[ExI] google classroom, was: RE: Meta question

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Aug 20 14:00:42 UTC 2016

>... On Behalf Of Anders

>> ...  Still, I think I made the right choices even without such
education... Keith

>...School is often a hindrance for education...
Dr Anders Sandberg

Public schools are not allowed to offer ethical or moral guidance in our

On a topic related to that but distinct enough that I chose to change the
subject line, I have some observations of current public school I would

My son started fifth grade last week.  The teacher asked for the students to
bring their parents to an evening meeting to teach the parents how the new
Google Classroom software works.  It was one pleasant surprise after
another.  For instance: 

There are 29 students in the class; 24 showed up with at least one parent
and plenty with both, so already over 80% participation in an after-school

There were enough computers that all students had one, and there were plenty
of spares should one of them conk.  I still don't know who donated the money
to get those, about 40 HP Powerbooks and a charging rack just for that one
classroom; I think Google and Microsloth may have done that.  I want to
write a letter of gratitude and assurance that was money well-spent.

The curriculum they are using is called Google Classroom, which might be
described as a pumped-up and filled-out version of Sal Khan's excellent Khan
Academy.  KA is more science/math/technology oriented, and ooooh Khan is
good; he did such a fine job on that.  But Google Classroom has the Common
Core stuff in there and a lot of broadly focused (defocused?) material on
"language arts" and "literature" and "social studies" and such as that, all
that useless non-science and non-math silliness we geeks were forced to
endure with such suffering and longing to get out of there and get back to
the real learning, the kind with actual equations in it.  You know what I am
talking about.

This Google Classroom somehow makes vaguely bearable even those "fields" of
"study" which have no actual equations, those tenuous disciplines which are
forced to express their principles by reliance on "nouns" and "verbs" and
such flimsy constructs.  I scarcely consider any human endeavor which
resists being coded into software and which has no equations a legitimate
use of the human mind.  Or if so, it strains to qualify for its own term
with the suffix "-ology."  I tend to consider all such ventures better
lumped together under the term "sports" but I must qualify even that, for
most sports are now delightfully mathematized.  They should be considered
with the kinds of sports where a panel of human judges hold up numbers at
the end of the performance (he said with the accompanying dismissive hand
gesture.)  But hey, I started out a geek and it got even better from there.
I know I am a fortunate man, born into fortunate times.

The best part of this curriculum is that it appears to be completely
open-ended.  None of it depends on a teacher or a class of similarly-aged
compatriots; the student progresses as fast and as far as ambition, talent
and drive will take her.

The education these modern students are getting is so far superior to
anything my colleagues and I were offered, the two situations nearly defy
direct comparison.  Or if such comparison is attempted, a dissatisfying and
suboptimal summary is derived, such as: "That sucks, this does not."  While
succinct and insightful, the comparison lacks constructive descriptive

It will be fun to watch what this cohort will achieve.


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