Smart Teaching

  • Can you say "Matrix" boys and girls?

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • In the context of learning, computers are simply tools, just as books, blackboards, whiteboards, PowerPoints, etc. are tools. A good teacher will put the right tools to work in the right way, depending on the material/skills to be learned, the students' capabilities, and other pertinent factors.

    I wouldn't say any of these tools, in themselves, are either good or bad for learning.

    Whatever tools are used, the key elements are the teacher's knowledge and ability to teach, and the student's thirst for knowledge and ability to learn. To the degree those elements are present, learning is going to happen. If those elements are present and the right tools are available, so much the better.

  • Bob Abernethy (12/23/2008)


    In the context of learning, computers are simply tools, just as books, blackboards, whiteboards, PowerPoints, etc. are tools. A good teacher will put the right tools to work in the right way, depending on the material/skills to be learned, the students' capabilities, and other pertinent factors.

    I wouldn't say any of these tools, in themselves, are either good or bad for learning.

    Whatever tools are used, the key elements are the teacher's knowledge and ability to teach, and the student's thirst for knowledge and ability to learn. To the degree those elements are present, learning is going to happen. If those elements are present and the right tools are available, so much the better.

    This is exactly where I stand on this issue. Well said.

  • Clifford Stoll, of The Cuckoo's Egg fame, wrote a book in '96 called Silicon Snake Oil (I enthusiastically recommend any book by Stoll) where he talks about lots of stuff, but the one thing that always stuck in my mind was his relating a story from a teacher friend of his. Said teacher teaches upper elementary school (IIRC) and assigns the entire class a research project. The class is divided into two halves, one can only use the library for research, the other can only use online.

    The library group consistently has the better research.

    It doesn't matter what the field is, you have to know the basics of your profession. If you had a burst pipe, and the plumber came in with a touchpad and started pulling up wikis and videos on how to shut off the water, you'd be a little concerned. If he used the touchpad to order a specific replacement part, that's one thing. But you'd expect him (or her) to know the basics of his job.

    It's just like if we were in an interview for a DBA job. We might not know the precise syntax, off-hand, on how to set up a replication process. But we should be able to discuss it in general terms and could quickly find the entries in BOL or in SSC showing how to do it and things to watch out for.

    -----
    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • Jeff Moden (12/23/2008)


    Can you say "Matrix" boys and girls?

    Sure, they've all seen that movie. 🙂

    [font="Times New Roman"]-- RBarryYoung[/font], [font="Times New Roman"] (302)375-0451[/font] blog: MovingSQL.com, Twitter: @RBarryYoung[font="Arial Black"]
    Proactive Performance Solutions, Inc.
    [/font]
    [font="Verdana"] "Performance is our middle name."[/font]

  • Wayne West (12/23/2008)


    Clifford Stoll, of The Cuckoo's Egg fame, wrote a book in '96 called Silicon Snake Oil (I enthusiastically recommend any book by Stoll) where he talks about lots of stuff, but the one thing that always stuck in my mind was his relating a story from a teacher friend of his. Said teacher teaches upper elementary school (IIRC) and assigns the entire class a research project. The class is divided into two halves, one can only use the library for research, the other can only use online.

    The library group consistently has the better research.

    Silicon Snake Oil was actually first published in 1995. No small wonder the wanderings in the library yeilded better results at that time, as this research project likely occurred even prior to 1995... hence 9600 and 14000 BAUD was likely king (maybe even slower), and real information on the internet quite sparse. The tools and the search engines were infantile (by current standards) as also are the researchers themselves with relation to that technology. Let's see the same test performed today... I submit the results would be far different. Even the libraries themselves are now yeiding in large measure to the search cababilities of the computer for mere words and phrases in millions of books, publications, speeches, digital encylopedias, and hoards of other sources, vs. the singular approach of the topical search along the Dewey Decimal information highway.

    I do not intend to defend the technology, nor do I lay waste to the library system; indeed the library is a favorite place for my family. I only desire to rectify the absurdity of the "research" test. One method was destined to swallow the other, almost completely, with hoards of additional resources.

    It is the truthful information that is important, and even sometimes the mistakes we can learn from, not the delivery method. May the best of historical material and knowledge, printed or otherwise, never become obsolete. The delivery methods may change, but those are mere void and dead tools, and not the destination.

  • Yeah, that's pre-Google and pre-Wikipedia

    [font="Times New Roman"]-- RBarryYoung[/font], [font="Times New Roman"] (302)375-0451[/font] blog: MovingSQL.com, Twitter: @RBarryYoung[font="Arial Black"]
    Proactive Performance Solutions, Inc.
    [/font]
    [font="Verdana"] "Performance is our middle name."[/font]

  • RBarryYoung (12/23/2008)


    Jeff Moden (12/23/2008)


    Can you say "Matrix" boys and girls?

    Sure, they've all seen that movie. 🙂

    Heh... not quite what I meant. If all this so called "smart learning" is worth a hoot, how come the U.S. is, what, something like 12th in the world for education and verifiable understanding by the students? Most of the people in the Matrix weren't aware of their status of ignorance, either. And kids can't even print legibly never mind write cursive, today. Oh, sure, they can hit the print button on a computer, but they can't write never mind actually put together a decent letter, document, or forum request.

    Or is it (ironic) that the U.S. exports so much smart learning, we didn't save enough for our own kids?

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Ah, I see.

    [font="Times New Roman"]-- RBarryYoung[/font], [font="Times New Roman"] (302)375-0451[/font] blog: MovingSQL.com, Twitter: @RBarryYoung[font="Arial Black"]
    Proactive Performance Solutions, Inc.
    [/font]
    [font="Verdana"] "Performance is our middle name."[/font]

  • Jeff Moden (12/23/2008)


    Heh... not quite what I meant. If all this so called "smart learning" is worth a hoot, how come the U.S. is, what, something like 12th in the world for education and verifiable understanding by the students? Most of the people in the Matrix weren't aware of their status of ignorance, either. And kids can't even print legibly never mind write cursive, today. Oh, sure, they can hit the print button on a computer, but they can't write never mind actually put together a decent letter, document, or forum request.

    Or is it (ironic) that the U.S. exports so much smart learning, we didn't save enough for our own kids?

    It is very simplistic to decide that the us 'standing' in education specifically is because of presence or absence of 'smart learning'. There are vast differences in social and societal structure, emphasis, group values, legacy institutions, and even, likely what students are measured and how that have significant effects. It cannot assumed to be related to a single cause.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • The US has a few things going against it. Culturally I think we've hit a tipping point where parents are too successful and it causes lots of kids to assume they'll be successful, or as wealthy, without effort. After all, they've never had to put effort in.

    We also have too many parent, IMHO, wanting their kids to have a better life and bailing them out of things or giving them too much help/resources. This country, for the vast majority of us, is very well off. We don't need more stuff.

    And I'm as guilty as anyone. I try to hold back for my kids, but I'm not sure I do a great job. We'll see as they move out of the house and learn to struggle.

    It's not the teaching, and I somewhat sympathize with teachers who struggle when most of their class has a good life and assumes it will always be that way.

    I do know that there are plenty of people struggling, and plenty of kids that do work hard, wanting better lives.

    But I think our standard of living is so high that it's hard for many people to want to drive things forward. In my view, the US has more cultural issues than most other countries. Not that I'd want to leave, but it's something we should work on.

  • Jeff Moden (12/23/2008)


    RBarryYoung (12/23/2008)


    Jeff Moden (12/23/2008)


    Can you say "Matrix" boys and girls?

    Sure, they've all seen that movie. 🙂

    Heh... not quite what I meant. If all this so called "smart learning" is worth a hoot, how come the U.S. is, what, something like 12th in the world for education and verifiable understanding by the students?

    Points to ponder:

    - Standing based on what, the average of the nation? In my area, 90% of the kindergarten, 50% to 75% of the first grade, and a steady 30% to 50% in all grades above that are ESL (and the percentage is growing in all grades). My children are skipping grades because the remainder are so far behind. The United States of America has an extremely high migration rate into the country. My neighborhood is Spanish, Tongan, Samoan, Brazilian, and English speaking. I am not against this one bit. However, it will skew the numbers. Many families are not "planted", and are moving frequently until they get settled.

    - As even you allude to, we reasearch, develop, showcase, and export more technology than all other countries.

    - We train our competition (one of the tenets of true free-market capitalism).

    So maintaining a purported 12th out of over 160+ countries (About.com reports 195: http://geography.about.com/cs/countries/a/numbercountries.htm ) may not be as bad as it may sound. Sure, we'd all like to be #1. Even Jay Leno regularly ridicules the masses of young who don't know the difference between the WWII and the Civil War in the USA, but that kind of ignorance exists in every country world wide.

  • Steve Jones - Editor (12/24/2008)


    The US has a few things going against it. Culturally I think we've hit a tipping point where parents are too successful and it causes lots of kids to assume they'll be successful, or as wealthy, without effort. After all, they've never had to put effort in.

    We also have too many parent, IMHO, wanting their kids to have a better life and bailing them out of things or giving them too much help/resources. This country, for the vast majority of us, is very well off. We don't need more stuff.

    And I'm as guilty as anyone. I try to hold back for my kids, but I'm not sure I do a great job. We'll see as they move out of the house and learn to struggle.

    It's not the teaching, and I somewhat sympathize with teachers who struggle when most of their class has a good life and assumes it will always be that way.

    I do know that there are plenty of people struggling, and plenty of kids that do work hard, wanting better lives.

    But I think our standard of living is so high that it's hard for many people to want to drive things forward. In my view, the US has more cultural issues than most other countries. Not that I'd want to leave, but it's something we should work on.

    Well said!

    In addtion, this kind of problem will not improve so long as we are intent on prtotecting our children from failure and protecting everyone from being hurt in a non-physical manner, from being ofeended for example.

    How can children learn to pick themselves back up and try again if they are never allowed to fall in the first place? Failure is not a bad thing but a teacher in itself and failure is something we try to hard to eliminate instead of teaching how to use and or deal with.

    We need more examples of people being forced to learn from their mistakes and more persons being offended without being able to get the government (aka the law, social services, Ms Busy-Body at the local PTA) to provdie them with an outlet for revenge against those who offended them.

    Case in point, her in the Dallas, TX area a woman has filed suit against a School DIstrict because her daughter did not make the chearleading squad. Hello? What makes this crazy woman think her kid is too good to be turned down or told NO? Granted the persons involved acted poorly by apparently being verbally abusive to the girl when she tried out but that warrants addressing how to improve the behaivor of those doing the bullying and not penalizing the school & community. When this law suit is said & done everyone will have lost.

    When we sue to protect our feelings, we all end up loosing.

    Kindest Regards,

    Just say No to Facebook!
  • The US is falling behind in the world because we aren't using enough technology in the classroom. Our teachers see cellphones as toys rather than tools like in other countries. Technology enables faster learning if used correctly. A good example is that most schools now have whiteboards that allow shared input by students with several wireless tablets, so they have the ability to have a high level of interactivity and cooperation, but most teachers only use them like an old fashioned chalk board.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8&feature=related

    If we aren't properly using technology to educate, then you end up with students that can't make change for a dollar.

  • Joshua Perry (12/26/2008)


    ... A good example is that most schools now have whiteboards that allow shared input by students with several wireless tablets, so they have the ability to have a high level of interactivity and cooperation, but most teachers only use them like an old fashioned chalk board.

    Would you happen to have a reference for this? So far as I know, the vast majority of school classrooms in the U.S. have nothing at all like this. Our school district is one of the most highly funded school districts in the state and probably top 1% public schools in the nation (for funding per student) and I am not aware of any classrooms like this.

    Well this link was a load of unsubstantiated FUD that nonetheless had nothing to do with any of your statements.

    If we aren't properly using technology to educate, then you end up with students that can't make change for a dollar.

    These are the kind of claims that sound right when people hear them, but completely fall apart when even a little bit of thought or logic is applied to them. For instance, it occurs to me that our parents and our grandparents were on average much better at making change than we are, or our kids are, despite a complete lack of technology in their education.

    [font="Times New Roman"]-- RBarryYoung[/font], [font="Times New Roman"] (302)375-0451[/font] blog: MovingSQL.com, Twitter: @RBarryYoung[font="Arial Black"]
    Proactive Performance Solutions, Inc.
    [/font]
    [font="Verdana"] "Performance is our middle name."[/font]

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