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

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Aug 20 17:50:18 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2016 7:48 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] google classroom, was: RE: Meta question


>>…The education these modern students are getting is so far superior to
anything my colleagues and I were offered  spike


>…If the teacher is just standing there watching 40 students go at 40 different speeds, I'll bet she wishes she had gone into some other profession.


bill w




BillW, very much to the contrary sir.  The teachers loooove this system.  They rave in unprecedented unison.  I have yet to hear a disparaging comment about it, even in private.


Reason: teachers, especially in grades about 5 and 6, have a huge problem on their hands.  By that time, the students have spread so far in their abilities, it becomes very difficult to give many of them a meaningful education.  


Think back on your own least useful years in school, the biggest time waste.  Good chance it was those two grades, ja?  Reasoning: starting in Junior High they separate the students according to their level and they can take the brainy classes or the sloth classes.  In first and second grades, the kids are all young enough they haven’t had time to diverge much in ability.  But in that transition, fifth and sixth grades, the students have diverged so wildly, Google Classroom is a gift from the education gods.


I see this divergence in my work with the cub scouts.  When they were aged 6 years, it was easy to teach them.  Now that they are 10, the sloths struggle and the eagles soar.  The eagles have already mastered all the skills long since and begin to lose interest, but we  leaders struggle and grind just to get the sloths to the next rank.  The older end of cub scouting is waaaay more difficult than the younger end.


For instance… in my own son’s current classroom are students struggling to master long division.  But Isaac finished the first of Khan Academy’s calculus courses along with all its prerequisites, before he blew out ten birthday candles.  He is working on the second KA calculus series (integrals) while some of his compatriots scarcely know how many horizontal lines are in an equal sign.  Oy.


This teacher is smart as a whip; oh she is good, I do think the world of her.  But she has no clue what a differential is, or what it does, or how to derive one from a polynomial, or what to do with it if Isaac handed her the answer.  But now: no worries, she gets off the runway, the eagles soar, her time is free to help the strugglers, everybody wins.


BillW, question please, my professor friend: how the heck is a fifth grade teacher expected to manage that?  How would you?  I’ll tell you how I would do it: run away!  Flee before this intractable problem like terrified foot-soldiers in Monte Python’s Holy Grail: 




Your homework sir, if I may presume to assign:  view Python’s Holy Grail in its entirety.  


Heh, just kidding.  Every proper nerd can already recite the script from that geek classic.  It was a teenage rite of passage for those of us whose chances of getting actual attention from the opposite sex ranged from zero to somewhat less than that.


Your homework sir, if I may presume to assign: go into any Khan Academy video (it’s free, they are all ten minutes or less) choose at random any video on any topic, view it.  Then share with us any newly-acquired insights, not on the topic or content of the video itself but rather the impact of the availability of such tools on education in general and the longer term impact it is likely to have on colleges and society in general.  Doooo iiiiiiit.  


Then please comment upon your comment above, in light of the modern education philosophy: a teacher should be a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage.





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