Online Homework

This type of article gives me fits of uncontrollable rage:

Thousands of students nationwide still don’t have access to a fast and stable internet connection in their homes despite huge advances in technology in the past decade.

Whether it’s a lack of technology infrastructure, particularly in rural and remote areas, or prohibitive monthly costs for high-speed internet service, students without access at home have a harder time doing homework and often fall behind their peers that do have access.

What the fuck does homework have to do with internet access? What is wrong with these people that they never even ask this question. There is absolutely no homework on the planet that is enhanced by the internet. All that the online connection does is distract kids into doing something unrelated to education of any sort.

Folks, I’m seriously worried that a teacher will tell my kid to use a screen for homework and I will commit a violent crime. I’ve tried breathing exercises and stuff but it’s not working.

It’s becoming very very clear why we get students in such a blank-slate state.

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14 thoughts on “Online Homework”

  1. When I was a child, we sometimes (maybe twice or thrice in the years of school from first grade to 12th grade) we were assigned a project to make a poster using pictures cut out from newspapers or magazines and gluing them to poster board, along with captions that we were to write. Is this possibly just the updated version of this? I don’t object to it if it is at most once or twice a year, so long as there are accessible computers to use in free time at school for students who do not have such a thing at home.

    Waldorf schools are an interesting variant. They do not permit computer use at all, and their policy is officially that students do not watch television. I think many parents do not enforce this.

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    1. Waldorf schools are great but extremely expensive. As I keep saying, a new class difference is being formed. It will be about the cognitively impaired masses and the children of the elites with fully functioning brains.

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    2. Everything you do with your hands is great for education. Everything where you stare at a screen is not.

      If you are working on a difficult problem in your research and you feel stuck, it’s a great idea to grab a piece of Play-Doh and make something out of it. Or go do some carpentry. Or cook. Or garden. And then go back to your problem. Works like a charm.

      I was taught this by a colleague who specializes in art therapy.

      So the projects you describe are wonderful. Kids need more of those.

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  2. For research papers in high school, there was a legitimate need for the internet. However, I think what we did to deal with the reality that not everyone has internet is we went to the library one day for these projects and we’d look up scholarly papers and print them out.

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  3. I know you are against homeschooling, but this is a big part of why I chose to teach my children through elementary school. They spent their days making things, playing imaginative games, reading wonderful books, running through fields and forest preserves (unattended by their mothers, who were busy drinking coffee and staying out of the kid drama). When I sent them to school they scored at the top of their classes and made new friends, but they couldn’t understand why the other students were so apathetic towards learning. A couple years in and they understand completely. I don’t have the money to send 3 kids to Montessori school. I do have a very flexible small business I was able to maintain while they learned how wonderful learning can be.

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    1. I no longer can be as opposed to homeschooling as I was. Things have changed. If school is about lonely staring at a screen, then yes, homeschooling is better than that.

      I never thought anything could happen to make me change my position on this but I didn’t anticipate this development. So yes, absolutely, your kids are much more fortunate than the poor zombies in the article I linked earlier today.

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      1. I feel I’m not really entitled to an opinion on schooling since I don’t have children, but I do have theories anyway. Basically I feel that school is important as a way for kids to have their own lives separate from their parents; but that an education-in-the-community such as Grit describes in the early years of her blog (http://gritsday.blogspot.com/) is far better than most schools. It probably depends a lot on who you are, where you are, what your schools are like, what your kids are like, and how much ability you have to organize your own time.
        And now I am going to take a walk outside before returning to grading.

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        1. And hey, you are entitled to an opinion because you are somebody’s child and you were schooled. First-hand experience trumps the second-hand parental one.

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  4. I teach an upper-division class where students need internet access to do their homework. We have a license for some high-end scientific software and they need to be connected to a campus license server in order to use it. Without this software we couldn’t do some sophisticated calculations with industry-grade tools.

    In intro physics courses, if I just say “Do chapter 5, problem 7” they can find the answers on numerous websites. But with online homework they each get a different version of the problem, so they have to actually work it out rather than copy an answer.

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    1. That’s college, though. I also encourage students to use smartphones in class to look up vocabulary. But what is it that’s impossible to teach without the internet to third-graders?

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  5. I have come to the realization that school has a much lesser impact than I’d thought as far as learning, behavior, habits etc. It’s crucial for putting kids through social situations outside of their family or friends of the family but everything else is predominantly shaped at home.

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    1. Absolutely. It’s all about socialization. Which is a kid’s task number one. You can learn any subject matter later in life. But socialization is something you never catch up on. As I know only too well.

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