Sunday, May 25, 2008

Computer + Student ≠ Education

Well knock me over with a feather!

I spent a great amount of time at the Internet Governance Forum in Rio, last November wondering aloud exactly WHY it is that "we" need to wire Africa so they can look at naked Russian teenagers like the rest of the world.

Despite the hand-wavery crowd was loudly braying that hooking up Africans would make things all better over there.

OK. Except maybe first we should, you know, fix the problems of a lack of food and electricity? I know, I know, give them computers and they will fix their own problems, and to a degree, that is indeed correct, but they are no a panacea.

So anyway, the computerization of educations appears to be a bit of a flop over in wealthier climes, too.

Thanks for the PC. What do I do with it?

CORONADO, Calif.--This probably doesn't come as a surprise to most parents, but plopping a computer down in front of a student doesn't necessarily translate into academic success.

Don Helfgott of Inspiration Software, Tom Greaves of Project Inkwell, and Jeanette Hammock of True North Logic (left to right) discuss technology in education.
(Credit: Tom Krazit/CNET

We've heard a lot in recent years about the One Laptop Per Child initiative, and similar competing programs, which aim to improve educational standards in various parts of the world through computing power. But according to a panel discussion at the Future in Review conference, the computer itself isn't the issue; educators need to find meaningful ways to introduce computers into their day-to-day instructional process.

I think that one thing that should be taught in school is the lesson about "The Internet is Forever". i was out for brunch with a friend and her younger sister, who is precocious but clearly on the verge of nubility and adolescence. .. I tried to give the girl a little advice about not trusting anybody with personal information online, i don't know if any of it sunk in.

The reason I did so was a couple of weeks ago when searching for a friend on Facebook, I found a young girl with the same name as my friend. She's in secondary school somewhere in America. She probably thought it wise and funny to write FUCK and ME on each of her boobs she partially flashed on her FB profile. I'm willing to bet she will come to regret that decision.

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