Tech Bigwigs Put Their Kids in a School With No Computers

Illustration for article titled Tech Bigwigs Put Their Kids in a School With No Computers

CNN recently reported on a Silicon Valley phenomenon in which parents in the tech industry send their kids to schools designed to avoid technology. At the school featured in the report, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, there is not a computer to be found.

These parents, such as the eBay executive featured in the report, believe there's time for technology outside of school, and that the classroom should be a place for more social, natural learning activities. Children bounce balls. They use chalkboards. They tug at ropes fitted in pulleys. At the accredited Waldorf schools worldwide, an aversion to technology is not a core tenet. It's more of a byproduct of the overall approach to education.

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There is some appeal here. Kids should spend time running around outside. And, as the parent in the interview sees it, there is value in learning the science behind the computer. But does it really have to be all or nothing? A school should be competent enough to incorporate the important and educational aspects of technology. The screen can show more than just Fail compilations and online porn. [CNN]

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DISCUSSION

After reading some of the posts above stating how kids can fall behind if they don’t have computer training, I’m stuck scratching my head. Personally I went to Purdue for engineering and was actually shocked with how the math classes were taught. I thought that this school was going to push using technology to solve all the math problems that they tossed at us, and the opposite happened. Think about this, most of the calculus classes didn’t allow you to use a calculator because they wanted you to solve the problems using your own brain.

Now this method of teaching continued into my main core engineering classes where we had professors actually force us to generate our homework and calcs by hand (no typing up your homework with excel or Mathcad). Their main goal was to teach us how to find the right answer, and have us develop a basic understanding so we can do a gut check when we do use a computer (just because a computer output says something is ok, doesn’t mean that it is).

School is not about teaching you how to use a resource, instead school is about teaching you how to ask the right questions, and how to find the right answers. Yes technology will often be part of that, but it will never be the answer we are seeking, but instead the tool to get us there.