[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: [xmca]schools-without-computers-by-choice-and-conviction-that-they-dont-help-kids

The Wired article Michael refers to is at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html

I don't know what sort of expertise the paper's authors have about mental health, but it appears that they are electronics geeks and not health care professionals. I would interpret the situation differently than do the authors. I am on the Asperger's spectrum, as is my daughter, as is my nephew, and I suspect others in my family as well. Many adults learn of their own Asperger's when getting their children diagnosed (my experience, as well as others'; see Page, T. (2009). Parallel play: Growing up with undiagnosed Asperger's. New York: Doubleday.

I imagine that professions such as the professoriate and high-tech research attract people who have exceptional focus and who are detail-oriented at the exclusion of all else, two traits of Asperger's. Asperger's also runs in families. So given that my expertise in this area is at least as great as that of the Wired authors, I would offer the alternative hypothesis that Silicon Valley has lots of kids with Asperger's because the high-tech industry has attracted many adults who present traits of Asperger's, even if they haven't been diagnosed and even if they are not looking to themselves as the possible genetic (in the biological, not developmental sense) source of the condition in their own children.

Computers can be the source of human interaction for people without people skills (another Asperger's trait), so it's not surprising that these kids are computer-oriented to the point where their parents might discourage environments where computers are available and encouraged, especially if a spouse is not on the Asperger's spectrum and does not understand the sorts of fixations we go through and tries to re-route the kids in a technology-free setting.

All this is just speculative, but it's at least as plausible as anything in the Wired article.

From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Glassman
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:03 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [xmca]schools-without-computers-by-choice-and-conviction-that-they-dont-help-kids

There may be a lot more to this than meets the eye.  A couple of years ago there was an article in Wired suggesting children of parents working in Silicon Valley had a higher incidence of Aspberger's and that parents were kind of worried about this.  So this idea of no computer schools may in some ways be a response to that.

There is also the idea of who is actually interviewed in the article and quote in the blog post.  The head of e-bay isn't really that much of a technology person, more of a businessman, and I believe a strong libertarian.  Don't assume the Silicon Valley people have that good a grasp of education.  Remember Bill Gates (I know, he's Seattle) and his foundation are in my opinion doing more harm than good to open and progressive education.  The other person writes speeches for Eric Schmitt, who again is a business person not a technology person.  The magic words Silicon Valley are not synomous with knowledge or even strong affinity for varied potentials of technology.

Perhaps the darkest part of this is that when the children who go to these Waldorf schools go home they are most probably immersed in a very advanced technological ecology where they and the people around them are using different types of tools and applications at a pretty high rate.  Probably the stuff these students get in school is somewhat redundant.  This is not true for people from different, often lower SES backgrounds.  We are a backwards nation in many ways when it comes to making technology available for all (braodband is probably prohibitively expensive for many, and while there is some public access it is often limited and often not very good).  Schools are the only place many children get to use technology on a regular basis.

So then what is the point of the Times article and the blog post?  Is it even people from Silicon Valley don't want computers in their schools so why should we wiring our schools at all?  Or is it something else?


From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Bill Kerr
Sent: Wed 10/26/2011 7:37 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca]schools-without-computers-by-choice-and-conviction-that-they-dont-help-kids

The constructionist use of computers in schools as developed by Seymour
Papert and allies is still a fruitful one. The modern incarnation of the
software is scratch from MIT http://scratch.mit.edu/ but it remains true
that to understand its educational philosophy fully you need to read some
books. One idea is "hard play". Another is "low entry, high ceiling". This
was modified a little in scratch to "low floor, wide walls".

Moreover, the one laptop per child (OLPC) as developed by Negroponte and
allies remains a worthwhile experiment to kick start learning for third
world children.

Peter, all the link shows is that mediocre use of computers leads to
mediocre results.

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 8:24 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu<mailto:smago@uga.edu>> wrote:

> http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/10/26/schools-without-computers-by-choice-and-conviction-that-they-dont-help-kids/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog
> __________________________________________
> _____
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list