[IAEP] Data vs Critical Thinking - Can Sugar give schools both?

K. K. Subramaniam subbukk at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 09:36:01 EDT 2010

On Tuesday 20 April 2010 06:01:33 am Caroline Meeks wrote:
> Why can't computers for children both give them the means for creation,
> independent learning, collaboration etc etc. and give their teacher
> detailed, nuanced, actionable data on what skills they have mastered and
> what they are still struggling with?
Computer-centric vocabulary is becoming obsolete today. Talking about 
computers today is a bit-like talking about DC/Induction motors in our homes. 
We don't think of mixers, juicers, grinders, washing machines etc as motor 
machines, do we?  Kids don't think of mobile phones as computers. They think 
of them as phones, cameras, voice recorders, mp3/mp4 players etc.

>Problem solvers, groundbreaking pioneers and visionary leaders need to know
>their phonics and their basic math skills.  We have the capability to build
>tools that help teachers know and track which students are struggling with
>what skills, and provide the collaborative framework for them to collect
>data and share it to determine what works to teach those skills to all
Just a few weeks back, I had a discussion with village school teachers about 
using smart machines to enliven language lessons. The discussion veered around 
using mini-speakers with mp3 player in classrooms. The players, about 4" cube 
take in 2GB USB flash, SD card or micro-SD cards and play for 5 hours on a 
single charge. They cost about $8-$10 here and 2GB card can easily hold about 
four-five years of language lessons. Neither teachers nor 6-9 year olds think 
of them as computers.

We could also think of using portable mp4 players (for visual lessons) or 
smartphones (for data collection). These machines don't exclude the use of 
laptops for authoring lessons and give more options for children to learn 
languages, math and science.

[Apologies if this is OT on a RTI thread]


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