However, i agree. I don't think that there can ever have been a similar example of dexterity in using a particular tool being wholly mistaken for "intelligence". It's not just schools - companies as well somehow thyink that having senior people typing their own mail is fine whereas they used to attack it together with a skilled operator who then presented a stack of letter for signing - which was much quicker.
Meanwhile, many the true beneifits of computers have passed us by. On one pc, there could be a single database of everyone and everything. Do w have this? Nope, we have separate computers in every govt department, and in every town council, all populated by empire builders and ultimately being much more expensive way of running a govt than 30 years ago.
I'm not sure I agree with that - I'll have to read the paper, but there have been many changes in the education system, so blaming the computer when any number of other factors could have made pupils 'do worse' seems a bit rough. "A Bad workman blames his tools" perhaps?.
Besides I thought the dumbed down exams meant that pupils do better than ever every year? /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
Any way its all moot, as there is no choice - anybody without IT skills is not going to get any sort of job ( apart from a burger flipper perhaps ) so use of computers is a pretty essential part of education.
It all depends on how you define "worse".
It reminds me of that series a while ago where a group of good gcse kids did a month of 1940/50's style schooling and surprise surprise they werent very good at it.
The world has changed a lot in the last couple of decades and it is important to question which skills are necessary both today and in the future. For example, how important is long division when everybody carries a calculator on their mobile phone and most work with a giant calculator in front of them? I learnt it in primary school and have NEVER used it.
How important is spelling when all important documents are written on a PC?
How important is knowing historical dates and capitals of the world when the internet is at everyone's fingertips?
and even more extreme - With PDAs abound, are the days of the pen numbered?
Chances are that Excel and powerpoint will be superceeded in the medium term but the concepts of spreadsheets and professional presentations will still be the cornerstones of office life.
What would contribute greatly to a kids future productivity would be early lessons on touchtyping. Then the managers of the future wouldnt need a 'skilled operator' to do their typing for them.
i worked once on an internet project with a bunch of geeks. they all had a laugh at my real paper diary as they compared the features of their handheld computers. imagine how i laughed the day one of them had a battery failure that wiped his memory clean.
Er, surely the human brain is flexible tool - which needs stimuli in order to develop?
So, in learning latin, frexample, it isn't the knowledge of the latin itself, as there's always a translation somewhere - but the object is that the brain learns to follow, use and invoke complex rules. Chess,mathematics, even history dates are all examples. Exposure to these gives people the ability to adapt to other rule-based environments, of which business, law, sport are all examples.
Your analysis implies that you need only equip children for what (we reckon) they will need in their careers - bit of local geography, slight faimilarity with the bus timetables, number skills but only regarding getting change from a quid or a twenty pound note and so on, keyboards skills to write a cv.
The 60/70's labour govt (Shirley Willaims) comprehensive school project, the tories introducing league tables which measuure the very basics, then latest labour govt placing huge emphasis on thos issues, and all of them presiding over the situation where teacher salaries have fallen significantly since the war means that medium-quality people can teach where it used to the very higest - and has gotten us to the situation where mostly, schoolkids are less brainy, thoughtful or adventurous with their minds than their parents. The essential service provided by schools today is childcare. If you want your kids to be bright - teachem stuff yourself. And long multiplication isn't a bad place to start, cos many if not most teachers can't do it...
I agree with what you are saying about exercising the mind but I really don't think the old school way of teaching did that. In fact, i'd say that modern teaching achieves that goal better than the old style.
For example: Not that I was in school in the old days but wasnt history about learning lists of dates? geography about studying a map? english about spelling and maths about endless repetitive sums? It seems to me that the old style measure of 'intelligence' was the ability to learn things parrot fashion.
I was at school on the cusp of the introduction of calculators to maths at school. As i've said previously - I spend my primary school maths lessons being tasked with pages upon pages of sums. I used to do 5, get bored and stare out of the window. When I got to secondary school, calculators were allowed and I learnt algebra and mathematical analysis skills. The emphasis wasnt on following rules but on understanding numbers. The fruit of this was demonstrated to me when I was faced with a section on indices in a mock exam. I had never been taught the rules on multiplying numbers with indices so I spent part of the exam investigating them and actually taught myself the indices rules during the exam.
I got low marks (and into much trouble) at primary school but came top of the year at A level maths - you tell me, am I intelligent or not?
Re-reading your post I think you may have got the wrong meaning from mine.
I wasn't saying "don't teach kids stuff because we have tools that do it for us"
but "Teach kids to use the tools and then use the time saved to learn even more complex things".
If you havent got to learn long division you can learn polynomials instead. if you havent got to learn exact dates you can learn why they are important instead. If you havent got to learn where the capital of peru is you can learn why it is poor and what we can do to improve it.
Matt's point is that it's not the tool you need to develop, it's the mind. By the way I went to a grammar school stuffed full of Harold Wilson's ministers' children, so I think we can guess what her colleagues thought of Mrs Williams's project. 'One rule for us and another for you'... just like Blair's lot.
ps also, to be honest, that last inference of yours just doesn't stack up. It's a logical fallacy.