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From: covs_dhc@ACCESS-K12.org
Date: Thu Oct 02 2003 - 15:59:15 EDT

  • Next message: Akhila Seshadri: "Re: [Channel-talklearning] Response to Akhila"

    Hi Akhila:

    Thanks so much for your lengthy responses to my postings. I am excited
    that there are people in other countries taking this course. I appreciate
    hearing about a non-western point of view and refreshed to find that we
    think so much alike. I often feel like a traitor or an alien in the public
    education system because I am not totally enthused with technology as it is
    used today in the school setting. I have to constantly pretend that I am
    completely committed to using technology when in fact I would rather
    emphasize the need to think carefully before jumping to the conclusion that
    all we need to solve a problem is a new piece of software.

    I can't tell you how much money we have spent on software here that has
    either hardly been used or never used. So much money is wasted. And often
    technological solutions require even more effort to learn to use them and
    then to train others. During this time instruction could be given the "old
    fashioned way" with paper and pencil and even books! We now have software
    that will read any text to students. This software was purchased to help
    special education students who have trouble reading. However, now many of
    the other kids use it just because they don't feel like reading. I'm not
    sure this is a good trend. Today I notice that students do not spell well,
    have sloppy handwriting, and hate to read. I anticipate there will come a
    time when our society becomes completely iliterate. At that point people
    will simply click on pictures of things and the computer will read the
    information to them because they won't be able to read. Maybe I should
    write a science fiction novel about this.

    I have also read and studied eastern philosophy. I have practiced
    meditation for years along with T'ai Chi. I agree with Krishnamurti that
    there are influences on children that affect learning even prior to birth.
    I too believe that education should be focused on the transformation of
    human beings. I think we often get stuck in thinking of students as "human
    doings' instead of "human beings". We focus too much on what kids are
    doing in a superficial sense and we lack the awareness necessary to deepen
    our experience of teaching and the subtle influences that our being has on
    our students.

    Being such a sensitive person is difficult in what I consider an insane
    environment. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and
    over again and expecting a different result. I would say that definition
    fits the public education system here quite well.

    I am impressed that you do not give calculators to students until grade 11
    and that you give a formal class in media literacy to your students.
    That's more than we do here.

    Stay in touch.

    Debbie Cogan
    Lisbon, Ohio

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