Sunday, June 28, 2009

Arne light

"Increasing student achievement —- that's what I care about and what I have devoted my life to. We simply have to get better than Canada."
Martha Kanter
Undersecretary of education nominee

I've got nothing against Martha Kanter, but there's another woman in California who'd make a better Undersecretary of Education. To be fair, Linda Darling-Hammond made it clear months ago she's not leaving town.

Arne went to a fancy private school as a lad,
Martha went to a fancy private girls' school as a lass.

Arne tutored the underclass on Chicago's South Side as a lad,
Martha tutored the underclass "in a tough inner-city neighborhood" as a lass.

Arne's on a listening tour,
Martha's about to start her own "listening tour."

Ms. Kanter loves technology. She spoke Friday at Hewlett-Packard.

She cited new planetarium technology that Fujitsu recently installed at De Anza in which "kids can fly through the human heart and fly through outer space. Imagine teaching with holographic opportunities and getting inspired when you're in seventh grade. These are the technologies we can put in schools."

Flying through the human heart is a fine and dandy thing--dazzling colors, loud sounds, more dazzling colors, more loud sounds.

Ask the kid to take a standardized test right after the razzle-dazzle, and see what remains.

Call me old-fashioned, but dissecting a sheep's heart tells a lot more about us than flying through a virtual heart. My kids have enough trouble distinguishing what's real from everything else--they live in a world of everything else.

I'd bet my cherished lucky bones that my frog dissections can hold a child's attention longer than a holograph, and lead to better understanding.

If a kid can learn about the human heart by using "holographic opportunities," maybe Kanter can save a public dime or two by taking a virtual listening tour.

We need to stop picking on Canada. They have potable water. Lots and lots of potable water. Anyone from California knows that potable water beats gold.


John Spencer said...

And their citizens have healthcare. Shame on those bastards up north. Water, health care, education. What will they think of next?

doyle said...

Dear John,

You can read my mind, it seems. I fear for Canada should we ever need what they have.

Barry Bachenheimer said...

Could you learn to swim by being in a hologram of a pool or an ocean? I doubt it. While virtual reality is great when you don't have the resource readily available, it is no substitute for true reality or hands-on.

I learned how to swim from a patient teacher, getting in the water, failing for a while, and eventually learning to do the right moves to keep my body afloat. Later I learned how to go fast, and then years later, became a swim instructor myself.

I did not take a written test after my first deep water test!

doyle said...

Dear Barry.

I may quote you in a future post: While virtual reality is great when you don't have the resource readily available, it is no substitute for true reality or hands-on.

I remember my diving tests--we had written as well as the open-water test. I did OK on both, but neither saved my life.

A simple comment by the instructor during one of the lessons did, though. He mentioned that if a drowning person ever climbs on you, just go down.

A panicked diver literally wrapped himself around my head. My mouthpiece got knocked out and I could not reach my octopus. I could reach my knife, but that was not really an option, and I doubt my buddy would have felt it anyway, he was that far gone.

I actually hung there underwater assessing the situation, then remembered my instructor's advice.

Not sure all the virtual diving in the world would have helped me.