kitchen table math, the sequel: Books are better

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Books are better

On NPR this morning:

The book also has fans from other unexpected quarters. David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, pioneered advances like "parallel computation," yet he admires the brilliant design of the codex. "It's an inspiration of the very first order. ... It's made to fit human hands and human eyes and human laps in the way that computers are not," he says, wondering aloud why some are in such a rush to discard a technology that has endured for centuries. "It's not as if books have lost an argument. The problem is there hasn't been an argument. Technology always gets a free pass. ... [People] take it for granted that if the technology is new it must be better."

As far as I can tell, the reason inferior technology wins inside schools isn't that "people" take it for granted. 

The reason is that tech companies sell to schools who force iPads and Chromebooks on families and taxpayers.

That's certainly been my experience here.


froggiemama said...

I always loved books but as I get older I find I prefer my Kindle e-reader because I don't have to locate my reading glasses - the font adjusts to me!

As for David Gelerntner, he made some great contributions to parallel computing in the 80's (no, he did not invent the field), but his current career for the past 20 years or so seems to be as ultra right wing commentator. He strikes me as profoundly anti-intellectual so I don't hold him in high regard.

Auntie Ann said...

Form is supposed to follow function, but the ed world is more interested in shiny objects. Computer-based learning is very shiny, and no one seems to care that it is still highly experimental, speculative, and perhaps not the right thing for all or even most students.

I love my Kindle, and never read actual books anymore, but that's a different thing that reading, highlighting and putting margin notes in a textbook or lit book.

Allison said...

Yup, a guy trying to get college kids to care about classical music is such an anti intellectual! Sickening how middle brow he is!

You have no idea what right wing is if he's "ultra". Get out more.

Cassandra Turner said...

Wait- My son took a classical music course in college and loved it! Course he had a Core Knowledge upbringing, so...

Froggiemama said...

David Gelerntner main career seems to be writing opinion pieces for the conservative press (Weekly Standard, National Review, etc). He has written pieces expressing the opinion that mothers should not work (Why Mothers Should Stay Home,, that we shouldn't have public schools (Let's Get Rid of Public Schools,, that scientists are threatening our culture ("Today science and the “philosophy of mind”—its thoughtful assistant, which is sometimes smarter than the boss—are threatening Western culture with the exact opposite of humanism. ",, that "Environmentalism is a spiritual disaster" (The Immorality of Environmentalism, and that "America is a biblical (not secular) republic". In his latest book (America-lite, How Imperial Academia Dismantled our Culture and Usered in the Obamacrats)he argues that American higher education was destroyed because leftist Jewish intellectuals took over (since Gelertner is a conservative Jew, he apparently believes it is OK to blame liberal Jews). He actually states that the increased presence of Jews at top colleges lead to those colleges acquiring "a more thrusting, belligerent tone".
I realize that many on this blog will agree with these views, but I think most of you will also agree that these are conservative view points, not liberal or even centrist views. I have personally found him offensive for years, and since he has openly stated that women lack the talent for STEM, I am sure glad I am not a female undergrad forced to take one of his CS courses.

Allison said...

So since he is a "conservative", he's an ultra right wing commentator?

The WSJ is pro immigration. NR came out as pro gay marriage. Weekly Standard is the home of neo-cons, which was the 2000s era taunt against those conservatives who were trying to spread liberal democracy and its institutions. Those positions and those mainstream conservative publications are not what "ultra right wing" means. You may be so far left that those positions sound ultra right wing to you, but that means you are ignorant.

That he offends you doesn't make him an ultra right winger either.