Internet access, other technology underutilizedPublished 11:33am Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I heard after the President’s State of the Union address that the German’s are two years ahead of U.S. graduates. I heard this in 1975, while in the Air Force in Britain. Comparisons with other nations rank U.S. students in the twenties in math and science-subjects industry needs. Those ranks are for eighth grade, with four more years to fall further behind.
We split the atom in 1945, sent men to the Moon in 1969 and created the internet that exploded in 1995. We spend more than other nations with lower results.
With improving technology and falling prices, education should follow with lower costs and higher quality. Having the internet in schools does not guarantee “effective” use as having teachers does not guarantee results.
Our thinking skills are reduced by the industrial age needing mostly unskilled jobs with limited thinking opportunities and the news media doing our thinking. Education is local with little hope of a higher level discussion of how state or national help can be beneficial. How do libraries and more choices reduce control?
The DeptEd is prevented from helping or providing advice. Ask them. Its only tool is control of funding that locals see as reducing local budgets and control. We overlook common problems at higher levels preventing common standards and solutions that would allow more local choices and control at lower costs.
We teach vocabulary and grammar but not listening changing our discussions into arguments. Business owners, workers, competitors and customers concerns must work together. One perspective is not enough to understand issues. Politicians sound like lawyers including only facts supporting their side.
Education is about learners acquiring knowledge supported by schools and teachers. Labor unions, like the Education Association, resist productive improvements fearing reduction of teacher hours and jobs.
Online learning like k12.com or IQ Academy are paid by the State and credits students to schools that provide linked teachers. This supports teachers more than students. I find knowledge exciting but the internet is as frustrating as missinformed opinions.
I sometimes search multiple websites for information like missing product info. Reviews and suggestions should be gathered so customers and manufacturers can quickly find them without searching multiple sites. We focus on access to the internet but forget its content is as imperfect as human communication.
Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg allow anyone to benefit and contribute for free. Some universities offer free study materials and courses to even non students. K-12 education must do the same or fall behind rich families, communitees and other countries.
Proper use of technology can free up time to manage: apply knowledge, help needy students and develop critical thinking skills. Even dairy farmers use machines to milk, feed and clean barns freeing them to manage their cows.
Few know about the narrator built into computers that allow them to speak any text. This is used for disabled users but can help to learn a language, even your own. I have owned computers with this ability since 1987. Cheap home computers in the 1980s used tvs allowing connection to video recorders.
Adding a microphone provided a cheap way to make educational videos especially for math and science. Many school computers had monitors instead without this cheap and effective opportunity.
In a world economy we must look for every advantage to provide more choices for teachers and students to succeed. We must minimize budget cut effects, discuss the issues at a higher level and recognize what skills industry needs. “local control” means no teamwork at a higher level than “MY” classroom, community, teacher or student.
This includes teacher’s unions or departments of education.
The printing press started the “Information Age” with great
improvements from radio, tv and the internet. We, especially teachers, must understand how learning, information and technology can help us start the “knowledge age.”
1970 Fergus Falls
Oklahoma City, Okla.