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Back to the Abacus! 
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Post # 367086
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http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34174796

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:24 am Profile
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Post # 367088
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
I'm a huge fan of the BBC, but that report is poor by their standards; real 'Daily Mail' level!

The problem is not technology per se, it's the type of technology and its implementation that reduce any benefits. This has been largely recognised in the UK, and is being addressed by things like the Raspberry Pi educational project, and the compulsory implementation from 2014 of a new curriculum for computing in all schools.

It's infuriating me that the BBC has been reporting on these changes, and the need for them, since 2012. They have even produced some hardware to help:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33409311

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:45 am
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Post # 367090
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
I don't think the article was implying that exposing students to computer technology has no value, but only that there is very little correlation between the length of time students spend on computers and academic achievement. Being able to "look up" information does nothing to promote objective analysis or how to solve problems on their own, and in fact may hamper critical thinking. I'd have to agree with the article.

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:37 am

joany thanked by: megatotoro
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Post # 367091
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The problem as I see it is that the article assumes that the data speak for themselves. The inverse proposition needs to be tested (i.e., controlled for): namely, that weaker students use the internet more.

Correlation is not causation, right?

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:36 am

Jerry3904 thanked by: megatotoro, richb
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Post # 367092
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
Quote:
[quote="Jerry3904']

Correlation is not causation, right?[/quote]
[/quote]

My favorite saying when data is analyzed. There are many poorly designed data collection schemes, and analyzing data even for well designed collections is not for the novice, but involves statistical analysis that is best done by experienced statisticians, who utilize sophisticated analytical methods.

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:01 am
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Post # 367093
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
joany wrote:
Being able to "look up" information does nothing to promote objective analysis or how to solve problems on their own, and in fact may hamper critical thinking. I'd have to agree with the article.


I agree with Joany. I must add that technology in education has become and end instead of a means, which may have a negative impact on critical thinking and problem solving. Let us add that many teachers are required to use technology without even knowing about it properly, which causes them to use it superficially and also to transmit this superficial knowledge to their students. Of course, companies know about this issue and take advantage of it by training everyone with their proprietary software. That's why it is so difficult for many people to use LibreOffice/Firefox/Chromium/Linux. In most cases they don't need the proprietary versions of these tools for any specific reasons or Free Software even works better for these people, but they can't see it: the tools became goals.


Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:03 am

megatotoro thanked by: Richard
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Post # 367095
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
My dad used to say that it's not so much what you know as it is how to find out (or figure out) what you don't. That's called learning.

Students need to learn how to learn, and teachers need to be able to teach that. Computers can be an effective tool, but they can't replace effective teachers who know how to develop inquiring minds. Unfortunately, regurgitation of facts is measurable, and in this day and age of "metrics" and "standards", that is emphasized more today than what it was in the past. (Or at least the stakes are higher.)

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:05 am
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Post # 367102
Post Re: Back to the Abacus!
uncle mark wrote:
My dad used to say that it's not so much what you know as it is how to find out (or figure out) what you don't. That's called learning.

Students need to learn how to learn, and teachers need to be able to teach that. Computers can be an effective tool, but they can't replace effective teachers who know how to develop inquiring minds. Unfortunately, regurgitation of facts is measurable, and in this day and age of "metrics" and "standards", that is emphasized more today than what it was in the past. (Or at least the stakes are higher.)


Fully agree with UM and some previous comments. Some teachers are depending almost entirely on what is in a package to do their work,
without proper checks and balances on the results. There is also the problem of many computer teaching packages being developed and sold to make profits for the package providers, without proper assessment of the contents nor of effectiveness.

Incidentally, that BBC item has generated discussion - and disagreement - on our morning nationwide public radio program.

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:46 pm
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