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War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law (technology, culture, and education commentary)
PBS ^ | March 21, 2008 | Robert X. Cringely

Posted on 03/23/2008 6:51:28 AM PDT by FreedomPoster

There is a technology war coming. Actually it is already here but most of us haven't yet notice. It is a war not about technology but because of technology, a war over how we as a culture embrace technology. It is a war that threatens venerable institutions and, to a certain extent, threatens what many people think of as their very way of life. It is a war that will ultimately and inevitably change us all, no going back. The early battles are being fought in our schools. And I already know who the winners will be.

This is a war over how we as a culture and a society respond to Moore's Law.

The real power of Moore's Law lies in what the lady at the bank called "the miracle of compound interest," which has allowed personal computers to increase in performance a millionfold over the past 30 years. There's a similar, if slower, effect that governs the rate at which individuals are empowered by the technology they use. Called Cringely's Nth Law of Computing (because I have forgotten for the moment what law I am up to, whether it is five or six), it says that waves of technological innovation take approximately 30 years - one human generation - to be completely absorbed by our culture. That's 30 years to become an overnight sensation, 30 years to finally settle into the form most useful to society, 30 years to change the game.

The key word here is "empowerment." Technologies allow us to overcome limitations of time, distance, and physical capability, but they only empower us when they can be gracefully used by large, productive segments of our society. The telephone was empowering when we all finally got it. Now it is the Internet and digital communications.

Let's be clear about what we're measuring here. It has very little to do with specific technologies and everything to do with our adaptation to technology as a culture. What Cringely's Nth Law of Computing predicts is our rate of adaptation to technological life. This happens not at the rate technologies are developed but at the rate we are capable of broadly absorbing them. We've seen this sort of thing before, of course. I used to work in user interface design and noticed long ago that it took about a decade for every new interface standard to be absorbed by technical culture. This dates back a lot longer than most of us might guess, all the way back to microfilm readers in the 1960s. Older engineers couldn't stand reading microfilm while younger engineers found it effortless. Same for microfiche, which followed microfilm. The same effect could be found in typing: older people - mainly men - wouldn't adapt to it, but those who used a typewriter in high school or college quickly learned they could not live without it. Ditto for computers, first with batch processing, then time-sharing terminals, then command-line PCs, then graphical user interfaces, and now emerging mobile platforms. Each new technology is difficult for the older generation and easy for the younger, which explains why I am a PC master but a texting idiot. I'm just too damned old.

Here, buried in my sixth paragraph, is the most important nugget: we've reached the point in our (disparate) cultural adaptation to computing and communication technology that the younger technical generations are so empowered they are impatient and ready to jettison institutions most of the rest of us tend to think of as essential, central, even immortal. They are ready to dump our schools.

I came to this conclusion recently while attending Brainstorm 2008, a delightful conference for computer people in K-12 schools throughout Wisconsin. They didn't hold breakout sessions on technology battles or tactics, but the idea was in the air. These people were under siege.

I started writing educational software in 1978. The role of instructional technology has changed since then from a gimmick to a novelty to an effort to an essential component of any curriculum. Kids can't go to school today without working on computers. But having said that, in the last five years more and more technical resources have been turned to how to keep technology OUT of our schools. Keeping kids from instant messaging, then text messaging or using their phones in class is a big issue as is how to minimize plagiarism from the Internet. These defensive measures are based on the idea that unbound use of these communication and information technologies is bad, that it keeps students from learning what they must, and hurts their ability to later succeed as adults.

But does it?

These are kids who have never known life without personal computers and cell phones. But far more important, there is emerging a class of students whose PARENTS have never known life without personal computers and cell phones. The Big Kahuna in educational discipline isn't the school, it is the parent. Ward Cleaver rules. But what if Ward puts down his pipe and starts texting? Well he has.

Andy Hertzfeld said Google is the best tool for an aging programmer because it remembers when we cannot. Dave Winer, back in 1996, came to the conclusion that it was better to bookmark information than to cut and paste it. I'm sure today Dave wouldn't bother with the bookmark and would simply search from scratch to get the most relevant result. Both men point to the idea that we're moving from a knowledge economy to a search economy, from a kingdom of static values to those that are dynamic. Education still seems to define knowing as more important than being able to find, yet which do you do more of in your work? And what's wrong with crimping a paragraph here or there from Cringely if it shows you understand the topic?

This is, of course, a huge threat to the education establishment, which tends to have a very deterministic view of how knowledge and accomplishment are obtained - a view that doesn't work well in the search economy. At the same time K-12 educators are being pulled back by No Child Left Behind, they are being pulled forward (they probably see it as pulled askew) by kids abetted by their high-tech Generation Y (yes, we're getting well into Y) parents who are using their Ward Cleaver power not to maintain the status quo but to challenge it.

This is an unstable system. Homeschooling, charter schools, these things didn't even exist when I was a kid, but they are everywhere now. There's only one thing missing to keep the whole system from falling apart - ISO certification.

I've written about this for years and nobody ever paid attention, but ISO certification is what destroyed the U.S. manufacturing economy. With ISO 9000 there was suddenly a way to claim with some justification that a factory in Malaysia was precisely comparable to an IBM plant on the Hudson. Prior to then it was all based on reputation, not statistics. And now that IBM plant is gone.

Well reputation still holds in education, though its grip is weakening. I know kids from good families who left high school early with a GED because they were bored or wanted to enter college early. Maybe college is next.

MIT threw videos of all its lecture courses - ALL its lecture courses - up on the web for anyone to watch for free. This was precisely comparable to SGI (remember them?) licensing OpenGL to Microsoft. What is it, then, that makes an MIT education worth $34,986? Is it the seminars that aren't on the web? Faculty guidance? Research experience? Getting drunk and falling in the Charles River without your pants? Right now it is all those things plus a dimensionless concept of educational quality, which might well go out the window if some venture capitalist with too much money decides to fund an ISO certification process not for schools but for students.

The University of Phoenix is supposedly preparing a complete middle and high school online curriculum available anywhere in the world. I live in Charleston, SC where the public schools are atrocious despite spending an average of $16,000 per student each year. Why shouldn't I keep my kids at home and online, demanding that the city pay for it?

Because that's not the way we do it, that's why.

Well times are changing.

Steve Jobs rejects the idea of Apple making or distributing e-books because he says people don't read books. He's right, book readers are older. Young readers graze. They search. Look how they watch TV. Steve didn't say people are stupid or we're all going to Hell in a handbasket. He just said we don't read books.

Technology is beginning to assail the underlying concepts of our educational system - a system that's huge and rich and so far fairly immune to economic influence. But the support structure for those hallowed and not so hallowed halls has always been parents willing to pay tuition and alumni willing to give money, both of which are likely to change over a generation for reasons I've just spent 1469 words explaining. We are nearing the time when paying dues and embracing proxies for quality may give way having the ability to know what kids really know, to verify what they can really do, not as 365th in their class at Stanford but as Channing Cringely, who just graduated from nowhere with the proven ability to design time machines.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: education; homeschool; homeschooling
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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The commentary on education is pretty interesting. The fact that this was actually published by PBS, even more so.
1 posted on 03/23/2008 6:51:29 AM PDT by FreedomPoster
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To: FreedomPoster

Great read...Interesting take on public education, and I am sure the lefty teachers who listen to PBS are not pleased.


2 posted on 03/23/2008 6:59:38 AM PDT by milwguy (........)
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger

Ping, for your consideration.


3 posted on 03/23/2008 7:07:06 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: FreedomPoster
The fact that this was actually published by PBS, even more so.

Actually, the article has some truth; but it's squarely in the PBS camp in a lot of regards. He and our educational establishment both believe that kids really don't have to know stuff. He buzzwords it as "moving from the knowledge based economy to the search based economy." That is just another excuse for not teaching stuff to our kids.

The reality is that you can have the biggest, most powerful search engine in the world and it doesn't mean a thing if you are searching for information about Brittany Spears. Being able to search is founded on a knowledge base that tells you that you need to search, that a search of a particular sort may be useful, and the whether the result are meaningful.

So instead of dumping all that silly "knowledge" stuff, the internet makes it MUCH more important. Ironically, the best education right now is a classical education. Very broad and designed to instill context. The internet is meaningless without that info being put in context.

4 posted on 03/23/2008 7:10:36 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: FreedomPoster
Robert X. Cringely

IIRC, this fellow was the host (and/or writer?) of a PBS show
about the birth of the personal computer.
I think the title was "Revenge of The Geeks"; it was a fairly
good show (meaning it was really good for something done by PBS!)
5 posted on 03/23/2008 7:17:47 AM PDT by VOA
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To: FreedomPoster
I only "grazed" the piece so I didn't see if the emminent intellect that crafted it bothered to make the distinction between "information" and "knowledge," or between "knowledge" and "wisdom," or if he addressed whether there is any relationship at all between "information" and "wisdom" that is anything but coincidental.

I didn't see a distinction made between "medium" and "method" and how these affect "perception," something I would think would be front and center on an educator's radar...

Finally, if society's collective intelligence, after a generation so, is based on machinery and common databases, then I suppose the old saw "knowledge is power" takes on a whole new meaning - one that ought to put the fear of God into everyone. And what sorts of citizens will we be by then; and what sorts of citizens will we be when the foundations are manipulated or rendered useless?

***

If you're not a one, you're a zero.

6 posted on 03/23/2008 7:18:36 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
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To: FreedomPoster

> They are ready to dump our schools.

Anyone who thinks this even possible, seriously
misunderstands the purpose of government schools.
They have nothing to do with topical education.

The goals of government schools are:
1. Perpetuation of the government school system.
2. Indoctrination of teacher union dogma.
3. [irrelevant - everything else is subordinate to 1&2]


7 posted on 03/23/2008 7:22:31 AM PDT by Boundless (Legacy Media is hazardous to your mental health)
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To: FreedomPoster
I've written about this for years and nobody ever paid attention, but ISO certification is what destroyed the U.S. manufacturing economy.

Someone who thinks that is probably wrong about a lot of other things too.

If anything 'destroyed' the US manufacturing, and there is very little actual evidence that it's destroyed, it's the myraid of OSHA, EPA, ADA, and a scores of other Leftist regulations that punish employers for hiring people, using our God given natural resources (trees and oil come to mind), or for selling a product at a profit.

8 posted on 03/23/2008 7:23:26 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: Boundless

Pretty well so, as predicted by the Iron Law of Bureaucracy.


9 posted on 03/23/2008 7:35:44 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: FreedomPoster

The Washington DC public schools spend over $13,000 per pupil per year. 12 x $13,000 = $156,000 to educate a single child.

But this school system reports that less than 10% of its graduates are proficient in math and science at graduation.

$156,000/0.10 = $1.56 MILLION! to graduate a single young adult who is proficient in math and science from this school district.

Let the excuse-making begin! When can we admit that the entire process of public schooling is a abject failure, one that wastes both enormous amounts of money, and wastes an enormous number of lives of the students who fail to achieve proficiency because of the very nature of the factory education the system insists on delivering?


10 posted on 03/23/2008 7:36:58 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: Balding_Eagle

> ISO certification is what destroyed the U.S. manufacturing economy.
Probably the truest statement that I seen in a long time.
I’ve worked for 2 ISO certified companies (both out of business) and one company that made a conscious decision to never go ISO. It is thriving. I remember of CEO making a public statement 6 years ago that ISO culture is the quickest way to the unemployment line and it is true.


11 posted on 03/23/2008 7:43:02 AM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: FreedomPoster
Being "educated" is made up of two things: Learning certain things and learning how, in the future, to look up things that you didn't learn, or how to educate yourself further, when the need arises.

These certain things that are learned is the "Body of Knowledge". What Body of Knowledge do you need to watch Jeopardy and what Body of Knowledge do you need to be a contestant. I may not be able to answer all the questions on Jeopardy fast enough, but I could go to the library and look them up, or could buy reference books for home use to look them up, or now use the internet to look them up.

But, there has to be a body of knowledge that is common to everyone and used by everyone in society, or sub-groups of society. And, the Body of Knowledge that a society uses defines the society.

12 posted on 03/23/2008 7:45:17 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: the invisib1e hand

Agree completely with your comments. But the ability to access information will change the world, which I think is the main point of the commentary. Instead of only the elites of the world having this ability, soon everyone will...if they want it.

The basis for all education is wonder. Those that wonder why and are motivated, will find the answer. These are the knowledge seekers and ultimately the ones who move us forward. Now all of the seekers of answers to important questions have the means to get them. That has never been the case before.

But I believe that the only real problem we have here in America is that we do a poor job of educating those that wonder. I think the authors point is that now poor schools will get bypassed, and that’s a good thing.


13 posted on 03/23/2008 7:47:34 AM PDT by JeanLM
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To: BuffaloJack

How did ISO destroy the manufacturing?


14 posted on 03/23/2008 7:49:57 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: Ben Ficklin; the invisib1e hand

I wouldn’t disagree with your statements.

The key point her brings, from my perspective, is Why does that core set on knowledge have to be imparted via the traditional education system? If you can independently certify that knowledge is in place, who cares about a degree from XYZ high school or ABC university?


15 posted on 03/23/2008 7:50:58 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: BuffaloJack

All manufactures have always used or conformed to some type of certification. ISO is no different, only wider in scope.


16 posted on 03/23/2008 7:52:03 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: Ben Ficklin; the invisib1e hand

Jeez, need more coffee.

The key point here, from my perspective, is Why does that core set of knowledge have to be imparted via the traditional education system? If you can independently certify that knowledge is in place, who cares about a degree from XYZ high school or ABC university?


17 posted on 03/23/2008 7:52:48 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: FreedomPoster

I think this is a good article.

With college tuition and expenses increasing at a rate of at least 5% to 10% per year it is increasingly hard for parents to justify guaranteeing an additional, seemingly automatic $2,000 a year more for student loans.

One of my sons witnessed those increases of $2,000 a year over 4 years for what? And the problem is, the student loan people keep loaning more money as if it justifies the increases in education spending. And exactly WHAT was improved that cost $8,000 more the 4th year that it did the 1st year of College?

Same with public secondary and elementary education. The costs keep going up, supported by tax formulas that keep going up. But the quality keeps going down. At what point do people start saying enough is enough? Can they continue supporting an automatically higher costing status quo? Or even worse, a decline or reduction of quality standards of education when not justified by increased costs?

Technology could indeed render traditional group schooling obsolete. Obviously the teachers unions and school administrators are going to fight to maintain their controlling grip on the educational standards they deem necessary for students. But the overriding motive behind traditional educators maintaing their grip on schooling is to maintain their legitimacy as employable and not expendable.


18 posted on 03/23/2008 7:54:26 AM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: JeanLM
Interesting. I gather you're an educator?

I have to flag this very idealistic statement:These are the knowledge seekers and ultimately the ones who move us forward.

The structure of modern civilization which is being overturned before our eyes used to vet and required proof of fitness for any who would rise to significant places of influence and/or power. That structure, where it hasn't already been undone, has decreasing credibility and effectiveness. In other words, insitutions that once protected are now doing so less and less; in fact, many have become hostile to their constituents.

When the means of power and influence are "open to all as never before [to paraphrase]" the question of fitness for it becomes paramount.

Those who are going to "move us forward:" are you sure you want them to?

In this wild-west of means that society is becoming, morality is the guidance and strength that is utterly required. But of course, the most persuasive and desirable of power seekers will be completely devoid of it.

The ramifications are startling.

"Knowledge is power" is now become a threat, because what passes for knowledge is but a shell of it and can be created on the fly and delivered en masse to...anyone, regardless of motive.

19 posted on 03/23/2008 7:56:30 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
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To: FreedomPoster
The key point here, from my perspective, is Why does that core set of knowledge have to be imparted via the traditional education system? If you can independently certify that knowledge is in place, who cares about a degree from XYZ high school or ABC university?

because "traditional education" is a social experience, and humans are social beings.

20 posted on 03/23/2008 7:57:37 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
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To: FreedomPoster
Theoretically, it shouldn't matter where or how you learn it.
21 posted on 03/23/2008 7:57:41 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: the invisib1e hand
allow me to refine this: it isn't that knowledge must be "imparted via the traditional education system."

My following point is appropos.

22 posted on 03/23/2008 7:59:43 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
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To: ModelBreaker

The biggest problem I see with researching for information on a huge search engine is that the capability of limiting information is present. Demonstrate how commie Red China can limit internet browsing to their list of approved sites. The same can be done worldwide and there is much talk about how to limit content and information available even here in America. Of course, the reasons given are the noble “protecting the children” arguement.

Truth is, people have been manipulating history books for decades and now a whole generation has access to comparitive history beyond the brick and mortar school and it’s books. That scares educators because they can no longer control the ciriculum and it reduces their legitimacy and importance. Socialism cannot be taught if the children have access to contrasting content.


23 posted on 03/23/2008 8:03:57 AM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: the invisib1e hand
"Knowledge is power" is now become a threat, because what passes for knowledge is but a shell of it and can be created on the fly and delivered en masse to...anyone, regardless of motive.

First of all a threat to what? What, if it's based in Truth, needs defense?

It seems to me that certain things are self evident and if certain institutions are being overturned or seeing their foundations crumble then perhaps they weren't that closely based upon Truthful principles afterall.

You'd have some form of gatekeeping (censorship)in place to protect us from ourselves?

IMO it's already way too late to try putting the cork in the bottle. Look at Tibet the Chinese are trying to choke off information and yet somehow in this wired up world it seeps through the cracks like water carrying away what is meant to contain it.

24 posted on 03/23/2008 8:19:25 AM PDT by ninonitti
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To: ninonitti
You'd have some form of gatekeeping (censorship)in place to protect us from ourselves?

Oh, the dreaded "c" word. I guess I'd better go get my asbestos suit....

***

OK, I'm back. Nobody said anything about putting a cork back in any bottle. Tibet and China? This is my point exactly! You frame your response according to the "hot story." That's what "hot media" does. Does that make it knowledge, or opinion, or some hybrid?

It's caveat emptor like never before. And when you can't trust that your mates are all on the same page, you can kiss real progress goodbye for a long, long time.

25 posted on 03/23/2008 8:23:54 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
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To: ModelBreaker
Being able to search is founded on a knowledge base that tells you that you need to search, that a search of a particular sort may be useful, and the whether the result are meaningful.

Good point. One can be "educated" in that one can find lots of information about a particular thing, but real education is comprehensive and requires one to put things in context. A truly educated person wants to understand a topic and not just lazily "graze" for random or convenient details.

A student brought up on typical leftist propaganda might be vaguely aware that Japan and the U.S. were on opposite sides during WWII, and, looking for evidence of U.S. "war crimes," he might be able to find out a lot of information about Hiroshima. This will confirm his belief in alleged U.S. war crimes and he will stop his inquiry there. He will know nothing about the goals of the Japanese Empire. He will know nothing about Japanese atrocities in China and other places. If told of such atrocities, he will dismiss it as irrelevant to the matter of alleged U.S. war crimes. Furthermore, he will see the Hiroshima bombing as having nothing to do with other events of WWII, but then he may tie in Hiroshima with the war in Iraq. Someone might be able to search for facts but be willingly ignorant of the larger picture.

26 posted on 03/23/2008 8:35:41 AM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: FreedomPoster

Maybe I’m missing something here. The author states as fact that “K-12 educators are being pulled back by No Child Left Behind” without any context or exposition. Is this a generally accepted fact? Or is it so within the context of the article’s topic?


27 posted on 03/23/2008 8:43:25 AM PDT by CheneyClone
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To: the invisib1e hand

A saw from the home schoolers, is that if you want to simulate the public school experience in the home, take your kid to the bathroom, blow smoke in his face, swear at him, beat him up, and take his lunch money.

There are plenty of other ways to gain social experience than sitting in classrooms.


28 posted on 03/23/2008 8:44:24 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: CheneyClone

It is to me. From my perspective, No Child Left Behind means No Child Gets Ahead, and is just one more step on the well-trodden path to schools geared for the least common denominator.


29 posted on 03/23/2008 8:48:15 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: FreedomPoster
Andy Hertzfeld said Google is the best tool for an aging programmer because it remembers when we cannot. Dave Winer, back in 1996, came to the conclusion that it was better to bookmark information than to cut and paste it. I'm sure today Dave wouldn't bother with the bookmark and would simply search from scratch to get the most relevant result. Both men point to the idea that we're moving from a knowledge economy to a search economy, from a kingdom of static values to those that are dynamic. Education still seems to define knowing as more important than being able to find, yet which do you do more of in your work? And what's wrong with crimping a paragraph here or there from Cringely if it shows you understand the topic?

A delightful, wonderful paragraph! No time to go further on it though ...

30 posted on 03/23/2008 8:48:38 AM PDT by bvw
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To: FreedomPoster
Well reputation still holds in education, though its grip is weakening. I know kids from good families who left high school early with a GED because they were bored or wanted to enter college early. Maybe college is next.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

My kids never went to school. My 3 entered community college at the ages of 13, 12, and 13. All finished Calculus III by the age of 15, and all their college general courses.

My prediction:

Even the brink and mortar college can be dumped for much of the routine stuff ( and that includes Calculus III). There are on-line law schools now, and in my opinion even a lot of medical school could be done on-line.

Government school:

Government schools are NOT about educating children. They ARE about maintaining a government white-collar jobs program for collage grads with the lowest SAT and GRE scores on campus.

31 posted on 03/23/2008 9:04:49 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: metmom
This is an article of interest to homeschoolers.

The availability of excellent curriculum through technology is **definitely “Another Reason(s) to Homeschool!

32 posted on 03/23/2008 9:09:52 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Amelia; Gabz; Softballmom

Public Education Ping!

Those interested in Public Education would enjoy this thought provoking article.


33 posted on 03/23/2008 9:11:37 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: FreedomPoster

This guy is a savant and actually understands the dynamic of technology as a container of society. Media analyst Marshall McLuhan said 50 years ago that technology is assimilitated when it becomes invisible, part of the gestalt background rather than an object of the attention of learning. but I think sodiety’s learning curve is faster than 30 years. The death of TV and the birth of the computer as both entertainment and information center is a smooth transition, much like the advent of the remote control tuner was a smooth transition. Anything that increases the efficiency of extant technology is a smooth transition.

Yep, schools are dead. All we need is for governments to close their physical plant schools, issue every newborn a laptop and wifi, and unleash the battalions of game programmers to create the new game- “Grades 1- 16”. Burn your textbook digests, they are cartoon programming. The online Library of Alexandria has all the original source materials. For the first time in history any human can teach himself anything.


34 posted on 03/23/2008 9:12:24 AM PDT by Yollopoliuhqui
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To: wintertime

With medical and nursing, engineering, and the sciences, there are hands-on lab components that won’t work online. But, as you say, much of the curriculum could be online.


35 posted on 03/23/2008 9:25:19 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: the invisib1e hand
OK, I'm back. Nobody said anything about putting a cork back in any bottle. Tibet and China? This is my point exactly! You frame your response according to the "hot story." That's what "hot media" does. Does that make it knowledge, or opinion, or some hybrid? It's caveat emptor like never before. And when you can't trust that your mates are all on the same page, you can kiss real progress goodbye for a long, long time.

I chose China/Tibet because I felt it illustrates the point about information/knowledge that it is flowing at a greater rate today than ever before. What is it really? just thought forms. Neither hot nor cold.

We can attempt to capture these forms in a body of knowledge say a book or school of thought but given the environment today it's often obsolete before it makes it to a shelf or university faculty.

I agree it's real slippery out on these rocks but as ObiWan told Luke "Trust the Force" when it comes to this blizzard of information. I believe we have enough intuitive sense to sort this stuff out individually and collectively. As I see it how you see progress gets down to whether the glass is half full or empty.

36 posted on 03/23/2008 9:25:51 AM PDT by ninonitti
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To: Yollopoliuhqui

Yep, schools are dead.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The NEA and AFT just doesn’t know it yet! Neither do the government school defenders on this board.


37 posted on 03/23/2008 9:26:20 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: FreedomPoster

Fantastic article.

I told my kids they only needed to learn 3 things in school: Math, Reading, Research skills. They can teach themselves everything else they need from those 3 building blocks.

Math; learn as much as you possibly can.

Reading; as fast as possible, as much comprehension as possible.

Research skills; finding what you want to know, even when you don’t exactly know what you want to know. You might call it flexibility.

If you can do that, you have the world in the palm of your hand.


38 posted on 03/23/2008 9:28:12 AM PDT by live+let_live
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To: FreedomPoster

I can’t comment on the ISO aspects of the article - it’s outside my purview, however, every other aspect of the article is spot on. I’ve actually been considering the amazing shift that’s occurred in the last 20 years and how it is slowly leaving me behind. I’m a software developer and have been on a computer almost full time since I was 11 yet I feel out of touch now.


39 posted on 03/23/2008 9:33:42 AM PDT by TheZMan (I'm going to write my own name on the ballot. Screw the current crop of "conservatives".)
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To: FreedomPoster
The kids I know all complain about the traditional college text-book. They think it is a rip off. Most of these are $100 - $175 and are required for classes. Used books from the previous years classes are scarce. Where do they all go?

What's going on between the publishing industry and colleges? A CD/DVD format would be a lot less costly (and profitable).

40 posted on 03/23/2008 9:34:15 AM PDT by 386wt (Be free and don't die!)
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To: FreedomPoster
With medical and nursing, engineering, and the sciences, there are hands-on lab components that won’t work online. But, as you say, much of the curriculum could be online.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I agree. Much of the information could be put on-line. Testing could be through Sylvan Centers, and the students could meet at regular intervals for intensive lab sessions.

The clinical rotations would need to be on-site.

There is NO, NO, NO, reason a medical degree should cost a quarter of a million dollars or more!

The last time I checked an on-line law degree through Kaplan was about $25,000. Unfortunately, I believe the graduates are only allowed to take the bar exam in California.

But,,,licensing restrictions on the professions will erode. What is needed is an ISO to certify the student's knowledge, (as the author suggests) NOT an professional organization that certifing the schools.

41 posted on 03/23/2008 9:36:48 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: ModelBreaker
The reality is that you can have the biggest, most powerful search engine in the world and it doesn't mean a thing if you are searching for information about Brittany Spears. Being able to search is founded on a knowledge base that tells you that you need to search, that a search of a particular sort may be useful, and the whether the result are meaningful.

So instead of dumping all that silly "knowledge" stuff, the internet makes it MUCH more important. Ironically, the best education right now is a classical education. Very broad and designed to instill context. The internet is meaningless without that info being put in context.

I agree with your post with a qualification: I'm not sure if you and I would agree on the definition of a "classical education".

I'm certain that we would both agree that it includes a very strong emphasis on learning how to read and understand books, as opposed to websites, but I wonder if you would agree with me that a truly well-rounded "classical" education will spend as much time on science and math as on philosophy, history and literature.

I would even go so far as to teach the little tykes organic chemistry, when they're still young enough to find it fun and puzzling.

Of course, nothing interesting is going to be learned in a public school. Some private schools are probably ok. A homeschooling environment is probably the best.

Public schools exist for the purpose of disseminating public propaganda, keeping public trough-feeders well-paid, and promoting the only social goal left in America: Diversity Uber Alles.

42 posted on 03/23/2008 9:47:24 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: 386wt

A CD/DVD format would be a lot less costly (and profitable).
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In my profession, that has been ( and is) being tried. Often the students print the material onto paper, because reading from a computer is more tiring, and jotting notes in the margins is not possible. Also, it is not possible to use a computer while standing in a subway with one hand on the overhead strap. (In professional school every minute is needed for study, even while standing in a subway train.)


43 posted on 03/23/2008 9:48:36 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Boundless
The goals of government schools are:
1. Perpetuation of the government school system.
2. Indoctrination of teacher union dogma.
3. [irrelevant - everything else is subordinate to
1&2]
You're right about #1, if that includes getting as many leftist dunderheads on the payroll as possible and making sure they get as much cash and benefits as can be squeezed out of the beleaguered taxpayers.

Your #2 I have a problem with. It's not the teacher unions who set the dogma. They are just willing and ecstatic robot warriors advancing the dogma handed down to them by the leftist professorial/media elite who have determined that socialism, diversity and appeasement are the only moral values in America.

44 posted on 03/23/2008 9:52:17 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: samtheman
A homeschooling environment is probably the best.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Homeschooling is the best and most natural way to raise up a child. Thoughtful, intelligent, and caring parents see the evidence of the indisputable superiority of homeschooling and are choosing it for their children. This is why homeschooling continues its rapid growth.

Please read my tag line. Homeschooling is a good idea and is in the process of winning!

45 posted on 03/23/2008 9:53:22 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Yollopoliuhqui
the new game- “Grades 1- 16”
I love it! Learn calculus... advance to the next level! Great idea.
46 posted on 03/23/2008 9:55:30 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: theBuckwheat
When can we admit that the entire process of public schooling is a abject failure,
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I admitted that government education was an abject failure 19 years ago when I first started homeschooling my 5 year old son.

The entire system of government schooling needs to be scrapped.

Hopefully it will collapse like the Berlin Wall! It is cruel to warehouse children (who have committed no crime)in prison-like buildings and treat them WORSE ( in many respects) than real prisoners in real prisons. Real prisoners, at minimum, are not subjected to non-stop proselytizing in the government religion of god-less, secluar humanist Marxism!

47 posted on 03/23/2008 10:03:29 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: ModelBreaker
I'm an engineer and Google is one of my most powerful tools. It is massively useful. The time it has saved me would be hard to estimate. But you're right -- you have to know stuff before you can be an effective searcher.

And of course searching has always been an important skill. Going to the library, talking to the prof at the local university, calling your friend's friend who's an expert in some subject -- just like internet searching, these require you to have a sense of what you need to know and how to ask the right questions. It seems to me that using the internet is kind of like talking on the telephone. It's not so much a new trick -- since talking or searching are not new -- as much as the old trick with a lot less leg work.

48 posted on 03/23/2008 10:06:24 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: 386wt

Tell your kids to look at Amazon and eBay for used textbooks. My daughter even bought a used calculus book from Australia when none could be found in the US.


49 posted on 03/23/2008 10:10:28 AM PDT by live+let_live
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To: samtheman
I'm certain that we would both agree that it includes a very strong emphasis on learning how to read and understand books, as opposed to websites, but I wonder if you would agree with me that a truly well-rounded "classical" education will spend as much time on science and math as on philosophy, history and literature.

Well, yes. That is a classical education. There's a balance between knowing enough stuff and knowing how to learn more (libraries, internet, books). You may not be a statistician, but without the background knowledge of what statistics does, you don't know to frame something as a statistics problem and look it up.

50 posted on 03/23/2008 10:26:21 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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