[Edu-sig] Re: CP4E

Lee Harr missive at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 10 17:01:15 CEST 2005

>I cannot accept parsing a file in a programming language to be a basic
>skill, and think considering it so deprecates the notion of "basic skills".

How about instead of teaching parsing, at that (5th grade) level
we might give them a state_capitols object to play with:

>>>import state_capitols

They could use that to build their quiz game.

I think the idea of virtual objects and their relation to the real world
is a much more basic skill.

>Where would you place parsing through a file, versus, say, being able to
>read music notation - as a "basic skill" for fifth graders?  Where should 
>be directing limited resources?

I believe the way we use computers in schools is mostly wrong. Too
much unstructured "surfing" and too much use of "collage" (what used
to be known as plagiarism when I was in school ;o)

Can computers be used to teach the basic skills?  Possibly. But I think
some care must be taken to ensure that computers are not a tool to
avoid learning those basic skills.

Are there _new_ skills, which are becoming basic? Probably not.
Abstraction has always been pretty basic. Computers may actually
make it more difficult to see the abstractions... Things we see every
day become real. TV is real. Some might say that things not on TV
are not real  :o)

I feel like there is the idea that anything can be taught or learned
with short videos.

I feel like we are losing our creativity and imagination. Give a 3 year
old a box of crayons and you have no idea what he will come up with.
Give a 10 year old a PS2 and about the best that might happen is
he'll find a way to cheat.

>And I keep thinking we are still
>digging out of some kind of mass technology bubble mentality when we can't
>differentiate better than that.

I think we can start by not doing things with computers because
"that's what businesses are doing, and students will need these
skills in order to work in those businesses." That is just silliness.

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