From: Uncle Roger <>
Date: Sat May 16 13:36:27 1998

At 09:26 PM 5/13/98 -0500, you wrote:
>The problem with introducing elementary and middle school kids to
>computers so early is that they either a) know more than the lab admin, or
>b) aren't allowed to use them in any constructive way. I'm only in the
>tenth grade, but I've already seen seven new labs installed in area schools.
>The school districts almost ALWAYS spend WAY too much on new computers,

The problem there isn't that computers are a waste of money; it's that the
educators aren't knowledgeable enough to know how to put them to use. It
would be better to buy a few less computers and send the teachers to a
course on how to integrate computers into their curriculum.

My girlfriend does a wonderful job of putting computers to work. So does
the rest of her school. But she has an advantage; not only did she grow
up/lives in SF (where computers are overly prevalent) but she has me for a
boyfriend, one brother is a successful programmer/sysadmin, and the other
one is going to school for the same. She has spread herknowledge/skills to
the rest of the school.

>aren't used until high school, when word processing/database, programming,

A shame and a waste.

>and other such courses are offered. Anything before is mainly a waste of

Not true. Computers without training (as in ANY industry) are a waste of
time. Computers in the hands of educators who nkow what they're doing is
an incredibly powerful tool.

>What about the 'net? I don't understand why people think that the
>internet is such a great "tool" that will help schools. Just do a search
>for "barbie" on Yahoo. Or, for that matter, try "video" or something

The 'net is a tool for communication, excellent at bringing together people
of disparate backgrounds. Just as we're doing here. I've a friend who's
on his way back from South Africa; when he gets back, he and Rachel are
going to get together to see about getting kids there talking with kids here.

It is also an excellent reference. Sure, putting a single word into
Yahoo's search engine will get you all kinds of (irrelevant) hits, but
something like AltaVista's search syntax is incredible, if you know how to
use it, and it does promote thinking about your problem/goal to come up
with the keywords that will return the most relevant hits.

>In other words, most of the money spent on computer equipment is a waste.

Well, send 'em out here to Garden Village Elementary in Daly City. They'll
put 'em to use.
Received on Sat May 16 1998 - 13:36:27 BST

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