Comment 2SVT Re: GUIs ruined school computer labs


First computer system I used


GUIs ruined school computer labs (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-23 10:41 (#2STP)

I suppose my first computer experience was early Macs in the school computer lab, but I hardly even think of them as computers. They could almost have been VCRs with a keyboard and mouse dangling off of them, for all we knew. You go in, do the idiotic typing-tutor program for a few minutes, then you play some click-to-color the picture, or a puzzle game the rest of the time. Later, some office apps were there, too, and I dutifully learned how to do all kinds of crazy document formatting, year after year, over and over again, which I certainly never needed, and couldn't recall today if I tried. But something like internet access was kept strictly away from students, as they couldn't be trusted, and only rationed out very sparingly.

Without the GUI, schools couldn't have ruined/neutered computers quite so effectively, and there certainly wouldn't have been nearly so much impetus to do so (ie. no porn, less malware, etc.).

Schools don't have a clue how to use technology, in general. Time on computers is just a check-box they have to mark to show they're modern and not useless. Tell me, once TVs and VCRs pervaded classrooms, why were students still forced to READ Shakespeare plays over the course of several weeks? It does seem that K-12 was nothing but busywork, hoisted upon students like something out of Dante's inferno, used only to prove you're willing to put-up with the pain to get the supposed reward of a college education and high-paying future jobs. It's justified as "tradition", ie. school was miserable when your teachers were kids, so it should be miserable today, too.

Now, a computer lab where kids get a blank command-line on a Unix system, and have free reign to do whatever they want in their home directory (explore, program, browse with lynx, etc), THAT would be incredibly useful educational tool, so, of course, schools would never consider doing something as awful as that...

Re: GUIs ruined school computer labs (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-24 05:00 (#2SVT)

I am teaching in an elementary school.

I fully agree kids would learn more if you removed the GUI. However, it would not be fully as efficient as you think:
1. Smart phones exist. When I cut out the Internet from their computers in order to get them to do something useful, they begin using their phones instead and I still need to be alert in following what they do rather than concentrating on teaching.
2. If smart phones would not exit, we would see a quick increase in the bigger IRC communities. They would fill their home folders with text games, irc clients etc rather than going through the material and it becomes even more difficult for the teachers to see from a distance if they are really doing their task. In this kind of cases usually one smart kid able to do it is enough as he will install it for all other.

My point is that if kids are not interested in doing what they are supposed to do, they will always find something else to do. The biggest difficulty a teacher is facing is how to make the material interesting enough and at the same time convince the kids they really need to go through it.

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