In which I attempt to advance my English writing skills from poor to mediocre.
Why learn math when you have a calculator?
Published on June 9, 2004 By dreamtime iliaster In Pure Technology
One idea that has taken hold in the education community recently is the idea that we don't really need to teach people how to do mathematical calculations, since they can be done so easily on a calculator, and are rarely done in "real life" anyway; instead, we should teach "concepts". Why is this idea limited to mathematics? The grammar checker in MS Word gets better with each new release, the spell checker is already quite good, and any laptop can carry millions of books. With voice software at the point where real time dictation is possible learning to read or write is a waste of time; even listening to books is a waste of time, since you can just carry them around with you, and access any book on demand, right when you need it. Why fill your head with knowledge that you'll never use? How often do you find yourself referring back to a history, sociology, or anthropology text in "real life"? Think of all the time you're wasting by reading, instead of learning the concepts. The most egregious waste of time though, is teaching the arts. We could make school so much more fun, if we just taught children the concepts of art and music. Why spend thousands of hours practicing when any kid with a five dollar CD player can produce better music than all but a few people? Some would say that it's impossible to compose great music without learning the basics, but as long as we teach children the concepts, they'll have everything they need to know. Moreover, genetic algorithms can already produce better art and music than any child, and they're still improving.

But why stop at concepts? Concepts can be looked up in books; books can be put on PDAs the size of calculators. Every day I see students wasting their time in graduate level math classes learning concepts. Don't they know they can look up all the theorems that they're taking weeks to prove? Fools, all.

on Jun 09, 2004
I agree completely. It's stupid to waste time and money teaching people silly things like math and reading. Who does these things anyway? We have computers now. Why should we even bother to think at all? Computers can do that too. Schools should just stick to the really important things like keyboarding, mouse usage, and cellular telephone dialing.

Of course, we don't want to forget those all important PDA stylus usage classes. (A physical education class)

Classes such as Social Tolerance, Creative Television Viewing, Internet Chatting Etiquette, and of course Sensitivity Training should be the standard curriculum of our schools.
on Aug 01, 2004
You seem to think computers are everything. It's not. Agreed that concepts are more important than a jumbled collection of facts. there is an educational theory called 'constructivism' applicable to science teaching. and there are concept maps, v-diagrams etc. Online support of science learning can also help. But not many teachers and students are using these things yet.

In the final analysis, human mind and thinking cant be replaced with computers, mouse clicks and keyboard clucking.

Right ?