Discussions

Is teaching about technology as important as the three "R's"

Tags:
+
0 Votes
Locked

Is teaching about technology as important as the three "R's"

ian
We live in a world where technology is everywhere and regardless of age we are all exposed to it. Should technology, therefore, be a fundemental part of education at all levels from primary/junior school through secondary/high school and even beyond into college and University thus becomming a core subject for all?
  • +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    That's the sort of stupid cop out that gives people a general science course.

    Baisc arithmetic , followed by early maths is a fundemantal, because those tools will be required which ever branch of mathematics you choose to branch into and mathematics is a widely applicable tool in everyday life.

    The fundmamentals of mathematics are very narrow, and apply to a very small domain of objects, numbers basically.

    Technology, however has an enormous scope, from the basics of electronics, to logic, to methods and it's impact on society.

    On top of that you'll never be able to learn it without the three R's.

    +
    0 Votes
    ian

    If you have ever watched the TV show NUMB3RS you will notice that in the opening sequence the professor talks about "everything being numbers" and that is undoubtedly true, there is not one thing in the universe that can not be broken down to numbers, but the fact remains that as we look around us, mobile phones, mp3 players, PDA's, the Internet etc. we are a wash with technology yet in the UK year on year there is a drop in the numbers of children studying qualifications in computing and IT. Does this not worry you.

    +
    0 Votes
    darcyi

    I'm amused to me that the opinions expressed make an unintended point -- the grammar and spelling mistakes in both of the preceding entries belie the fact that good communication skills are lacking.

    And of course we need music!

    +
    0 Votes
    momzkewl

    Since you made a reply to the post it is obvious that the intended meaning was understood regardless of spelling or grammar errors. Communication itself is the key. It is the intended outcome. How it is achieved changes continually. Language is not stationary. It is and has been evolving since man first grunted. The fact that there are not only numerous languages spoken on this planet but that they all have their own sub languages,dialects, accents etc. is proof that there is no one right way to communicate. Nonverbal communication can even be more effective at times than perfectly penned orations. Lack of respect for ones ability to communicate in their own way continually allows for the dumming down of millions. Using proper grammar or spelling "correctly" is not a measure of intelligence or knowledge. It is merely a measure of ones ability to conform to anothers norm. Technology is a valuable tool to enable communication within the global village. Sad that the non "standard" communicators in our world, those on the wrong side of the digital divide, are those least likely to have access to such wonderful tools.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    With a nod to the original topic -- "technology" is neither taught nor teachable. It is simply a word to describe relatively modern methods of doing things using tools. I can teach you about tools, and methods to use tools; I cannot teach you "technology" (beyond the fact of its place in metalanguage).

    " it is obvious that the intended meaning was understood regardless of spelling or grammar errors."

    Not so fast! Even with a bi-directional handshake you *still* cannot know whether your message was understood because the same translation that is applied to the message, is applied to the feedback and it will only *seem* that it was understood. It is true that with more words (greater redundancy), small errors do not usually contaminate the message. However, we might use the King James version of the Bible as an example of words that were very carefully written and yet understood in countless different ways. Imagine the confusion when we are sloppy in our speech and writing!

    Example: in one class in which I was student (In the US Navy), the question read "How many characters are on a print drum?" (yes, a few years ago!). I raised my hand and asked, "Do you mean around the circumference (ie, distinct character shapes), along the length of it (number of columns), or the product of the two? The teacher was dumbfounded and said, "Never in all the classes I have been teaching has anyone ever asked that question! Does anyone here not understand what it means?" Everyone in the class assured the teacher they understood the question. I raised my hand: "But how do you KNOW that anyone's understanding is the same, or is correct? He understands '63' and she understands '120' and the real answer might be 7560". By the way, I never did find out the intended answer. I have one of those drums; intending someday to roll "alphabet cookies" with it.

    Our student in Glasgow believes that everything in the universe can be described by numbers. I would like to see someone describe God or the Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland using only numbers. It can be done symbolically of course; using a "shared secret" such as "8" means Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland, but that works only if you have previously agreed upon the meaning and language of the symbols being used.

    Numbers, by themselves, have no meaning.

    Numbers are ordinal or cardinal, concepts that have significance in things to be numbered or measured -- but the number speaks to only one property: the position or value of a thing.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Spelling and grammar do not guarantee successful communication.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    I love it, when the **** retentive types put their foot in their arse.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    you aren't goint to learn IT without the three Rs.
    You might learn them in terms of an appliance, but you'll never understand how they work, why they work and why they don't work.
    Hence it's not a fundamental.

    Going down this route leaves you with a kid who can add up with a calculator, but has no way of verifying whether they entered the right nubr3r5

    This has been coming a long time, ever since they allowed calculators in maths exams in my opinion.

    +
    0 Votes
    gmillward

    To teach technology or not is not the question. What we call "technology" (i.e., the use of computers, primarily) is simply an evolution and convergence of tools and media with which we create and communicate. In its day, even a pencil was "new technology" when students went from writing with chalk on tablets to using pencils on paper. (I'm almost old enough to remember that!)

    Of course, it would be silly and neglectful of us not to help children learn to use the best tools available to them to create and communicate (and we need to teach them that many times, a computer is NOT the best means!) We need to expose children to all the available tools and to help them recognize when it is appropriate and efficient to use one tool over another. Computer technology is only a part of this.

    Having been involved in education for 35 years, I have recognized that the use of computers has opened many doors: it has allowed students to communicate in real time with others around the world; it has permitted students with limited dexterity to be able to create art and music; it has allowed teachers to be able to ask students to revise and rewrite essays in a way that would not have been possible (or would have been overly arduous) if they had to rewrite by hand. So there are plenty of benefits to educating students in the use of technology.

    If I had my d'ruthers, I would not introduce children to computers until late elementary school. Before that, they need to get at least a foundation in the 3 Rs, and also how to socialize acceptably with each other face to face.

    It occurs to me that we often do things with technology because we can, not because we should. Let's face it - everyone likes to play with toys, and computers are an endless source of avenues for exploring new experiences. But we need to be more critical about how we approach the use of technology in the educational field. I go back to my title...

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I agree with everything you have said and relates well with my opinions which I stated in an earlier message.

    If only there were more people involved in education like yourself.

    +
    0 Votes
    scott.mickelson

    I think this hits the subject right on the head. I have consulted for two school districts for over 3 years now and still have a hard time understand all aspects of using technology in education. We invest and invest, but time must be taken to indroduct students how to "interface" with the technology. Most kids at a very young age know how to e-mail, browse, print, design, and on and on... but care must be taken to show students that there is much more than button pressing and clicking going on here.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Come and work in the UK, we need you.

    +
    0 Votes
    jmgarvin

    The problem is that simple problems (eg boolean logic) is ignored and discrete problems are almost tossed out the window by the time kids hit high school. Sure, they need to learn the basics of algebra and trig, but they also need to understand simple logic concept and the basic combinatorial issues that abound.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Students should be taught how to apply the technology that is available to them and their society in the context of their work.

    But to teach "technology" is not feasible except as a broad overview (i.e. a "History of Invention" course).

    +
    0 Votes
    DanLM

    My girl friend works as a Teacher in Cleveland which is considered one of the poorest area's of the nation. They basically slam the educational system in this area. Not enough money, terrible test scores, ....
    She teaches currently the 8th grade, and she definitely suggests to her students that they use the Internet as research into various subjects that she may be covering. Geography, Science, ... Also, there are computer labs in her school(even though they might be small) to teach the fundamentals to the children.
    Also, when I went to school. We use to have to learn typing as a requirement. Now, basic computer skills(I think) are the substitute for that.
    And, be a Bill Gates blaster that we all our. Laura told me that her school qualified for one of the grants that Bill and his wife offer based on their showing of regular academic improvements over multiple years within her specific school. I can't picture that money not being used for technology in some for or another.

    So, the importance of computers/technology is being addressed in the school system in a more aggressive manner. The basic pitfall is the money. Poorer school districts just can't afford to spend the same amount on technical hardware, networking, educational materials and still cover the primary 3 r's.

    edited because I just read the previous two responses.
    With what I said, how in depth do you consider it should be addressed? To what extent? Basic computer skills? In reference to current events, how technology helps shape the world we live in?

    Dan

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    like your example, basically you are teaching someone how to use a pen or a library.

    Perfectly valid examples of technology that were never taught as a subject in their own right to a student.

    I don't see technology any more inherrently invasive of everyday life, than it used to be. The real change has been in our increasing ability to spread knowledge, but that's matter of degree, not kind.

    +
    0 Votes
    DanLM

    Ok, I'm talking to my girlfriend now. And what she is telling me is, in the preschool and mid school criteria. Computers are taught in a basic skill level with concentration being on the three R's. Then when the children reach the high school level, they are required to know how to use these tools for presentation purposes. IE, word and power point.

    In that context, I do believe what you said is true Tony. Concentration is maintained at the 3 the R's level, with technology being taught as a tool to assist you in research and presentations.

    It still requires good teacher's though no matter what is taught. Being able to reconize where a child is having difficulities, and knowing how to assist them is more important. Being able to look at a class room of 45 kids(yes, this is Laura's class size) and being able to keep all children on the same page. And, no. 50 is not the normal class size.

    Example of this. Today, or this weeks lesson is the children are creating books on characters from the civil war. This includes the bibliography, index, table of contents, maps, informational writing. Some of the children chose characters that are not as well known, IE: Lydia Derraugh - One of the first American Spies. Because you won't find a lot of reference in your history books, the children asked if they could look up information on their characters via the Internet. They used Google to compile data for their informational writing.

    This is an example I believe, of how it should be taught. The children using this tool, just like a library. For information gathering, or presentation of the facts.

    Dan
    by the way, she gave up on my spelling problem. She considers me one of her problem children {/i]

    +
    0 Votes
    dgbraun

    In the US, we have a folksy way of referring to Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic as the "3 R's"
    Hope this helps.

    +
    0 Votes
    NZ_Justice

    figured Reading and wRiting but could not think of what the third R could be, I thought it might be "Remembering" or something.

    +
    0 Votes
    kevin.odonnell

    I am Technology Education teacher in a Kindergarten through 8th grade school. We begin teaching how to use thecomputer basics in the ealry grades, word processing and presentation programs in 2nd and up, we start them on the Internet in 1st grade and gradually teach them more skills as they progress, we teach multimedia, web page design, video & audio etc. in the upper grades. All of these skills help them with their regular classwork. When their is a lesson the teacher is working on in their classroom we try and help them from the technology side

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    Is it just me or does this particular message make you want to scream NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!!!!!!!

    Education is important in all subjects but if you can't compose a paragraph without several spelling/grammatical errors then you need to go back to the fundamentals and quickly, especially if you are teaching it to our children.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    +
    0 Votes
    darcyi

    Let's teach them web site design, which by the time they graduate, will be as useful as learning how to plow with oxen.
    Actually learning how to plow with oxen would at least restore their little atrophied arms and legs from sitting at a workstation all day.
    What madness!

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    I could get my biro and felt tips out and produce an essay on the impact of crop rotation in medieval societies.

    Or I do it with Powerpoint.

    Which matters the most, the content of the presentation, or the vehicle. I'm not saying the teaching of how to use something like Powerpoint effectively isn't valuable, but it is in no way fundamental to what I wish to present.

    If my presentation shows a field with young horses in it and caption "Foal Field", this would indicate to me something is fundmanentally wrong!

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "Which matters the most, the content of the presentation, or the vehicle."

    Obviously both factors are essential in a teaching situation. Beware the logical fallacy of the false alternatives. Apart from teaching you can indeed have one of these without the other: A scientist is likely to be far more concerned with "content" and give little heed to methods of presentation; a typical government report-writer can work miracles in powerpoint with no substance at all.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    of complete bollocks help anyone.

    You can offset the lack of logic with a nice font and a good fade in effect? I don't think so.

    +
    0 Votes

    Yes

    yobtaf

    Yes

    +
    0 Votes

    No!

    Alan Henderson

    The schools are not managing to teach the 3Rs successfully.
    In large part because the kids no longer read at home and never do mental arithmetic.
    This makes it more difficult for basic school learning to stick.
    Anything which takes time away from the basics should be viewed with suspicion.
    I'm 65, never had an IT lesson in my life.
    I teach IT, I'm a webmaster and a PC tech.
    My grandchildren - including those who "learned" PC use at school, are forever coming to me for help. The learning they get is superficial.
    It's all about giving the teachers shiny new laptops and techy stuff to play with.
    Stick to the baasics.

    +
    0 Votes
    Ashby

    I agree with the majority here that basic skills are absolutely vital. Technology is a tool, not a skill like the 3 Rs. You might as well say we should spend time teaching the kids to use the sharp end of the pencil - oh, sorry, they don't know what a pencil is these days, do they, only keyboards count!

    As was well noted, teach the application of technology but not the technology itself. The kids can't do simple arithmetic any more because they are taught to use calculators.

    I'd rather see all the high tech junk eliminated from schools, along with all the "self expression" nonsense and pay the money saved to our dedicated teachers to actually teach. Teaching aids? A blackboard and a box of chalk!

    +
    0 Votes
    jc@dshs

    What exactly do you mean by that? Cars are everywhere but we don't teach all of the kids how to take a car apart and in many of our schools in Aus we didn't even teach driving skills until fairly recently.
    I was a maths teacher and then moved across to being the network admin at my school. Certainly we expose our students to as much technology as we can given our very limited budget but it is best incorporated within the traditional lesson structure, not as a stand alone subject. We learn a skill best when we need to know it, not when it is presented out of context. Teach presentation software as part of an English class, spreadsheets as part of a maths lesson and so on but if the kids can't do the basic 3 R's first then the rest is pointless.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Thank you
    Thank you

    ...if the kids can't do the basic 3 R's first then the rest is pointless.

    Do you think we will ever get the pols to understand this? I can't speak for Australia, but here in the USA, technology is currently being touted as the cure-all for educational woes.

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I agree with the concept of using technology as a teaching tool. Some children like my son who has ADD benefit from using interactive tools as apposed to using traditional pencil and paper. For example, my son tested at a Gr. 9 level verbally, when he was in Gr. 5 however, if you put a pencil in his hand, he was unable to write anything legible, or complete the task. I think this is a good topic however, as with all things there are varying opinions and none of them are totally wrong or right. Teachers need to be able to adapt to differing learning abilities. When I was in school in the 60's I had the same problem, and was thought a right-off, however, I own my own successful IT business and have exceled in my career due to the use of technology. The doors that have opened for myself and others like my son and I because of technology have opened to a new world, where we can be successful and productive despite learning disabilities or challenges.

    The other thought I have on this subject is related to the new language skills the younger kids are using today, for example when they use MSN for online chatting. I participate with my neices and nephews every day on MSN and although it sometimes comes across as cute, it always causes me to worry about their ability to write professional and literate work later in life, when they might be in a corporate (etc) setting.

    One final thought, is that technology opens up interactive learning not only with their local peers but with those around the world. I for one enjoy reading the opinions of people who are thousands of miles from my home. I am in Ontario, Canada and today I am learning how technology is used in Australia. I feel more enlightened and educated because of this.

    +
    0 Votes
    meg4

    Technology is dynamic and ever-expanding. So you cant really teach at a point/to a point on this growth cycle.I thin the 'using' of technology is the teaching of it. However, my research indicates a vast majority of schools do not allow the 'use' of it, rather, rules are made to contain it. This is because, the teachers themselves are unable to teach something they dont know. Its the kids who can now teach teachers! Check this out with your son. He knows more than his teacher. That is the problem. An inverted situation.
    Regards
    gassm@delasalle.co.nz

    +
    0 Votes
    ian

    I note with interest your comment about MSN messaging and the kind of writing our children are currently producing. I am studying at a University in Scotland and I am shocked at the state of some of the submissions from fellow students, which can only be described as mobile phone text message speak as in the title above. Add to this the basic inability to re-read and proof their work before submission to see if it even scans properly.

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I too am shocked and fearful of what the future can hold for these kids. Perhaps this is why one respondent stated that in their school, the computer usage is "contained". I am quite certain teachers will continue to expect essays/projects to be submitted at the same level as when we used to do it by hand and reject those that don't meet the requirements.

    I've been discussing this topic with a co-worker and she made the point that when we were doing an essay (in the 70's) we would write and re-write them before handing them in, which often took more time than that of creating the work. With the use of computers now, kids can cut and paste which eliminates this arduous task and allows more time to focus on content.

    There is no question that I have spent many hours thinking about the (written) language that my boys are using today and how this will affect them in the future.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "I am in Ontario, Canada and today I am learning how technology is used in Australia. I feel more enlightened and educated because of this."

    Absolutely right! Almost I have lost my sense of wonder regarding instant global communication. Recently I participated with Boy Scouts in the "JOTA" (Jamboree On The Air) and it still has a sense of wonder due, perhaps, to the uncertainty of success and the work involved. Also, the fading signal gives it a sense of distance, whereas on the internet, boys are girls and vice versa and people can claim to be anything, anywhere. Not nearly as exciting, in other words, but still wonderful.

    +
    0 Votes
    taudrin04

    I am a CNS Student at ITT and the deeper i get in to school I foufd it more and more that technology is everywhere in everyones life. I do agree that it should be taught at all levels, maybe not the deep technical apsect of technology but maybe more of the base of technology and how to use the standard things in life like, Microsoft and all of its applications.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    ROTFLMAO.
    Got to have balanced education.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "standard things in life like, Microsoft"

    I suppose I could wish for such a simple outlook on life :-)

    I have documents I wrote 30 years ago in Wordstar 3.3 that I can still read with the very same Wordstar! Let's see you do THAT with your "standard technology." I expect documents I write in Open Office to be readable 30 years from now. You may think such things are not important, but I assure you that in government and the legal profession, unchanging document formats are VERY important.

    "deeper i get in to school I foufd it more and more that technology is everywhere in everyones life."

    Thank you for an excellent example of 2 R's.

    I feel pity for you that technology is everywhere in your life. I assure you that it is not everywhere in mine but I'll admit to some difficulty getting away from technology even for a moment. Even when I am hiking in the mountains I have a watch, GPS, digital camera and modern textiles covering my body. Say what, textiles? Yes; technology is *anything* you don't pluck off a tree or dig raw out of the ground. If it is made by humans directly or indirectly, it is technology. Doesn't need to be branded "Microsoft" to be technology.

    I've got it... skinny dipping in a mountain stream. No technology! :-)

  • +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    That's the sort of stupid cop out that gives people a general science course.

    Baisc arithmetic , followed by early maths is a fundemantal, because those tools will be required which ever branch of mathematics you choose to branch into and mathematics is a widely applicable tool in everyday life.

    The fundmamentals of mathematics are very narrow, and apply to a very small domain of objects, numbers basically.

    Technology, however has an enormous scope, from the basics of electronics, to logic, to methods and it's impact on society.

    On top of that you'll never be able to learn it without the three R's.

    +
    0 Votes
    ian

    If you have ever watched the TV show NUMB3RS you will notice that in the opening sequence the professor talks about "everything being numbers" and that is undoubtedly true, there is not one thing in the universe that can not be broken down to numbers, but the fact remains that as we look around us, mobile phones, mp3 players, PDA's, the Internet etc. we are a wash with technology yet in the UK year on year there is a drop in the numbers of children studying qualifications in computing and IT. Does this not worry you.

    +
    0 Votes
    darcyi

    I'm amused to me that the opinions expressed make an unintended point -- the grammar and spelling mistakes in both of the preceding entries belie the fact that good communication skills are lacking.

    And of course we need music!

    +
    0 Votes
    momzkewl

    Since you made a reply to the post it is obvious that the intended meaning was understood regardless of spelling or grammar errors. Communication itself is the key. It is the intended outcome. How it is achieved changes continually. Language is not stationary. It is and has been evolving since man first grunted. The fact that there are not only numerous languages spoken on this planet but that they all have their own sub languages,dialects, accents etc. is proof that there is no one right way to communicate. Nonverbal communication can even be more effective at times than perfectly penned orations. Lack of respect for ones ability to communicate in their own way continually allows for the dumming down of millions. Using proper grammar or spelling "correctly" is not a measure of intelligence or knowledge. It is merely a measure of ones ability to conform to anothers norm. Technology is a valuable tool to enable communication within the global village. Sad that the non "standard" communicators in our world, those on the wrong side of the digital divide, are those least likely to have access to such wonderful tools.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    With a nod to the original topic -- "technology" is neither taught nor teachable. It is simply a word to describe relatively modern methods of doing things using tools. I can teach you about tools, and methods to use tools; I cannot teach you "technology" (beyond the fact of its place in metalanguage).

    " it is obvious that the intended meaning was understood regardless of spelling or grammar errors."

    Not so fast! Even with a bi-directional handshake you *still* cannot know whether your message was understood because the same translation that is applied to the message, is applied to the feedback and it will only *seem* that it was understood. It is true that with more words (greater redundancy), small errors do not usually contaminate the message. However, we might use the King James version of the Bible as an example of words that were very carefully written and yet understood in countless different ways. Imagine the confusion when we are sloppy in our speech and writing!

    Example: in one class in which I was student (In the US Navy), the question read "How many characters are on a print drum?" (yes, a few years ago!). I raised my hand and asked, "Do you mean around the circumference (ie, distinct character shapes), along the length of it (number of columns), or the product of the two? The teacher was dumbfounded and said, "Never in all the classes I have been teaching has anyone ever asked that question! Does anyone here not understand what it means?" Everyone in the class assured the teacher they understood the question. I raised my hand: "But how do you KNOW that anyone's understanding is the same, or is correct? He understands '63' and she understands '120' and the real answer might be 7560". By the way, I never did find out the intended answer. I have one of those drums; intending someday to roll "alphabet cookies" with it.

    Our student in Glasgow believes that everything in the universe can be described by numbers. I would like to see someone describe God or the Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland using only numbers. It can be done symbolically of course; using a "shared secret" such as "8" means Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland, but that works only if you have previously agreed upon the meaning and language of the symbols being used.

    Numbers, by themselves, have no meaning.

    Numbers are ordinal or cardinal, concepts that have significance in things to be numbered or measured -- but the number speaks to only one property: the position or value of a thing.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Spelling and grammar do not guarantee successful communication.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    I love it, when the **** retentive types put their foot in their arse.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    you aren't goint to learn IT without the three Rs.
    You might learn them in terms of an appliance, but you'll never understand how they work, why they work and why they don't work.
    Hence it's not a fundamental.

    Going down this route leaves you with a kid who can add up with a calculator, but has no way of verifying whether they entered the right nubr3r5

    This has been coming a long time, ever since they allowed calculators in maths exams in my opinion.

    +
    0 Votes
    gmillward

    To teach technology or not is not the question. What we call "technology" (i.e., the use of computers, primarily) is simply an evolution and convergence of tools and media with which we create and communicate. In its day, even a pencil was "new technology" when students went from writing with chalk on tablets to using pencils on paper. (I'm almost old enough to remember that!)

    Of course, it would be silly and neglectful of us not to help children learn to use the best tools available to them to create and communicate (and we need to teach them that many times, a computer is NOT the best means!) We need to expose children to all the available tools and to help them recognize when it is appropriate and efficient to use one tool over another. Computer technology is only a part of this.

    Having been involved in education for 35 years, I have recognized that the use of computers has opened many doors: it has allowed students to communicate in real time with others around the world; it has permitted students with limited dexterity to be able to create art and music; it has allowed teachers to be able to ask students to revise and rewrite essays in a way that would not have been possible (or would have been overly arduous) if they had to rewrite by hand. So there are plenty of benefits to educating students in the use of technology.

    If I had my d'ruthers, I would not introduce children to computers until late elementary school. Before that, they need to get at least a foundation in the 3 Rs, and also how to socialize acceptably with each other face to face.

    It occurs to me that we often do things with technology because we can, not because we should. Let's face it - everyone likes to play with toys, and computers are an endless source of avenues for exploring new experiences. But we need to be more critical about how we approach the use of technology in the educational field. I go back to my title...

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I agree with everything you have said and relates well with my opinions which I stated in an earlier message.

    If only there were more people involved in education like yourself.

    +
    0 Votes
    scott.mickelson

    I think this hits the subject right on the head. I have consulted for two school districts for over 3 years now and still have a hard time understand all aspects of using technology in education. We invest and invest, but time must be taken to indroduct students how to "interface" with the technology. Most kids at a very young age know how to e-mail, browse, print, design, and on and on... but care must be taken to show students that there is much more than button pressing and clicking going on here.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Come and work in the UK, we need you.

    +
    0 Votes
    jmgarvin

    The problem is that simple problems (eg boolean logic) is ignored and discrete problems are almost tossed out the window by the time kids hit high school. Sure, they need to learn the basics of algebra and trig, but they also need to understand simple logic concept and the basic combinatorial issues that abound.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Students should be taught how to apply the technology that is available to them and their society in the context of their work.

    But to teach "technology" is not feasible except as a broad overview (i.e. a "History of Invention" course).

    +
    0 Votes
    DanLM

    My girl friend works as a Teacher in Cleveland which is considered one of the poorest area's of the nation. They basically slam the educational system in this area. Not enough money, terrible test scores, ....
    She teaches currently the 8th grade, and she definitely suggests to her students that they use the Internet as research into various subjects that she may be covering. Geography, Science, ... Also, there are computer labs in her school(even though they might be small) to teach the fundamentals to the children.
    Also, when I went to school. We use to have to learn typing as a requirement. Now, basic computer skills(I think) are the substitute for that.
    And, be a Bill Gates blaster that we all our. Laura told me that her school qualified for one of the grants that Bill and his wife offer based on their showing of regular academic improvements over multiple years within her specific school. I can't picture that money not being used for technology in some for or another.

    So, the importance of computers/technology is being addressed in the school system in a more aggressive manner. The basic pitfall is the money. Poorer school districts just can't afford to spend the same amount on technical hardware, networking, educational materials and still cover the primary 3 r's.

    edited because I just read the previous two responses.
    With what I said, how in depth do you consider it should be addressed? To what extent? Basic computer skills? In reference to current events, how technology helps shape the world we live in?

    Dan

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    like your example, basically you are teaching someone how to use a pen or a library.

    Perfectly valid examples of technology that were never taught as a subject in their own right to a student.

    I don't see technology any more inherrently invasive of everyday life, than it used to be. The real change has been in our increasing ability to spread knowledge, but that's matter of degree, not kind.

    +
    0 Votes
    DanLM

    Ok, I'm talking to my girlfriend now. And what she is telling me is, in the preschool and mid school criteria. Computers are taught in a basic skill level with concentration being on the three R's. Then when the children reach the high school level, they are required to know how to use these tools for presentation purposes. IE, word and power point.

    In that context, I do believe what you said is true Tony. Concentration is maintained at the 3 the R's level, with technology being taught as a tool to assist you in research and presentations.

    It still requires good teacher's though no matter what is taught. Being able to reconize where a child is having difficulities, and knowing how to assist them is more important. Being able to look at a class room of 45 kids(yes, this is Laura's class size) and being able to keep all children on the same page. And, no. 50 is not the normal class size.

    Example of this. Today, or this weeks lesson is the children are creating books on characters from the civil war. This includes the bibliography, index, table of contents, maps, informational writing. Some of the children chose characters that are not as well known, IE: Lydia Derraugh - One of the first American Spies. Because you won't find a lot of reference in your history books, the children asked if they could look up information on their characters via the Internet. They used Google to compile data for their informational writing.

    This is an example I believe, of how it should be taught. The children using this tool, just like a library. For information gathering, or presentation of the facts.

    Dan
    by the way, she gave up on my spelling problem. She considers me one of her problem children {/i]

    +
    0 Votes
    dgbraun

    In the US, we have a folksy way of referring to Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic as the "3 R's"
    Hope this helps.

    +
    0 Votes
    NZ_Justice

    figured Reading and wRiting but could not think of what the third R could be, I thought it might be "Remembering" or something.

    +
    0 Votes
    kevin.odonnell

    I am Technology Education teacher in a Kindergarten through 8th grade school. We begin teaching how to use thecomputer basics in the ealry grades, word processing and presentation programs in 2nd and up, we start them on the Internet in 1st grade and gradually teach them more skills as they progress, we teach multimedia, web page design, video & audio etc. in the upper grades. All of these skills help them with their regular classwork. When their is a lesson the teacher is working on in their classroom we try and help them from the technology side

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    Is it just me or does this particular message make you want to scream NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!!!!!!!

    Education is important in all subjects but if you can't compose a paragraph without several spelling/grammatical errors then you need to go back to the fundamentals and quickly, especially if you are teaching it to our children.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    +
    0 Votes
    darcyi

    Let's teach them web site design, which by the time they graduate, will be as useful as learning how to plow with oxen.
    Actually learning how to plow with oxen would at least restore their little atrophied arms and legs from sitting at a workstation all day.
    What madness!

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    I could get my biro and felt tips out and produce an essay on the impact of crop rotation in medieval societies.

    Or I do it with Powerpoint.

    Which matters the most, the content of the presentation, or the vehicle. I'm not saying the teaching of how to use something like Powerpoint effectively isn't valuable, but it is in no way fundamental to what I wish to present.

    If my presentation shows a field with young horses in it and caption "Foal Field", this would indicate to me something is fundmanentally wrong!

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "Which matters the most, the content of the presentation, or the vehicle."

    Obviously both factors are essential in a teaching situation. Beware the logical fallacy of the false alternatives. Apart from teaching you can indeed have one of these without the other: A scientist is likely to be far more concerned with "content" and give little heed to methods of presentation; a typical government report-writer can work miracles in powerpoint with no substance at all.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    of complete bollocks help anyone.

    You can offset the lack of logic with a nice font and a good fade in effect? I don't think so.

    +
    0 Votes

    Yes

    yobtaf

    Yes

    +
    0 Votes

    No!

    Alan Henderson

    The schools are not managing to teach the 3Rs successfully.
    In large part because the kids no longer read at home and never do mental arithmetic.
    This makes it more difficult for basic school learning to stick.
    Anything which takes time away from the basics should be viewed with suspicion.
    I'm 65, never had an IT lesson in my life.
    I teach IT, I'm a webmaster and a PC tech.
    My grandchildren - including those who "learned" PC use at school, are forever coming to me for help. The learning they get is superficial.
    It's all about giving the teachers shiny new laptops and techy stuff to play with.
    Stick to the baasics.

    +
    0 Votes
    Ashby

    I agree with the majority here that basic skills are absolutely vital. Technology is a tool, not a skill like the 3 Rs. You might as well say we should spend time teaching the kids to use the sharp end of the pencil - oh, sorry, they don't know what a pencil is these days, do they, only keyboards count!

    As was well noted, teach the application of technology but not the technology itself. The kids can't do simple arithmetic any more because they are taught to use calculators.

    I'd rather see all the high tech junk eliminated from schools, along with all the "self expression" nonsense and pay the money saved to our dedicated teachers to actually teach. Teaching aids? A blackboard and a box of chalk!

    +
    0 Votes
    jc@dshs

    What exactly do you mean by that? Cars are everywhere but we don't teach all of the kids how to take a car apart and in many of our schools in Aus we didn't even teach driving skills until fairly recently.
    I was a maths teacher and then moved across to being the network admin at my school. Certainly we expose our students to as much technology as we can given our very limited budget but it is best incorporated within the traditional lesson structure, not as a stand alone subject. We learn a skill best when we need to know it, not when it is presented out of context. Teach presentation software as part of an English class, spreadsheets as part of a maths lesson and so on but if the kids can't do the basic 3 R's first then the rest is pointless.

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Thank you
    Thank you

    ...if the kids can't do the basic 3 R's first then the rest is pointless.

    Do you think we will ever get the pols to understand this? I can't speak for Australia, but here in the USA, technology is currently being touted as the cure-all for educational woes.

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I agree with the concept of using technology as a teaching tool. Some children like my son who has ADD benefit from using interactive tools as apposed to using traditional pencil and paper. For example, my son tested at a Gr. 9 level verbally, when he was in Gr. 5 however, if you put a pencil in his hand, he was unable to write anything legible, or complete the task. I think this is a good topic however, as with all things there are varying opinions and none of them are totally wrong or right. Teachers need to be able to adapt to differing learning abilities. When I was in school in the 60's I had the same problem, and was thought a right-off, however, I own my own successful IT business and have exceled in my career due to the use of technology. The doors that have opened for myself and others like my son and I because of technology have opened to a new world, where we can be successful and productive despite learning disabilities or challenges.

    The other thought I have on this subject is related to the new language skills the younger kids are using today, for example when they use MSN for online chatting. I participate with my neices and nephews every day on MSN and although it sometimes comes across as cute, it always causes me to worry about their ability to write professional and literate work later in life, when they might be in a corporate (etc) setting.

    One final thought, is that technology opens up interactive learning not only with their local peers but with those around the world. I for one enjoy reading the opinions of people who are thousands of miles from my home. I am in Ontario, Canada and today I am learning how technology is used in Australia. I feel more enlightened and educated because of this.

    +
    0 Votes
    meg4

    Technology is dynamic and ever-expanding. So you cant really teach at a point/to a point on this growth cycle.I thin the 'using' of technology is the teaching of it. However, my research indicates a vast majority of schools do not allow the 'use' of it, rather, rules are made to contain it. This is because, the teachers themselves are unable to teach something they dont know. Its the kids who can now teach teachers! Check this out with your son. He knows more than his teacher. That is the problem. An inverted situation.
    Regards
    gassm@delasalle.co.nz

    +
    0 Votes
    ian

    I note with interest your comment about MSN messaging and the kind of writing our children are currently producing. I am studying at a University in Scotland and I am shocked at the state of some of the submissions from fellow students, which can only be described as mobile phone text message speak as in the title above. Add to this the basic inability to re-read and proof their work before submission to see if it even scans properly.

    +
    0 Votes
    nola.young

    I too am shocked and fearful of what the future can hold for these kids. Perhaps this is why one respondent stated that in their school, the computer usage is "contained". I am quite certain teachers will continue to expect essays/projects to be submitted at the same level as when we used to do it by hand and reject those that don't meet the requirements.

    I've been discussing this topic with a co-worker and she made the point that when we were doing an essay (in the 70's) we would write and re-write them before handing them in, which often took more time than that of creating the work. With the use of computers now, kids can cut and paste which eliminates this arduous task and allows more time to focus on content.

    There is no question that I have spent many hours thinking about the (written) language that my boys are using today and how this will affect them in the future.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "I am in Ontario, Canada and today I am learning how technology is used in Australia. I feel more enlightened and educated because of this."

    Absolutely right! Almost I have lost my sense of wonder regarding instant global communication. Recently I participated with Boy Scouts in the "JOTA" (Jamboree On The Air) and it still has a sense of wonder due, perhaps, to the uncertainty of success and the work involved. Also, the fading signal gives it a sense of distance, whereas on the internet, boys are girls and vice versa and people can claim to be anything, anywhere. Not nearly as exciting, in other words, but still wonderful.

    +
    0 Votes
    taudrin04

    I am a CNS Student at ITT and the deeper i get in to school I foufd it more and more that technology is everywhere in everyones life. I do agree that it should be taught at all levels, maybe not the deep technical apsect of technology but maybe more of the base of technology and how to use the standard things in life like, Microsoft and all of its applications.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    ROTFLMAO.
    Got to have balanced education.

    +
    0 Votes
    mgordon

    "standard things in life like, Microsoft"

    I suppose I could wish for such a simple outlook on life :-)

    I have documents I wrote 30 years ago in Wordstar 3.3 that I can still read with the very same Wordstar! Let's see you do THAT with your "standard technology." I expect documents I write in Open Office to be readable 30 years from now. You may think such things are not important, but I assure you that in government and the legal profession, unchanging document formats are VERY important.

    "deeper i get in to school I foufd it more and more that technology is everywhere in everyones life."

    Thank you for an excellent example of 2 R's.

    I feel pity for you that technology is everywhere in your life. I assure you that it is not everywhere in mine but I'll admit to some difficulty getting away from technology even for a moment. Even when I am hiking in the mountains I have a watch, GPS, digital camera and modern textiles covering my body. Say what, textiles? Yes; technology is *anything* you don't pluck off a tree or dig raw out of the ground. If it is made by humans directly or indirectly, it is technology. Doesn't need to be branded "Microsoft" to be technology.

    I've got it... skinny dipping in a mountain stream. No technology! :-)