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iPad nonsense at Orewa College

 
 
Peter Gutmann
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      07-20-2011
Mutlley <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>Unfortunately allot of these schools and their principles on their
>$120K + salaries have lost touch with the reality of economics in
>their communities. They assume everyone earns like they do and can
>afford every little expense that the "free NZ education" system
>requires real or imaginary..


And that's the real problem. When you're choosing a computer that you're
going to mandate for school use, you'd want to base it on two main criteria:

(1) can cash-strapped parents afford it?
(2) is it an effective tool for doing school work?

(Possibly also a third option, "does it run the same software that they'll
need when they go for a job?", which in practice is going to mean MS Office,
but I don't want to get distracted about the school licensing minefield here).

If they'd said "Buy a laptop that can run a web browser, word processor, and
possibly a spreadsheet (depending on what they're teaching at Orewa)" then
parents could choose between an Acer Ferrari and some $20 special off Trademe
(given that they're going to get beaten around in school bags, dropped, and
who knows what, I'd go for the cheaper option). OTOH by recommending an iPad
you'd then need to get a Bluetooth keyboard ($$$ for the Apple one), probably
a Smart Cover (since it's going to get beaten around in school bags), and
probably something to hold the two together (juggling a loose screen and
keyboard on your lap isn't much fun). At this point you've assembled an
incredibly expensive 10" netbook. OK, a very stylish netbook with a really
nice battery life, but still a really expensive 10" netbook. This doesn't
seem like a sensible allocation of financial resources.

Peter.
 
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Peter Huebner
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      07-20-2011
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)r
says...
>
> Correct, and equally in the classes I have helped teach at 2nd year uni
> I could tell when their maths for the labs they were doing was wrong.
> HOWEVER, maths/physics/engineering/statistics/etc academic staff don't
> use calculators any more either, they used Mathematica, Matlab, SSPS, R,
> Minitab, etc etc etc and they too often make mistakes when having to do
> 'manual' calculations. There is no way they would consider resorting to
> Log tables or a slide rule, and yet a lot of significant scientific
> discover was made using them.


You have to learn how to walk before you run. Plugging numbers into formulas is
fine once you understand how arithmetic works. Doing it without understanding
is ...

> And your grandparents wondered why you were not taught how to shoe a
> horse, use a scythe, etc etc, you know REAL knowledge, REAL skills you
> could use each day to keep the family fed.


Funny you should say that. I've spent my life acquiring as many REAL skills as
I could get a handle on. But you're mixing application with skill with basic
understanding/knowledge here. I know how a scythe works, I've used one, but I'd
have to train my skills to get good at it. Similarly I know about firebows, and
if I ran out of matches in the bush I'd be able to eventually make one that
works. Yupp, yupp. Fortunately I also own a bic lighter.
My math teachers started geometry with Euclid which goes back a long time
before my grandpa and his plow-horses. They believed in the obscure principle
that you don't start building a pyramid from the top down. I might not have
agreed with them at the time, but by now I've gotten enough of a perspective to
see that they might've had a point.

>
> As I say, everyone ones opinions seem to get equal visibility, no matter
> how wrong. I always love the "I" people who then believe their views are
> representative of everyone.


Quite, and I have for years bemoaned David Lange's 'democratization' of the nz
school system. Everybody thinks they're a ****ing expert when it comes to
education. Not. Like the janitor at the hospital tells the heart surgeon how to
insert a shunt?
F.Y.I. I have a postgrad degree in education and have trained teachers at
tertiary level (NOT in NZ), so I have a fair idea what the hell I am talking
about. (If you had taken a good look at the other Peter's email, you'd know
where he works.) I happen to have a good idea just how badly many NZ teachers
are let down by the system, because their education as teachers, in my somewhat
qualified opinion, leaves a great deal to be desired. Very much under-trained,
both in subject matter and in didactics, and hence in many cases prone to grasp
at straws when out of their depth. Which leads to outcomes like the occurrence
this thread got started of on. Technology can not in(de)finitely make up for
ignorance -- in fact as we're seeing increasingly, feeding the family in a
technological society requires higher and higher degrees of knowledge and
understanding, or you end up working 3 jobs and still can't make ends meet.
And so those who don't master it fall of the back end.

I happen to feel passionate about the miserable NZ education system, and the
many often helpless teachers I know who think that covering their inability to
teach the kids anything will be made up for by getting the kids a macbook each
and a high speed internet connection at each school desk.

I still shudder at the memory of watching Judy Baily presenting the News on tv
beaming with pride over reporting to us that some American delegation was
coming to NZ to learn from us how to deal with adult illiteracy, because we're
such EXPERTS at it. Hello? That is not something you want to have to be an
expert at, you know! I've done some relief teaching at the local rural area
school some 15 years ago and I could not believe the number of puberty-aged
kids in my 'science class' who were very nearly illiterate -- about 1/5 to 1/4
of the class. Now you explain to me, please, how owning an ipad would be going
about fixing that? Even more I shudder at the ideological justification for the
complacent attitude of the school's (mis)management at the time. I know damn
well that there are better schools than that, but. I'm not slagging NZ teachers
across the board, there are very good ones out there, but also many who have
never even received enough training to be merely competent. I've seen the
assignments sent out by one of the nz unis for a long distance teacher training
course - didn't know whether to laugh hysterically or to lie down and cry.

Seriously, the kids in school need competent teachers, not silly gadgets to
play facebook on.

{/rant off} -P.
 
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Peter Huebner
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <j0602t$cin$(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed) says...
>
> Had to look that word "Didactic" up.
> Came up with this one via Google:
>
> <quote>
> In the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a
> patronizing way
> - slow-paced, didactic lecturing
> </quote>
>
>
>


(hey, I see your smiley)

Ya. The funny thing is, 'Didactics' is a major required subject in
every teacher's training in Germany for instance. And I bet you in several
other Euro-countries as well. Basically it means: how to teach the kids in a
way that they can understand each step, and knowing how to layer knowledge so
each step builds on the steps done before. Following a logic progression as
well as presenting matter in a fashion that can be processed and *understood*
by the kids.

*Some* people are naturals at this ... basically it's all about giving the
teacher trainees a toolbox, and a methodology for teaching to those who aren't.
I am sure everybody here will remember a teacher or two who knew their subject
inside out but were incomprehensibe and hated 'cause they couldn't teach worth
a ^%$#.

And sure, I can see how 'didactic lecturing' can be perceived as patronizing!

-P.
 
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Peter Huebner
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed)r
says...
>
> Unfortunately the amount of information we have is also obeying Moores
> law.
>
>


Not to mention Sturgeon's Law.

-P.
 
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Geopelia
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011

"Gordon" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On 2011-07-19, Geopelia <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> When I started school in 1934 the ballpoint pen wasn't invented.

>
> it was very close though. Biro, the person, was about to make it happen
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballpoint_pen
>
> the patent for it was in 1888. like prestressed concrete or the working
> Diesel engine. The theory had to wait until technology caught up.
>
>
>> Pencils,
>> nibs and inkwells were used in those days, even the good old slates were
>> still around in some small schools.

>
> Like paper, the pencil is still with us. It rules when it comes to writing
> on a rough surface.
>>
>> How many people doing their IR3 this year could do the bit where they had
>> to
>> multiply something by .19xxx (I don't remember the last three numbers)?
>> I bet there was a rush for the calculators.
>>
>> Yes, I did it without one.

>
> Tell us Geo, can you work out the sqaure root of a number by hand? It can
> be
> done. My Mother (How MS is that?), used to be able to give it a go.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods...g_square_roots
>
> Drop down a wee bit


Yes, I learnt that in school, but I'm not sure if I can remember it now. It
was a bit like long division, using pairs of numbers.
Finding the square root of 2 in the examples in that website was the method
we used, but without all that algebra stuff on the right.
I don't have any reason to need square roots these days.

Cube roots would baffle me though. That is the sort of things that
calculators make easy.


 
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Bruce Sinclair
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <j03nsl$lcf$(E-Mail Removed)>, EMB <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On 19/07/2011 10:45 p.m., Peter Gutmann wrote:
>
>(if they need one at all)
>
>And there is the crux of the matter - the case for secondary students
>needing a laptop/iPad/whatever is pretty weak. Pen and paper imparts
>writing, spelling and presentation skills that the etch-a-sketch never will.


... *and* they still work during a power cut

 
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Bruce Sinclair
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <j04m77$lj2$(E-Mail Removed)>, Gib Bogle <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On 7/20/2011 7:27 AM, whoisthis wrote:

(snip)
>>
>> Todays world is very different from your parents one, and our children's
>> will be very different from our own.

>
>But not necessarily in the ways you expect.


Indeed. How manyof the prevuiously must have gadgets are now rubbish ? I
suggest most of them ?

 
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Bruce Sinclair
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <j06oc8$qch$(E-Mail Removed)>, "Geopelia" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>"Gordon" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> On 2011-07-19, Geopelia <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> When I started school in 1934 the ballpoint pen wasn't invented.

>>
>> it was very close though. Biro, the person, was about to make it happen
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballpoint_pen
>>
>> the patent for it was in 1888. like prestressed concrete or the working
>> Diesel engine. The theory had to wait until technology caught up.


>>> Pencils,
>>> nibs and inkwells were used in those days, even the good old slates were
>>> still around in some small schools.

>> Like paper, the pencil is still with us. It rules when it comes to writing


As a chemist, I love pencils. For an example of why, take a piece of paper
with 'ink writing' on it and tip some solvent on it. Doesn't really matter
what. In moments, you are likely to have a blurry multicoloured
unreadable smudge. repeat with pencil writing.


>>> How many people doing their IR3 this year could do the bit where they had
>>> to
>>> multiply something by .19xxx (I don't remember the last three numbers)?
>>> I bet there was a rush for the calculators.
>>> Yes, I did it without one.

>> Tell us Geo, can you work out the sqaure root of a number by hand? It can
>> be
>> done. My Mother (How MS is that?), used to be able to give it a go.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods...g_square_roots
>> Drop down a wee bit

>Yes, I learnt that in school, but I'm not sure if I can remember it now. It
>was a bit like long division, using pairs of numbers.
>Finding the square root of 2 in the examples in that website was the method
>we used, but without all that algebra stuff on the right.
>I don't have any reason to need square roots these days.
>
>Cube roots would baffle me though. That is the sort of things that
>calculators make easy.


... actually ... slide rules are pretty good at doing that sort of thing
too. You do have to how to use them of course (anyone ? ) ... but the
multiplication method is basically adding logs. A square root is log/2; cube
root log/3 ... etc.

Easier than long hand



 
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Bruce Sinclair
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      07-20-2011
In article <(E-Mail Removed)> , Peter Huebner <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed)r
>says...
>> Unfortunately the amount of information we have is also obeying Moores
>> law.


>Not to mention Sturgeon's Law.


Not sure what that is ... but if (as I suspect ) it has anything to do
with 'there's a lot of rubbish out there' then I'm with you on that.

What we should be teaching these days is discrimination - how to judge
whether the information you find has any value. Maybe we'd avoid the 'it's
on the interweb thingy, it must be true' stories then ?

 
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Bruce Sinclair
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-20-2011
In article <(E-Mail Removed)> , Peter Huebner <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed)r
>says...
>>
>> Mind you, what was wrong with the Eton Tables eh... bugger this
>> technology lark, calculators be damned.
>>

>
>Right you are. When and where I went to school we weren't allowed calculators
>in math classes or tests. For a damn good reason. You wouldn't believe how
>often I run into people here in NZ who can't add two 3-digit numbers together
>without searching for their calculator first, and then they're surprised when
>my wife or I have already put the correct change on the counter before they've
>even begun to type the numbers in. Not to mention that I've severally had to
>pull people up because I knew the right result and they had typed it in wrong.


It's worse than that. You can usually check 90% plus (made up on the spot)
of calculations by just adding up the last digit. Kind of a quick and dirty
checksum. I'm constantly amazed how many times I'm told a number that cannot
possibly be right (eg adding a whole bunch of numbers ending in 0 or 5 ...
and being told the answer was ... 3 !).


>I consider that as a fairly pathetic failure of the education system. I love
>technology and I love gadgets, no Luddite here, but I also believe that kids
>should have to learn some basic skills and fundamental knowledge. Copy-pasting
>Wiki articles on your ipad or lappy or whatever for work assignments is often
>not learning stuff nor furthering understanding on the whole ... it's just
>getting lazy, in many cases "supporting" teachers who don't even understand the


The luddites got as bad rap. They were about protecting their jobs and
controlling their time (not breaking technology as is so often
misrepresented). Ah ... if only they had succeded in those lofty aims ...

 
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