CREATIVE COMPUTING Editorial What's Wrong With the Little Red Schoolhouse? l have a couple of observations on education and learning: 1. Kids learn best from other kids, probably outside of school. Some of the best learning probably occurs in the street! 2. Although textbooks are written by the best minds and are cram full of enlightened information of allegedly great worth and importance, they never get stolen. 3. Kids spend a fantastic amount of time in front of the boob tube. Indeed, at the time of entering first grade, the average child has spent more time with the TV than with both of his parents. 4. Motivation is much more important than teaching method or style of delivery. 5. Kids don't respect people who talk down to them, try to use their slang without knowing what it means or who are in any way artificial or self-important. 6. Kids' minds are unencumbered by constraints of what can and can't be done, Kids will try just about anything. 7. Learning by discovery, doing, or manipulating sticks with you far better than learning by reading about it. 8, Learning to learn is infinitely more important than learning facts and data. 9. Isaac Asimov, Herbert Simon, Marshall McLuhan, and Herman Kahn will have more impact on the future than all the textbooks in print. 10. Computers are the most powerful tool man has ever invented and the most awesome responsibility he has ever faced. 11. Education has become relatively less efficient than practically any other aspect of our economic or social development. What does all this mean? In short, it means that the little red schoolhouse which we hold so dear to our hearts is no longer satisfactory. Not only just unsatisfactory, but in urgent need of change. No longer can we rely upon the teaching approaches of yesterday; in fact, we can't even rely upon the ones of today. Half of the piecemeal, one-at-a-time changes we're making in the educational process are out of date before they're even implemented widely. [image] Compounding the slowness of educational innovation is the fact that many of the new systems introduced over the last 20 years using the latest technology have fallen flat on their faces. This is true of things like teaching machines, drill-and-practice CAI, language labs, closed-circuit TV, and perhaps now even the “new math.” These shortcomings and failures have given the traditionalists all kinds of ammunition to shoot down other new things on the horizon and, indeed, have imbued nearly every educator with a hearty skepticism for educational technology. Those educators who have revolted against drill-and-practice Pl and CAI believe that getting a pile of data into a kid's head is not as important as teaching underlying structure and modes of self-learning. Challenging and stimulating students, and then providing them with an information-rich environment in which they can seek their own solutions, is seen as a better way to teach. On the other hand, opponents of these new ideas fear that free-form education will result in gaps in the basic knowledge considered essential in conventional education.