Low-Tech High-Tech

ScreenShot159For those of you interested: Yes, I am one of those technologists who sends his kids to a low-tech elementary school where they learn to build, knit, paint, dye, crochet, and write — but basically only work with materials and tools that they can find in nature or make themselves.  I’m pretty confident that they’ll still figure out how to use an iPad when the time comes.  Here is the most recent article on the school: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/186109/fairy-huts-pop-up-around-town-for-truefalse-film-fest/


16 thoughts on “Low-Tech High-Tech

  1. 8


    It’s a great decision to send your children here.

    When I went to Waldorf I got a bit behind in core skills. But learned invaluable lessons and skills.

    The imagination Waldorf gave to me was invaluable, something that eventually made me love of reading, writing and mathematics. I was at the top of my class in Biochemistry and Law, and now I’m not a patent attorney specializing back-end cloud architecture.

    Your children will be just fine.

    1. 8.1

      >>and now I’m not a patent attorney specializing back-end cloud architecture.

      They must have left off that part about the golden rule.

      1. 8.1.1

        In between calls I write fast blog posts. You know how it goes. However, I will admit that I never recovered from poor spelling. But thanks to computers (ironically enough for Waldorf) that is no longer an essential skill.

  2. 7

    On the other hand, there might be something to this low tech approach after all.

    A study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions and computers.
    Source: According to link to npr.org

  3. 6

    Disadvantaged, poor children in the inner city don’t have high tech tools for learning so they have to use low tech tools, and we see how their SAT scores stack up to those who have early high tech learning! Your experimenting with your child’s future. Maybe your kids will catch up and maybe they won’t. Do you also buy lottery tickets?? Low tech learning is akin to buying a lottery ticket on your child’s academic future. Good luck on the child lotto!

    1. 6.1

      That’s pretty spurious, Jay.

      Assuming Dennis is a caring, attentive parent his children will in all likelihood be completely fine.

      Laptops are far from the only thing (or most important thing) that is lacking in the schools you mentioned.

      1. 6.1.1

        I agree. Teach them to arithmetic, reading, and writing, and the rest will come very easily.

  4. 5

    My children started out much the same way, but then that was the 80’s and computers were not then ubiquitous in schools. It worries me that basic handwriting and arithmetical skills will become downgraded if computers are over-used.

    That being said, computers were available in my home from age 5 onwards (the Sinclair Spectrum only became available in 1982, so there was no opportunity to buy anything before that time). But not for school homework which was still hand-written, even after the arrival of computers.

    Very best wishes to you and your family.

    1. 5.1

      >It worries me that basic handwriting and arithmetical skills will become >downgraded if computers are over-used.

      I’ve been shocked that clerks at stores can’t read cursive. One said to me, “Oh, I’ve seen that before. One of my friends can write like that. I think I can read it.”

      My guess is that learning cursive is a good idea. One thing you may want to consider Dennis is that one of my children became an expert speller and writer when she learned that then she could use the Internet and blog. I think she was 8. She also learned to touch type by herself. I taught her the multiplication tables before she was 10 on walks.

      The one thing I would keep them away from is smart phones. The texting seems to be a waste. I also think that paper books are better. They seem to like to have piles of them and go back to them and re-read them.

  5. 4

    Is the point of this that there’s something “bad” about learning on an iPad and something “good” about learning without that? That low tech is somehow “good” while high tech is somehow “bad”?

    Now, I am anti-using phones, tablets, etc., for our kids, and when we go to dinner or elsewhere, our kids do not use these devices and instead use playdough, coloring books, etc. However, I can’t see that there’s much if any benefit to a low tech school over a high tech school. Let’s face it, your kids are going to do well in whatever school they go to because you’re a (relatively) wealthy, white couple living in crime-free suburbia and which cares about their kids’ educations. They could go to a school where everything is taught via computers/tablets or a school where everything is done via graphite pencils and hammered out on rocks. It’s not going to make much of a difference.

  6. 3

    Excellent! I think kids should learn those types of things and play in the dirt too. There is always time for them to get sucked into staring at dancing photons on a screen.

    1. 3.1

      And besides that, some of those kids need to go on to become farmers, lest we all starve to death 20 years from now. Best to instill in them an appreciation for dirt at a young age.

    1. 2.1

      Ned. This school does still teach multiplication and division and makes the kids learn the times-tables while dancing and jumping rope and keeping time by counting by 6s, 7s, etc.

  7. 1

    Kudos to you (as long as there is also no hostility to computers and software, seeing these are the drivers and substance of modern innovation, I’m sure the kids will be alright).

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