Computers ok? Not in Silicon Valley

10/11/2011 22:22
Computers ok? Not in Silicon Valley

“‘Teaching is a human experience,” he said. ”Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.” Waldorf parents argue that real engagement comes from great teachers with interesting lesson plans.

”Engagement is about human contact; the contact with the teacher, the contact with their peers,” said Pierre Laurent, 50, who works at a high-tech start-up. He has three children in Waldorf schools, which so impressed the family that his wife, Monica, joined one as a teacher in 2006.

And where advocates for stocking classrooms with technology say children need computer time to compete in the modern world, Waldorf parents counter: what’s the rush, given how easy it is to pick up those skills?

”It’s like learning to use toothpaste,” Eagle said. ”At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.”

Computers are a tool, nothing more. Yet with every tool you have to learn to use it properly to obtain the maximum benefit from its use. When a tool is not beneficial or does more damage than good it’s time to look elsewhere to determine whether their is a better option.  Schools adopting technology wholesale without determining the long term effect is to my mind dangerous. Unless of course they just don’t care. Generation after generation managed to obtain an ‘education without computers, they turned out to be functional, literate vital human beings.

Part of me wonders what these parents from Silicon Valley know or intuit. Is it like the tobacco company exec, forbidding his children to smoke or the mobile phone exec. mandating his children not to use mobile phones? Or do their children have computers at home and these parents simply realise that the the ability to actually connect to other human beings (and develop social skills and a full emotional vocabulary) and your environment is the key to a well adjusted life.  

Tess Michaels