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June 09, 2004



I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. We're homeschoolers, and our kids have had their own computers to use more or less at their whim since they were 2 and 6 months, respectively. My son (almost 4) in particular, uses his computer and educational CD's a LOT. He doesn't have any video games, and probably won't for some years. What he learns from these CD's - and you would be utterly amazed at the volume of information he's stored away on everything from dinosaurs to the solar system to insects - is supplemented by more traditional teaching methods. For example, he can read at a first-grade level. I don't think computer learning displaces traditional learning, or vice versa, but the two types of teaching can work very well together, provided ALL of the students have access to a computer of their own and aren't forced to share (meaning, in practice, one kid gets computer time, and the rest watch).


I believe that the two types of teaching can mesh well together IF the situation is optimum, like the one on one of homeschooling.

The classrooms of today are so large that many times even the basics are passed over for some kids; if they can't teach the very basics, how can computers help this, without overt supervision? And if computer programs can help, how can the INTERNET work into that, other than National Geographic, Discovery?


Well, in a homeschool setting I could see computers working very well. In public school where there are a number of students in one class, it becomes a nightmare.

The main thing is - computers take time to use. When you have 20 kids (some schools have more, some less) per class room, you magnify the time it takes to get things done exponentially. When it can take up to 5 minutes for them to get out pencil and paper - think of the time allotment if they have to turn on a computer and put in a CD and then find something on that CD. (Not that they can't do it and do it quickly, but they will drag it out to take as much time as they can)

Many things that work very well in an individual learning setting are disastrous in a group setting. In the end, it's the kids that are not learning anything while so much time is wasted. My point is, if they can read and comprehend, learning how to use a computer later is pretty simple stuff.

Many school districts especially in rural areas are strapped for cash - they can barely buy books. I think they shouldn't be worrying so much about allocating scarce dollars to computer equipment. It's like worrying about buying everyone calculators to learn how to do math. They are nice, and make things fast, but they are not essential and their use becomes very simple once you know how to do the math itself.


Every time I've used a computer in a classroom setting, it's a bogged-down nightmare. Inevitably, someone's computer doesn't work, or someone clicks on the wrong icon, so everybody else waits while the mistake gets fixed.

Of course, during this time, someone else gets bored and starts clicking at random, so then they get lost in unknown menu options and the class has to wait for HIM to be rescued.

Yeah, computers are pretty much a one-on-one learning experience.


Not to be Partisan, but wasn't it (then V.P.) Al Gore who promototed and got a tax on secondary telephone lines into private residence's so the proceeeds would go to wiring schools to the internet?
And youse guys are now telling me my tax dollars don't work?


Uh - oh, someone figured it out about the tax dollars!!! You weren't supposed to notice that!

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