Open Ballot: What does education need?

Rapper William James Adams* has spoken out about IT education in the UK here: Infact, not only has he spoken about it, he's put his money where his mouth is and ponied up half a million quid to buy computers for disadvantaged youngsters.

Figures from the Prince's Trust (a charity set up by Prince Charles aimed at giving all young people in the UK a fair start in life) confirm that there is, indeed, a problem. Of the 1'378 young people (15-25 years old) interviewed, 17% said they don't apply for jobs that require basic IT skills, and a quarter said they dread filling in on line application forms.

Worrying stuff, since common wisdom has it that these young whipper-snappers are all tech-savy, and waiting to take over the world with their technical genius.

The above article from Auntie (that's the BBC for non-UK folk) goes on to quote Valerie Thompson from the E-Learning foundation who said:
" That [donation] would buy 2,000 children an iPad, and we've got 750,000 children who can't get online at home."

One commenter who goes by the name Trumble said:
"Is a woman from the E-Learning Foundation stating she would buy everyone Ipads to solve the problem?
This proves two things:
1. The problem isn't the kids.
2. The people trying to solve the problem are part of the problem.
Like someone has already stated, Raspberry Pi's are £15? She wants to give £600 items that are for entertainment only. "

Here at LXF Towers, we think the debate on Computing in schools really comes down to one thing: What should kids know when they leave school?

So, we put it to you open balloters. What do you think?

Kids should be able to use MSOffice, since that's what they'll need to use in most jobs.
Kids should understand how computers work, and how they interact.
Kids should be able to program.
Kids should be able to install Gentoo. We're trying to build a 1337 super race!
Kids should know nothing otherwise they'll steal our jobs. As Homer Simpson said, "Children are the future ... unless we stop them now"

Or, of course, any other thoughts.

* He chooses to distinguish himself from other Williams not by his surname, as is convention, but by misusing punctuation: We, however, feel that punctuation should be respected.

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Your comments

Editor needed ;-)

1. apostrophe used to signify a thousand!
2. "Here at LXF Towers, we thing the debate" WHAT??

How To Break Things

Back in the dim and distant days when I left school (1997) and went to uni we never had decent access to information and we generally took what teachers said at face value. If we want kids to get us anywhere we need them to question everything and not be afraid to completely destroy things in the process of learning. That's why the goal of the Raspberry Pi is at it's heart so excellent. Give them tools they can afford to break so they can learn.

Half the problem when I was at uni was it was so hard to get access to the right books, we didn't even have a internet account till 3rd year and even then not much clue where to get info.

These days the info is everywhere, but not all is relevant or correct. Teaching them to be critical and give them the skills to self investigate while teaching thme it can actually be fun if the best way in my very humble opinion.

Breadth and Depth

I think a lot of the problems stem from people using "computer skills" and "computing" interchangeably. Computer skills are essential life skills these days, and in my opinion should be taught in primary school alongside English, maths and science. Basically, whatever you choose to pursue, you will need these skills for life, so it's best to get them out the way early on. That includes knowledge of copyright and internet safety, the latter especially since many parents allow their primary school child on the internet unsupervised.

By contrast, I was class computing as a science, similar to physics and chemistry, which should be taught in earnest starting in secondary school. It's all very well teaching 9 year olds to code, but they should all be at a level where they can use the computer to some extent.

In both cases, though, I must question the logic of spending these generous donations on expensive, proprietary software and hardware. A Raspberry Pi is a bit limited, but buy a bunch of £300 computers with Ubuntu and LibreOffice and you'll be saving a bundle and still teaching both computer skills and computing. Just a though...

How To Break THings... by coding

Just in case it wasn't obvious, they should learn to code. They should never be taught how to use MS Office products. They really are not that important. If you can program etc. then you'll manage... although anyone seeing me try to do a spreadsheet might concur I can't ;-)

Basic Skills and more

When I was in middle school (6-8th grade in the USA) we had to learn typing, but I was also in a special school with a technology focus. One of the best classes I ever took given how important computers are and how everything has to be typed. I think all kids should graduate from High School with at least the following skills: typing & office suite. It doesn't have to be MS Office because, in my experience, learning an office suite is like learning to program - the important thing is to learn the concepts. Then it doesn't matter if you're using Impress, Powerpoint, or whatever the Calligra one is called. All the same concepts apply and the same rules make good slides - eg not too busy, not too many images, etc

I think those should be the basics, but I also think anyone pursuing a math or science curriculum should be taught basic programming. It could be an easy language like Perl or Python because, again, the concepts are pretty much the same no matter the programming language. I think this would teach them:
1) that they can be in control of what their computers do
2) that they can pursue a career in software development - it's not magic
3) That computers can make repetitive tasks easy

I think for people who are creative types (like building LEGOS, for example) there's nothing cooler than running or compiling/running your program and seeing your commands obeyed by the computer.

A proper education in

A proper education in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, is what is needed and the understanding that computers are not clever, they are just tools to be used.

I'm well over 60 now and have little experience of current education but seeing young people writing on-line who don't know the difference between, there , their and they're, does not fill me with optimism.

A complete departure from the "IT" era

I think we really need to look at what we would like to expect out of the students when they leave school. I think a level of knowledge about how computers work would be good. By this I mean, they could answer questions like this on graduation day:

1) Describe what happens when u ask for a website in terms of the large abstract parts such as DNS, ip routing, servers/ports, webservers.
2) Some basic programming education. All you need here is something very unsubstantial. It should not try to push programming paradigms like Object orientation on them, but rather enforce some of the programming fundamentals.
3) Any talk of ipads or any other tablets should be quashed immediately. For computer class we need a device similar to if not the Raspberry pi. A layer I feel that is missing with this is that it also needs a "working components" build which specifies working configurations such as monitor and other external devices which definitely work.

All of this will require investment from government to re-train the teachers which I would guess is the most difficult part of this entire arrangement.

Generic computing skills

I think it is wrong to fixate on specific HW or SW products. Of course, ultimately you'll need _something_ to teach on, but the curriculum should put emphasis on understanding how to do things in general.

Teach someone how to use MS Word and... well, they know how to use MS Word. Teach someone how the typical elements of a desktop UI (windows, buttons, icons etc.) behave and they should be able to get to grips with whatever environment or software gets thrown at them.

I suppose there's no harm in teaching them the basics of commonly used applications like word processors, web browsers, drawing programs etc. but it should be just that: The basics. There's no point IMHO teaching some feature that's very specific to product X version Y because by the time the kids graduate that'll be long gone. I suppose variety is key here - for each app have 2 or more alternatives (e.g. MS Office and LibreOffice) so kids can see that alternatives exist and learn to spot the commonalities.

Much as the geek in me would like everyone to know how computers work and how to program, I don't think that's realistic or even useful. Having said that, a rudimentary understanding is definitely worthwhile. E.g. if kids understand that when you "look" at a webpage you actually downloaded a copy of a bunch of files sitting on a server, then they might start to appreciate the consequences of that for privacy, security etc. They may think twice about posting something on Facebook if they understand that there's potentially no taking it back down again because every computer that's seen it has a copy of it and could theoretically do whatever they want with that. You don't need to teach them the gubbins of TCP/IP to achieve that, but you do need to make computers slightly less of a black box.

Come to think of it, there's probably a fair few adults that would benefit from being taught that!

Free software should be the standard

I'm speaking as a Texas resident who graduated high school just last year.

I don't know what's crucial for high schoolers to learn, but there is one thing I know for sure: tech classes need to use free software.

I was a part of an animation and we would have 45 minutes a day per class with our friends and a number of other distractions. Animation is hard and tedious, the only reason I got ahead was pirating Adobe's Flash program and using it at home. No one else in class could keep up, and eventually their progress in class came to a halt.

So either teach kids to use free software, or teach them to pirate.

MS Office and Lag

I would also like to add that pushing students to learn MS Office in particular is pointless. I've found that businesses and my school suffer from various amounts of lag.

My school didn't have the 2010 edition and Win 7 in one of its labs until last year, and the rest of the school remained behind. My employer, a casino, uses XP and an older version of office, which is a big change from from 2010 (which is horrendous)

Why not just use Linux?! Ubuntu and Libre Office are shiny enough to put in schools, and what's more, they're free and always will be. Everything could stay up to date so easily and save our schools money (or lack there of in my case).

Core Education in adaptability

I went to primary school in the 1980s and secondary in the 1990's, and was exposed to BBC computers with BASIC, and later RiscOS in secondary (MS Windows only came in my later years). Needless to say, Microsoft Windows made computing easier, but I won't forget my first lesson in BASIC which taught me that, unlike the talking computers in Star Trek, 20th Century users pretty much had to do the hard work themselves. We've not quite hit the heights of 23rd century technology yet, but some of our technology has become so well programmed (a testament to its creators) that users simply do just that: they use, but they do not create.

When I left school I joined a retail bank (where I still work), but I've noticed a big difference between branch colleagues who worked in the late 90s/early 2000s and those newbies who joined more recently. They can't type (I learned on a proper typewriter), and spelling/punctuation is often based on popular social network/SMS slang, and whilst they are adept at swiping there fingers on their iPhones etc, they cannot fathom cable connectivity (like USB mouses, monitors, PS/2 keyboards). Equally, the basic use of software for wordprocessing and spreadsheets just seems to be lacking (although these were absolutely necessary when I was at school). Now, these might become obsolete technology eventually - we too have iPads in branches now, but there seems to be a basic lack of understanding on how these devices work. It's probably lower than an ignorant car driver - even they know basic car maintenance.

To address the question, and to make my final point, I don't think it matters how they learn - whether using proprietary or free software. I don't think it matters what platform they learn on, but it is absolutely necessary that they do learn "how things work", and that differences exist. I want all the next generation of kids to be creative in there IT use, but that might be pushing my luck. As a minimum, they should all have core office software training, as well as a basic education in how computer components work, and how they connect with each other. Ultimately, they need to be adaptable and not ignorant of the whole range of IT. Education needs to train a generation of super-users, not monkeys.

Galaxy Note 12.1x8.6 or Galaxy Note A4

The most basic thing that students need technology wise is ( in the US ) a Galaxy Note 12.1x 6.8 or for you really weird Europeans-- a Galaxy Note A4.

Something which converts any form of document to a standard format. probably pdf or djvu. Something which lets you annotate ( and keep your anotations seperate ) the standard format document. Some note taking orogram like OneNote.

These should all be open source and free ( as in beer ) and should have interoperable versions on Linux/Windows/Macs.

Then a set of teachers who can tgeach the students how to use these effectively.

What indeed?

What does education need?

A good hard kick up the arse!

I used to teach ICT in schools. I was fed up teaching MS Office and calling it a GCSE. We need a curriculum that isn't grounded in the 1990s.

Oh, and revision guides without Windows 2000 in them.

I Dream

I dream of a day when Microsoft Office is no longer looked on as the default office suite and other open source options get a look in that children can learn and save schools money.

I dream of a day when kids learn linux and learn to use an operating system that can inspire creativity not cripple it.

My wishes for IT in Schools.

Its all in the attitude...

No one needs to be able to code to survive well in today's world, however everyone needs to be able to use well a computer and several programs just to reach a normal level of opportunities.
The most important think IT education can give you is not to learn how to use a specific program but to give you an attitude of discovery and adaptability. Dealing with ambiguity and the unknown. Using any kind of office program as opposed to only know how to use MSoffice or LibreOffice, using any kind of browser, being able to discover the program you need to achieve a specific task, any task, and specially being aware of the offers available with the different operating systems.
This would be a good IT learning... its all about the attitude! :)


Teach them about choice. Show them MS, Apple and GNU/Linux and let them work out which is best.
Teach them what computers are.
A little programming.
Teach them how to stay safe online.
Teach them the Free Software Song.

I cling to an old fashioned

I cling to an old fashioned view that comprehensive education should not be preparation for jobs, or "training" I believe one would call it. But should be... how can I put this, what's a good word? Oh yes, "education".

Firstly I just believe in the old liberal notion that if we educate our populace as best we can then a lot of the rest takes care of itself, society will naturally advance. And I mean properly educate in rigorous fields that demand reasoning, imaginition, critical thinking and so on. Maths, Science, Art & Philsophy (aesthetics, semiotics, logic, philsophy of science, critical theory, theology etc., I think if these things were taught in school the world would be a far better place). They can specialise later in vocational college and/or university - give them a breadth and depth of knowledge and an understanding of how systems of knowledge work and interact with each other. Give them the best chance of being *really fucking good* at whatever field they choose.

Secondly, training kids for the jobs of today is futile since the jobs of today will not be the jobs of tomorrow.

I think it's analogous with how if a country spends money on undirected research (as the US did post great depression) then a coupla decades later they make technological breakthroughs and huge profits. We need to give our kids an undirected education, when they leave school they need to have as good a grasp on "here's where we're up to with human knowledge" as they possibly can so that whatever the future holds (because we have no idea) they'll be able to deal with it.

So... no, I don't think computers should be emphasised as a distinct subject. Because they're not, they're something which intersects with everything else we do. They should be something they use in studying everything else they're studying. They shouldn't be some alienating box one has to 'learn', they're a tool to be used in different ways in every field.

Computer science should come into what's taught in science, philosophy of science and maths but should not be a distinct subject at the comprehensive level, it's far too specialised. We may as well train kids in investment banking given the proportion of our economy that accounts for.

If we give kids the opportunity to leave school with a proper understanding of maths and logic then we'll get our gifted programmers. If we give them the opportunity to really learn maths and physics then we'll have our CPU designers and engineers. And so on. Give them a rich pool of knowledge and understanding to draw on.

So no, we shouldn't teach fucking MS Office or how to install Gentoo or whatever in schools. They should learn these things in doing other stuff. Such things are means to ends, not ends in themselves. They should have access to whatever computer resources (and paint and brushes, books, musical instruments, tools, ingredients etc. etc.) are appropriate to their needs and talents.

Schools should be places which fuel kids' *natural* desire to learn and create. Not places which extinguish it by pissing on that with *training*.

(I apologise for my language, I feel strongly about this)

But yeah more broadly

Education Depts./Governments spending money on proprietary software when there's a workable free and/or FOSS alternative is virtually criminal. At least criminally negligent given how much better that money could be spent.

The idea of iPads for schoolkids is... I'm speechless.

"2. The people trying to solve the problem are part of the problem."

Could not agree more with that.

No no no!

Computing is fun for those of us who spend evenings hacking alone on our Slackware boxes, but it's pretty niche.

What you need is: basic understanding of computing (down to volts and binary) and the possibility for those who really like it to excel.

It's wrong to expect everyone to program. But we should learn what programming is. You don't learn to be a historian in school, but you learn something of the subject.

The problem is that neither is usually available. The first because the teacher doesn't know the fundamentals and instead shows how to click here, tap there etc. The second is due to finances; but you don't need equipment for everyone, just those who want to move on to advanced courses.

Office suits should not be in a computer class, but in e.g. economics. I learned mail merge in a class on sending out fictional invoices for instance, and spreadsheets by first doing it manually on paper, learning the basics, before moving on to the automatic spreadsheet.

Codeclub, Raspberry Pi, Education, Logic AGREED !

Lots of other good points, my two pence worth :

We should be encouraging people to learn, question, think, investigate & Innovate, not how to use proprietary software such as closed office suites.

Unfortunately large companies have a grip in schools, get them at a young age, many stick with what they know, why do you think they offer student versions of software, why do educational institutions get deals on software they buy - because they want the next place a person goes to buy the same software as well !

Why is taxpayers money wasted on Microsoft Office & Proprietary operating systems when there are many very usable Linux operating systems which can be installed free of charge, along with replacements for office suites like LibreOffice/OpenOffice ?

What is a better reason than cost to NOT use proprietary software ?
Read on......

You see, some people have a talent for programming. At ten to thirteen years old, typically, they're fascinated, and if they use a program, they want to know :

"How does it do this?”

But when they ask the teacher, if it's proprietary, the teacher has to say:

“I'm sorry, it's a secret, we can't find out.”

Which means education is forbidden.

A proprietary program is the enemy of the spirit of education. It's knowledge withheld, so it should not be tolerated in a school, even though there may be plenty of people in the school who don't care about programming, don't want to learn this. Still, because it's the enemy of the spirit of education, it shouldn't be there in the school.

But if the program is free, the teacher can explain what he knows, and then give out copies of the source code, saying: “Read it and you'll understand everything.” And those who are really fascinated, they will read it! And this gives them an opportunity to start to learn how to be good programmers.

In the UK, check out what codeclub is trying to do, to get primary school children interested in coding.

I have been fortunate as without all the advances of the last few decades, I was lucky to learn at school all about circuits, playing with batteries, lamps, bits of wire, progressing to LED's, Binary Logic, Logic gates, programming in many many languages.

Perhaps if I could have just switched on my PC/DS/PlayStation/Xbox/IPad and played games without having to type in code from magazine listings (having to correct errors & typos) I'd have been content with that, but then I'd have had to find something else that I was good (or acceptable) at for a job and work until I was 70 or whatever it turns out to be, whereas I've had a career being paid to do what I enjoy and now try to contribute as a STEM Ambassador / Code Club volunteer.

Not just a Tablet

There are basically two types of people, those who “work” with their brains and those who use their hands. Some are even well gifted and can use both.

Those kids, who do not shine academically, are just put off by those who try to cram their heads with facts, dates, methods and theories. Some of these may even shine once given a lump of wood or metal, plus the tools to fashion them. For them the knowledge on how to work the TV remote and their mobile phone is adequate. (They can always develop their computer skills later, if ever needed.)

Some are destined for practical areas where the computer is one of the major tools for the job. Now those will need to be able to know how to input and output data and probably know which computer application is best suited for their needs. A simple PC with Office/LibreOffice, etc., will do for them. (Just as long as it isn't an extended advert for proprietary software with lifelong dependency accrued.)

Then others will need to push further and find out how the applications work, maintain them or, even evolve them. These people are really for whom the RaspberryPi was developed. They need to know how to make it work and maybe even how it works.

Here we come at last to the specialised few, maybe even including a few from our first group, the practical people who can take it apart and, more importantly, put it back together again (working!!). They normally need all of the above skills. They are needed to develop the future and, when things don't work, find out why. After all, there is no point in replacing a piece of kit, that has blown up, if the replacement is destined to blow up in time as well.

A tablet? Well that's just for consuming data, not creating it, so not suitable for education.

How to do it.

I found some openSUSE related info recently, relating to it's extensive use at Westcliff High School for Girls in Essex. If you Google their site & have a browse, it seems they've got quite a well developed open source policy and for good reason! Freedom to learn!!!

Why MS Office?

"Kids should be able to use MSOffice, since that's what they'll need to use in most jobs"

Errm. No. Kids should learn the basic skills of how to write letters/documents, produce spreadsheets etc. The sort of thing that _any_ office suite can do. Though MS Office is widespread, I suspect there are a number of employers who use LibreOffice instead. They should be exposed to different UIs to show that, in terms of day-to-day operations (writing, calculating, browsing) there isn't that much difference between Windows (except 8), OSX and Linux. I'm sometimes puzzled by people who shy away from Linux because it's "for geeks and is too different from Windows" yet seem pretty adept at using OSX.

By all means teach them general "office" skills, but expose them to other aspects of IT give them the option to explore deeper if they're interested. My first exposure to progamming was in Maths lessons towards the end of my O-levels (showing my age here) where we started learning BASIC by working out the programs then marking cards with pencil which would be sent off and fed in to an ICL and the progams run. We'd have to wait until the following week for the printed results. Not only did we learn the rudiments of coding, but we also learnt about the binary representation of the ASCII character set - we had to in order to mark the cards. This was only one hour a week but was enough to get me started.

Perhaps the biggest challenge isn't so much getting kids interested in programming/development, but finding sufficient teachers with the necessary skills to inspire the kids to explore more deeply.

double-u double-u

double-u double-u

Having been out of education for a good while I was shocked when I found out that ICT in schools was a glorified MS Office course. How did this happen?

Public education needs public software!

I may not have much to contribute here, but I do have to make a post for a chance to have it read in a sexy British accent!

The way the post went, it turned out to be more in line with "What should we be teaching our students about computers?", but (at least in the US--Spain already understands this) I think a more pressing issue is the use of non-free software in public education systems.

The LibrePlanet wiki has a good essay called Why Public Education Must Use Free Software, and while I won't link to it here because of spam issues, I hope some of you take a look. It's very US-centric, but I think it gets the point across convincingly.

Hello from EagleLand!

It's quaint to see how the UK deals with these issues, as I hail from the very center of the nation. Of course we wouldn't waist money so foolishly on something like Ipads..... right?
Ipads. Ipads everywhere.
Both my parents are teachers, and of small children. My father incessantly fawns over his Ipad, and brags of how "tech savvy" his students are from getting to use them in class.
From what I've seen of the integration the Ipad seems to be fairly good as a teaching aid, but as something that one would delegate to the area of novelty. No matter how many "features" they pack into an Ipad, it will always be a toy. Toys have their place, but it must be said that tablets may have benefits to the entirety of the school experience. However, this is VERY different than teaching technological literacy.
My opinion? Go with basic computer use skills on something very versatile like a raspberry pi, if not that refurbished old computers. It doesn't have to be pretty it just has to work, and every school I've been to has plenty of computers from the 2000's that they've more or less thrown out. I have an old PC from that time period and it runs Lubuntu faster than my parent's year-old dell running windows.

Also while it would be amazing(and frightening) to have an entire generation of 7331 M@$13Rz running about, ultimately that would detrimental in a world where job specialization is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Education or Kids?

If you mean the institution of education then I have to answer diversity. It needs to have the flexibility to adapt quickly to both individual needs and conditions on the ground. The one size fits all brush serves only the lowest common denominator and the results are mediocracy in average students, boredom by above average and thuggery over the former two groups by those that shouldn't be in school at all but are forced there by unjust laws, with no way to remove them until they have already done their damage.

In short, education needs freedom from government intervention. To be allowed to be the market commodity it indeed is and managed by entrepreneurs who's livelihood is on the line should their brand fail due to mismanagement.
And who are rewarded and imitated when their brand proves successful.
Try getting that kind of response-fullness to consumer input out of ANY government monopoly. We all know it just doesn't happen because of the nature of protected classes of workers those monopolies create, the incentives proven in action regardless of words said or promises made.

If "What Do Kids Need" is the question......who knows, they are all different. Some things in common for sure but the differences are what make them special and the current institutions (virtual prisons) seek to strip that specialness, once again due to the very nature of the institutions as they exist.
Get the government out of education and yes, some kids may not get "formal education" (we all get an education one way or another though) but the quality of that which those who do is sure to excel and in turn benefit everyone.
And many less thugs will be distracting the studious by terrorizing them in places the cops make their parents send them everyday.

Curious given our situation

Over here in Australia, the issue about education has
seemingly been commandeered by the left and the right in
regards to "what a decent education" means.
I despair of the lack of a decent respect for basic
mathematics, as it can't be taught in a classroom filled
with 35 children all looking at computer screens

If you were to insist that they "turn them off and follow
my reasoning on the blacboard" They might have you held up
as a rascist for even suggesting.

But ask them to add, subtract, divide - well, they do know how to multiply....
But seriously, where are we going to get proper engineers or scientists from if we can't even get a decent classroom full of kids to sit down, shut the **** up and pay attention?

I despair for the future, I seriously do. But thats my nature, maybe if only I could suggest a way to ... oh hang on, thats right, give the kids a raspberri pi, and try to teach them how to make computers work.

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

What? the? F**?

So. half a mill quid for tha' kids
Hmm, if we were left up to rappers to
support education in this country
we'd be in serious need of a rhyme
or something along tha line
of summat or summtin
ting ting
yah yah
boo yah
real life, innit?
whatcha look out!
dontch a geddit?
lookin for a turtle?
how bout a sixty gram
anythin so long as it aint
got a future predicable
know what I mean?

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

school teacher, retired

Kids should know how to use MSOffice, not because MicroSoft is the so wonderful, but because so many jobs require it.

All kids should have to take general computing classes, just as they all learn arithmetic and spelling, because computing is now a fundamental activity of daily life. They should get the gist of how computers and computer programs work, be familiar with the most common uses of computers, etc. This, by the time they are about 10 years old.

In high school, they should be able to take some serious computer classes, just as those who are so inclined can take some advanced math or science; and those classes should not be taught as if Microsoft products represent the be-all and end-all of computing software. (I mention this because most of the computer classes I had in college dealt only with Microsoft products. For example, a database class was conducted as if MS Access were the only database program in existence. Think how much knowledge was denied because of that!)

Much of the discussion about computer education in schools revolves around two major misunderstandings: (1) that computers are somehow magic in and of themselves, and they will "save" the schools from their present problems (a dull student sitting in front of a computer isn't going to suddenly become bright); (2) that computing consists mainly of a device of some kind and if you set it in front of the student, he or she will some how just start using it. I call that the Magic Child Theory.

The main problem at this point is that most teachers are not old enough to have had much involvement with computers; their attitudes and ideas are based on jumbled information, lack of exposure, and just plain, old fashioned ignorance.
Many, many of them are almost completely computer illiterate; some of them see the introduction of computers into their classroom as an intrusion and a personal insult.
(At one school I worked at, a computerized record keeping system was introduced, allowing teachers to access student records and enter data directly. This caused a terrific flap, as if someone had thrown a fire cracker into a hen house.)

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