silicon valley
December 8, 2011

Low-Tech Classrooms

One California school is sticking to basics.

“Each one of these intersections should go through the center of the circle.”

Jessica: It is a math class where students are using paper and pencils. During breaks, students go outside and play ball. So, what makes the Waldorf School of the Peninsula so different? What you are not seeing…computers and high tech gadgets.

“As far as writing, I can write pretty fast.”

Jessica: It is surprising because these un-wired kids come from the most wired families.

Kempton Izuno: I’ve been in high technology in the Silicon Valley area for twenty-five years or so.

Jessica: Silicon Valley is located in California just outside the city of San Francisco. The area is famous because lots of high tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple all have headquarters there. It got the name Silicon Valley because this is where break-throughs such as the microprocessor, the personal computer and the internet were all invented. So it is not the place you would think would turn away from technology.

“A computer is a good tool. It’s a fun toy. It can even be a tutor, but it’s not a teacher.”

“I found a baby wormy!”

“Yeah, I found a worm too!”

Jessica: Here, everything is hands-on instead of online.

“I do have my time with technology when I get home. It’s just not in the classroom. And I like that.”

“I really enjoy the fact that technology is something you use at home, and it is there to support what you’re doing in your education, but it’s not what your education is based on.”

Jessica: Waldorf is going against a national trend of schools going digital, like Wilbur Wright Middle School in Munster, Indiana.

“We feel like we are pioneers.”

Jessica: Pioneers because every student has a laptop, every library desk, a desktop. Here, subjects like science can be constantly updated online. The textbook can’t compete.

“And in those textbooks, they’re still reading about the fact that Pluto is a planet.”

Jessica: So, it is ironic that while middle America speeds up, those who live in Silicon Valley are taking it slow.

“We took a field trip to Google, and we were going through their campus, and it was funny because they’re so high tech, and we were learning about them and at the same time, we weren’t using any of their stuff.”

Jessica: They do use some stuff. Once classes wind down, Ondine Izuno, powers up!

“Using my phone to text and call, and answering e-mails, and doing my homework on my computer.”

Jessica: But when faced with the choice of either reading a paper book or an e-reader, like a kindle…

“The feeling of paper. Being able to underline, write. I like this. I don’t like this. You can’t do that with your kindle thing!”

Jessica: The classrooms of the future taking a lesson from the classrooms of the past.

Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.


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