Thursday, May 17, 2012
What the Duck
I think many teachers think that just giving a computer to a student will boost student achievement. I don't this is any more true than giving a camera makes someone a photographer. I believe it's the way the tool, or computer, and the student interact that results in learning. As an example of what I mean is the woodworking tools my father gave me. I could not even make a box. These tools enabled my dad to make book cases that still are beautiful 50 years later.
As the school year ends, I see more and more students using dis-associative behavior. Yesterday, I saw girl playing a game where she acted like a dentist cleaning teeth. The game was an advertisement, but she played the game for the whole period (her last day of school). In one survey, 99% of boys play video games and 94% of girls. This shows me that computers are used more for entertainment than education. I know that many of these students who play games also write beautiful essays, make gorgeous PowerPoint presentations, and invent on their computers too.
Robert Solow depicted the aggregate production function as a function of capital to labor. Simply, his formula shows that the square root of labor times capital shows growth. Increasing capital while leaving labor constant gives diminishing marginal returns. How can giving students laptops be any different?