On Sep 1, 2013, at 11:13 AM, kirby urner <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> This could be disputed. Even the lowly calculator was a computer by some measure, programmable and everything.
I wasn't talking about teaching students programming. I was talking about teaching them mathematics. Of course computers play a role in teaching programming. But they haven't played a successful role in teaching students mathematics. And this is after60 years of trying. At best they can be used when one applies mathematics, but you have to be taught the mathematics first, before you can apply it. Technically, the same thing goes with programming. I mean, you have to understand the concepts in programming before you start programming, but the essence of programming involves a computer. Programming is to a computer like music is to a musical instrument. Mathematics on the other hand needs no instrument.
> Today the phone tends to be a computer and students are watching video clips on all subjects using those. Plus communicating with one another, which represents the development of cognitive skills.
Again, I am talking about *teaching* mathematics, not social skills. We all seem to agree that browsing resources like Khan academy is great, but that isn't really "using a computer".
> Computer stuff plays a role in cognitive development for many many kids, it's just not usually within a math class that this occurs. > > There might be a computer club with a parent volunteer. The school may have the tax base to offer "computer science" as an elective. This has been going on a long time. > > Many kids got into Logo and BASIC in the 1980s, even without much encouragement from schools. > > When I tutored after school in a foster home, helping kids to their homework, programming in BASIC was a fun activity many would willingly do, even though it was not assigned.
You are talking about programming. I was talking about mathematics. I have no problem with offering more elective programming courses. In fact, we need to be offering more elective everything. But programming will never be one of the three R's.
> "Mathematics curriculum" and "cognitive development" are far from synonymous.
No, but mathematics is one of the legs of the three R's and the three R's still seems to hold as the basis for everything else.