Computer literacy better self-taught or schooled?

October 2, 2007

I heard a vice-president of IBM tell an audience of people assembled to redesign the process of teacher certification that in his opinion this country became computer-literate by self-teaching, not through any action of schools. He said 45 million people were comfortable with computers who had learned through dozens of non-systematic strategies, none of them very formal; if schools had pre-empted the right to teach computer use we would be in a horrible mess right now instead of leading the world in this literacy.

Probably most people working in IT learned most of what they know on their own.  Is it possible that creating fixed lessons could damage this enthusiasm?  I remember I was a huge technology geek, but found the Computer Studies standard grade so dull, I didn’t go on to do the Higher.  It was only later I returned to University to Study Computing and got very bored in the first year where compulsory classes explained what a mouse was.  The rest of the article is also very interesting, do we have the PhD because of a lost war?

The Public School Nightmare:
Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?
by John Taylor Gatto
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School of Shock

September 3, 2007

The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country [US] that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.

Full Article


Chomsky Quotes on Education

August 21, 2007

Some Chomsky quotes on education (from wikiquote).

  • “Most problems of teaching are not problems of growth but helping cultivate growth. As far as I know, and this is only from personal experience in teaching, I think about ninety percent of the problem in teaching, or maybe ninety-eight percent, is just to help the students get interested. Or what it usually amounts to is to not prevent them from being interested. Typically they come in interested, and the process of education is a way of driving that defect out of their minds. But if children[‘s] […] normal interest is maintained or even aroused, they can do all kinds of things in ways we don’t understand.”
    • Source: Conference titled “Creation & Culture” in Barcelona, Spain, November 25, 1992

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Kohn puts Supernanny in the Naughty Corner

August 14, 2007

I really admire Alfie Kohns work and advise everyone to take a look at “What does it mean to be well educated.”

In the following article he describes the parenting mistakes made in the television show supernanny which is teaching thousands of parents across the world how to raise children (I know its been screeened in the UK, US andBrazil).  For more of his work online see his website.

One of his arguments I found especially interesting was the fact that supernanny never considers wider issues.  In a recent UN survey the UK was found to be one of the worst places to raise children and I think Chomsky does a good job of describing why that is –

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George Carlin: education and the owners of America

August 8, 2007

“It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

A comedian who believes state education was set up to benefit the state and business as a means of social control and thought control. Teaching discipline and respect for authority. I’ve heard a number of educators talk of this, was a bit skeptical so I got a book on education policy (second hand from Oxfam). It was from the 80’s and I didn’t have to read to far to find that its true “the orientation of policy making is now towards the consumers of education – the parents and industrialists, the producer lobbies [teachers] are almost totally excluded” (1). Notice consumers of education are not children, children are the material to be worked on. For more on this I recommend John Taylor Gatto.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMqJvhmD5Yg]

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