DailyDirt: Technology In Education

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The digital revolution of the education system has yet to really take off. Many students communicate with their teachers via email and have figured out how to use word processors (instead of typewriters), but the widespread use of technology in classrooms hasn't exactly caught on. Cool projects like the Khan Academy are starting to ramp up, but introducing cheap laptops or ebooks into public schools hasn't met with wild success. (Though, if you've heard of any inspiring programs, let us know in the comments.) By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Solution: 30 laptops per child.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jake, 16 Apr 2012 @ 5:28pm

    I personally always thought One Laptop Per Child was less useful than one teacher per class, one decent set of textbooks per child and one useful and well thought-out curriculum per country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    abc gum, 16 Apr 2012 @ 6:20pm

    There is no substitute for a good instructor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Jay (profile), 16 Apr 2012 @ 8:11pm

    I wonder what's the holdup of trying this in the US schools?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2012 @ 8:20pm

    tools are not a magic cure all

    It's how tools are used that make the difference

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2012 @ 9:02pm

    In my opinion schools today are just crap along with teachers and the reason is that people learn because they want to do something, so to teach anything you need to teach in a way that shows to people why that is useful, trying to make people memorize things is not going to work and giving them laptops will not work either you have to show them for what that is good.

    A laptop together with the internet actually is equal to higher education in any field, if you want to learn you can find the material, but what do you want to learn and for what?

    The other day I was reading a forum about distillation, the guys there couldn't figure it out why people needed to add barley malt to potatoes and some even said it was a waste of time doing that, you should just add sugar LoL

    If any of those people would have bothered to look it up they would find out that the malt is where the enzymes that transform the starch in the potatoes into sugars are, so the bacteria can consume them and produce ethanol, on another note, people planting potatoes should pay attention to the contents of the potatoes because it says exactly what you need to put in your fertilizer so it grows strong, doing that helped Africa produce double the amount of potatoes that American growers can do and it only took adjusting the fertilizer composition.

    Another case where math is useful, if you want to know the length of a circle you just multiply the diameter of it by Pi which is 3 times the diameter, said like that is boring, now say it like, how much beer that barrel can hold? what is the size of the chain you will need for your wheels? Now that is something folks would want to use and they will learn the math involved to do that because it is helpfull and useful to them in their daily lifes and they will never forget about it.

    This is actually how the great minds of our times learned about things, they got a problem and wanted to solve it, instead of making people try to memorize things or pouring money into it like giving better materials but not better incentives to learn you are just wasting time and money it won't improve anything, the first thing that needs to be improved is the teachers that are mostly incompetent, they are very knowledgeable of the areas they teach they just don't have a clue how to transfer that knowledge and try to force students and those damn kids in their teens full of hormones in their rebel years of course just give up.

    How about a chemistry teacher showing kids how to make cement out of egg shells that are just calcium carbonate(aka gardening lime).

    Not only that kids should be sorted out by interests, people should learn to spot what kinds of behavior in kids leads to certain interests and act accordingly with material tailored to not only teach them but fire it up the interest catering to those own self interests.

    This is why I believe education systems everywhere are just garbage, rarely you see a good teacher that gets involved and try to understand what motivates his kids on his classroom, rare are the ones able to spot behavior and correlate that to areas of interest of his students and leverage that to teach something, mostly what you see is teachers trying to impose their knowledge and completely ignoring the students just doing their 8 to 5 and that is it.

    Of course they would say otherwise but the numbers just show how bad teachers are everywhere.

    And no, you don't ask children what they like, they don't know, they don't have the experience to understand what their motivations are, they are stupid and will do stupid things, you pay attention to what they do and patterns will emerge, certain behaviors will stand out and show what those people are interest in naturally and give teachers a target to exploit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 17 Apr 2012 @ 12:16am

    What Is Wrong With This Picture?

    What, “technology” and “education” in the same sentence, and absolutely no mention of the Raspberry Pi? I know it’s not in volume shipment yet, but some lucky punters have been able to get their hands on them...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Rekrul, 17 Apr 2012 @ 3:35am

    Peru spent $225 million on an education initiative that involved One Laptop per Child and 850,000 basic laptops for schools throughout the country. Unfortunately, the results so far have not shown much improvement in math or reading scores.

    I never understood how giving a child a computer was supposed to make them smarter. How does clicking on icons teach math? How does looking at web sites make you a better reader. Even if you sit one of today's kids down in front of a video game with a lot of text, most of them will just skip through it, regardless of whether that affects their ability to play the game properly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    CJ (profile), 17 Apr 2012 @ 4:03am

    funny thing happen in Peru, and a few other places

    They shipped the laptops out some did not work, and while on the subject of not working some places they shipped them too did not have a steady stream of electricity to charge them up. (Some had electricity three times or less per week) In places that are dirt poor their Country wants running water, food, and healthcare. They don't care about the laptops because they don't produce clean water, don't heal the villages, and you can't eat laptops.

    Many knew the OLPC would fail. They sent them to Countries that you would not get a realistic review on. Send the laptops to places that can hold their own, that the only problems are access to education. These type places would be a good test run.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    abc gum, 17 Apr 2012 @ 4:51am


    It is sad for those who find themselves living a black and white world, one in which everything is either completely good or completely bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2012 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re:

    Teachers don't teach, they should be called guides and if they can't see they can't guide anything.

    More people in America probably learned more physics and math through MythBusters than they did in school.

    In America the social incentives to learn anything are broken, it is cool to be stupid and that is a problem since nobody really wants to learn because it means being uncool, so if you want to teach anything to people who aspire to be stupid you need to make the knowledge look stupid too, knowledge can be used to do dumb things and it looks cool, you may not like it but really, nobody will teach someone that doesn't want to learn, people teach themselves what they perceive is important and relevant to their lifes just like other animals do, that is a simple fact that everybody should be able to grasp.

    One real big problem is why people want to be stupid?
    Mostly because most people are afraid of failure and acquiring knowledge to do it right will lead you to being mocked by others because of the "stupid" failures everybody will experience and if you don't have a security net or a good enough mind you will crack, giving up that route and search for things that are more doable.

    Teachers expectations influence that, you can see the disapproval on the eyes of educators everywhere when someone fails, you can see the stupid teachers doing the stupid thing and that is shaming the student out of anger or the misguided belief that shame will change his ways.

    So most young people fall into the safe place and that is the stupid but cool camp where anything goes and everything you do is cool and nobody will give you the stinky eye and if they do they are perceived as being jealous.

    The old way of teaching and is the only way for centuries now only works if people want to learn something and see a need for it, they need to derive some sort of benefit, and appearances is everything, in poor countries people strive to get educated and endure anything because to be educated there means to get social respect in their minds even if 99% of those educated never actually get anything that they initially thought, the good thing is that once they realize that, they are experienced enough(older enough) hopefully to see the other benefits of education and continue to pursue more knowledge because knowledge is capable of freeing people from being dependent on others completely.
    You want to make booze you can, you want to get cement to build something you can, you want to make a car part by melting iron with a DIY induction furnace you can, because there is so much raw material(trash) around us you can do it for free too, that is why most DIY people are old people and not young.

    To be young is to be insecure and ignorant after and ignorance is something that feeds insecurity but they don't know that they don't feel that, they feel afraid they are highly sensitive to social perceptions and any negative thing that happens while they are learning will push them to places that they feel safe and the safest place to be is on the stupid but cool camp not the snob educated camp, unless you make the stupid camp need sciences and math to make it look cool there comes in MythBusters style higher education, where failure is ok is part of trying to be cool.

    Anything can work, the system of teaching today can work under certain social conditions that need to exist, but those don't exist in America thus why education in America is appalling and why "teachers" are so incompetent, they are not able to adapt to changing social norms, they are not able to teach because people don't want to be taught, because they don't want to be mocked and ridiculed for not being able to achieve the expectations of others, that environment needs to change but since it is a cultural thing and everybody is guilty of it, this probably won't happen anytime soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2012 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re:

    There is no substitute for a good instructor.

    Here is your first post and here is why it is wrong.
    Good instructors are a minority, those are rare people that have uncharacteristic amount of empathy and patience, all the rest don't care, you will never have good instructors in numbers enough inside a society that does not emphasize empathy toward others and enforce patience as a rule because those are the two most important characteristics of good instructors, that is not going to happen in America where fights break out because of silly things and everybody appears to have no patience, which is reflect in the judicial system by the huge amount of litigation going on.

    But it turns out that instructors are not that important, access to the knowledge is, this is why other countries that have the same exact education system fare better because they have a set of social rules that stimulate the search for knowledge.

    So either you change culture inside a country or you change the way "teaching" is done, the easier way is to change the teaching ways to ignore empathy and patience and concentrate on what the underlying social norms are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    abc gum, 17 Apr 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You failed to show my statement is wrong, incorrect, or false. Lack of a resource does not diminish its value, quite the contrary, nor is it reason to give up. Not where the rest of your rambling is going, but I have a few ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    abc gum, 17 Apr 2012 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow - you have a messed up pov.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), 18 Apr 2012 @ 1:16pm


    Project-based lessons sound like a nice idea... reminds me of this TEDtalk:
    where 4th graders basically play a world simulation with the teacher being the dungeon master.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    CJ (profile), 18 Apr 2012 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re:

    I believe another word for this is "Kitchen science" well actually two words. But yes they need more of this in the classroom. My son was the last to see this in his classroom. They built a rocket and the lower grades cheered them on on test day. Remember the classroom volcano? The following weekend I remember building that thing in my kitchen. The whole family was thrilled until it was time to clean up. Lucky for me everyone still had a smile on their face. And those science kits you could purchase that could put you in the hospital if you wasn't careful? All of those are learning experiences that you don't hear about anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 19 Apr 2012 @ 4:32pm

    OLPC In Peru

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    aeron, 19 Feb 2014 @ 7:07am

    pretty cool idea for laptop per child , this way is the best way for studying .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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