Cut the Crap

CC rofi on flickr

Sometimes, the best way to approach stupidity is to do what Burroughs did and cut it up. The idea is to take a piece of work, cut it up and rearrange the parts, and hope that something better (or, hopefully, truer) will emerge. In our modern day and age we use a cut-up machine rather than scissors, but the principles are the same.

So, for this experiment I have chosen some texts about the dangers, the problems, the overall harm that computers will do to our children, especially if we bring them in to our classrooms (the computers, that is, not the children). Some are thought provoking – if you’re easily provoked. Some are just plain silly.

Here we have the ubiquitous Prince Charles complaining about computer-driven modules; assistant professor of education Lowell Monke warning us about powerful computers that enslave our minds (well not his, obviously, but the innocent children’s); The Alliance for Childhood (that claims to support children’s healthy development, love of learning and joy in living) calling for a moratorium of further introduction of computers in elementary education; Educational psychologist Jane M. Healy, Ph.D. writing about an experiment which inflicts physical harm to students: vision problems, hand and arm injuries, back pain. Oh, and computer learning for young children is far less “brain building” than we might otherwise think; while Baroness Greenfield will have us believe that because of computers, students are losing the ability to study properly (where proper = tedious and boring). We will also see greater rates of mental illness, and if you spend time on Twitter and Facebook you will miss out on real life which, according to the Baroness, consists of “giving someone a hug, feeling the sun on your face, feeling the wind in your hair, and having an ongoing relationship in three dimensions.” If you start fantasizing about Avatar right about now, no one will hold it against you.

Along with this I’ve included two snippets about other school related issues that are just too good to be left out. We have, of course, the British Department for Education spokesman who recently claimed that homework is “part and parcel of a good education,” (categorized as ”I don’t know what I’m talking about but it sounds good”) and the content farm eHow Family giving us some advice on how to punish students who insist on using their mobile phones. You should: 1) Take away the phone; 2) Contact the parent; 3) Keep the phone for the remainder of the year; 4) Fine the student; 5) Require the student to write an apology letter to the teacher (…); and 6) Assign the student a research report in “sexting” or other cell phone-related offenses. Schoolwork as punishment, that’s an idea.

Okay, so this is the text that I am going to cut up:

”part and parcel of a good education”. When punishing students for cell phone usage, Take away the student’s phone. Contact the student’s parent Keep the phone for the remainder of the year Fine students. Require the student to write an apology letter to the teacher. Assign the student a research report in ”sexting” or other cell phone-related offenses.  Today’s children are the subjects of a vast and optimistic experiment Vision problems, hand and arm injuries, and back pain are becoming increasingly commonplace in the classroom. More and more physicians are seeing these kinds of problems in school-age children. processes related to mental growth and brain maturation and the danger of inappropriate computer use.  ”computer learning” for young children is far less brain-building and potentially more dangerous than we might otherwise think. a moratorium on further introduction of computers in early childhood and elementary education. computers cause physical harm to children. computers cause eyestrain. I simply do not believe that passion for subject or skill, combined with inspiring teaching, can be replaced by computer-driven modules, which seem to occupy a disproportionate amount of current practice. the computer ”enslaves the mind that has no other metaphors and few other resources to call on.” We externalize education by handing our youth machines that focus their energies outward long before they have developed the inner capacities to discipline the power they put at their service. Making learning easy and painless at the cost of our children’s inner strength is no bargain. given that the brain adapts according to its environment, and the learning environment for our children has been changing in dramatic and unprecedented ways, could that have an unprecedented impact on their development in ways that might be adverse? students are losing the ability to study properly. some have even warned that the result could be greater rates of mental illness. for those concerned with social behaviour in the real world, the dangers of online social networks are even more noticeable. people who spend several hours a day on Twitter or Facebook are missing real life If it’s five hours [spent on social media] it’s five hours not giving someone a hug, not feeling the sun on your face, not feeling the wind in your hair, not having an ongoing relationship in three dimensions.

After the first cut up, this is the result:

teaching, can be replaced by computer-driven wind in your hair, not having modules, which seem to occupy a an ongoing relationship in three dimensions. disproportionate amount of current practice. the computer ”enslaves the mind that has no other metaphors and few other resources to call on.” are missing real life. If it’s and elementary education. computers cause physical harm five hours [spent on social media] to children. computers cause eyestrain. I simply it’s five hours not giving someone do not believe that passion for a hug, not feeling the sun subject or skill, combined with inspiring on your face, not feeling the use. ”computer learning” for behaviour in the real world, the young children is far less brain-building dangers of online social networks are and potentially more dangerous than we even more noticeable. people who spend several might otherwise think. a moratorium on further hours a day on Twitter or introduction of computers in early childhood Facebook might be adverse? students and more physicians are seeing these are losing the ability to study kinds of problems in school-age children. properly. some have even warned that the processes related to mental growth and result could be greater rates of brain maturation and the danger of mental illness. for those concerned with social inappropriate computer children are and the learning environment for our the subjects of a vast and children has been changing in dramatic optimistic experiment Vision problems, hand and arm and unprecedented ways, could that have injuries, and back pain are becoming an unprecedented impact on their development increasingly commonplace in the classroom. More in ways that service. remainder of the year Fine students. Require the Making learning easy and painless at student to write an apology letter the cost of our children’s inner to the teacher. Assign the student a strength is no bargain. given that the research report in ”sexting” or other brain adapts according to its environment, cell phone-related offenses. Today’s We externalize education by handing our ”part and parcel of a good youth machines that focus their energies education”. When punishing students for cell phone outward long before they have developed usage, Take away the student’s phone. Contact the the inner capacities to discipline the student’s parent Keep the phone for the power they put at their

We have some nice pieces here, such as “teaching can be replaced by computer-driven wind in your hair,” “do not believe that passion for a hug,” “for those concerned with social inappropriate computer children,” or my favorite, “contact the inner capacities to discipline the student’s parent.” This one, by the way, is free to use by any ministerial agent who might feel so inclined: “Today we externalize education by handing our ‘part and parcel’ of a good youth machine that focus their energies education.”

Fascinating as this might be, I nevertheless decided to cut it up a couple of more times and then to extract some really nice lines to make, in all humility, a little poem out of it. So here it is, straight from the horses’ mouths – something I like to call “Vision combined with inspiring problems.”

Hours replaced by computer-driven day on Twitter; introduction of hair, not having computers in early modules.

More physicians in three concerned dimensions: some have and few other even warned, if and result could. Computers’ cause of brain maturation. Hours spent on mental illness.

Becoming children. Social inappropriate eyestrain. Do not believe the subjects of that passion for a vast and a hug. Even more fine students require sun. Vision combined with inspiring problems.

Take away the bargain. Contact the research report. We externalize, otherwise think. Education by handing moratorium on Making our part the inner in sexting. Capacities to discipline other brain adapt the student’s parent.

Keep the phone environment.

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