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Argos
2007-Oct-31, 02:42 PM
...is everywhere [virtually]. Good news (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/education/31education.html) for the classroom-allergic, like me.

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-01, 12:31 AM
"Lakota school is everywhere."
-Buffaloes Before Breakfast.
Not really that new an idea if the First Nations peoples were practicing it hundreds of years ago, eh?

tdvance
2007-Nov-01, 12:41 AM
Reminds me of an Asimov story, "The Fun They Had" or something like that--in place of the classroom was an electronic teacher (today, we'd call it an "internet-connected personal computer"). The kids read a history book (the old-fashioned kind, where if you turn a page, then turn it back, it's the same words, so you might as well throw the book away when done reading it, the kids reasoned---it never updates) about "schools" and how much fun it was for everybody to meet in a "classroom" instead of doing their studies at a machine.

Ilya
2007-Nov-01, 01:05 AM
Asimov did not realize just how much kids could interact with each other without leaving their houses.

Ronald Brak
2007-Nov-01, 08:10 AM
As for children's educations I've noticed that children often require attention. I've also noticed that many people aren't inclinded to give their children as much attention as the children would like. I'm sure that as A.I. improves it will be used to a greater extent to provide attention to children, but to make the parents feel better it will be marketed as and will be educational.

mugaliens
2007-Nov-01, 04:48 PM
A friend of mine's son is graduating this year after spending the last seven taking middle and high-school via online.

He's graduating two years early.

She put him onto it back in fifth grade because he was doing so poorly in school she yanked him, took this route, and hasn't looked back since as his grades soared from Cs, Ds, and Fs, to As and **.

And that's not an artificial rise - it's reflected in his achievement scores, too. He really is learning the material.

Argos
2007-Nov-01, 05:22 PM
Iīm a firm believer in the power of distance learning. Actually I think it can be far more productive [and comfortable] than the traditional method, provided that the apropriate technology is employed.

Why do we have to stick with the old - Greek - school format [a master and his audience, gathered in an specific place], which was already outdated by the middle age [so to speak]?

Noclevername
2007-Nov-01, 06:46 PM
The prison/schools and herd/classrooms of my childhood are dying a long overdue death. Huzzah! But the corpse ain't done moving yet. Tradition becomes traditional because so many people are creatures of habit, they can't imagine any other way no matter what facts or statistics you put in front of them.

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-01, 09:32 PM
Iīm a firm believer in the power of distance learning. Actually I think it can be far more productive [and comfortable] than the traditional method, provided that the apropriate technology is employed.
Teleprescene all the way!
And when all learning is done by distance, please look back and remember Robert Ballard kindly.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-01, 09:36 PM
And when all learning is done by distance

"Go into the next room, I want to teach you something."

Tobin Dax
2007-Nov-02, 01:55 AM
And when all learning is done by distance, please look back and remember Robert Ballard kindly.
No.

Distance learning guts astronomy. I can't hold observing sessions if I have students all over the state. (I do, and this is true.) I can't send them out on their own, because I can't be sure that they'll do, if they did that, that they'll be able to see what I want. If distance learning is the way to go, than why aren't star parties remote? Why doesn't the BA just put up fliers with star maps at halloween instead of wasting all that time outside at his telescope? Some things need interpersonal interaction to be taught well. Physics and astronomy are two examples, and I vehemently argue that. Distance learning is where things are heading, which makes my job harder, and I have to adjust. That doesn't mean that I won't go kicking and screaming.


(This isn't a response to Kai or anyone else in particular, except for the first word.)

Noclevername
2007-Nov-02, 02:00 AM
Unless you have a laboratory in your home, most kinds of practical science can't be distance taught. Or anything that requires fieldwork.

Many older engineers complain that too many young engineers are educated too much in computer simulations and not the actual construction and testing of physical prototypes, thus lengthening the testing process and increasing the cost for many devices.

Larry Jacks
2007-Nov-02, 01:14 PM
I enjoy teaching in a classroom environment. It's good to watch the students' body language to know if they're grasping the concepts. Seeing their faces when the "ah ha!" moment arrives is rewarding. I've found that their questions often stimulate new questions from other students. Frankly, I quit teaching (computer science classes for the local branch of the University of Phoenix) when they went to distance learning. It leaves me cold.

Halcyon Dayz
2007-Nov-02, 01:40 PM
And there is that whole socializing thing...

School is about more then just learning the curriculum.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-02, 02:07 PM
And there is that whole socializing thing...

School is about more then just learning the curriculum.

Yeah, well, sometimes school doesn't do too good a job of that. As someone said elsewhere, throwing a few hundred kids all the same age together with too little adult supervision isn't an ideal situation for socializing them. More like Lord Of The Flies.

Argos
2007-Nov-02, 05:22 PM
No. Distance learning guts astronomy. I can't hold observing sessions if I have (I do, and this is true.) I can't send them out on their own, because I can't be sure that they'll do, if they did that, that they'll be able to see what I want. If distance learning is the way to go, than why aren't star parties remote? Why doesn't the BA just put up fliers with star maps at halloween instead of wasting all that time outside at his telescope? Some things need interpersonal interaction to be taught well.


Some things but not everything. Distance learning is compatible with presential practice classes, which is, I think, a minor aspect of teaching. The theorectical part - the bulk of the learning experience - is what Iīm referring to.

See my own experience with school [and opinio about presential school, which is not intended to be a model to anyone]:

I just hated to obey someone elseīs time shedule. I hated the so called 'socialization' [another horse of battle for those who make the case for presential school]. I donīt think someone needs that. To be frank, I thought most of my colleagues a bunch of "idiots" [Iīm speaking in general terms and I do not intend this to be an ad hominem], whom I had no will to stick around with. I hated the 'sprit de corps', the fraternities, and their arrogant leaders. I hated having to be "popular" just to please others, to assure that I wouldnīt be physically abused [I was a thin boy - ėm not so physically weak anymore]. I hated team work, when I was the one to do all the job, simply because I didnīt trust the work done by those idiots. I hated the uncorfortable environment and the obnoxious people. And the boredom and arrogant teachers.

Did I really have to go through all that torture? Iīm glad my son [who still is not] will have an option to study in a controlled environment, sat on a leather chair, under air conditioning, surrounded by state-of-the-art multimedia technology, not having to stand bullies and idiots and the meaningless [and presently dangerous] activities of school 'socialization'.

Argos
2007-Nov-02, 06:19 PM
And thereīs more.

Think of the transportation. How much does it cost to transport billions of pupils to school every day, in polluting school buses and cars? People being exposed to traffic accidents and who knows what else [In my town, a university town, the traffic becomes a chaos with thousands of people coming and going to attend their school compromises].

Definitely not intelligent.

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-02, 07:18 PM
Seeing their faces when the "ah ha!" moment arrives is rewarding.
I love how that feels.

Argos
2007-Nov-02, 08:01 PM
With all due respect to the teachers here, frequently the moments of elation of the master is the suffering of the pupil. As in: "let me teach a lesson to that little guy who thinks heīs smarter than I was at his age - hereīs an F".

I have been victim to the prejudice and bad bile of many a teacher. Many great works have received a hard judgment [I still have them and they are definitely good]. Maybe because I wasnīt as popular , or as rich, or as beautiful, as many others [the social contamination of relationships, including in school, is a pest down here]. I simply never could get in touch with them. Figures of authority have always caused me a kind of disturbance.

All this could be avoided if I only had the options that kids have today. The future will relieve us from this violence.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Nov-02, 08:13 PM
I could probably say I learned a big chunk of things I know now from the Internet. It is already happening but only to those who seek it. Of course, most of the Internet is one-way education but in forums like these it can be made two-way. It's kinda amazing the amount of information you can dig online. All you need is some time and effort. And I agree with you Argos, the whole traditional school thing has to go. It seems to a significant many the experience had been a bad one rather than a pleasant one.

Larry Jacks
2007-Nov-02, 08:18 PM
I never gave a student an F. I never gave them an A, either. I simply recorded the grades they earned, period. If they didn't do the work, they failed. If they did the work to the accepted standards, they earned good grades.

Figures of authority have always caused me a kind of disturbance.

Sounds like immaturity to me. Unless you're the leader of your country, you're always going to have someone in a position of authority over you. Get over it and yourself.

If you made it a point to antagonize your teachers, it isn't hard to understand that some of them would end up not liking you. That's simple human nature and teachers are as human as anyone else. It has little to do with how you look or how much money your parents have. If you got your kicks by distupting the class then you deserve to be removed from the class. Your rights as an individual don't outweigh the rights of everyone else in the classroom.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-02, 08:21 PM
If you made it a point to antagonize your teachers, it isn't hard to understand that some of them would end up not liking you. That's simple human nature and teachers are as human as anyone else. It has little to do with how you look or how much money your parents have. If you got your kicks by distupting the class then you deserve to be removed from the class. Your rights as an individual don't outweigh the rights of everyone else in the classroom.

Making an assumption about Argos' behavior there, aren't you?

Argos
2007-Nov-02, 08:30 PM
If you made it a point to antagonize your teachers, it isn't hard to understand that some of them would end up not liking you.

I agree with you about humanity, but what you described does not fit me.

Iīve always been a keen observer of human nature. The inclination towards the ones from the upper social strata of society was a scandal to my eyes.


If you got your kicks by distupting the class then you deserve to be removed from the class.

Agreed, again, but as for me, Iīm the quintessential quiet guy, and have always been.

Larry Jacks
2007-Nov-02, 09:02 PM
Making an assumption about Argos' behavior there, aren't you?

Perhaps, but as Argos himself wrote:

I have been victim to the prejudice and bad bile of many a teacher

Now, does it seem reasonable to believe that 'many a teacher' just happened to decide that he was worthy of scorn and that he did nothing to incite that belief? Which came first?

Noclevername
2007-Nov-02, 09:03 PM
Now, does it seem reasonable to believe that 'many a teacher' just happened to decide that he was worthy of scorn and that he did nothing to incite that belief? Which came first?

It is a sad fact that many countries, including Argentina, have social predjudices.

Argos
2007-Nov-03, 01:30 PM
[I]Now, does it seem reasonable to believe that 'many a teacher' just happened to decide that he was worthy of scorn and that he did nothing to incite that belief? Which came first?

Well, Iīm telling you so, and I swear Iīve been always well-behaved. :)

Larry, about 'figures of authority', Iīd say thereīs only three kinds of real authority in your life:

- the head of your family [father, mother or whoever takes on that role]
- Your boss
- Yout teacher

The teacher is by far the most powerful of them all.

The president of your country, the state governor, your house representative, are distant presences. We think about them vaguely, and we can vote them out of office. You feel you have some control over them, and you donīt feel so controlled by them. You can even boo them and throw eggs at them [one of these days the presidentīs motorcade here was turned into a giant omelette]. So, they donīt look like real authorities, eh?

Then thereīs your father and mother. Fathers and mothers are enlightened despots, beneficial dictators. You can rely their actions are all positive to you. You hardly feel intimidated before those figures. Somehow you know you can rely on them. You barely perceive authority in them.

Then thereīs your boss. He can be ruthless and intimidating, but you can always find another job, or just get rid of bosses altogether, by founding your own business.

Finally thereīs the teacher. That guy is a real authority. Your future depends on him. You have to face it everyday during years. Try to displease him [by having a contrary opinion, for example] and he will carefully follow up all your activities. Try to egg him, or boo him, and youīll be not only 'removed' from classroom but may risk a banning from school. If that happens, chances are that youīre going to drop out from school, with serious consequences for your life. Moving to another school is hardly an option. So, teachers have real control of your life. You gotta establish a raport with them. You gotta be 'easy-going'. If you donīt have social skills that can be a real pain, since teachers are human, as you say

The good recollections I have from school date from the primary school. I have a high respect for two masters [let me write down their names, Mr Wilson and Mr Osmar, geography and geometry teachers, respectively]. They were inspiring and stimulating. Primary school has [had] the power to shield you from severe social interferences.

When I progressed to high school and iniversity, things began to deteriorate, and all thatīs left from those times are bitter memories, of prejudice and persecution.

I have never been a trouble maker.

In Brazil, the access to university is [or, better, used to be, in my times] done via a general exam called 'vestibular exam' [vestibular from the latin vestible, meaning 'entry hall'], and unlike the US, the most prestigious universities are the public, state ones. Well, I scored third in my exam, among thousands, when there were 40 people competing for a seat. And I was trying to enter the second most prestigious university in the country, the University of São Paulo State, and I obviously did it ultimately.

So, that speaks for my student skills. If Iīm saying I fell prey to prejudice, I mean it.

Of course distance education will still have the figure of the teacher. But since you donīt have a frequent contact with him, your [lack of] social skills wonīt hinder your life by letting the biases get in the way.

Argos
2007-Nov-03, 02:03 PM
Now I reveal that Iīm a teacher too. :) Well, sort of.

My astronomy group has set up a 12-hour basic astronomy course, for poor kids, and we use the classroom of a public school. Iīm in charge of the solar system. You just gotta see the face of the pupils when we display Celestia videos on a big plasma screen. That "ah!" you mention. The Eureka moment.

But I donīt think Iīm particularly gifted to teach. And I donīt think that that physical place, the classroom, is the better option. Iīd prefer to teach teach them at distance, if they only had a computer with broadband access.

The merits all go to the tech. Things that used to take many days or months to be tought in my times [with awkward chalk drawings on a blackboard] now can be understood in a couple of hours. It is really amazing, and thatīs what renews my, er, faith, in distance education anabolized by heavy use of technology.