Academic priorities 323
However, schools-teachers allowing children who should be learning the basics (by wrote) to use them is exactly the problem. They will not learn the basics if the crutch is handy. Why bother to teach reading skills when there are "books on tape"?
Academic priorities 324
This is a really old argument and the answer is that there is no reason. You...
I agree that simply because calculators exist doesn't make people stupid. It takes effort to dumb them down.
I don't believe you *can* teach more complex issues without first nailing down the mechanics. You can't learn to read without learning the alphabet first. It was tried.
The problem is the mechanics are no longer adequately taught.
Apparenlty this isn't what is happening. As I've said elsewhere, I've lost most of my ability to estimate an answer. It's easier to rely on a crutch. The kids today are using the crutch before learning even the basics.
No, I don't think the third grade is the epitome of a successful education. Unfortunately, many get little more but it takes 12 years.
That's exactly what I got from my first programming experience (Fortran in HS). The problems were easy to do by inspection. Getting the blasted machine to do it was another thing altogether. ...then there's BAH's famous off-by-one error. ;-)
I'm not sure how you can learn to program without organization and at least some amount of rigor. I'd like to see kids taught something like Logo just to teach organization, if nothing else.
Whenever a computer makes a mistake, there are also at least two human mistakes.