An article by Matt Richtel in the New York Times said about 160 schools in the Waldorf system around the country are preaching physical activity and hands-on learning. These schools also ban technology in the classroom. The 160 schools don’t make students whittle their own pencils by candlelight, but they do forbid the use of aides, such as calculators, projectors and computers.
Now if you are jumping out of your seat at the thought of schools embracing hands-on learning, sit back down. These schools also start the day with nondenominational verses about the divine and have students knit socks. That’s not even the strangest part.
Most of the students enrolled in these tech-free schools come from families that make their livings by working for tech giants like Apple, Google and Yahoo.
These parents have the gall to claim that the apps some of them make are inferior teaching tools. Oh, really? Then why did Apple’s advertising campaign for the iPad 2 focus on how much one could learn from it?
The Waldorf schools don’t realize the value of technology in the classroom, but apparently they do understand the value of a dollar.
Schools near Silicon Valley cost nearly $18,000 per year. The Waldorf system looks down on public schools that try to integrate technology with lesson plans saying it’s unnecessary. These same schools are scrambling for government handouts to put computers in classrooms, while Waldorf schools are being paid a boatload to teach without them.
I’m not saying it’s questionable to charge that much for tuition to schools that spend little to nothing on technology; I’m just saying that if a school is raking in that kind of money and has no plans of becoming a technological Mecca, those kids better be playing on a three-story jungle gym made of gold.
As for my thoughts on the whole tech-free notion, it’s ridiculous. I’ve had high school and college classes with people who did not fully understand basic calculator functions or how to properly make use of a flash drive; don’t tell me they could not have benefited from technology education.
Now, do I want a tablet and smart phone for every child? No. Overexposure to technology turns thoughtful individuals into zombies, but guided learning of technology, taken in moderation, allows students to flourish later on in their academic careers.
Don’t insult their intelligence by showing them how to use simple resources like Google and YouTube, but do show them how to process word documents and how to make basic power points.
It’s only by growing up on current technology that innovative minds will forge something greater for future generations.