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Education Technology

Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation 161

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the computer-better-person-than-most-people dept.
snydeq writes "Companies are doggedly pursuing the next big thing in technology, but nothing seems to be pointing to the right way these days, claims the legendary Steve Wozniak. The reason? 'You tend to deal with the past,' replicating what you know in a new form. Consider the notion of computing eyeware like Google Glass: 'People have been marrying eyewear with TV inputs for 20 years,' Wozniak says. True innovation, Wozniak claims, becomes more human, more personal. People use technology more the less it feels like technology. 'The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in noncomputer ways.' Here, Wozniak says, is the key to technology's role in the education system." And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."
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Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

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  • by Narcocide (102829) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:32AM (#46161977) Homepage

    And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

    Open Source the curriculum, damnit!

    • by ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:44AM (#46162073)

      And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

      Open Source the curriculum, damnit!

      Well, the American system is flawed in nearly every direction:

      • Overemphasis on testing
      • Disengaged parents
      • Underpaid teachers
      • De-motivated and disempowered teachers
      • Inadequate funding (especially in poorer neighborhoods)
      • Kids used to passive "entertainment"
      • Poor diets
      • Administrative inertia
      • Cultural bias against education

      I could go on and on obviously. There is no one cause and no silver bullet solution. Technology can be part of the solution, but in the hands of morons it quickly becomes part of the problem.

      • by Narcocide (102829)

        You're right, there's no silver bullet solution, but Open Source curriculum would at least alleviate a non-trivial part of the "Inadequate funding" problem.

        • You're right, there's no silver bullet solution, but Open Source curriculum would at least alleviate a non-trivial part of the "Inadequate funding" problem.

          No, OpenSource can not be applied here.

          By law educators must teach to the test.

          For those outside the teaching field there is a ton of state standards that need to be implemented in the exact way. 8.16 students must show understanding between x and y, 18.17 students must apply knowledge of understand between x and y with geographical tessellation, etc. Now imagine you have +90 to go over in just 3 months!! Also it varies by state.

          There is a concept of common core for all standards but that is still in the pr

          • by Narcocide (102829)

            You have actually no idea whatsoever what Open Source is conceptually, do you?

            • by asylumx (881307)
              Good job explaining it and clearing the air.
              • by Narcocide (102829)

                He started with the assertion that Open Source methodologies can't be applied to a situation where the results must adhere to testing and standards. I'm sorry but I'm just too old and too angry to respond to false dichotomies or play circular word games today. If you want to clear the air, please, be my guest.

          • Common Core (and you're not going to get away with hiding it by not capitalizing the program's name) is a scheme to create a uniform low level of education suitable to worker drones. As its goals and standards are becoming more widely recognized, states that had previously accepted it are reversing themselves.
        • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:17AM (#46162379) Homepage

          But it doesn't escape administrative inertia, cultural bias, and more importantly (and not mentioned) extreme government regulation of curricula. There are those who theorize this is all "by design." It's hard to imagine because no one wants to believe it. I had a pretty decent educational experience even if I didn't 'get it' at an early enough age due to a touch of ASD. (I'm actually glad it wasn't diagnosed back then -- I likely wouldn't have been forced to deal with it and adapt. These days when people are diagnosed with a 'condition' they quickly give up and get comfortable in their cozy little category.)

          But we also have this culture of blame and lawyers who think the answer is to sue everyone and everything into oblivion. The system is more interested in protecting itself than in doing their jobs well.

          • by graphius (907855)

            The system is more interested in protecting itself than in doing their jobs well.

            ^^ this ^^

          • by Rob Riggs (6418)

            But it doesn't escape ... extreme government regulation of curricula.

            Government regulation of curricula exists to protect children from being taught "Creation Science" in public schools. You want to fix over-regulation in schools? Fix the root cause. Otherwise, I'm all in on that one.

            • But it doesn't escape ... extreme government regulation of curricula.

              Government regulation of curricula exists to protect children from being taught "Creation Science" in public schools. You want to fix over-regulation in schools? Fix the root cause. Otherwise, I'm all in on that one.

              Root cause being people? How best to fix people? Through education? Should we regulate that?

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        It's what you happens when you divorce actions from consequences.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Kids used to passive "entertainment"

        Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

        I'm with you on the other points, though.

        Particular to the American education system, I'd add the overprotectiveness of teachers' jobs.
        Overprotectiveness prevents bad teachers from being fired, disempowering teachers protects students from bad teachers.
        These two factors combine in a race to the bottom.
        Give schools the power to fire bad teachers and you can give back power to good teachers.

        • by femtobyte (710429) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:56AM (#46162779)

          Give schools the power to fire bad teachers and you can give back power to good teachers.

          Well, you may just end up giving that power to upper management, who has no idea who the good teachers are, only who is best at gaming the "teach-to-the-test" system. The only other thing management has to go on is firing people to save the most money (more senior, experienced teachers). Unless you're very careful to give teachers a strong voice in management decisions --- through, e.g., strong, local, democratic unions --- "fire bad teachers" will become "fire teachers who take on difficult students/subjects, and think outside the test."

          • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:08PM (#46162899)

            Unless you're very careful to give teachers a strong voice in management decisions --- through, e.g., strong, local, democratic unions --- "fire bad teachers" will become "fire teachers who take on difficult students/subjects, and think outside the test."

            The problem is, if you *do* give strong teacher unions all the power, "fire bad teachers" becomes "never fire teachers at all, under any circumstances."

            • by evilRhino (638506)
              strong voice != absolute power. It's a straw man argument to say that he was advocating for absolute power on behalf of the teachers' union.
            • Unless you're very careful to give teachers a strong voice in management decisions --- through, e.g., strong, local, democratic unions --- "fire bad teachers" will become "fire teachers who take on difficult students/subjects, and think outside the test."

              The problem is, if you *do* give strong teacher unions all the power, "fire bad teachers" becomes "never fire teachers at all, under any circumstances."

              Yes, there will always be bad teachers, and even a few horrible ones. But you cannot put the emphasis on getting rid of them, when the solution is to disenfranchise all the good teachers. Since every teacher is under scrutiny to produce test numbers or else lose their job, morale is in the toilet, and the good ones are all quitting. Don't worry about the few that don't deserve the pay, and concentrate on getting those good teachers back.

          • by datavirtue (1104259) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:13PM (#46164131)

            Just finished a 3 year stint within a community college and you are spot on. Upper management ("the administration") will reward the teachers who make their lives easy--which is always far from the priorities of providing a good, wholesome, meaningful education to students. The administration can fire bad teachers but they are not interested in legal entanglements with the union. In reality the teachers would back down, in most cases not strike, and get on with their lives...but there is the looming uncertainty, and above all, above every other priority, the administration wants to do their job, get their check and fat retirement, and go home without any trouble or disturbances. There is no incentive to provide a quality education and improve matters--the money just keeps flowing.

        • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:03PM (#46162839)

          Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

          Kids have been watching TV for about two or three generations. They've been listening passively to music for perhaps four or five (before recording, people who wanted to hear music mostly performed it themselves--having visiting performers was a special occasion). Reading is a much less passive activity than the the other two, requiring the reader to interpret the written text.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by malvcr (2932649)
            To watch TV and to hear music is useless because they are oriented to commercial goals, they are not intended to teach anybody useful things. With clear exceptions (let me see ... BBC, BBC ... BBC ... ).

            Right now I am hearing Arthur Honegger: "Une Cantate de Noël" in Youtube, and I suppose nobody knows this music because of standard TV or Radio ... even, I doubt people, in general, knows that Honegger even exist as a composer or that there is this option to find good modern music; let me see, 6801
        • by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:11PM (#46162933)

          Oh come on, kids have been watching TV, listening music and reading books for many generations.

          You seem to assume that the problems in education have appeared from nowhere in the last few years.

          Also, when I were a lad, at least in the UK, Kids TV had a lot more imaginative adventure serials, magazine shows about hobbies and current affairs and game shows where the contestants actually had to know or do stuff; and a lot less cheap cartoons designed explicitly to promote toys, thinly-disguised adverts for music and fashion accessories, mundane soap operas about dull people living dull lives, no-brain-required 'contests' and talent shows designed explicitly to raise money from premium-rate phone lines... all designed on the principle that anything requiring an attention span of more than 5 seconds will hit ratings. Seriously - modern kids television (insofar as it still exists) positively encourages goldfish-level attention spans. Hell, some programmes are flagged 'ADHD' in the listings!

          (Boringly, 'ADHD' in the listings apparently means 'High Def' and 'Audio Description available'.)

          As for the 'firing bad teachers' bit - the danger is that will only clear up a tiny percentage of teachers who are dramatically bad, while further re-enforcing the obsession with testing. If your job is on the line based on your test results, you're not going to skimp on the test cramming in order to do something creative or interesting.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by no1nose (993082)

        It really does come back to the parents. I have three kids and they each have about one hour of homework per night. I am a single father so I have to help them on my own each night after I get home from work. I have a B.S. degree so I am not a total moron (haha). The problem I run into after work is that I want to be disengaged and play EVE, but I can't. And I cannot parallel-process my help with each of my kids. They are about 2 years apart in age and if I am helping one, then the other two feel like they

        • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:27PM (#46163087)

          Maybe schools should be places where there are enough resources that kids are mostly done learning at the end of the school day. Homework is a nice exercise in and of itself that kids could benefit from doing maybe once a week or so.

          • by no1nose (993082)

            I totally agree with this. The 6 to 7 hours they are in school should be devoted to instruction and the professional teaching techniques that the educators went to school to learn. My schooling focused on I.T. and business management, not in methods of instruction. Perhaps homework should consist of showing me a summary what they worked on in school and briefly explaining it to me. Usually explaining things I understand helps me understand them better.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            Maybe schools should be places where there are enough resources that kids are mostly done learning at the end of the school day. Homework is a nice exercise in and of itself that kids could benefit from doing maybe once a week or so.

            Hear hear...

            In recent years, I've been shocked at the amount of homework that kids have. I rarely had to take a book home as I grew up in school. I learned most of it at school, and it was actually rare that I had assignments daily...we did often have in some classes a special

        • by cellocgw (617879)

          I know you're overloaded, and maybe "helping" your kids on homework is about theonly chance you get to interact with them, but if they really truly need your input for more than 5-10 minutes per week, there's something seriously wrong with either them or the teachers' expectations of their abilities.

          • by no1nose (993082)

            I wish we would have the time to do family night and other interactions other than homework. I would like to be able to teach them to cook and fix flat tires. There may be something seriously wrong with them as the interaction is far more that 5-10 minutes per week. Maybe they are also burned out by the end of the day and need my continual prodding just to get through things. I just don't know. Summers are nice and we have much more time that I can work with them on regular things.

            • Sounds like if you can arrange it, a talk with their teachers might be useful, so you can at least find out what the expectations are. Your kids are likely finding that not only can they use homework time to get a monopoly on your attention, but that they find the time with you to help them learn the material much better than they can in class... so they don't learn it in class and instead bring it home to do.

              Initially it'll take time out of your evening disengagements, but if you talk to the teachers, fin

        • I rarely help my kids with homework and they get good grades but they also go to a small school where they can get more individualized attention. This was entirely intentional on my part because I felt very much like I was lost in a crowd when I was in high school.

          I don't know about the school your kids attend or how you came to be the only parent, but I will propose an alternative. Since you mentioned being disengaged playing EVE your kids may be using the homework to keep you engaged.

          • by no1nose (993082)

            It was more or less rhetorical. Regardless of anything I would rather be doing, I don't have any choice but to be engaged since the kids are flooded with so much work. Options to move to a smaller town would be great, but for now it is not going to happen for me. Based on some offline advice I received through /. I am going to attempt to teach them how to study and learn, rather than focusing so much an helping them with the actual homework in hand. I would smarter to teach how to fish (so to speak) so they

      • Kids used to passive "entertainment"

        I agree with you otherwise, except for this point.

        I do not think ANYTHING that holds your interest and takes your mind elsewhere, is passive. Sure you are sitting idle for a while watching/reading. But after that if it was good you are thinking about it, it is affecting how you think about things.

        For good or bad that is not passive, it is active in shaping how you think and even what you do (action figures exist after all to "act"ion out the stuff you saw in in the pass

      • Can I add:
        Overly structured days allowing kids no free time to play

        What with recess and gym time being cut back or removed entirely, and children being given practically no independent time from when they are first dropped off at school (often as much as an hour before class starts) to when they are picked up from "after school activities" when Mom or Dad comes home at 5, they are being given no time to be kids. They have no time to experiement, to play, to be free and le

      • by ImdatS (958642)

        During the last 10+ years, I came to the conclusion that the worst things that happens to kids is going to school. I'm basically convinced now that the single-source of dumbing down kids is going to school.

        The main reason for me is that kids don't learn really right things in school. They learn by the rote, for tests. There is a standard curriculum for all kids - one curriculum to rule them all. It is all based on tests (whether in the US, Europe, or elsewhere - it is the same everywhere).

        I can't see any ap

        • by miller701 (525024)

          Form many, many direct observations, I have seen kids being "tortured" with standardized curricula though these were kids with strong artistic senses, or strong scientific senses, etc. Why, on earth, does a kid who loves STEM and is really a high-flyer in STEM, need to do well in Arts, Sports, and other topics in order to continue school/high-school/college? Same is true for kids who love Arts, Sports, or so who are tortured with STEM?

          The ace STEM kid and the future art major needs sports to stay in shape.

          • by lgw (121541)

            That's simply a load of crap. Look around you. Do you see the luxury to deprive kids of skills relevant to earning a living (not to mention enjoying life) in order to spend time on crap that neither fun nor useful? We need a reasonable balance between studies the kids will find "fun" and "useful", but anything that's neither one for a particular kid should just vanish.

        • If someone loves history, geography, social sciences and is really strong in it, why do they need to do all the other crap?

          I'll give you the same answer I give my students when they say, "Why do we have to learn this?"

          It's very simple. Our nation depends on civil-minded productive citizens, and public education is an exercise in developing, strengthening, and disciplining the mind, very much like regular weight training does for muscles or general exercise does for the cardiovascular system.

          Are you going t

          • by ImdatS (958642)

            But there is no question that public education's primary purpose is not for an individuals rote memorization of facts as much as developing civil minds for the preservation of our nation.

            Yes, I fully agree with this statement, but fact is that in today's schools, it is rote learning and information cramming only. If the schools would prepare kids for life by educating them that learning is a great thing by itself, educate them to understand how they learn and teaching them to think for themselves, that would be a school-system I'd fully support.

            The problem is that today's schools really teach kids how not to think for themselves, and how not to be analytical, questioning the status-quo, etc

      • What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

        America spends more per student on education than most countries.

        http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

        That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

        Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

        • What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

          America spends more per student on education than most countries.

          http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

          That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

          Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

          Your link shows per pupil spending, not teacher pay. I have no figures and am not looking them up now, but while I know the mid-high end teacher pay is pretty good, the low end in lower paying states (read: mostly the south) is low.

          • What evidence do you have that teachers are underpaid in America relative to other countries?

            America spends more per student on education than most countries.

            http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

            That's one link, but almost any other will show the same result.

            Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

            Your link shows per pupil spending, not teacher pay. I have no figures and am not looking them up now, but while I know the mid-high end teacher pay is pretty good, the low end in lower paying states (read: mostly the south) is low.

            I'd also like to mention that teaching supplies and materials (curriculum's the big one) and insurance are big chunks of that $/student ratio in the US -- most countries use old books or "open source" materials which cost very little, and spend most of the money on teachers and teacher training. A good teacher can teach well out of pretty much any material -- good material is useless if you've got overworked and underpaid people teaching to the test. Kid's don't read the material; they are walked through

          • by lgw (121541)

            You have to include pensions in the compensation analysis. There are many places where the teacher's up-front pay is about median income, but the value of the pension funding is $40k/year on top of that pay. Public sector pensions now dominate the budgets of most state and local governments, so it's not some minor thing to handwave away.

        • Even comparing teacher salaries to other jobs results in them being paid well in the United States.

          You are correct that teachers are very well paid in the US. This is especially true when you look at the quality of applicants we get to apply for our teaching colleges (very poor, literally among the worst of any major). One major problem is how we pay our teachers. We pay them with huge benefits packages that no one ever realizes the value of. People are drawn to high salaries, and teachers don't get that. What they get is a huge amount of vacation days and a huge pension. If more people understood how va

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            What they get is a huge amount of vacation days and a huge pension.

            My parents are both retired teachers. Neither of them ever had a pension. Mind you, my grandfather had a pension from his teaching, but they stopped that system for new employees hired way back in the 1970s. Maybe some big-city schools still have pensions, but that's an aberration, not the norm.

            Also, teachers don't just work 180 days. They are actively teaching for 180 days, but teachers often work weekends when grading assignments, whic

            • by ranton (36917)

              Also, teachers don't just work 180 days. They are actively teaching for 180 days, but teachers often work weekends when grading assignments, which could mean they're working up to 250 days. Add to that the mandatory continuing education, having to do work for part of the summer to update tests and assignments as the curriculum changes (and to discourage people from just copying off their older siblings), and the notion of a "huge amount of vacation days" becomes downright silly.

              First off, professional full time employees tend to work about 45 hours per week. Taking a standard school day of 8-3, and a teacher working 15 minutes before and after that time with a half hour lunch break, leaves a 35 hour work week. That leaves about 10 hours of out of school grading and preparation per week to equal a standard job. From the teachers I know that is either pretty standard or a bit high. There are certainly teachers who do a great deal more than this, such as those running after school gr

      • by ranton (36917)

        I could go on and on obviously. There is no one cause and no silver bullet solution. Technology can be part of the solution, but in the hands of morons it quickly becomes part of the problem.

        Technology may not be a silver bullet but in my opinion it has the potential to be the most cost effective solution, and by a wide margin. Technology has been a failure so far because there has been no accompanying process improvement in education. MOOCs are starting to show that lectures can be scaled out further than one teacher per twenty students. Think of all the time saved if there were merely a hundred lectures about numerators and denominators, varied by skill level and learning types, that every st

      • This is 100% nonsense, every single point. As long as people think these are the issues, there is no hope for fixing. The funding and money parts are the most absurd - American education is grotesquely over-funded.

        • This is 100% nonsense, every single point. As long as people think these are the issues, there is no hope for fixing. The funding and money parts are the most absurd - American education is grotesquely over-funded.

          Interesting. Yeah, I know it's boycott week and so on, but I just saw this and thought I would reply. So.. I have your comment and then another that says I'm spot on every single point. That comment is from a teacher and parent to several kids, someone who should know.

          So, what's your point of reference then? As for funding, it may be true that the US spends relatively more per pupil than other countries, but it is not money well spent. Walk into any (OK, not *any*, but nearly any..) poor school distr

      • by nobodie (1555367)

        i'm gonna' mod you up to11, you have hit it all on the head.
        (I'm a parent -- of 6 kids, three natural and three step--, a teacher, the brother of a teacher and brother in law of two other teachers; i do know a lot about both sides of the fence)

    • by matbury (3458347)

      Presumably you mean develop syllabi and curricula under liberal, permissive Creative Commons licences and/or in the public domain. This is a good step towards releasing educational organisations from the dominance and control of the big publishers, e.g. Pearson and McGraw Hill, and yes they have captured a lot of K-12 education and manipulated it to their own benefit regardless of learners' needs, but it doesn't address education policy itself.

      Publishers are only part of a bigger system with vested interest

  • A similar comment can be made about movies. I hate remakes and especially reboots. Even movies made from book are better than remakes. Can you come up with something new?

    However, I disagree a little with Woz here because it's critical to improve existing technology. True innovation is difficult and important, but improving those first bits of technology is probably as crucial. The obvious case in point is the mobile phone. It has been around quite a while, but our lives are greatly affected by recent

    • Ok but bearing in mind that Facebook is an evolution of Friendreunited I'm not sure if I like where this is going
    • by rossdee (243626)

      "A similar comment can be made about movies. I hate remakes and especially reboots. Even movies made from book are better than remakes."

      I don't mind a remake if the original film was made from a (classic) book, like the plays of Shakespeare, Frank Herberts Dune, Lord of the Rings etc
      Or even dramas based on historical events, or legends.
      But if something was originally a movie, or TV show, and presumably worked with the original cast, then they don't need to do a remake.
      I also hate prequels, If they want to c

  • It can revolutionize teaching if done the right way [wired.com]. You need structure and a learning environment where the students have freedom to pursue as well.

    Bare in mind this citation above was in Mexico where there is a ton less presure on teachers to follow through circulumn to ensure test scores. Teaching today folks is very different than when we went to school thanks to No Child Left Behind. Teachers are handed a list of +90 topics to go over in 3 months! So the time to experiment which has proven test results

  • by Great Big Bird (1751616) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:55AM (#46162181)
    From the summary: "People use technology more the less it feels like technology. 'The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in noncomputer ways.'" Take a world where you have a pen, and then you have a typewriter come along. The uptake in typewriters may have been relatively slow, taking a few decades, never really displaced the pen in many uses. Now computers replacing typewriters - a little faster. Internet replacing non-internet sources of information - definitely happened much faster. But in all these cases it is using technology that feels more like technology. So I don't know what he means by working in non-computer ways.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So I don't know what he means by working in non-computer ways.

      Try rewriting your reply on an Altair 8800 using the front panel and maybe you will understand what he means.

    • I certainly have a ton of respect for the woz, but this sounds like someone just saying whatever in a desperate attempt to sound relevant. Worse, it sounds like he's trying to channel Jobs. Woz's a brilliant man, but he knows damn well his innovations in computers were not inventing something nobody had seen before. And while they might have made computers more approachable, they were definitely not hiding the technology.

      He should also know that innovation is rarely, if ever, inventing something totally
    • by Agares (1890982)
      What I think he means it trying to make computer technology feel more natural to people.
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert AT laurencemartin DOT org> on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:26AM (#46162481)

    The biggest problem with the Public Education system is

    IT IS DOING EVERYTHING WRONG!!

    Start with having Standard Reference E-Books on Everything on a EduCORE server network. When a kid starts school issue the kid an EduSlate (something good enough to work but cheap enough to not be a target for theft). As the kid grows up unlock more and more info (redact less and less). For the things where there are recognized Alternate ViewPoints have the Alternate availible if asked for.

    as far as how the teaching should go

    1 In preschool teach exactly 3 things 1 YOU CAN LEARN 2 HOW TO LEARN 3 The rock basics of learning (numbers letters colors ect)

    2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess) 2 teach every kid physically able to how to dance (ballet/gymnastics type)

    3 group things into K5-3 4-6 7-9 and 10-12 worry about graduating a kid when s|he can jump bands (btw put the Ladies and Gentlemen together in class during the upper 2 bands)

    4 use the older/smarter kids in each band to help the other kids

    5 end of the second band and during the third band start sorting kids for where they will be going after graduation (use a "Nut Filter" also)

    6 create Sanctuaries for kids to go when they can handle "home life"

    In Short STOP KILLING OUR CHILDRENS MINDS.

    Challenge for Apple: Create an ISlate and i will front you your Kinder Garden

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:15PM (#46162977)

      You know what is funny though, is that your list is exactly the process that a lot of homeschooled kids go through.

      I know, I was one.

    • Re:On Education (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dmiller1984 (705720) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:42PM (#46163233) Homepage

      2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess)

      This has been tried before and it's been found to not work. It's one of the few things in education that has been pretty much proven not to work. I just read an article [indiatimes.com] the other day about seperating by gender, and it just serves to reinforce sterotypes when the genders are not together. Boys are allowed more freedom to move around since "boys will be boys" when there are girls who could use freedom of movement as well. If you were going to break up classes, break them up by the way they learn.

      • by WillAdams (45638)

        Valid divisions for class groups:

          - reading level
          - reading speed
          - academic performance

      • Separating students by the way they learn will never happen given the push for "inclusion" in public schools.

        Meanwhile my wife (teacher) has her entire class dragged down because she has to spend so much time with those who need additional assistance. Those kids end up getting more assistance, but not as much as they truly need, while the other kids fall behind.

        Don't get me wrong, I get the idea of inclusion, but I disagree with others having to noticeably suffer (in terms of education) as a result.
    • by Syhra (1089779)
      Great, so what to do for the 4-6 band kid who does well with reading and comprehension, easily meeting or surpassing the next band, not so hot in math and not meeting the requirements for the next band, but is young or socially young, but can Riverdance with the best of them and still draws stick figures?. Which band does s/he go to? Why are 4 bands better than 12 grades?

      I will resist making fun of the provided magic thinking here that seems to be right out of someone's feelings on what might work well.

      • the point of working it as "bands" is to give time to work around issues where a given kid is a lot better at some subjects than others (s|he can help with the slower kids in the good subjects and be helped as a slower kid in the not so good subjects).

        as far as the The Holy 200 Point Checklist goes that does not matter (unless you are part of the school board/ Government Official Board writing said checklist).

        the point of the bands is to give a teacher 3 years to get a kid up to snuff.

  • What's needed to make STEM pursuits attractive to kids is rock-star status that they see everywhere in entertainment and professional sports (technically entertainment too).

    • What's needed to make STEM pursuits attractive to kids is rock-star status that they see everywhere in entertainment and professional sports (technically entertainment too).

      You wish.....

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:01PM (#46162823)

    And the tech community says, "Ouchie" and runs back to their offices. I've been lecturing developers on this for years, and gotten little but hostility back. When you tell them "The fucking computer DOES NOT MATTER" they just look at you blankly.

    The computer. It's a toaster, OK? It should turn on immediately. Do what the fuck I tell it to do and stay out of my face. It's not even a servant. It's *less* than a servant. It deserves no regard whatsoever.

    More to the point, the toaster should not ask me a bunch of questions, steal my input focus, wait for it's little processes to complete in the foreground before moving on, take minutes to start, or stop, refresh my screen randomly, puke out unhelpful pointless error messages that require my attention, and so on. Aside from all of this being a sign of lazy, careless design and programming, all of this will drive consumers to devices that *don't* do this, or do it less. This is one reason among many why Android is taking over the world, while Windows is dying a well deserved death from it's ossified, well preserved stupidity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The computer. It's a toaster, OK? It should turn on immediately. Do what the fuck I tell it to do and stay out of my face. It's not even a servant. It's *less* than a servant.

      A toaster? Oh really? No, the computer is a tool, and a very versatile one. I couldn't agree more with you about the computer not beeing perfect. But being angry at a computer for not guessing what you mean to do is like being angry at a knife for being unable to perform surgery by itself. Nobody expects surgery to be trivial, a helicopter to fly by itself or a pen to make you a nobel prize winner in literature. Just for a computer nobody has been pointing it out. So maybe you should not compare the compute

  • by Lord Grey (463613) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:20PM (#46163021)

    Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

    - Alfred North Whitehead, Introduction to Mathematics (1911)

    Technology that Woz describes is essentially invisible, because the user can focus on the task and not the tool. As tech people, creating such technology should be our goal. I imagine that the vast majority of us want to do that, anyway. What we need to do is convince the people in charge of the money to let us.

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:21PM (#46163035)

    Teaching is hard. It requires talent and a whole lot of effort, in spite of what that ass G B Shaw once sad ("ha HA!"). The problem with technology is that it gives so many people in the school systems the false assurance that it can solve the main problems plaguing the education system (see the recent episode of South Park parodying the ObamaCare website fiasco). But what's really plaguing the eduaction system is that parents are getting less involved and more demanding even as teachers become increasingly overworked, underpaid, and poorly trained.

    A big part of it has to do with the squeezing of the middle class. Decades ago you could actually earn a decent wage on a public school teacher's salary, enough to buy a house and raise a family. Who can do that now? And in a metropolitan area? Fuck that. I honestly don't see how people are making it. I think the best teachers now go to private schools or colleges, and many (but not all, mind you) of the ones who remain are the ones who just aren't very good. People love to blame the unions for protecting bad teachers, but without the unions I think the situation would be far far worse.

    • Maybe that's what we need. Something far far worse. So that maybe, just maybe, people will actually try to fix the problem. Don't get me wrong. People are trying. But apparently not enough of them are. Or they aren't trying hard enough. Or they don't understand the problem. Or they don't really care. (I'm sure it's a mix of all that.)

      Something needs to change. Sometimes the only way to get that to happen is for things to get worse.

    • by Lamps (2770487)

      I honestly don't see how people are making it. I think the best teachers now go to private schools or colleges, and many (but not all, mind you) of the ones who remain are the ones who just aren't very good.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've read that many teachers who move to private schools from public institutions take a pay cut to do so, and they do it because they find the environment more comfortable and more conducive to doing their job. The students tend to be more classwork-oriented, and they have less disciplinary issues, so although there's less financial incentive to work in private schools (including no prospect of a nice pension upon retirement), the experience itself is more gratifying. Teachers

  • If I was going to do something crazy, I'd look at getting rid of our screens, and replacing it with voice. That means probably doing better with voice generation, and leveraging and improving voice recognition. I have a thought or two about the idea at a basic level, but I don't have the programming or theoretical chops to make it happen. That would be neat though to see something go that way. Granted that's not all that crazy as evidenced by the movie "Her" but it's a start in the direction Woz was talking
  • Why would anyone think that schools were trying to develop innovators ? Why would anyone think more than a very few can innovate anything or even know what innovation is or that any innovators go anywhere near a school ? If everyone was an innovator who is going to pick up the garbage anyway ? Schools just train as many cogs for the big machine as possible and babysit the rest.
  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:00PM (#46168225)

    Woz is talking out of his ass. His proposal for 1:1 teacher:student ratio has been shown non-optimum. How would you like to have a teacher hovering over your shoulder 6 hours a day, like a slave's overseer?

    Most students do well in moderate sized classes, 20 to 30 well-behaved children. Those with behavior problems and those with learning disabilities may need more attention, but they're not "most students".

    There are about 50 million school-age children in the US. The total workforce is about 150 million. Assuming 20% overhead for administration and maintenance, a 1:1 teacher:student ratio means 60 million people in the education industry without even considering college. Where are those people going to come from? How are they going to be paid? Where is the production going to come from to feed, clothe, house (etc.) the 1 person in 5 who is engaged in nothing but teaching?
    The more carefully the idea is examined, the worse it looks.

  • I'm currently reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which gives a little insight into what education was like over 150 years ago. (T.S. was written in 1876.) There was much more rote memorization than today, including memorizing long poems. Lots of attention to literature (particularly the Bible), geography, history. Math was primitive but thorough. Science and technology was practically nonexistent. Debating was standard fare.

    The net was that people's minds were filled with enough information to be able to

  • I'm an old guy and after periodic immersions in STEM classes have started thinking we should reverse the way subjects are taught. I'd get more out them if they were used to build a house (on paper) or flashlight with its parabolic reflector, or in the market (stock and super) to find best prices, etc. So we'd work from the finished product back to the concepts of parabolas, statistics, electronics, weight distribution and vectors. I guess this is the case study method and seems better than word problems as

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