The most outrageous problem, IMO, is that there are 'modules' that must be completed, and kids with computer access at home can work on them at home. Kids from low income families are screwed over - again.
- spellcheck is always on, why learn real spelling when the computer fixes it for you?
- The de-emphasis on handwriting is mentioned in the article. In-class assignments are still handwritten, but take-home projects can be typed.
- A lot of 'educational' games are regular games with a minimal pretense of education value. Frogger is still Frogger, even if there's some notion of jumping to the lily pad with the right sum.
- Same for 'educational' youtube videos. youtube is blocked on my kid's devices, despite insistence that there are channels where they do scientific experiments. The videos are more about funny jokes than the different phases of matter.
( youtube is a funny one. Non-tech parents always tell me how great kid's youtube is. Tech parents are always like "f yea, of course you block youtube" )
Plus the last thing my kid needs is more screentime. I don't want to have to sit next to them all night making sure that they are only doing 'productive' work.
As far as I can tell spending class time on spelling per se and/or grading students on spelling mistakes is a complete waste of time and focus.
The ideal way to teach spelling is (1) get kids to read a whole lot, (2) show students their mistakes in context when they make them on as short a feedback loop as possible, without judgment.
It’s plausible that showing that a mistake was made but then forcing the student to retype or rewrite the word correctly (without letting them just click once on the word to fix the mistake) would be more effective.
But I have seen no evidence that spellcheck reduces people’s ability to learn spelling. I’d like to see some kind of formal study.
Disclaimer: I think giving every 1st grade student a chromebook is a terrible mistake.
I'm not sure I agree with this. This doesn't teach the fundamentals and rules of how words are put together. Learning to spell isn't memorizing lists of words, it's learning the rules of English and how words are actually put together so, even if you don't know how a word's spelled, you should be able to at least be able to make a good guess based on your knowledge of English. The spell checker doesn't teach you any of this.
Anecdotally, the main predictor of how good someone’s spelling will be is how much reading they have done.
Anecdotally, I've met many people that dislike reading because they find large words complicated to comprehend, their spelling is usually atrocious also. I also know a few heavy readers with terrible spelling because they never learned properly. Their pronunciation of large words is usually atrocious.
None of the people I know who grew up in highly literate families with parents who read with them several hours per week up through age 7+ ever had either of these problems in adulthood. Including the dyslexic ones.
I am highly skeptical that your acquaintances dislike reading because the spelling of long words is too complicated. More realistically they find long words hard because they never did enough reading to become fluent. Nearly everyone can get at least 90% of the way to reading arbitrary English text with about a year of appropriate reading instruction at age 6 plus a few years of regular practice.
As someone who never spent any effort on spelling in school, big words are fine to read and spelling is no trouble. I also dislike and disable autocorrect. I’d happily put my pronunciation of arbitrary English words up against anyone who isn’t a professional linguist.
Agreed, but it doesn't just have to be books. My personal example: in my native language, I read tons of books as a child, which was what gave me a strong edge when it comes to spelling/grammar. I got into learning english in my late teens, and, by that time, I wasn't as much into reading long-form books as I was into reading random things on the internet. I would say my grammar/spelling is on about the same level in english as it is in my native language, at the moment. In both cases, however, I can easily attribute it to consuming a lot of reading material that gave me some kind of intuition for the correct spelling/grammar. I don't remember explicit grammar rules for either language. In case of my native one, I never really learned the rules in the first place, as I had trouble memorizing those, and the rules felt forced and arbitrary with tons of exceptions to each of them. I just know that something feels "right" or "wrong", simply because of tons of reading that settled down in my head.
There are plenty of situations in which you still have to write; at the post office, applying for things, hospitals, places like that. Maybe not every day, I'll grant you that, but you are going to hit barriers when required to write your address or apply for a driving license or similar.
You don't want to be the guy painstakingly copying characters stroke by stroke off his phone while a line grows behind you.
I live in Japan and often regret that my writing is so far behind my reading comprehension. Like, it doesn't need to be AS good, but it would be better if it were close.
I guess there's probably a pretty strong market for translators in the big Asian cities with American/European presence.
Phonetical alphabet, standardized spelling, etc
Few people nowadays have the time and willingness to learn thousand of characters and their stroke orders. Not to mention the whole "every character has several unrelated pronunciations, but hey, context, right?!" of Japanese.
The Latin alphabet is an archaic system that barely worked for Latin and doesn't work at all for English. There's a reason English dictionaries have to include IPA.
> Phonetical alphabet
You say so while typing in an alphabet that doesn't have enough characters to describe all the phonemes of the language you're using, and which is used phonetically in name only.
> standardized spelling, etc
I don't know what gives you the impression that "some countries" don't have standardized spelling.
> Few people nowadays have the time and willingness to learn thousand of characters and their stroke orders.
You're literally talking about the writing system of the word's most widely used language. Obviously a plurality of people do have the patience to do so. In practice it requires roughly the same amount of memorization as English. The only difference is being that most of HN probably learned English early in life and have internalized things like "Peak Vs. Pique Vs. Peek".
The majority of Chinese characters (more than 80%) are 'phono-semantic compounds' where 1 part of the character indicates the meaning and the other indicates the pronunciation. And the majority of these compounds follow a surprisingly regular pattern: for instance, the character '召' is pronounced 'zhao' in Mandarin Chinese, and forms the right side of the characters '招' and '昭' - both of which are also pronounced 'zhao'.
Here's another example - the character '包' is pronounced 'bao', and is frequently found as a component in characters pronounced 'bao': '饱' ('full stomach', with the food radical ⻠ on the left) and '抱' ('hug', with the hand radical ⺘). '包' also forms the phonetic component of some characters pronounced as 'pao', which sounds similar to 'bao': '跑' ('run', with the foot radical ⻊), '炮' ('cannon', with the fire radical 火), and '泡' ('bubble', with the water radical ⺡). I had been studying Chinese recently, and understanding the phonetic aspects of the characters has helped me to read them more easily than before.
Having said that, a lot of these phonetic relations date back many years and some of them have been obscured due to language change. But to blindly assume that Chinese characters are 'archaic' is false - as others have commented, you can say the same for English spelling, which also has spellings that date back many years but do not make sense today, like the 'gh' in 'tough', 'dough' and 'caught'. Also, it would be possible to reform Chinese characters such that every character with the same pronunciation would use the same phonetic component, while allowing for additional components to indicate the meaning. And that was what Simplified Chinese did to a certain extent.
But dealing with a huge alphabet is more complicated than one with (much) fewer characters as the Latin, Arabic and Korean ones.
The English spelling problem is annoying, but most languages don't have such a disparity in writing (which, for the most part, is not that big).
The Voyager Golden Record has a record of Minnan language which transcription in Chinese character is: 太空朋友，恁好。恁食飽未？有閒著來阮遮坐哦! Anyone in this thread reading some Chinese can guess accurately what the first sentence means. Probably the second too. The third is more difficult but looks like an invitation. Now compare with the romanization: Thài-khong pêng-iú, lín-hó. Lín chia̍h-pá--bē? Ū-êng, to̍h lâi gún chia chē--ô·! Besides pêng-iú looking like Mandarin pengyou is this totally foreign.
People do not always want things simplified. They also want richness and this may conflict with simplicity. Look at fonts, for example. They gained a lot of complexity recently, there's lots of contextual variations and even two different systems to express it (Apple has its own). The monospace fonts that were invented for typewriters are much simpler than other fonts, but nowadays they are only used in certain specific contexts, like programming, and even there they started to get quite a bit of richness + complexity with PragmataPro being the absolute champion of it.
I'd say the general trend is toward perceived simplicity, but internal richness. Automation, not simplification.
Yes, but see how many fonts there are for Latin alphabets vs. Kanji/Chinese. (something about dozens of characters vs thousands)
Yes, but to a much, much lesser degree
If someone says to you their name is "John" you know how to write it. Foreign names might be weird sometimes (hi Ireland) but usually they're simple.
In Japan you have to ask everyone how to write their name because there's no standard way of spelling. And every character has (completely) different pronunciations depending on context https://www.thejapanesepage.com/tag/kanji-pronunciation/
> Regarding your second point about not having to maintain distinct orthographies, could you explain in more detail how English avoids that?
I'm not an expert on phonics but from what I've seen from attempts at writing any language phonetically regular is that in order to achieve phonetic regularity for everyone you either have to force everyone to pronounce words identically (impossible for a language as widely used as English) or you have to maintain entirely seperate spelling systems for each dialect. This number goes up the more phonetically regular your writing system is. See this example in the wikipedia entry on the Shavian script, a phonetically regular alphabet for English:
> Spelling in Androcles follows the phonemic distinctions of British Received Pronunciation except for explicitly indicating vocalic "r" with the above ligatures. Most dialectical variations of English pronunciation can be regularly produced from this spelling, but those who do not make certain distinctions, particularly in the vowels, find it difficult to produce the canonical spellings spontaneously. For instance, most North American dialects merge 𐑭 /ɑː/ and 𐑪 /ɒ/ (the father–bother merger). Canadian English, as well as many American dialects (particularly in the west and near the Canada–US border), also merge these phonemes with 𐑷 /ɔː/, which is known as the cot–caught merger. In addition, some American dialects merge 𐑧 /ɛ/ and 𐑦 /ɪ/ before nasal stops (the pin–pen merger).
With exceptions, the mapping of letters to language in English mostly seems to occur at the level of morphemes and not phonemes. Look at this wiktionary entry for "schedule" for example. All dialects spell it the same but there are multiple distinct pronounciations listed in the IPA section that would all lead to different spellings in a completely phonetically regular system.
>(UK) IPA(key): /ˈʃɛ.djuːl/, /ˈʃɛ.dʒuːl/, /ˈskɛ.djuːl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒuːl/
>(US) IPA(key): /ˈskɛ.dʒʊl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒəl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒu.əl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒul/
>(India) IPA(key): /ʃɛ.djuːl/
>(Canada) IPA(key): /ˈskɛ.dʒu.əl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒuːl/, /ˈʃɛ.dʒu.əl/, /ˈʃɛ.dʒuːl/
Unlike most speakers.
Funny you should say that in defense of classical methods of teaching literacy, which for me consisted of eight years of memorizing lists of words and regurgitating them on weekly spelling quizzes.
Weekly spelling quizzes. Memorized lists of ten to fifteen words at a time.
All the way into high school.
That helped tremendously with my spelling.
I never had to study for spelling, probably because reading was my favorite thing to do. Well, until I had one teacher who tested that we'd memorized the list of words...
Explicitly studying spelling ended after 5th grade (rural elementary school in Texas, late 80s/early 90s)
Spellcheck is a wonderful tool, but relying on it can lead to embarrassing results. I would not want the kids in my life using it until they have their own grasp of spelling.
Irregularities don't mean it doesn't have rules. The most common 1-2k words are much less regular than the rest of the language, but learning how they're spelt is not remotely difficult for children (no adult that doesn't have a learning disability struggles to remember how to spell 'much' or 'about'). The rest of the language is pretty much regular.
Learning those rules involve learning the orthographies of French, Latin, and Greek, etc. as well as their associated transliteration schemes(usually multiple per language), and memorizing which one was used for which specific word(Hamburg vs. burgher vs. bourgeoisie vs. Berger), as well as words where the etymology was erroneous (ex. scissor). I don't think most people actually learn this.
Edit: See comment below for better source.
Seems the better link is https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/scissors
Apparently “chisel” comes from the same source.
Speaking as a dyslexic person this is garbage. Learning to spell required weekly word lists, spelling tests and hours of study. The memory skills this built have seriously helped me in my life.
This comes down to the fact that schools don't let students learn in their optimal manners.
> good teaching strategies should work for the vast majority of children
In my experience, good teaching strategies usually includes teaching the same thing in a variety of different ways, so that hopefully at least one of the ways is effective for each student.
Spellcheck has shown me that I've been misspelling certain words forever :-)
N=1: I feel like - and I am 99% certain - that my grammatical and spelling skills have decreased since I started using the internet heavily.
It's anecdotal, but growing up the students who relied on their calculators never really learned to do mental math the same. The difference was palpable.
But I'm not a formal teacher or expert when it comes to the psychology of learning, so I also welcome studies on this subject.
It’s more like a system that would let you practice doing arithmetic with pen and paper but then immediately show errors.
Look at how people practice board games nowadays: they try making their own moves but get a precise computer analysis to reveal when they have made a blunder on the spot, for real-time feedback. This is not the same as just watching the computer play against itself.
Maybe being able to spell perfectly is about as useful a skill as putting shoes on a horse or chipping a piece of stone into an arrowhead.
What if 100% of the time that s devoted to spelling was devoted to something else, like just reading?
I don't think it does. I think it's similar to how people used to lament the loss of the bard who'd memorize songs/stories as reading became increasingly popular. I was just responding on how it changes how we think.
I do think mental math matters, but most people disagree so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Modern ones kind of do - for example, gmail's spell checker now comes with predictive input.
That was my German mother-in-law's rationale for not having a TV in the house while my husband and sister-in-law were kids. “I didn’t have enough time to watch and make sure everything they saw was appropriate.” To her, just because the program claimed to be for children meant that every minute of it (and commercials) was appropriate for her children.
I’m going to say it worked out well overall, because that family is way better at sitting down for calm, well-planned meals and just lounging in a quiet living room, talking to each other than my family is. Slight downside for my husband: he is absolutely incapable of tuning out the constantly-running TV my relatives use for background noise.
Listening to old TV shows like TNG helps distract me enough to fall asleep.
Have you tried avoiding screens for a couple of hours before bed, and reading books instead? I had the same problem - found it difficult to get to sleep - and I have experienced MUCH better sleep since moving my last hour or two before sleep to some light reading.
Yes of course I've "tried" that, although I think this sortof incorrectly frames what I'm talking about as a problem. I don't find listening to star trek while I fall asleep as a problem. If I read before going to bed I will just stay up all night long reading. Activating my mind by reading a book seems like the opposite of what I'm looking to accomplish here.
When my family moved last year, we moved to a school system where Chromebooks are in use. (You can bring your own or the school will provide one for you for free). I was very worried about many of the downsides as well, but after 1.5 years, I think it's actually a pretty big positive.
In my case, my son has ADHD, so getting paperwork organized is a huge challenge for him. Being able to access everything is a life saver for him. About 50% of his homework and projects are completed and submitted online. Getting him to complete a creative project on paper is pulling teeth, but making a slide deck for the same thing with lots of clip art, etc. is easy and he'll do countless revisions.
I think some of the keys to success are that we only use the Chromebook for school stuff. Anything other than schoolwork happens elsewhere. The school system also does a good job balancing things and the "games" we've seen skew far more towards educational rather than game-like. As parents, we make it easy to find the recreational stuff on a different device, but that's a luxury we have that many don't. The result is that the school computer gets used for school.
So, it's possible to make it work well, but I agree that there are many places it can go wrong.
Kids are too developmentally different at that age. They range from the kids whose parents delay kindergarten a year to make them better at sports to the kids put into school early to save money on daycare. Using a trackpad and keyboard is too abstract.
My kids' school uses iPads as limited enrichment devices until grade 3. As a reward, they get to independently use an iPad to do some things. Grade 3 and up Chrome is there in a similar way, and they start requiring them at grade 5. They are a little conservative, but I think they are getting better outcomes, especially with younger kids.
Great point. Our life w/Chromebooks didn't start until Grade 5.
Unrelated, but could you explain this?
It’s a big advantage, especially around 11 or 12, and get kids on more competitive teams earlier.
I coach little league, and we see it all of the time. It’s a compliance issue as kids get a little older and start playing tournaments.
The positive feedback loop they're in pushes them more and more towards the things they're better at than their peers.
Fine. I have a computer and she was able to read the article. She then answered the questions. To my surprise, she hadn't capitalized a single word. I told her that she needed to capitalize her sentences and proper pronouns, and she was annoyed because "my teacher doesn't make us do that."
First I was annoyed because they sent a link, which means that kids without internet access might not be able to complete the assignment. THEN I was upset because her 3rd grade English teacher didn't care that students were paying attention to basic capitalization. And this is in a REALLY good school district.
My grandmother used to make me read three articles from the newspaper. One from the front page, one from the weather pages and one from the sports pages. Puzzles on weekends and it was our job to scan and read out obituaries everyday.
She was born in 1921 and never went to school after 8th grade. She learnt how to spell and write in English because she figured newspaper articles were already spell checked and edited for correct grammar etc. I had to chuckle as I imagined re what she would have said if she were alive in our buzzfeed and dailymail times.
When you are 45 and have 3 kids..and as a housewife have never learnt English..a newspaper lying around was great reading material in the afternoons between cooking and cleaning. And it was cheap..almost free. Self paced language lessons!
The other day we were researching something on wikipedia together for one of her homework assignments and i closed a browser tab by accident, she immediately turned and pressed Ctrl+Shift+T. I asked her how did she learn that. You guessed it, on youtube. One day she was drawing on a online drawing app and she closed the tab by accident and was really upset about loosing the drawing she had made, so she went on youtube and searched how to recover lost tabs.
More than once, my kids have been required to print something out, often in color. I have a crappy inkjet printer, but the quality is so bad that I've taken their assignments and printed them out at Staples a few times.
Society changes. Remember how we were taught that we need to know how to do math on paper because we won't always be carrying a calculator? Nowadays, it may be useful to learn it just to understand the principles behind the math, but it's a lot more useful to learn how to effectively use the calculators (and potential CAS) that we are all carrying in our pockets than to learn how to perform long division on paper.
(Long division in particular seems like one of those skills that contribute little to understanding the principles behind it and are unnecessary nowadays).
In school, I was taught how to write with various implements - had to write some things with a fountain pen, which is a 100% useless skill. A complete waste of time. What I wasn't taught is how to effectively use a keyboard, because school was too obsessed teaching us how to write with ancient instruments just because they were seen as morally superior to the easier to use modern pens.
So, there is SOME use, but not like a Chromebook for everyone (Thank heavens!)
-- JD in JP
I wonder if over time you absorb the information anyways. Also, spell-check telling you there's an error isn't the same as automatically fixing the errors and hiding that there was ever an issue... so I think the right click/see list of likely words / pick one is still a learning process.
I'm 30 and my handwriting is getting much worse unless I deliberately try to write perfectly. It's wild. Sometimes I don't write anything by hand for months at a time.
Here in Quebec we got a spellcheck that I sadly only learned about after high school (though it still helped me so much) called Antidote. They not only tell you what's wrong, but also why it's wrong and trick to avoid that mistake. It's in French though, they do have an English version, but I'm not sure if it's as good. It's spell checking is also much better than the one from Word (though again, French may be the issue here)
Why is this a problem? Augmented spelling isn't bad, and you still have to know the differences between similar correctly spelt words. Learning Chinese, I de-empahsized writing them by hand and being able to write them on computer instead, you still need to know about them, what they look like and how they sound, but the muscle memory isn't necessary.
> - The de-emphasis on handwriting is mentioned in the article. In-class assignments are still handwritten, but take-home projects can be typed.
As a lefty I would have loved this. Our handwriting is already worse because our hand is occluding what we are writing. I got plenty of flack for it in elementary school (to the point that some teachers thought I should I should use my "right" hand instead). The computer was a great equalizer to me, which is one of the reasons I got into them in the first place.
As for the screen time issue, I'm more worried about their eye health, but ya, it is an issue all of us parents are facing these days.
It was an even greater equalizer to me, as a legally blind person. I can see enough to handwrite, but it's laborious. When I was in the third grade, my mother convinced my teachers to let me do as much of my homework as possible on my family's home computer. And sometimes I could do in-class assignments on a computer as well, either in the regular classroom or in the special room for the blind students. I wish we had had ubiquitous laptops back then (late 80s and into the 90s).
Maybe we should go back to what the Ancient Egyptians did and allow people to write in whatever direction they like!
I don't think that is necessarily the best approach - it get's the job done with regard to YouTube, but there is some derrived effect they're missing. I don't think problem is that children watch funny, but ultimately meaningless videos. That give them basis for a social life with their peers. The way I see it, the problem is when they do it too much. What I've done is limit the the available screen time for them. They can do what they want with that time they're allotted, but beyond that it's for homework or hobbies (drawing, guitar, programming, ect.). They learn to prioritize with they available screen time.
I don't have an answer to that question. At least, not a better one than than some vague "it will build character." Do you have another answer in mind?
Something I've been wondering about is the effect of typewriters and word processors on the development of penmanship. Has the average penmanship of a highschool graduate improved or declined with the proliferation of these technologies in schools? Has anybody researched this matter? I have my suspicions, but they're only suspicions.
Supposing it got worse though, would that matter? Maybe the dexterity/coordination skills are transferable. But if that's the case, has that manifested in any apparent way? And if not, does it really matter?
Yes, kids still work on improving their handwriting, but only insofar as it's legible.
I actually think this started out with the death of fountain pens, although computers likely contributed. We might be witnessing the death of connected writing.
And you don't have to, there's youtube-dl, finding the right level material is another story though.
Besides, kids from poor families are probably already disadvantaged in more significant ways, like not having too much time with their parents, since they have to work longer.
I learn so much better when I'm interested in what I learn, making it funny can be a good way to learn it.
> I don't want to have to sit next to them all night making sure that they are only doing 'productive' work.
Can you explain that one a bit more? Do you expect your kid to always do productive work? Is being productive is all you think matters in life?
I used to work in a job that involved access to severely restricted information.
We weren’t allowed to use conventional computer. No access to spellcheckers.
And we were rigorously assesses for spelling, because our reports had a very wide audience.
Knowing how to write well without software support is still a skill required on our world.
Regardless, why be stuck in the past with things like handwriting or spelling or cursive?
It's utterly bizarre to me that people in this thread are seriously suggesting that spelling is an obsolete skill.
It's also not clear to me that spellcheck will lead to people forgetting how to spell, since it's all about notifying you of spelling mistakes.
Whiteboards are something I use more often at work these days, but not really when I was in school.
It’s counterintuitive that people with extremely low IQs aren’t more likely to make spelling mistakes.
No matter what, there will be disadvantages, but it's not the end of the world. At least they have less screentime at home right?
> Tech parents are always like "f yea, of course you block youtube"
"Always"? I highly doubt that. Actually, I bet most tech parents guide their kids on which youtube channels to watch because most tech parents watch youtube.
They are kids. Why are you concerned about 'productive' work. Sounds like you are dealing with a company and employees rather than a family and kids.
Calm down. Everything will be okay. People really do turn into their parents.
The computer immediately shows spelling errors and corrections, TEACHING correct spelling.
> The videos are more about funny jokes than the different phases of matter.
( youtube is a funny one. Non-there are many great youtube channels packed with scientific content, like Smarter Every Day, Veritasium, Mark Rober, CGP Grey, VSauce, engineerguy, Physics Girl, Captain Disillusion, Mathologer, Numberphile, ...
That's a parenting issue not a computer issue. Teach your kids what's allowed and what's not, and check their browser history until they learn how to manipulate it, then check your router logs
The main problem with ed tech is the extremely low quality of the apps the schools buy and make the kids use, not the computers and youtube themselves.
You could watch every video on every one of those channels and you might know a lot of random facts but it won't make you a physicist or a mathematician or a biologist.
>That's a parenting issue not a computer issue. Teach your kids what's allowed and what's not, and check their browser history until they learn how to manipulate it, then check your router logs
Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. There are things I saw on the internet as a child that I still cannot unsee. My parents having seen that I saw them afterwards would not have changed that.
People can learn all sorts of useful things from youtube, but they can also easily waste huge amounts of time, become radicalized by extremists, ....
Many science/technology focused YouTube channels absolutely produce educational content.
You don't need to receive a title or a credential to have received education.
I'm deeply sorry that you've struggled with bad things you saw on the internet. That can be a compelling reason to limit access. But that doesn't redefine education.
That's what I was replying to. And those videos are not educational. They're 'interesting facts' or 'wow science is so coooooool!!!!!111 yeah science!!!11' channels.
>You don't need to receive a title or a credential to have received education.
Fun interesting facts are great for getting people interested in science, but they are not science! People coming away from a Mathloger video interested in maths? Brilliant. People coming away from a Mathloger video thinking they know maths? Not brilliant.
> those videos are not educational
This kind of thing is absolutely “educational” under any reasonable definition of the word https://youtu.be/0KjG8Pg6LGk https://youtu.be/8KmVDxkia_w https://youtu.be/Ku8BOBwD4hc https://youtu.be/k8Rxep2Mkp8 https://youtu.be/1VPfZ_XzisU https://youtu.be/IcrBqCFLHIY
Of course it’s not (and not supposed to be) a substitute for students working problems for themselves, running experiments, conducting interviews, doing research in the stacks, writing papers, writing code, putting each-others’ art through critique, or the like.
Nobody “comes away from a Mathologer video thinking they «know math»” (whatever that is supposed to mean).
I worked in EdTech for the past 4 years and was in contact with the education world.
Digital devices are harmful to younger kids. The brain develops much better when using fine motor skills such as writing with pen and paper. France banned all digital devices in primary schools for a reason and all countries should do it.
The most important factor in getting quality education are not digital devices or educational material but the quality of the teacher. The OECD did a study about the use of computers by students at the school and at home. See the results for yourself. Countries like China, Singapoore, Finland, and Estonia barely use computers but have some of the best PISA academic results.
Indeed. Results of a study published in November 2019  actually show a structural difference between preschool age children who experience a lot of screen time and those who don't. Myelination is reduced in the former. Myelination of brain white matter supports language and literacy skills.
I agree with you in general, but I think the most important factor in getting quality education is parents that value education.
I absolutely agree that (in the USA) K-12 Education's basis should indeed be civic education, or the education required to create excellent citizens. I also absolutely agree that giving kids "technology" (as smartphones, tablets, Baby Shark, and the rest are known) can be unexpectedly close to giving them crack depending on the circumstances.
However, there is one single thing with respect to computing I find relevant overlooked:
I also think it's critical, in a civic sense, that most of the populace has a general understanding of what computation is and how computers "work." Not because I think everyone should code for a career, but because everyone should be able to have some understanding of debates about topics like encryption or automation, and in general have an a mental scaffolding that outlines the invisible infrastructure supporting the daily experiences of our times.
In my view, absent this, too much of the citizenry will increasingly see "technology" in a way that verges on being a bit too close to "magic."
I'm not sure what exactly this means for K-12 education, but I'm pretty sure it means that despite my antipathy for pervasive classroom "technology," there should still be some sort of very planned and mediated curriculum that exposes students to "computing."
Excel is the tool of a creator. Just because it's not a traditional programming language does not mean that it is not an incredibly powerful computational tool, even without VBScript.
We've successfully implemented some very simple computers by letting various class members stand in for components, and we had one very good implementation of TCP/IP over middleschooler.
I love such not-so-random acts of awesomeness! Kudos, steverb.
Question: have you observed some of these kids then "level up" (over the next months, years; "days" is clearly too short to internalize I think) with regards to these topics, or general "abstractions", that made you think "hum, this is definitely very, very much like what I tried to teach with TCP/IP"?
The article cite studies that handwriting is linked to brain development, and reading on paper improves memory, and so on... I'm certainly not in a position to refute those studies, but I have to wonder how complete they are. People once denounced the printing press for causing us to loose our memories, and as a population, we do in fact have worse memories than scholars during the Middle Ages. If we taught intensive memory training in school, memory would likely improve, but do you think that would be an ideal use of student time?
Maybe handwriting is a magical art that improves brain function across the board, but I'm going to need a lot more evidence before I believe that. In the meantime, we should be teaching the skills that people need in today's world, and that overwhelmingly means typing.
Sorry I don't have any link to back this claim but I worked for a couple of years in EdTech with pedagogy experts.
You don't need a ton of practice to get good at typing. Anyone can reach 80 WPM within a year. That's more than enough. Handwriting is much more difficult and needs more practice.
Even software engineers who type all the time need to write on whiteboards to get jobs. /s
Okay, I'll buy that. So, why are we teaching it? For whiteboard interviews?
I realize it will take some restructuring of society before handwriting is an obsolete skill, but gradually de-emphasizing it in school isn't a bad way to get there, over the course of a few generations. The time schools save can be used on any number of other skills.
Here's a list of random, unresearched reasons:
1. It teaches fine motor skills
2. Some people learn reading and writing better when writing by hand. Some people learn better in lectures when taking notes by hand.
3. Tech isn't always available. Sometimes pen/pencil and paper are all you have when you really need to write something.
4. Drawing, painting and other art require learning how to hold and use pencils, brushes, pens, and other tools in a fine, controlled manner. If people are going to learn to make art with manual instruments, they may as well learn to write at the same time.
5. Text input is genuinely more awkward on keyboards for many non-Latin languages, and is less emphasized in development of software products. That relegates those language learners to second-class status as they grapple with tools built for the Latin/Cyrillic world.
6. There's a ton of cultural significance to writing by hand: calligraphy, religious or legal rites.
I can probably come up with a dozen more but to get to your next point.
> And the time schools save can be used for any number of other things.
If you want to talk about outdated holdovers in children's education, summer vacation is the biggest one, dating from when kids were needed on farms to help bring in the harvest. Schools could simply eliminate summer vacations if they really wanted more time to educate. No more complaints about teachers only working 9 months/year, no more summer learning slump (or whatever it's called), no more paying for daycare or summer camp 3 months/year. A lack of time is not a real problem.
I wouldn't be so sure. People can regurgitate from memory dialogs for entire movie series, TV shows, and countless songs. We also remember deeply nested folder structure on numerous computer systems, variety of software interfaces (e.g. click Menu > Tools > Options...), and innumerable memes/facts/lists. Sure we forget a ton (is it needle/haystack or haystack/needle?) but we know and remember a lot more than medieval epic poems.
Navigating the modern world requires an insane amount of memorization but since we no longer need to remember road signs or phone numbers, we feel we remember less today than decades or centuries ago.
- Several phone numbers
- My National Insurance number (UK version of Social Security)
- 16 digit card number for 2 cards, as well as all the other numbers on the cards.
- 10 or so passwords (less important ones are randomly generated and handled by password managers.
So as you say, we may not be able to recite a 50-page poem, but one could argue that it's a lot easier to live in the modern world with many abstract strings memorised, in addition to all the knowledge that's considered crystallised intelligence.
I don't think schools should completely drop handwriting, at least not within my lifetime. It's necessary for filling out forms at the doctor's office, and signing contracts.
But a little basic ability is all you need—you don't need to write neatly or quickly. So if schools want to focus on it less, that makes sense to me.
Nobody should have to write whole passages by hand.
And kids should not be dependent on these disgusting privacy-invading ad platforms we call computers to write things down.
Still, this was a real gem:
> "How did we get here? The American public education system, a rusted-out 1976 mustard sedan whose “check engine” light is always on, is driven by a psychopath who wants, by turns, to crash it for the insurance, to insist that cars can be submarines, and to spend hilarious sums on unnecessary parts."
>Even the brainiest are not safe. In the finance industry, in recent years, we have seen the development of machine learning tools that can perform in minutes the same analysis for which a human computer science major required hours or even days. You can guess which of those resources was less expensive to retain.
EDIT: I'll note that the article cited to support the second point “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation" doesn't acutally refer to "Computer science majors". It lists programmers having a moderate (not high!) chance of automation... and also lists system administrators as having amongst the least automatable jobs of all. Then to support the point that system administrators would have their jobs automated a different paper was cited. I'm not sure how seriously I can take the author with such clear evidence of contradicting the articles it cited and cherry picking evidence to apparently support a point the author had in mind before these papers were ever read. Bluntly the article smacks of outright dishonesty obscured by citing a huge number of lengthy research papers...
Not sure if I buy this take. I received a laptop in school and back then this exact analysis was true and indeed the jobs of administrators, network architects, and computer support administrators was largely automated. So those jobs are far less prevalent than in my childhood right?
Except that's not what happened and the jobs became more prevalent as improved automation made computers cheaper and more useful. I'm not holding my breath over the imminent collapse of jobs involving computers simply because the current work can be automated by... people using computers. Sure this argument is undeniably true if you think computing will stay exactly like it is now except the current jobs will be automated and no new jobs will be created.
My crystal ball is as foggy as anybody elses though. Maybe we will hit the singularity and in that case computing jobs will likely be the very first to be completely replaced.
> ...we have seen the development of machine learning tools that can perform in minutes the same analysis for which a human computer science major required hours or even days.
Statements like this just demonstrate an obvious lack of understanding of how the field of computer science works. Guess who developed those machine learning tools? A machine learning engineer _who more than likely studied CS._
It's just hard to trust the author on other topics where I'm less familiar, seeing the data clearly driven toward a predetermined narrative.
It reeks of cherrypicking to me, regardless of how well justified it is or isn't.
1) To make good people.
2) To make good citizens.
3) To make each person his or her personal best.
But our public school system as envisioned by its creator (Alexander Inglis) in the early 20th century was to simply to reduce as many individuals as much as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry and establish fixed habits of reaction to authority.
Inglis, in his speeches, makes it perfectly clear that compulsory schooling is intended to halt a worldwide democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants and the proletarians a voice and unity. Compulsory schooling was to thwart the prospective unity of these underclasses. Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means to stop the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood from ever reintegrating into a dangerous whole.
In the case of such schools (for the unwashed masses, of course), the medium is definitely the message. Uptight. Neat rows of assigned seating in non-nonsense, screwed-down desks with steel frames and hardwood tops. 'Workbooks', authoritarian teaching by rote (to a model, not to individuals), elected school boards, daily pledges of allegiance, lockstep curriculum, nearly invisible boards of accreditation, etc.
The problems is both things. There are people who have gone too far with the science and tech craze, "the silicon valley bigwigs" and feel that in the end it wasn't really the tech that made the cut for them or they did see people lose out because they didn't have the other bits figured, despite being wonderful at their niche. The other people are the ones who feel that the world is surrendering to the tech and there is no place where tech won't go. It's better to keep catching up with the times than being left out in dilly-dallying over notions, ideas, philosophies, arts and the like.
My concern is both are narrow ways of thinking by themselves. Yes, tech will be everywhere. Yes it is getting important and you won't find a job if you don't know tech etiquette, soon enough at least. But it won't make the cut without understanding people, tendencies, perspectives, arts, histories. New skills are nice and important, but then old values and ways of doing things have inspirations. You can't "disrupt" everything by "the new way of thinking". You will end up destroying a lot of places. Forget that there's a panacea, "the one unified theory", "one ring to rule them all". That's good for a fantasy movie conveying a few ideas, but incomplete when it comes to real life.
My own kids go to private schools in the UK. None of the parents would have any problems buying a load of tablets or VR goggles or whatever if the schools said so, and the schools would not have any problems buying whatever manner of gadgets they thought were needed. These are schools that have historically fed kids to top secondary schools in the area, which in turn feed into the top universities in the country, and the world.
And yet, the classroom is more or less just like the ones I attended as a kid in the 1980s. Bunch of chairs for little people and letters and numbers made from paper cutouts. The blackboard is one of those big touchscreens but it's used mostly like a blackboard. It's a screen for showing videos only when the kids are in after-school care waiting for parents to come get them.
The kids start to read the year they turn 5, and the big kid who is three years in can mostly read an Economist article. Math-wise it's going fine as well.
As a programmer I'd love it if the kids could learn some of what I do, and there's plenty of interest, but essentially the article is right. The point isn't to make little workers who can write an insertion sort. If you are educated, and you wind up in a place where that's needed, it won't take you all that long to figure out.
We've somehow missed the point of education. It isn't to create specific skills that are useful for businesses. The point is to have an understanding of our place in the world, a vast context that encompasses a huge range of topics. If you do that, you will come across those specific skills, and much more.
A new set of standards for education that are meant to cut across state lines (e.g. California and Texas previously set education standards merely through market volume and being the biggest purchasers). It's mostly fine.
A lot of people are upset that they "changed how math works" but what they really did was introduce a bunch of different ways for students to think about math so they can get a working math literacy. Instead of being a prescriptive standards ("this is how math works") its more descriptive ("here are a dozen ways one could reason about math to get the answer"). The hope is that this will allow students to better pick up and understand more advanced math in the future, while also providing more opportunities for struggling students to "get it" (e.g. because one example worked for them).
> As a programmer I'd love it if the kids could learn some of what I do, and there's plenty of interest, but essentially the article is right. The point isn't to make little workers who can write an insertion sort. If you are educated, and you wind up in a place where that's needed, it won't take you all that long to figure out.
I think the important thing, instead of learning how to program insertion sort, or even to program (except perhaps as an extra class), is learning how to reason about basic computing ideas.
Explaining basic ideas like Turing Completeness (and the related ideas of no way to control how another device does things impacts on sharing always meaning copying is possible), NP Hardness (allowing people to reason about how computers actually work, it can only brute force and do clever math, what it can and can't know), cryptography (trust and privacy), and what software engineering vs. programming is (like, discuss the size of code bases, where bugs come from, programming as vocational skill like cooking or writing that is also useful in other fields, etc).
This strikes me as particularly intelligent an approach. That's one of my top 5 complains about my time in school — born in 2982, graduated HS in 2000.
I had great fluency in math because my father basically tutored me in math/physics from 7~16 y.o., so I could help my friends "getting it" usually with a simple drawing or some other approach (and lots, lots of examples to "see" it).
If public education is finally trying to solve this problem, we might have much higher math and logical literacy in future generations. The benefit might be huge in all regards, especially political and social. IMHO.
I could make a cynical conspiracy argument that much of it is designed around promotion of the type of technology presented in the article. "Carry the one" is the simplest thing to explain with a pencil and a blank piece of paper. All the additional Common Core techniques seem to require some kind of visual representation, either via the games sold to the schools and onward to the parents, or via the overpriced blocks promoted to teach these techniques. Yeah you could draw it all out, but geesh you end up doing 90% drawing and 10% teaching. Whether it ends up helping students is moot; it helps put money into a lot of lobbyists' pocketbooks.
In fact, now that I think about it, I find myself probably believing it.
Even when I'm trying to be positive about it, I find it a bit backwards. I think giving beginning students a dozen ways to reason about the answer only adds to the confusion. IMO the better teaching method is give them one way to get the answer. Once they've mastered that, then start looking at additional ways to reason about it.
Yes, because humans are not very logical or abstract thinkers. We are used to visualizing things. It's a lot easier to help students build the abstract and logical thinking required for mathematical literacy if they can fall back on visual representations when they need to.
> Whether it ends up helping students is moot; it helps put money into a lot of lobbyists' pocketbooks.
I mean I value helping students higher. And as you pointed out it can be drawn out.
> IMO the better teaching method is give them one way to get the answer. Once they've mastered that, then start looking at additional ways to reason about it.
Except that that doesn't work well. The point of giving them many different ways to reason about it is so that they can get the core concept and actually learn the concept, rather than just memorizing "the one way".
Basically, I think for good students, CC just makes them memorize stuff they'd come up with on their own, and for poor students it creates too much confusion such that memorization isn't even effective anymore.
It's neither; the american school system is a socialized daycare so that their parents can go work a full day without worrying about what their kids are up to.
If it were, the school day would be more closely in line with work schedules, rather than being about 6 hours long and starting/ending at wildly different times depending on the child's age or just what school they attend.
Parents generally have to supplement supervision at school with beforecare and/or aftercare programs of some sort.
I know sports generally have a metric of "Wins above Replacement" where players are measured in how many wins they are expected to add to their team over a hypothetical average player for their position. I've wondered if you could similarly measure "Learning above reading" where your curriculum is measured in how much the student learns in comparison to if they had just sat down and read a book of their choosing for the same amount of time.
I disagree. Spelling ability doesn't develop in a vacuum. It's the result of an individual's having seen the words before. Reading develops spelling ability. Reading also develops the imagination and one's ability to reason about abstractions. Reading may not have any influence on spatial reasoning or math ability, but I think it's the primary driver of verbal intelligence.
I got better at writing when I took lessons and read books about how to write.
Sending your kid to school to read independently seems like a waste of resources, likely tolerated because it takes work from everyone's shoulders and no one complains. I'd like to see the reading be the homework and the day filled with practice, teacher guidance and student coaching, similar to what Sal Khan promotes. None of this has much to do with technology and screens though...
At our kids school they operate a (third-party) web-based reading comprehension test linked with many books available in the school library.
Kids can collects points in their account on this system if they correctly answer questions about the books they've borrowed and read.
Our eldest has now amassed by far the most points that any child in the school has ever had.
His teacher is convinced it's somehow to do with him chasing lots of points. We, on the other hand, are convinced it's just because he really enjoys reading, and that we have no TV in the house and an awful lot of books...
I heard one person call the ones you can throw a book and they will be good the kids you could put into a dark room and they will emerge literate.
I was also praised as a child because you could leave me in a book store for 5 hours and 5 hours later I would still be in the same spot reading the same book and enjoying it. I realized now I was praised for that because it was rare!
My TAG program in school was just us sitting around a table with the art teacher having inane discussions. Literally zero value added.
It might be useful to actually teach those skills as an independent targeted activity, but turning science or math into a social activity sounds like a lose-lose.
The principal finally took him aside and said "I'm not going to discuss your points. The fact is if we don't adopt them the parents will complain and enrolment (in that private school) will drop as we appear to be behind the times."
Years before I was on the school board and the parents were the biggest problem. For example there was a panic that "technology" must be added to the curriculum (apparently the inclined plane or pulley weren't considered "technology"). The pushback came from the engineers and computer programmers on the school board, and the computing teachers at the high school level. But time was taken from something else and all the 2-6 grade kids learned to use Powerpoint and Word which essentially none of them (now all college age) have used in years.
My computer classes in ~6th grade (1999) involved at some point learning Excel by building stock portfolio spreadsheets, researching companies on the internet, making “investments” and tracking our profits over time. We learned Word and Powerpoint as well, but getting into the formulas in Excel was super fun for me, and came at a time when I was starting to play with Basic and Perl outside of school.
After that I was also way ahead of future friends in high school and college at building out spreadsheet calculators for science projects, research papers, club budgets, whatever.
I was back home a few years ago and ran into the teacher who taught that class and actually thanked him specifically for his Excel classes, as they’d caught my interest enough to still be thinking about them 20 years later!
Way better than all the time we spent learning cursive...
I think this is a key point. Insofar as computers or ipads can free up more time for other studies, they're a positive development, but insofar as they take away time from other studies, it seems like a negative.
I learned recently that the school district I attended as a child is phasing out their home economics program. They always had two teachers for that, one would teach the cooking half and the other the sewing, switching every quarter. Well, one retired a few years ago and the school district seems to have no interest in hiring a replacement, so the remaining teacher dropped the sewing section completely and now only teaches cooking to kids. But she's going to retire in a few years too and has told me the school district has no interest in hiring a replacement for her. Those classes weren't worth much to me since I learned to cook at home (incidentally that school teacher is my mother..) but a lot of kids have never done anything more sophisticated in their kitchens than use the microwave, if that. A lot of kids have parents that don't have the time or inclination to teach them how to cook, maybe they don't even know themselves. This trend concerns me a lot more than the ability to spell. Being able to cook for yourself is cheaper and potentially healthier than buying microwave TV dinners the rest of your life. And for that matter, the only serious nutrition education that school district provides is in that course. Unless they're going to replace that class with a nutrition class, they'll certainly be doing those kids a disservice.
See also: "Figure 5. Trends in obesity prevalence among adults aged 20 and over (age adjusted) and youth aged 2–19 years: United States, 1999–2000 through 2015–2016" - https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db288.pdf
At the high school level, kids of my collegues (especially boys) have significant advantage compared to kids of other people.
It's similar to how mathematics is typically taught to kids in the systems I'm familiar with (US, DE, AU): mostly as syntactic transformations unattached to anything useful. Apparently the teachers have a propensity to be "afraid" of maths which is one reason they might choose to go into early education. The kids may be able to pass a simple maths test but not really have and feel for what it is.
And also, basic knowledge of word will not harm them. They are not taught word in deep details, they basically learn few basics - that files exists and can be opened with it. For many kids it is first encounter with anything remotely like that.
Again, it is stuff that programmers kids just know by osmosis living with parents, that is why it looks pointless to teach. But many kids simply dont.
I am grateful to have gone through school before the internet and mobile devices became mainstream. I think kids today have it significantly harder than I did.
I think computers have the most to teach us when we are the ones teaching them (i.e., programming them), and that the promise of 1980s computers was that they could do whatever you want (that was within their capacity), the drawback being that they came with very limited functionality out of the box and must be programmed (or loaded with external software) to be useful; whereas today, computers and computer-like devices such as phones come with lots of functionality out of the box, but they do things that might not be what you want. (Crash due to brittle OS/drivers, sudden UI or functionality changes due to "mandatory updates", DRM, spyware...) This plus the ready accessibility of obscene or offensive content makes me very wary about giving internet-connected devices to the very young (< 14 years or so). If kids are to be exposed to computers, we should teach them to be their masters, not their slaves. And we should strictly temper screen time, because their growing bodies and minds need time outside more than they need time in front of a screen.
Case in point: The widespread use of Grammarly is dumbing down everyone. Why actually learn proper grammar, spelling, common idioms, and syntax, if AI can basically do it for you? What as a society do we gain from such things? I can’t help but imagine that at some point our understanding of language will become so simplified that we’ll need a proxy language to express “real” phrases so that all we have to do is bang out basic ideas on some kind of modified keyboard which will translate it to real language.
I think there is a good case to be made that kids actually learn much faster than ever, thanks to things like YT and Wikipedia. Before the Internet, it was very difficult to connect to really skillful people in the world, there were pockets of talent but really disconnected. If you were outside the pocket, you were pretty much screwed. Today it's not the case.
Of course you can question usefulness of the skills learned, but that is a separate question, I think. Fashion in these skills is probably faster than in the past, for better or worse.
NB Even when I'm trying to be positive about it, I find it a bit backwards. I think giving beginning students a dozen ways to reason about the answer only adds to the confusion. IMO the better teaching method is give them one rote mechanical way to get the answer and explain that as best you can. Once they've mastered that, then start looking at additional ways to reason about it (if necessary).
But when we actually did it, it was basically fine. Obviously everyone still learnt the standard place value algorithms (by that point we already knew them, and they didn't stop teaching them to younger kids), but people also learnt other strategies like: if I'm adding 47 to 54, I can simplify that by instead adding 50 (47 + 3) to 57 (54 + 3), which is 107. It was about learning what you to terms like 47 + 54 without changing the value.
Another one I think I remember being mentioned was thinking of 124 x 52 as 100 x 52 + 20 x 52 + 4 x 52. Of course, that's exactly what you're doing with the standard algorithm! The 'algorithm' you learn when you're 5 is just the same as the 'strategy' you learn when you're 10, but presented as something you do on paper rather than something you do in your head.
I also remember learning about ways to approximate these sorts of things. So you want to work out 4241 x 1245 - well you can work it out, but you should probably also work out what 4000 x 1000 is and use that to check that your answer is of the right order of magnitude. And if you're just working something out quickly, then maybe all you need is 4200 x 1300, that's obviously close enough for any practical usage.
I don't remember exactly what I learnt then which to me is a sign it was probably very effective: I internalised the strategies, some of which I was probably already using, some of which I probably didn't remember but thought about again later. It all seems very obvious now, of course, but it's different when you're 10.
Haha, okay I get it, it was a slip. But it's kind of the point from my perspective. All these different techniques of moving stuff around seems fraught with ways to misunderstand it or muck it up. At best they should be supplementary skills, and shouldn't be taught as the primary techniques. Per Common Core guidelines, or at least per the stuff my first grader is bringing home, it seems like all these tricks are taught as the foundation, which seems backwards.
Maybe my opinion will change as my kids progress. I'm by no means married to my stance on the approach, and would be happy if it does indeed lead to better understanding. But now I'm not seeing it as a great approach to math, and the cynical side of me can imagine that there's more money and politics there than people think.
I never understood the kids who "just wanted to know how to get the answer." Like, any monkey can follow a protocol. Why does it work? That's the brain muscle worth growing.
Mathematics is a foundation for systematic logical thinking. Rote memorization comes in so that you don't need to work through the why once you have mastered the why of that problem; to enable thinking about more complex relationships. But if you didn't really get the simpler relationship, maybe it's not time to move on...
Disclaimer: I have zero personal experience with Common Core outside the kind of anecdotes I come across like in this thread
That's why I say common core, even though the goal is more understanding and less memorization, actually leads toward the opposite.
>Haha, okay I get it, it was a slip.
Yikes that's embarrassing. Yeah 47 + 3 to 54 - 3 obviously. Of course I brainfart exactly there. Should note that you messed up too: I said 47 + 54, not 47 + 53. :D
> At best they should be supplementary skills, and shouldn't be taught as the primary techniques
Absolutely 100% agree.
I just started my son at Waldorf in the Sierra Nevadas. Would recommend to anyone if you have one near you.
We ended up going with a preschool that was a chaotic hodgepodge, the best part of which they had two mandatory outside play times, no exceptions for weather.
Waldorf is extremely conforming. Good intentions with the wrong focus.
> STEM ideologues and real educators are pursuing very different goals. The purpose of education in the sciences is to cultivate children as knowers in and of the world. The purpose of STEM programs is just to create more of a certain kind of worker.
as someone with a computer engineering degree currently working on an MFA, I couldn't agree more. I have learned more about the consequences and impact of my work in a half year of MFA studies than I did in five years of engineering studies.
> The sciences and mathematics have a historic place in the curriculum, and technology does not, for the simple reason that the latter is not inherently “about” anything. Absent human contributions on specific topics, cut off from the subject matter of academic work, technology is nothing—an electron microscope without any samples, darkened VR goggles, an empty spreadsheet. Specializing in techne as such means trying to teach people to be good at “making” without having any idea of what to make, or why to make it.
> technology is nothing—an electron microscope without any samples,
Pretty sure there's actually not many electron microscopes and quite a lot of samples in schools.