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Re: [school-discuss] Re: [IIEP] Social software, FLOSS & organisational transformatio n

Lincoln Peters wrote:
On Wednesday 28 September 2005 08:27 am, michael dean wrote:
well, in lieu of 35 computers in the art/science room, I went out and
bought 10 lbs of newsprint 3ft X 4ft in dimension and some charcoal
sticks.  To paint on the computer screen is a severe limitation to human
_expression_, does not allow studies in the round, i.e. sculture or
throwing pots, and can't be proudly displayed on the walls of the
school.  Leaving Art aside, science experimentation is another area
similar, in which actual hands on experience is to be preferred to
anything digital.  By the way, I am playing Devil's Advocate here,
because to subsum teaching under e-learning, IMHO, is a mere human

I'd have to agree, but my take is what's actually happening is the converse of 
what should be happening: e-learning should be subsumed under teaching,not 
the other way around.  And in my experience, teachers (at least the ones I 
know) realize that e-learning should be subsumed under teaching, but the 
people who make all the big decisions don't get it.

Thinking back to a biology class I took my senior year at high school, we had 
a computer in our classroom, just like every other class anywhere on campus 
(although some classrooms had more computers than others).  We also had a 
very good biology teacher, who understood that e-learning should only be used 
to supplement normal teaching.  As a result, we would often use the computer 
for research purposes (biology textbooks, like computer science books, become 
outdated at phenomenal speed), and occasionally for typing up reports (more 
often we'd use our home computers for typing and such things), but we'd still 
do actual lab work and go on field trips, as the teacher understood that a 
computer could never replace direct experience.

(In anyone thinks that a machine CAN replace direct experience, they should 
read the short story "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forester, available online 
at <http://brighton.ncsa.uiuc.edu/~prajlich/forster.html>.  In fact, maybe 
this should be required reading for school administrators!)

Of course, when you're dealing with topics that are difficult to teach through 
direct experience (such as microbiology), I don't think there's anything 
wrong with working various computer-related things into the cirriculum to 
compensate.  And, of course, when properly applied, computers can make it 
much easier to convey almost any information, whether the students can learn 
it hands-on or not (I don't think anyone in that biology class will ever 
forget the 3-D animations I used in one project to illustrate in metaphor how 
various contraceptives work).
Dear Lincoln,

Interactive Computers in education has been around for 30 years now, changing its nomenclature, I suppose to protect the wicked, with mixed results on students.  In the late 70 I conducted rigorous experiemntal studies of the effects of Plato Math and Reading and found that with the use of Plato in the classroom, and taking away from the teacher, students lost 6 months of progress they would have had without computers.  The new e-learning "gurus", ever suspicious of the past, ignore strong research which indicates for all age cohorts, computers just ain't got it.