The Child and the Machine: How Computers Put Our Children's Education at Risk
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Titel: The Child and the Machine: How Computers Put...
Verlag: Steiner Books
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How Computers Put Our Children's Education at Risk
In Los Angeles, the Kittridge Street Elementary School eliminated its music program to hire a technology coordinator. A Virginia school turned its art room into a computer laboratory. In the United States, a record $6.5 billion was spent on educational technology for the 1998-99 school year, while funding for music, arts, and other specialty areas continues to shrink. Stubbornly, nearly every measure of our children's educational performance refuses to rise. Drawing from hundreds of school visits, studies, and expert interviews, The Child and the Machine paints a compelling picture of how our uncritical rush to use computers in schools has led to one of the most expensive and least helpful revolutions in the history of American education.
The number of computers in schools more than doubled during the 1990s, while government and corporate initiatives to wire schools for Net access has been aggressive. But how are computers affecting the way children experience school? The Child and the Machine offers one possible answer to that question. Authors Alison Armstrong and Charles Casement argue that "computers put our children's education at risk" by diverting funds from art, music, and other programs. What Armstrong lacks in scholarly or professional accreditation she makes up for in tenacity. A concerned mom's polemic, The Child and the Machine meets Armstrong's laudable goal of providing a framework for a "long overdue public discussion" about computers in elementary schools. Chapters about keyboarding, reading on-screen, using word-processor programs, and playing computer games are spiked with useful tidbits of educational theory. The importance of physical stimulation in children's learning is uppermost for Armstrong. Despite the computer's much-vaunted capacity to retrieve pages of information about ladybugs, for example, it is an inadequate substitute for holding the real thing in the palm of your hand. What's missing from Armstrong's account is sufficient attention to the role of parenting. Computers may indeed be a bland experiential diet for hungry young minds, but Armstrong's worry that computers are ruining children's appetite for other kinds of activity is unsupported. Still, The Child and the Machine views with healthy skepticism the benefits of the influx of computers in the elementary school classroom and will sharpen one's thinking on this vital subject. --Kathi Inman Berens
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