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Lesson Plans


3 M's to OBLIVION

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bob Beeching (robprod)
Fri, 23 Jul 1999 01:36:56 -0700


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And so it goes...
Parents used to worry about why Johnny couldn't read. Now there are =
video and computer programs that are guaranteeing at least one grade =
level up on reading scores for about $300.00 a crack. Watching these =
fast-moving high impact commercials, one questions that if these =
programs are so good, why are their methods not employed in the public =
school system? They are, and have been for decades. The crucial issue =
here is, elementary grade teachers have been begging parents to become =
involved with their child's homework - as dramatized on television spots =
where the parent - usually the mother - is seen in a one-on-one =
relationship with her child, working with phonics flash cards.

The key here is, not the program, but parent involvement. The same holds =
true for all educational CD's and online curriculums. No matter how good =
they are, they can never replace a parent's or teacher's one-on-one =
involvement.

This brings us to the knotty problem of children on computers. Edward =
Miller, in an article published in the New York Times asks: "What will =
American Education Look like in the next century?" For one thing, you =
can forget about the 'Three R's,' student teacher inter-action, and make =
way for "Multi-Tasking, Materialistics, and Mind Management, where =
computers will create the learning environment" sans the parent and the =
teacher.

As the psychologist, Robert Ornstein points out in his 1972 book, The =
Psychology of Consciousness, "We tend to deemphasize and even devalue =
the arational, nonverbal modes of consciousness. Education consists =
predominantly of 'readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic,' and we are taught =
precious little about our emotions, our bodies, or our intuitive =
capabilities."

It has been only during the last few years that courses in self-esteem =
and self-awareness have entered the college catalogue. Current research =
in brain activity has prompted many parents and teachers to reevaluate =
what and how children learn - anything! With the popularity of Betty =
Edwards' volume - produced from Ornstein's research on right/left brain =
activity - many readers were to discover that - indeed - anyone could =
learn to draw. Neurologist, Frank Wilson, in his latest book, THE HAND, =
describes most vividly his relationship with patients who have lost the =
use of their limbs, and how the use of the "hand shapes the brain, =
language, and human culture." Now let us explore how all this research =
ties together into a whole concept of learning basic human survival =
skills.

Many parents' "fear that their children won't get into the best schools =
or classrooms," states Mr. Miller. "A recent survey indicates that many =
Americans believe that computer training has out-classed the study of =
history, literature, foreign languages, science, the arts, and even =
physical education." If we are preparing our children for 21st Century =
living, we must question why we allow our children and ourselves to be =
inordinately absorbed with electronic imagery that takes away so much =
time from the process of developing personal relationships?

An insightful Wired magazine article written by Joanne Glasner titled =
Slaves of the Net No More traces the evolution of Bill Lessard, a young =
English major, "thinking he might actually be able to use his recent =
masters degree in literature" and finding that he was dead wrong. =
Glasner reports, "It was about 20 minutes into his first real Internet =
job when Bill Lessard had a simple revelation: His life sucked" and he =
may be staring at a blank wall at a future not circumvented by his =
training, but by a computer-driven industry that had an agenda other =
than his own. Once on the job, Bill "quickly realized, however, that the =
job consisted more of censoring than editing."=20

What is beginning to develop here is a profile of a computer age, where =
talented young people are assigned dead end jobs much as those during =
the industrial revolution of the1800's. Perhaps, blinded by all the =
commercial hype of Silicon Valley, young computer enthusiasts have =
visions of becoming the next Bill Gates without the slightest notion or =
knowledge of what is in store for them?

Children, as well as adults, who spend most of their free time e-mailing =
and surfing the net, find themselves, most likely, in the very same =
position of professional writers who have made themselves hermits by =
virtue of their jobs. The question may be asked, what purpose does it =
serve to spend hours on a computer at the expense of missing out on the =
very important act of socializing that contributes immeasurably to human =
understanding and a sense of community?

Social skills are not learned on a computer keyboard, neither are the =
visual and performing arts on which so much of computer graphics is =
reliant. We tend to forget that life begins with tactile, aural and =
visual perception. Virtual or not, all life is drawn from reality. If =
children are not introduced to tactile, visual, and aural process/skill =
formation during their formative years, their physical attributes may =
vitrify. In fact, there is a likely possibility that parents may become =
thwarted in their efforts to produce art thereby passing on a negative =
attitude toward the arts to their children.

As mentioned previously, many university professors - from M.I.T to =
Stanford, including prominent physicians and psychologists, have voiced =
their concerns through broadcast media, and by way of their lecture =
tours and writings. The message is loud and clear - "USE IT or LOOSE IT!

As Edward Miller observes, "Children glued to a computer terminal are =
not outdoors," neither are they in direct contact with their physical =
environment, or with other people! By leaving children in a cocoon of =
isolation where they are not learning to draw, paint, construct, act, =
sing, or play a musical instrument, their means for expressing their =
hopes, fears, desires, and aspirations, are cut from under them by =
manipulating a passive and hypnotic vehicle of electronic transmission.

"Teachers are often seen as the stumbling block in efforts to digitize =
education," says, Miller. And a good thing, I say. "In many instances, =
classroom teachers have a better grip on how to educate children than do =
many educational psychologists" who are often paid by their industrial =
cohorts to promote the computerizing of the public school system. The =
push to wire all schools by the year two thousand, is not only based on =
shallow and unsubstantiated evidence, but it can have the effect of =
destroying a semblance of a liberal arts education for our young. The =
cost of computer stations has already driven up the cost of general =
education by draining much needed monies and facilities from both the =
arts and sciences. School libraries have replaced books with computers. =
Science labs have been turned into regular classrooms leaving science =
stations to be used as expensive storage space.

In the rush toward the information super highway, we must ask ourselves =
- at what cost? What is currently being promoted by industry as =
multi-tasking, is destructive to the way one normally learns anything. =
When learning, children tend to concentrate on one task at a time. This =
is diametrically opposed to what many employers want; employees who are =
able to juggle many operations at the same time. This causes a high =
degree of burnout of workers within computer-driven industries, and =
could eventually create the same conditions in our public school system.

Mind Management, and Materialistics are two new corporate approaches for =
modeling employees into the corporate mold. The former deals with a =
subtle approach to what Pavlov did with dogs in his conditioning =
experiments. The dog was conditioned to respond first to a tangible =
reward, and then to that of the ringing of a bell. It doesn't take the =
experience of a psychologist to fathom the implications. Let it suffice =
to say that the latter deals, primarily, with the philosophy that "greed =
is good."

We must become conscious of the fact that most employers are more =
interested in processing their accounts than they are in developing =
thinking individuals. Profits are their primary motivation, not =
education. The corporate Orwellian concept is not new, but the =
technology is! If business is allowed to have its way with education, =
there is a good possibility that teachers and tangible field trips will =
go the way of the dinosaur; displaced by computer surrogates that will =
determine what children learn; how much time each unit of instruction =
will take, and with the capabilities of analyzing data, and spewing out =
report cards; all at the same time.

"The machine can never replace a parent's or teacher's intuition or =
sensitivity towards a child's disposition. The computer is a passive and =
uncompromising mechanical object, acting without malice or moral =
judgement. It is incapable of rendering the tenderness of a parent and =
teacher's touch or the reassuring voice. It is incapable of compassion =
or invention. It is a sterile thing.

As with the introduction of the Underwood typewriter to high school =
business departments of the 1890's, let us hope that the computer - in =
the latter part of the 1990's - will assume the role of another =
production tool - not as a be-all, but as a valuable adjunct to general =
education for the next century.=20

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charset="iso-8859-1"
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And so it goes...

Parents used to worry about why Johnny couldn't read. Now there are = video and=20 computer programs that are guaranteeing at least one grade level up on = reading=20 scores for about $300.00 a crack. Watching these fast-moving high impact = commercials, one questions that if these programs are so good, why are = their=20 methods not employed in the public school system? They are, and have = been for=20 decades. The crucial issue here is, elementary grade teachers have been = begging=20 parents to become involved with their child's homework - as dramatized = on=20 television spots where the parent - usually the mother - is seen in a = one-on-one=20 relationship with her child, working with phonics flash = cards.

The key here is, not the program, but parent involvement. The same = holds true=20 for all educational CD's and online curriculums. No matter how good they = are,=20 they can never replace a parent's or teacher's one-on-one = involvement.

This brings us to the knotty problem of children on computers. Edward = Miller,=20 in an article published in the New York Times asks: "What will American=20 Education Look like in the next century?" For one thing, you can forget = about=20 the 'Three R's,' student teacher inter-action, and make way for=20 "Multi-Tasking, Materialistics, and Mind Management, where = computers will create the learning environment" sans the parent = and the=20 teacher.

As the psychologist, Robert Ornstein points out in his 1972 book, = The=20 Psychology of Consciousness, "We tend to deemphasize and even = devalue=20 the arational, nonverbal modes of consciousness. Education = consists=20 predominantly of 'readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic,' and we are taught = precious=20 little about our emotions, our bodies, or our intuitive = capabilities."

It has been only during the last few years that courses in = self-esteem=20 and self-awareness have entered the college catalogue. Current = research=20 in brain activity has prompted many parents and teachers to = reevaluate=20 what and how children learn - anything! With the popularity of Betty = Edwards'=20 volume - produced from Ornstein's research on right/left brain = activity=20 - many readers were to discover that - indeed - anyone could learn = to draw.=20 Neurologist, Frank Wilson, in his latest book, THE HAND, = describes most=20 vividly his relationship with patients who have lost the use of their = limbs, and=20 how the use of the "hand shapes the brain, language, and human culture." = Now let=20 us explore how all this research ties together into a whole = concept of=20 learning basic human survival skills.

Many parents' "fear that their children won't get into the best = schools or=20 classrooms," states Mr. Miller. "A recent survey indicates that many = Americans=20 believe that computer training has out-classed the study of history, = literature,=20 foreign languages, science, the arts, and even physical education." If = we are=20 preparing our children for 21st Century living, we must = question why=20 we allow our children and ourselves to be inordinately absorbed with=20 electronic imagery that takes away so much time from the process = of=20 developing personal relationships?

An insightful Wired magazine article written by Joanne Glasner = titled=20 Slaves of the Net No More traces the evolution of Bill Lessard, a = young=20 English major, "thinking he might actually be able to use his recent = masters=20 degree in literature" and finding that he was dead wrong. Glasner = reports, "It=20 was about 20 minutes into his first real Internet job when Bill Lessard = had a=20 simple revelation: His life sucked" and he may be staring at a blank = wall at a=20 future not circumvented by his training, but by a computer-driven = industry that=20 had an agenda other than his own. Once on the job, Bill "quickly = realized,=20 however, that the job consisted more of censoring than editing."

What is beginning to develop here is a profile of a computer age, = where=20 talented young people are assigned dead end jobs much as those during = the=20 industrial revolution of the1800's. Perhaps, blinded by all the = commercial hype=20 of Silicon Valley, young computer enthusiasts have visions of becoming = the next=20 Bill Gates without the slightest notion or knowledge of what is in store = for=20 them?

Children, as well as adults, who spend most of their free time = e-mailing and=20 surfing the net, find themselves, most likely, in the very same position = of=20 professional writers who have made themselves hermits by virtue of their = jobs.=20 The question may be asked, what purpose does it serve to spend hours on = a=20 computer at the expense of missing out on the very important act of = socializing=20 that contributes immeasurably to human understanding and a sense of=20 community?

Social skills are not learned on a computer keyboard, neither are the = visual=20 and performing arts on which so much of computer graphics is reliant. We = tend to=20 forget that life begins with tactile, aural and visual = perception.=20 Virtual or not, all life is drawn from reality. If children are not = introduced=20 to tactile, visual, and aural process/skill formation during their = formative=20 years, their physical attributes may vitrify. In fact, there is a likely = possibility that parents may become thwarted in their efforts to produce = art=20 thereby passing on a negative attitude toward the arts to their = children.

As mentioned previously, many university professors - from M.I.T to = Stanford,=20 including prominent physicians and psychologists, have voiced their = concerns=20 through broadcast media, and by way of their lecture tours and writings. = The=20 message is loud and clear - "USE IT or LOOSE IT!

As Edward Miller observes, "Children glued to a computer terminal are = not=20 outdoors," neither are they in direct contact with their physical = environment,=20 or with other people! By leaving children in a cocoon of isolation where = they=20 are not learning to draw, paint, construct, act, sing, or play a musical = instrument, their means for expressing their hopes, fears, desires, and=20 aspirations, are cut from under them by manipulating a passive and = hypnotic=20 vehicle of electronic transmission.

"Teachers are often seen as the stumbling block in efforts to = digitize=20 education," says, Miller. And a good thing, I say. "In many instances, = classroom=20 teachers have a better grip on how to educate children than do many = educational=20 psychologists" who are often paid by their industrial cohorts to promote = the=20 computerizing of the public school system. The push to wire all = schools=20 by the year two thousand, is not only based on shallow and = unsubstantiated=20 evidence, but it can have the effect of destroying a semblance of a = liberal arts=20 education for our young. The cost of computer stations has already = driven up the=20 cost of general education by draining much needed monies and facilities = from=20 both the arts and sciences. School libraries have replaced books with = computers.=20 Science labs have been turned into regular classrooms leaving science = stations=20 to be used as expensive storage space.

In the rush toward the information super highway, we must ask = ourselves - at=20 what cost? What is currently being promoted by industry as = multi-tasking,=20 is destructive to the way one normally learns anything. When learning, = children=20 tend to concentrate on one task at a time. This is diametrically opposed = to what=20 many employers want; employees who are able to juggle many operations at = the=20 same time. This causes a high degree of burnout of workers within = computer-driven industries, and could eventually create the same = conditions in=20 our public school system.

Mind Management, and Materialistics are two new corporate=20 approaches for modeling employees into the corporate mold. The former = deals with=20 a subtle approach to what Pavlov did with dogs in his conditioning=20 experiments. The dog was conditioned to respond first to a tangible = reward,=20 and then to that of the ringing of a bell. It doesn't take the = experience of a=20 psychologist to fathom the implications. Let it suffice to say that the = latter=20 deals, primarily, with the philosophy that "greed is good."

We must become conscious of the fact that most employers are more = interested=20 in processing their accounts than they are in developing thinking = individuals.=20 Profits are their primary motivation, not education. The corporate=20 Orwellian concept is not new, but the technology is! If business = is=20 allowed to have its way with education, there is a good possibility that = teachers and tangible field trips will go the way of the dinosaur; = displaced by=20 computer surrogates that will determine what children learn; how much = time each=20 unit of instruction will take, and with the capabilities of analyzing = data, and=20 spewing out report cards; all at the same time.

"The machine can never replace a parent's or teacher's = intuition or=20 sensitivity towards a child's disposition. The computer is a passive and = uncompromising mechanical object, acting without malice or moral = judgement. It=20 is incapable of rendering the tenderness of a parent and teacher's touch = or the=20 reassuring voice. It is incapable of compassion or invention. It is a = sterile=20 thing.

As with the introduction of the Underwood typewriter to high = school=20 business departments of the 1890's, let us hope that the computer - in = the=20 latter part of the 1990's - will assume the role of another production = tool -=20 not as a be-all, but as a valuable adjunct to general education for the = next=20 century.

 

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