A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Deform: What’s Wrong with Books or Saws or Needles?

In this short article, Smart Desks Make Sci-fi A Reality In The Classroom, we are told that:

Researchers at the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Group (TEL) are designing new learning environments using interactive multi-touch desks that look and act like a large version of an Apple iPhone.

Children with any academic talent need to develop good reading and writing skills as a prior condition to learning science and math and well as literature or history. Children with lesser or little academic talent need to acquire at least the reading skills to read at least newspapers and basic contracts. In any case, the development of a child’s literary skills, high or middling or low, requires great effort by both teacher and student. This means lots of hours reading books, along with the teacher or alone. This means lots of hours writing out at least simple sentences. And there is also the basic arithmetic skills, important to future chefs and machinists as well as future engineers.

The situation gets more complicated at higher grade levels when the various opportunities and problems of students at the higher and lower levels of academic talent are ignored as our educational bureaucrats try to force all students onto standard paths of development which, at best, might be appropriate for many of the students of middling academic talents. And why are all students put in so many hours of academic classes in any case? Is it somehow better to be a failed algebra student than to be a good student of sewing or carpentry?

If smart desks are an answer to a problem, it’s not any of the real problems of educating human beings. Then again, few school systems are going to be able to afford these desks or much other new equipment with our economic problems still increasing.

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