Originally Posted by antkm1
Third, there's no way to keep these kids on-topic in class if they have one. Perhaps they could make an "iPad-Educational Edition" so that there is some regulation to who kids use the device once in class? I don't know, just seems like it would be a distraction.
Originally Posted by antkm1
What they really need to do is make a dumb-down version for school
use only, and have the schools provide them in class and are stored in class. That's just one idea, i'm sure the Apple Genius' are coming up with options for that.
I do not normally do this, but I hope you are not influential enough to become a member of thee school board of your community. The key to discovery is a sense of wonder... to be excited of something... of discovering something new... something unexpected...
To dumb down a device is the worst that one can do... to quench the thirst of the young mind.
I am very glad my parents never prevented me from my own journey to discovery, of my surrounding and into myself. I played when I wanted to, I even daydreamed a lot when the fancy took me. At night, I was even allowed to go out (I never even asked permission) to the nearby plaza to mingle with people in our neighborhood, of all ages. Talked, played or debate whether the what we saw or heard. There was no curfew, but somehow, it seemed there was an unwritten rule when to go home.
I had a long story to share, but among the factors that made schooliong and education something that I coveted rather than a core included:
The supportive environment at home. I was never tutored (we were too poor) nor made to prepare before I went to school. My parents allowed me to do whatever my fancy quote me. I learned later when I was in grade school, that comics books banned, and confiscated. One of my religion teachers told me, it was a mortal sin to read comics.
Young as I was, what came to mind when I heard that was: How can something be so sinful when it was a source of wonder and enjoyment for me. Through comics and illustrated books, I got introduced to other times and other places some of these places I later had a chance to visit when I was older.
My parents never banned me to read comics though. So, I learned to disobey what some elders told me, even if I was not capable of arguing at the time that what they considered sinful or would make me dumb was not true. In fact, when I was not yet able to understand letters and words, it was the comics and illustrated books that made me to dream and wonder. I knew the characters in each frame or page were saying someting or wanted to something, so I try to verbalize the words based on the related stories some of my Sisters shared during family hour. Some of them were great story tellers. Some of them, I tried to relate to the adventure moviews we saw. Tarzan, King Arthur and Camelot, the Knights, Jason and the Argonauts, Superman, Batman and Robin. Aladdin and all sorts of stories of ancient times. Aesops Tales. Disney classics. Ivanho, Lots of bible stories: In fact, I never read the bible in its entirety, but I had seen illustrated stories beginning from Adam and Eve, their sons Caine and Abel, Moses, David and Goliath. the life of Jesus, and more. This was augmented by movies about saints and others related to Christianity.
At some point, the letters in the conversation windows became words that I understood. Later on, I begun to understand the sentences in illustrated story books, inspired by the Bible.
Imagine, if the comic books and movies that were central to my informal education were banned when I was quite young and not yet in school -- as you proposed some features of the iPad should have been banned because they are "distracting", or some of the more conservative segments of our society considered polluting of the young mind.
By their example, and the trust my parents gave me, to be able to run free, discover the world that surrounded me, and have time to ponder who I am, made a great difference in my cest to learn, I was never lectured what was right and wrong but in a way their more "laissez-faire" guidance helped me discover and venture. They allowed me to make mistakes, and supported me during my triumphs or even when I stumbled.
Apart from the environment at home, I was lucky enough to have a good Grade 1 teacher, a veteran teacher. Learning became almost like the play of discovery and a competition to excel without having to destroy your classmates you compete with. You get a step up to the board everytime you get the correct answer. Math became exciting with these contests, and so were other Quizzes in other subjects. Imagine the feeling of being the first to reach the board. Or to get 100% for the lesson of the day.
The moral codeL of knowing what is right and wrong, that was first ingrained at home was further reinforced by my Grade 1 teacher. We were very poor at the time, but my teacher found a way to show by example, that one can be poor but not feel disadvantaged. I did not have any pocket money for example. However, to have my snack during the morning recess, like my other classmates, my teacher, deputized me, along with another classmate to fetch the snacks from the nearby bakery. It was a very simple gesture, but acts like that and many more, were impressed upon me, at such an early stage.
This just reinforced what was already a way of life at home: being poor is not equated with a life of misery or want.
My Grade 1 teacher must have enjoyed our class very much. Because of her seniority, she was able "to impose" to teach us for Grade 2, also, in the same. Her first and last. It was in Grade 3 when I realized that not all teachers were like my Grdes1 and 2 teacher. The lessons ingrained at home, and the tutelage from my Grade 1/2 teacher greatly fortified; the foundation for my cest to learn and discover.
My Grade 1/2 teacher still fought for us, what she considered her children (I learned later when I was older). Whenever she thought my Grade 3 teacher was being unfair, she would talk to her in private. And when she thought my teacher was unnecessarily unfair to me, she would make sure that she would report them to my Father. I never complained to my parents about them. I only would learn about it later. And when it was bad enough, my Father or my Mother would go to school to confront the teacher, via the Principal's Office. My parents were always deferential, of course, just to know the whole story. And the offending teacher would have to explain their action. Fortunately, such serious incidents requiring a meeting in the Principal's Office happened only four times while I was in grade school. All would end up to exoneration or vindication, in my favor. Fortunately, it was only Grades 3 and 4 with whom I encountered more serious problems.
The awareness that my parents and some of my teachers would fight for me, when they feel I am wronged was key in enjoying my schoold days.
As I look back, it is the environment at home and in school that made all the difference. Gadgets can help improve upon that environment, but they can never replace good home and supportive family and definitely not replace good teachers.
What we cannot do is "dumb down" these instructional tools, to curb the natural inclinations of children and young people.
To relate this to the discussion here, the iPads and related gadgets must be viewed as that, as devices to help in education -- not to replace a good teacher. The iPad and similar devices must not be viewed simply as a way to lessen the weight of books that students had to carry. Or, as a means to rake in profit by book publishers, or to sell more gadgets.
Just like my Grade 1 teacher and what was encouraged at home, the school must use the natural inclination young people to be part of the learning process. Play and Games, even electronic games can be catalysts to learning math, rules of physics and chemistry. Creative games may be used also to learn basic social skills and the structure of society.
With the resources that could be accessed through devices like the iPad, both the students and the teachers can learn and discover worlds we never had a chance to experience or dream of during our own school days, These would require rethinking of how information must be presented to students, and how they consume them. For example, when I first encountered the power of computers to store and access information, I decided that I shall not focus in memorizing information as the foundation of my education and learning. That approach was more suited in the ancient times, when books as repository of information were rare.
Unfortunately, the memorizing and instant recall of information remain the foundation of evaluting students.
Today, we are confronted with the issue of too much information. It is more important to learn to have the capability to decipher what is true or correct, to understand the distinction between a perspective as opposed to something factual. This may require closer scrutiny of the source of information, and why or how they arrived at a set of "conclusions" from a mountain of usually contradictory information.
One common mistake of quite a few people, for example, is the notion that if it published, or God forbid, what exist in the internet, must be true or factual, especially if it conforms to their view of events or the world around them.
History for example by nature is limited by the remaining artifacts and documents, and further restricted by the point of view of the historian documenting the story. There is a saying that "The winer names the age." Or, the implied reality that the story of the vanquished is not likely to prevail.
This is also true of recent events. Do we really think that Israelis and Turks and the relatives of Americans/Westerners have the same POV as to what happened in the recent boarding by Israelis of the ship bound to Gaza. [Please do not attempt to discuss the "5Ws and the How" of the incident here.] There surely was one series of events that transpired, but it is unlikely that a truly objective story may ever be told -- because of historical polization of views based from so many sequential events, many before our time. In the case of the Middle East, some of these go back to biblical times.
Without these realization, about the limits of information, no amount of gadgetry, like the iPad can lead us to learn - unless we learn the art of civil discourse, and even if after that, the capability to learn to co-exist in spite of our differing perspectives.