And they always knew it, since they didn't need video games to grow up themselves and turned out to be capable humans.

Based on what? (1)

Arduenn (2908841) | about 6 months ago | (#47072259)

FTA:

We're hearing reports of very young children who are arriving into school quite unable to concentrate or to socialise properly because they're spending so much time on digital games or social media.

Is the Teachers Union's claim based on science, or formed by rumour and through projecting their own development without computers onto the current youth's?

Re:Based on what? (1)

chasisaac (893152) | about 6 months ago | (#47072357)

While my claim is not based on an study and just years of teaching. The claim is true based on my experience.

Everybody sing together (0)

nomad63 (686331) | about 6 months ago | (#47072307)

... to the tune of Pink Floyd:

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

Gadgets? (0)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 6 months ago | (#47072313)

Anybody who uses the phrase "these gadgets" when referring to desktop computers is a bit out of touch, and probably shouldn't be trusted to provide an unbiased, open-minded opinion about them.

Secondary reasons to not take this opinion seriously is that it comes from "the teacher's union" which prioritizes member employment over education. It's akin to the UAW saying "these robot gadgets make poor quality products because they don't have the flexibility of a human assembly line worker" - just because they make some idiotic statement without a connection to reality, doesn't make it true. Unions are, by definition, very self-serving of its members, often to the detriment of the employers (the theory being, push them until the start to bleed, to make sure we get the most we can).

Re:Gadgets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072369)

> Anybody who uses the phrase "these gadgets" when referring to desktop computers...

To be fair, a computer is just a gadget to someone that doesn't know anything about how to use it.

Re:Gadgets? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#47072437)

Why thank you Ben for commiting two logical fallacies and hoping that everybody else will follow suit.

The new slashdot, gotta love it.

Unless it doesn't. (3)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | about 6 months ago | (#47072377)

Maybe the reason those kids aren't paying attention is because they are learning stuff elsewhere and feel you're just wasting their time.
Or maybe it is, as the union suggests, because they realize how lame school is by comparison.

Or maybe kids are paying better attention now then they have in the past, and the union is falling for the golden age fallacy.

From http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/10_02_05.pdf [princeton.edu]
The limited evidence available also indicates that home computer use is linked to slightly better academic performance.

I'll take that limited evidence over the "no evidence" supplied by the teachers union.

Re:Unless it doesn't. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#47072441)

Just try watching an old black and white movie where the camera angle doesn't change for 10 minutes.

It's not just the kids.

Its true. (1)

Mysund (60792) | about 6 months ago | (#47072399)

Ther was this kid in Helsinki, always on his computer. Lindus Thornwalds or something. I dont know what became of him, but i saw him on youtube recently svearing, and flipping off both the guy filming him, and also somone called Vidia that was not in the screen (strange names they got in Finland). He clearly never got anywhere due to his obsessive computer use...

Translation (0)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 6 months ago | (#47072413)

"Us here illiterate teachers are scared that we will be replaced by them their highly literate robots."

So can books... (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 6 months ago | (#47072443)

Anything used improperly can inhibit learning. Such as books. Hit someone with a book hard enough... and they will have trouble learning.

Equal bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072445)

Computers and teachers unions are probably about equally bad for a child's education.

Sounds like a bunch of ludites. (1)

dozr (70892) | about 6 months ago | (#47072493)

We dont want to have to learn how to teach in a modern environment, all kids need is a chalkboard and a switch.

Its the teachers unions that could be damaging to a child's education when they protect under-preforming, under-trained, riding it until retirement, lazy bums.

That being said not all teachers are like that most I had to deal with were a pleasant help to education.

tech marketing took over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072501)

Slashdot was about what caught he eye, what made you think, now's its about what may make the community read and comment. Fuck you I'm out.

Re:tech marketing took over (1)

jlb.think (1719718) | about 6 months ago | (#47072515)

Slashdot was about what caught he eye, what made you think, now's its about what may make the community read and comment. Fuck you I'm out.

To an extent it was always was got people to comment and click. Yes, slashdot is going the way of cnet we all knew it was coming.

destroying their ability to learn... (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 6 months ago | (#47072539)

...destroying their ability to learn *without them*.

Whether or not that's a bad thing is a totally different discussion. Do you think the future of learning is with or without computers?

Welcome to focus and opportunity cost.

Blaming outside influences goes back a long way (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 6 months ago | (#47072609)

The basic idea [youtube.com] was expressed brilliantly in 1957 along with a great way to combat it.

Used as a Crutch (1, Insightful)

alzoron (210577) | about 6 months ago | (#47072655)

Computers aren't the problem. The problem is buying a bunch of computers and thinking your job is done. Before computers we didn't just throw a bunch of kids in a room with text books and lab equipment and expect them to emerge 6 months later with a deep understanding of Biology. Why do we essentially do that with computers and expect any meaningful result?

Well... cant POSSIBLY be that he just sucks at it? (1)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 6 months ago | (#47072669)

That's the first thing that came to mind there. The idea that maybe this guys lesson plans are stone boring and can't keep his pupils attention. I certainly know that was the problem when I was a kid. And I'm of an 80s/90s vintage. So I was around right when computers started to filter into the classroom. And i had some of the same problems in both classes with and without computers. Either a teacher that just couldn't give me a good explanation or one that was going so slow that I was bored to tears.

Heh. I even had this one female world history teacher that spoke in the EXACT general tone and cadence of Ben Stein. She also had a real penchant for writing detention slips for people that fell asleep. Save for ONE guy she gave everyone in that class detention at least once. Not only did she get me three times it was the only three times I got detention.

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