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Re: Computer Education in Public Schools

by jynx (Priest)
on Nov 06, 2002 at 20:41 UTC ( #210893=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Computer Education in Public Schools

Already a long thread but...

for some reason i always try to get motive behind things, and here's what i ascribe to the situation you describe, which not only seems to explain things but also gives a general instruction as to how the curve will continue later (everything's a curve, it's just that sometimes that curve is a straight line; damn mathematicians... ;-)

The teachers of current generations are different then the teachers of my generation. So i don't plan on starting from the beginning where some anomalies happen, but instead explain what i think the cycle is now that it has stablilized.

  1. There is new technology becoming widespread that new humans should understand to better integrate with society.
  2. Let the teachers of education find the best way to teach this technology to young minds (i mean, hey, it worked for math/physics/etc, it should work with technology too, right?)
  3. The teachers are a generation behind and probably not hip on the gyrations in the tech industry. What would they teach? What they don't understand. They cannot teach above their level, so most kids learn about basics, and no more, because that's all that the current staff can provide (and they have problems understanding it, whereas kids pick it up quick -- as kids tend to do -- and get bored quickly instead of endlessly fascinated).
  4. The kids of today grow up and face the same dilemma, go back to step (1).

Note how at every step (3) only the basics are taught, because at any one slice of time the subjective term "basic" means different things, and people who are up on current practices will (more than likely) scoff at what is being taught in grade/junior/high/etc school...

So, in my opinion, the money is not going to waste, because in a few years when the next generation of teachers starts in, they'll start teaching higher concepts and levels. And those kids will be able to grasp more and more. This bumps the bar on what one "needs to know" to get through school (and thus survive -- for some definition of survive) but in the end it makes the whole of people slightly smarter over time (which to my mind is the point of education).

As to when is it too early to teach kids? That's child dependent. For some strange reason i have very early memories to before i was 3 years old, which is unusual, and my comphrension of material starts from that time onward. Some kids don't start remembering (and thus comprehending, that is to say, learning) until 4 or 5 years. IIRC the average is 3. As soon as the child is ready to start learning what they want to learn then by all means start teaching. Children are information sponges, but like all sponges they should not be squeezed. To forcibly teach something they don't want to learn will just dry out their thirst for knowledge...

Disclaimer: As always, the parents should have the final say on what a child does or does not learn during their formative years.

Anyway, those are my opinions, and two cents, take them for what you will...


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Re: Re: Computer Education in Public Schools
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Nov 06, 2002 at 22:18 UTC

    I'm not really sure that it makes sense to comment on someone elses opinions in what is already a very subjective thread, but there are a couple of things in your post that stimulated my thought processes beyond where they were currently languishing.

    I agree completely that general education has always been at least a generation behind the bleading edge (or even the current stable norm) within any given technical subject. However, I do perceive a difference with IT, that being that I don't think any other field has had such an immediate, far reaching nor so rapidly evolving effect upon the whole of society as IT generally and computers specifically.

    The computer industry is barely 50 years old and it's effects are already far more prevelent that any comparable technological advance. I've heard it said that the car industry went from nothing to maturity in around the same time frame--the late 19th century to universal availablity (within some definition of that phrase) just after WWII-- but the development of the car as we know it today actually builds on a great deal of stuff from the preceeding centuries. The horse drawn carridge, steam engines an so on.

    By contrast, the development of computers and most of the related fields really sprung into existance half way through the last century and has grown, and continues to grow, at rate that far outstrips those industries and fields of knowledge that preceded it.

    However, more than any other technology I can think of, computers also encroach, with ever increasing impact, upon almost every other field of human endevour. I started to draw up a list of these, but rapidly realised that it would be easier to list those which computers do not have some impact upon. This is even easier than I first thought, because I truely cannot think of one. Every single endevour I could think of is or soon will be impacted by the use of computers. From the obvious, communications, automobiles, map making etc. to the less obvious like farming, fishing, medicine, even child-rearing with fetal heart monitors, baby alarms, etc.

    My conclusion is that in many ways, computer technology, IT whatever label you wish to put on the whole subject matter, is destined to become the fourth 'R' in the core curriculum. It is likely that it will need to become as ubiquitous and fundemental to have an appreciation of the use of computers to manipulate information in the future as it is to be able to read, write or count.

    Nah! You're thinking of Simon Templar, originally played (on UKTV) by Roger Moore and later by Ian Ogilvy

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