While some experts are worrying about closing the digital divide, others are sending their kids to schools that refuse technology like the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Silicon Valley, according to the article “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute.”
At the Waldorf, computers and screens of any kind are not allowed in the school and still discouraged for home use. You might be thinking the parents of these sheltered students are behind the times and must not understand all that technology has to offer their growing minds. On the contrary. Three-quarters of the students at the Waldorf have parents with a “strong high-tech connection,” working for technology companies like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard.
In the article we hear from Alan Eagle, a parent of two kids attending Waldorf schools, who earned a computer science degree from Dartmouth and works in executive communications at Google. He says, “The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”
For some families, they believe their kids need technology to be engaged, whereas other families believe they need engaging teachers to hold their attention. Both theories don’t have solid evidence that shows one is more effective than the other. Bringing technology into the classroom, like using gaming, iPads, interactive whiteboards, texting, social networking, are all too new to have any long term research that shows using these learning tools are more effective than not.
However, the Waldorf schools don’t have much evidence either. Because they’re a private institution, they aren’t required to use standardized testing and don’t have the numbers that public schools have from student testing. Also, the school is almost completely limited to those who can afford the $17,750 tuition for kids in K-8 and $24,400 for high school students. These kids come from affluent families where education is highly regarded and technology waits for them when they’re ready.
Did you grow up without technology in the classroom? Do you have a child attending a school that is technology free? Share your story in the comment box below.
“A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute,” by Matt Richtel. 22 October 2011. The New York Times. Accessed on 24 October 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-nytimes>