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

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Aug 20 19:45:08 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2016 11:49 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] google classroom, was: RE: Meta question


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.




I would have quit and gone into marketing.  Example:  my chairman asked if I would like the department to buy some statistics videos by some well-known teacher.  …

bill w




Ah OK BillW.  I understand now, and should have specified making observations from the students’ point of view rather than the teacher’s.  If you know any fifth and sixth grade teachers, feel free to invite their views on this matter. 


There is a reason why I suggested viewing a KA video: the format of a ten minute lecture immediately followed by exercises on that topic.  I see this as a far more efficient and effective means of teaching many if not most topics than the classroom structure mandated by practicalities.  We have the students gather in a particular place and particular time at great expense and effort in many cases, give them an hour lecture, then off they go to do the homework.  But concentration spans are generally shorter than that and getting steadily shorter.  So, the Khan Academy format offers ten minute lectures interspersed with approximately twenty minutes of practice and a series of mastery assessments.  This really works.


Another observation please, one I might share with Google, or Chris can pass it along if he wishes.


We remember our own education, but allow me to focus please on an area I know better than the others: mathematics.


Plenty of us here are engineers or software developers or some kind of math geek.  How many have ever been on a project where it was design by committee, but the committee was made up of individuals, egos, rivalries, they never went out and talked shop, or for whatever reason the members didn’t like each other much or didn’t work together well as a team?  Ja, most of us have at one point or another.  OK, how many were satisfied with the final product?  Ja, none of us were.  No one on that team was satisfied, and we could all imagine a better one.  The product lacks cohesiveness.  The pieces don’t work all that well together and we can all easily see wasted effort everywhere in that design.


Traditional education using traditional methods is like that.  A mathematics curriculum is designed by a dozen or more different people, all with their own ideas of what is important, each with their own focus, each with a vague idea the student is shooting for college calculus perhaps, but the end product is really filled with gaps, over-writes, redos, wasted effort, wasted time, none of it really the fault of school or the curriculum designers.


Now consider the alternative: one person who has a clear vision gets to design the entire curriculum from early grades up through college.  She knows the skills the student must master to get to the next point on the continuum.  The entire process is cohesive.


Result: a sharp motivated student can get from basic addition to calculus in four years rather than the usual twelve, and once they do, they know everything in between much better and can use it far more effectively.



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