AUSTRALIAN EDUCATOR: COMPUTERS IN THE CLASSROOM A SCANDALOUS WASTE

AUSTRALIAN EDUCATOR: COMPUTERS IN THE CLASSROOM A SCANDALOUS WASTE

It's been a while since I've ranted and raved about the deplorable state of education in the USSA and its subservient allies, so I am going to have to do so today, thanks to an article shared by Ms. D.O.  In this case, my rant is really someone else's rant, and his rant came from Australia, which like many other countries in the west, as been suffering the American disease: standardized tests without end, corporate favoritism for the corporations providing the tests and "texts", and a war on the student-teacher-parent relationship, i.e., a war on the human element.

Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’: Sydney Grammar head

Here's the core of the argument, and I'm conflating several paragraphs together so that you can see that the same in is happening in Australia as is happening in the USSA, for those lucky enough to be able to afford sending their children to such schools:

The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.

“I’ve seen so many schools with limited budgets spending a disproportionate amount of their money on technology that doesn’t really bring any measurable, or non-measurable, benefits,’’ he said.

“Schools have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars­ on interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, and now they’re all being jettisoned.’’

Sydney Grammar has banned students from bringing laptops to school, even in the senior years, and requires them to handwrite assignments and essays until Year 10. Its old-school policy bucks the prevailing trend in most Aus­tralian high schools, and many primary schools, to require parents­ to purchase laptops for use in the classroom.

Dr Vallance said the Rudd-­Gillard government’s $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution, which used taxpayer funds to buy laptops for high school students, was money wasted. “It didn’t really do anything except enrich Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard and Apple,’’ he said. “They’ve got very powerful lobby influence in the educational community.’’

Sydney Grammar students have access to computers in the school computer lab, and use laptops at home.

But Dr Vallance regards­ laptops as a distraction in the classroom. “We see teaching as fundamentally a social activity,’’ he said. “It’s about interaction ­between people, about discussion, about conversation.

...

Academically, Sydney Grammar rates among Australia’s top-performing schools, and is frequented by the sons of Sydney’s business and political elite. Almost one in five of its Year 12 graduates placed in the top 1 per cent of Australian students for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank university entry scores last year.

The school’s alumni includes three prime ministers — Malcolm Turnbull, who attended on a scholarship, Edmund Barton and William McMahon — as well as bush poet Banjo Paterson and business chief David Gonski, the architect of a needs-based funding model to help disadvantaged students.

The private boys’ school, which charges fees of $32,644 a year, routinely tops the league tables in the national literacy and numeracy tests.

Dr Vallance said he preferred to spend on teaching staff than on technology.

And there you have it: the elite of Australia prefer to send thier children to a school where (1) teaching and not standardized tests are the priority, (2) the human element of teaching is recognized to be the primary instrument for handing down the core of knowledge from one generation to another, (3) the financial priorities are on the hiring of good teachers...and..

...on and on we could go. And Dr. Vallance is right, entirely right: the only thing that "No Child Left Behind" and "common Core" have done is to enrich Pearson, Mr. Gates & Co, Et Al.. at the trough of public financing, while the products they have peddled have resulted in a generation that cannot write anything close to legible penmanship, that cannot think, doesn't even know how to do research in a good old fashioned card catalogue, and indeed, doesn't even realize that not all facts and books have been digitized (and doesn't realize there's a reason for that), all being taught by teachers many of whom are mediocrities because they spend more time in education and pedagogy classes than in classes dealing with the subjects they want to teach, the effect of which is to choke and strangle out any last vestige of genuine joy, inspiration and desire to learn that subject.  The mind-numbing quackery of ":educational methods" and "educational psychology" must consume most of their college time - not physics, mathematics, literature, art, music, geography, history - otherwise they are simply not "equipped" for "the modern classroom"

Now... I have a "modest proposal" on what to do with all the Doctors of Edubabble, all the certification advocates, all the teachers (they're not professors) of edublither in the classrooms of departments of "education". Since we're witnessing a flood of refugees into Europe, I advocate that we not ship these people back to their originating countries. We simply force them to take 16 years of American schooling.

At the end of this process, they will niether be able to read, write either English or Arabic or any other language legibly, they will not be able to read in any language, they will be unable to think, they will be colossally narcissistic (as any other products of our system are), and therefore too busy and selfish to be jihadists, Then, with luck, we can persuade Mr. Gates and the Pearson corporation to insist on standardized tests in the Islamic world,  and the crisis is solved. In a generation, we can ship all of our Doctors of Edublither over there, while we rebuild the actual traditions of teaching and professorship over here.

See you on the flip side...

12 thoughts on “AUSTRALIAN EDUCATOR: COMPUTERS IN THE CLASSROOM A SCANDALOUS WASTE”

  1. Robert Barricklow

    How blind are they? Do they think crony neoliberal capitalism, that privatizes profits while socializing costs, will somehow evolve into something better?
    It has never worked; never will.
    Multinational corporations are betting heavily in global knowledge-sharing schemes that propose openly to replace universities and community colleges-wiping out liberal arts, poetry, history, political science and arts-with distance-learning certificate programs that train workers for a task, not a career.
    It’s an in-your-face major battle for the future of education; where a coalition of right-wing, union-hating, high-tech billionaires and hedge-fund managers looking to get rich as schools get privatized – and effectively drive a stake through the heart of public education. They’ve already purchased a pine box to bury her bury her in.
    These same stake holders often claim, in the same breath, they want to help poor kids become rich adults, yet send their own silver-spooned off-springs to exclusive private schools, with hardly any testing and ironically, very little technology.

    1. Robert Barricklow

      Let’s get a national policy approved to see that Every child gets the same caliber education of the wealthy.
      Put your money where your mouth is.

  2. Robert Barricklow

    Mass production devalued human labor;
    mass marketing separated consumers from products; and
    mass media isolated human consumers from one another.

    Each industrial innovation diminished the value of one human element after another, People have and are being purposely disconnected from the value chain; and digital capitalism has turbo-charged this process to warp speed.
    Think of this as an educational process in which the newly forming digital society must think of things in terms of programs and programing. Where digital technology is being used as a new tooling mechanism to exponentially scale-up industrialism. Instead of mechanical looms replacing humans, it’s robots and algorithms. Instead of creating distributed mechanisms to enhance the emergent peer-to-peer marketplace, we create forms to extract value from its participants and deliver upwards. We’re in a new environment but remaining in the old horse-buggy growth agenda. We conceive of the digital in terms of the limits of the previous landscape rather than the potential of the new one.
    It’s time to understand these potentials not as threats to businesses as usual but as the true promise of digital economics.

    1. Robert Barricklow

      Take education. The leading digital platform for college class management is called Blackboard, worth a couple of billion dollars in private equity. Its on its way to platform monopoly[the new name of the game]. The more education and administration Blackboard consumes, the more dependent everyone becomes on it.
      In stark contrast to Blackboard’s winner take all colonization of the education space, a startup called Known attempts to fulfill the same classroom functions w/o ant centralization at all. It models itself after the open Web – a series of protocols through which people, Web sites, and applications can interact directly.
      The real learning curve for all concerned is to learn how to scale down as well as up and discard the old machine loom horse and buggy model of infinite growth. One can prosper on any scale, large or small.

  3. For me, I see the ‘crisis’ in education as a different agenda. I both believe-in and have experience-in what might be called the Human Potential side. A lot of this falls under ESP, although it comes ‘naturally’ within higher states of consciousness.

    What part of today’s curriculum addresses this aspect of our nature? As far as I can see, we (adults and the kids) are being trained to be dutiful servants and bags of meat. Nothing more.

    In a more-enlightened world, kids would be practicing in class like the ‘gifted’ kids in the first ‘Matrix’ movie. Catch them while they are young, and haven’t learned all the inhibitions that society/parents put on them. A more-enlightened version of ‘give me your kid during his/her formative years, and I have him for life’.

    As it is, I see the training for the intellect (only) as one of the biggest mind-wipes perpetuated by those needing serfs. The move towards ‘standardization’ is only the latest gambit to suppress ‘wild card’ human abilities…

    1. Should read, “For me, I see the ‘crisis’ in education as a different agenda being needed.”.

  4. Robert Barricklow

    Ruling class policies.
    Rule #1.
    Do as we say;
    Not as we do.
    Rule #2.
    Do Not Question Our Policies;
    especially, our in-your-face hypocrisy.

    Decades ago administrators were gaming the education system; shifting the decisions and money to the administrators, and out of the hands of faculty. They commissioned sophisticated computer programs actually gaming it. The games were administrators versus faculty.

  5. Great idea, for me I cant remember when I had to write in “running” writing and I’m 66. The computer attached to a printer seems so “today” and the world has changed. For the student, he or she still has to listen and read, that’s why we have teachers. With the upcoming book by Joseph and you know who, it may make a small contribution to “parents” to think about the pitfalls in some schools, lets hope they read the book and realize that Amerikan edgemakation system has to change and it just might be talked about at the PTA meetings.

  6. Access to affordable books and a good library will enhance education better. Than all the whistles flash bang toys that infest our world electronic drugs really. Western feudalism has always been in the end very different from Eastern feudalism. Calling a society feudal is just one many of the code words for put downs along with savagery societies our elites want to destroy and enslave. Ignorance is strength is their motto for the rest of us proles in their dreams.

  7. I’m sure the late Steve Jobs would agree since he himself limited his kids’ use of the technology.. The ancients might have used technology far differently than we do today…

    1. Apart from the tech. being a distraction in the classroom and in social settings, it also seems to be taking away people’s ability to change and create new realities as their attention is focused on the virtual, And in the process a certain reality is being- and will be forced upon us all.

  8. Posted sans irony on the internet.

    I’m sure that many who defended the slavery of black people in the USA in the 19th century had beautiful penmanship–so too many who attacked the calls for allowing women to vote in early 20th century.

    Of course computers can be filled with useless junk, and not everything is posted on a searchable database. Nor do computers answer the mysteries of reality, eg: were do the electrons and protons get their charges which hold matter together? But I sure appreciate having access to TRS80s in school 30+ years ago, and then having a computer lighting board (theatre) in college. Both of course taught me that computers are not only from Microsoft/HP/Apple, and that lighting board sure did things in the real world, without any network connection.

    And I type this as someone who learnt to type on manual typewriter, read a physical book printed circa 1840 within the last month, and as someone who owns a Parker 51, albeit it needs a cleaning.

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