Monday, September 12, 2016

Bringing things into the 21st century

Boo, being in 8th grade, has been told that she should buy a calculator.  An expensive calculator.  A piece of equipment which was pretty radical in the late 80's, and costs just as much now as it did then.  The reason being, of course, that they can't figure out how to get the students to use their chromebooks (which cost about the same as the calculators, and are almost infinitely more powerful) to work without letting the students have access to files, the net, etc.
The reason for the calculators is not pedagogical.  It's a reflection of a lack of understanding of how to use technology appropriately.

When I complained to the principal, he proudly told me that his son, a freshman at university, had had to return home to pick up his calculator because he needed it for his freshman calculus course.  This told me two things.  One is that his son is taking business calculus, where the instructors haven't been given the time and encouragement to figure out how to do things better.  The other is that the principal is not willing to think hard about this issue.

Yours, unhappy at being decades ahead of the educational system,

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