Monday, October 24, 2011

A school without technology

In Silicon Valley’s Waldorf School of the Peninsula, teaching and learning take place without computers. The school’s students include the children of Apple, Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo employees:

Finn Heilig, 10, whose father works at Google, says he liked learning with pen and paper — rather than on a computer — because he could monitor his progress over the years.

“You can look back and see how sloppy your handwriting was in first grade. You can’t do that with computers ’cause all the letters are the same,” Finn said. “Besides, if you learn to write on paper, you can still write if water spills on the computer or the power goes out.”

A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute (New York Times)
[Found via Submitted for Your Perusal. Matt Thomas reads the Sunday New York Times far more thoroughly than I do.]

comments: 2

Matt Thomas said...

Much obliged, sir. Here’s a rebuttal of sorts to said NYT piece I came across on Twitter, one – I hasten to add – I don’t really agree with. To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman, the message net-obsessed people always deliver is “You just don’t get it." The truth of the matter is that net-obsessed people must argue that the Internet and computer technologies are having a wholly positive effect on everything – it's the only reason they're publicly essential. I don't really buy the class argument – i.e., "But this is a school for rich kids!" – either. As Robert Maynard Hutchins once put it, "The best education for the best is the best education for all."

Michael Leddy said...

That’s an interesting response. He’s right of course that using a search engine well is not “supereasy,” but I think he confuses an examination of digital classrooms with an attack. From my own limited observations over many years of teaching, I see no evidence that computers have improved students’ reading and writing abilities. The claim that we’re living through a “literacy revolution” (which I wrote about in this post) is based on very scant evidence. The performance of 189 freshmen at Stanford does not a revolution make.