Sunday, February 11, 2007

Did You Know?

I don't know if each individual point is true, or where the author got his information. But watching this 6 minute "video", which looks more like a PowerPoint presentation, will certainly give teachers and students something to think about. It's a good starting point for answering the age-old question, when are we ever gonna have to use this?

Update: If the link above doesn't start your media player, manually start your media player and cut/paste the URL above into it.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's scary.

Ellen K said...

Well that's three minutes of my life I want back. Those postulations have been around in some form or other since Socrates. Sure, things happen, technology expands and you could even make the arguement that computational skills of a machine will outstrip the entire historical IQ of the human race, but in the end there's an old computer axiom that I recall from my high school computer science class-"Garbage In/Garbage Out". In short, the answers we recieve from these enlightened computers are only as good as the information they recieve. I would say that the same idea could be applied to all those honor students in India. More power to them for their skills, but it will do no good if their culture holds them back. And in the end, it always comes down to that.

Darren said...

EllenK, your opening sentence elicited a hearty belly-laugh from me.

I was left questioning the validity of some of the points made, but pondering some of the other points might be a valid exercise.

Dean Baird said...

I know it seems cruel and all, but the best answer to "When are we ever gonna use this?" is, "Never! You, StudentName, will never need this stuff at all. What you're going to need to know is 1. How to flip a burger and 2. The proper use of a deep frier." Yes it's harsh, but the question is a rebuke of the course and merits such a response.

It helps to keep a metal spatula handy to add some visual realia to the response.

Darren said...

Dean, being a much nicer person than you, and truly caring about the feelings and self-esteem of the dumplings in my charge, I will, if there's enough time, tell the story that I've linked to in the post, a story that ends with "I don't know when you're 'ever gonna have to use this stuff'...I'll bet the women in school in 1930s Britain never thought they'd be using math to help shoot down Nazi aircraft."

If there's not enough time, I resort to the flipping burgers scenario.

Ellen K said...

There's another more serious axiom that I would like to apply. You can lead a student to knowledge, but you can't make them think. In this day of regurgitative learning and meaningless testing, I question whether we are teaching kids anything more than how to take tests. I would prefer classes that were open ended, that posed serious questions and that expected serious responses. As it is, even some of the AP classes are being boiled down to learning testing techniques over learning and knowing material and being able to respond to a question in writing. I think our two biggest weaknesses are reading and writing. Yet all the push for education, at least in the public schools, is slanted toward science, technology, and math. If those items are going to be obsolete by the time a student reaches his third year of college, wouldn't it be better to teacher basic math, science and technology, but emphasize reasoning, writing and comprehension. I am actually leaning towards those groups who want to teach just reading and writing for the first two years of school. Of course, that would fly in the face of data that some boys are not psychologically prepared to track words until they are nearly eight. Perhaps instead of pushing kids at younger and younger ages to learn things by rote, we should delay education a year and stop being a daycare center. Just a thought or two. *sorry if it's disjointed, I have a fever and strep, and since I am up, this is the only thing I can do....*