8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 11, 2012 7:29 AM by sealine@nwmissouri.edu

    School without Technology?

    holmesg

      The Waldorf School that enrolls children of the chief technology officers at ebay, Silicon Valley giants like google, apple, yahoo, and Hewlett Packard, embraces a simple, retro look — blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.  The school frowns on students using technology at school or at home.  There is no modern technology used in the school.  Is technology the source of the problems in education or are we dealing with wealthy students who have parents that can provide the technology skills and tools to their children after the fact.  Read the article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?_r=2  and share your thoughts.

        • Re: School without Technology?

          I did not know that about the Waldorf school. A former student of mine was kicked out of Waldorf (well, asked not to return). He loves technology and keeps me updated even though he is now in seventh grade. Technology is not the source of problems in education, but, just as in the world at large, how we use technology can be for good or bad. I haven't read the article yet but will do so.

            • Re: School without Technology?
              holmesg

              There are several ways to view the practice.  The children woud learn the arts and have the opportunity to be children while young.  Maybe less advantaged children could benefit from this as well.  One thing that must be considered is the disadvantaged child may not have access to the technology or resources at home or someone knowledgeable enough at home to teach them as they mature.  The advantaged child has no worries due to the fact that their families are financially capable of providing the best tutors, on the job experiences and other financial or people support to ensure that their children have the necessary access and skill to master effective use of the technology tools.

            • Re: School without Technology?

              OK, I just read the article. By the way, the Waldorf school I mentioned is the one here in Austin. I'll check with my former student to see if they adhere to the no tech policy.

               

              Let me go back to what I said before: technology in the school can be a good thing or a bad thing. That's where the teacher comes in. To say that the students are better off without tech in school is, I think, easy to say if you're able to attend Waldorf. I guarantee that the vast majority of these students are surrounded by tech at home. Every type of activity mentioned in the article can be done and is done at schools that have technology. When I was a student I used my share of encyclopedias, card catalogues, trips to the library, and so on. Well, I would give that up in a nanosecond to be able to access multiple sources at my fingertips in the classroom.

               

              I don't say, "School without technology." I say, "School with technology used in effective ways."

              • Re: School without Technology?
                Bonnie Feather

                The guiding philosophy in the Waldorf schools is quite unique.  They also do not believe in teaching students to read until second grade.  Many students enter a Waldorf school already reading somewhat, and they can be held back by this lack of attention to their progress.  However, others thrive in that type of environment which emphasizes creativity, movement, music, and art.

                 

                As with anything, the reason we have choice is that learners are individuals.  It's good to honor differences and present different ways of learning.  I often wonder, though, if parents are equipped with the knowledge to "know" their children and various methodology to make the best choice for their children.  I believe the choices are often made based on ideology rather than knowledge of their children.

                 

                Have you read Steve Jobs' Biography yet?  I am only starting it, but I was impressed that his adoptive parents recognized early that he was "smarter" than they were and fought for his schools to challenge him.  Though they were high school dropouts, they said to school authorities "It's up to the school to keep him challenged" and out of trouble.  And they had to work hard to move him to schools that could provide him with what he needed as a learner to keep him involved in school.  In addition, he speaks of one teacher in particular who was able to bribe him into learning until he found that learning itself was a reward.

                 

                ~Bonnie

                • Re: School without Technology?

                  Gail, "This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks."  After reading the article, I have mixed emotions about it.  While on the one hand, I do agree that their focus is good for some, (as a former high school band director, I am familiar with the benefits of physical activity, aka marching band.), I am not convinced that it is good for all. 

                   

                  Like the chalkboard, mud or whatever, technology is just a tool.  In talking with the teachers I work with, technology in and of itself is not the problem, having the time to learn the technology is a problem.  Teachers today are asked to do more, and because of that, there is less time for other things.  I believe that until there is a fundamental shift in this country away from standardized testing, and more toward problem solving, our kids will not excel to the levels we should expect.  Because teachers are forced to "teach to the test", we are sucking the creativity out of the classroom.  We are starting to see studies done that are seeing that. 

                   

                  Time to get off the soapbox,

                   

                  Neil

                  • Re: School without Technology?

                    What an interesting thing to ponder! Technology is so intriguing and the idea of bringing these cool things into the classroom light up the eyes of students. But the idea of how much it is building our students' critical thinking skills and preparing them for the work force. It is so easy to fall on both sides of this argument. I think it is also important to look at the leaders of our technology communities and what they value. So interesting.....