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On Classrooms With and Without Computers Clifford Stolls essay about computers replacing teachers and hands on experiences as a means for education is filled with his passion for experiencing nature with all of the senses we humans were born with He writes of feeling the gooshiness of an octopus seeing Orion in the night sky and pointing your finger at it and tasting the salt of ocean water He cried when he saw a photo of what was destroyed so that the Glen Canyon Dam could be built It is obvious from this writing that Stoll with all of his ideals of teaching students nature with real experiences is forgetting that the world around us has changed since his days in the classroom Being an avid nature lover myself I agree with wanting to allow students to learn about natures secrets while hiking in the forest at Yosemite or snorkeling off the coast of Bombay to see the beauty of colorful fish in their natural environment That would beat going to a florist shop to smell the flowers and feel the plants or going to the pet store to see the fish in their algae infested tanks But the truth of the matter is field trip budgets have been cut back considerably and the liabilities that schools face if something should happen to a student while on a field trip is just to great a risk for them to take So the next best thing is the computer When I was going to elementary school computers were not mainstream but I remember taking a basic Fortran class that taught me how to make pictures by writing a program that seemed like a foreign language What did making a Tweety bird or a big heart with a series of carefully placed xs teach me Amazingly it taught me that programming takes logical thinking and creativity If you can dream it you can create it
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