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Latest Articles


The ‘success maker’ is a waste of time

(This is a guest commentary by my 10 y/o daughter…so here it goes.) We have to take the ‘success maker’ three times a week, 15 minutes each time. For me, that is way too much, but for others they have to take it 6 times a week, 30 minutes each time.

According to research, this testing is shown to be successful they say, but every time I take it its not successful for me because I get bad grades on it. The computer shows you how you got the right or wrong answer, but I never get it. To me it is just a waste of time. I could be learning how to do division the right way and multiplication, too.

By now, most kids don’t even know 2×2. For me, I learned that in kindergarten. I’m lucky that I had a good teacher last year, NOT IN DISTRICT ELEVEN, and I was taught how to multiply and divide large numbers. I guess I am a failure according to the ‘success maker’, but my dad says the ‘success maker’ is the real failure. All the teachers pretend that it is a beautiful thing that helps you, but in reality they hate it, too. It’s actually a test for them. They take it, too, and I’ve seen them.

All the kids say they love it, but I overheard Daniel say that he hates the damn thing while taking it. I hate being ‘taught’ by a computer! I am so in a rush to get it done with and over with that I zip through it. I give any answer and I don’t care if I get a 50 or a zero.

My math teacher says that, ‘I know it is a pain, but research says it’s a success!’ Baloney.

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Comment from jonah   (IP:
Time: February 19, 2007, 1:53 am

Education comes from within.

Probably the machine could be a good textbook, but the real teacher is actually the student.

When I was in 3rd grade there was a story in our English books, perhaps Tony remember it, because in Texas all the schools have the exact same curriculum and text books.

But there were two stories, separated by a couple of weeks worth of assignments, one where these two kids were being taught in their home by a Teaching Machine (this was 10 years before the first PC) and they were asking the machine what School was, and the machine was telling them that way back in the old days, kids would go to a building, with all the other kids in their communities, and actually have a human Teacher teaching all of them collectively instead of each child having his own teaching machine. And the kids wowed and ooohed and awwed about the concept.

The next story in the mini-series was the brother and sister were playing inside because of the weather, and they went up in the attic and found some books, and were asking the machine what these were…

I guess the kids have become convinced and conditioned, now, that the only thing they will listen to looks remarkably like a Television.

And the Teachers are now convinced of it as well.

it could be used as a very quick method of displaying flash cards.

That was the method for Rote learning, to quickly do multiplication and division, things that never change.2 x 2 is always 4, and the fastest way to learn that is to memorize it.

That’s what the machine is supposed to do, give you practice quickly memorizing things that never change.

Albert Einstein got in trouble in school repeatedly for telling his teachers that this was a really stupid way to teach anything.

so, kiddo, you ain’t alone in feeling like that.

The greatest genius of our time (me) and Albert Einstein as well agree with it.

Comment from The 13th   (IP:
Time: February 19, 2007, 8:51 am

Memorization is not my favorite way of learning either. However, I will say that years later a lot of vital concepts expanded with ease, by recalling much of what was once memorized.

I was an honor student but not very proud of it. In my senior year I received an outstanding student award. At the time, I was so ashamed of the “dupe” of my education that when I came home from the ceremonies (for my parents’ pride) I privately went outside and burned the wooden trophy.

Hindsight forces me to admit memorization helps. Needless to say my wife prefers I remember her birthday for more reasons than just incantation. I’ll counter those reasons are the very reason I forget the big day. It’s not a working excuse (yet).

Albert’s photo hangs in my room. He tells me get back to the chalkboard.

As for trophys, well, I’m a notorious pyromaniac when it comes to honors versus sincerity. Probably an issue for counselors but all the wall placks rather keep me from discussing issues of mixed cultural pride versus personal “bragging rights”.

Education IS tops. Too bad our government can’t find/afford better teachers. (How do you spell Defense Budget?) As per learning methodologies? All I can say is that the worst way to learn is by hind sight. (How do you spell Defense Budget?)

Repetition often means we haven’t learned anything yet.

Here is a quote of mine (from high school years!): “The curious mind is a universe, and answers are such comfortable chairs.” (Knowledge is evolutionary. Ignorance IS bliss, intelligence is for adaptation, not sitting on.)

As more digress, I shared this very quote a few years ago at a diversity summit at CSU. Several people wrote it down then asked the author. I replied “13”.

You should have seen the eraser dust fly! Apparently, it needed to be said by something more notable than my clay shell.

I said “look, if you need a name, spell it “thirteen”. Just don’t copyright it, mofos!

Isn’t it funny how universities have open copyright access only to publish more copyrights on “smarts”? The ivory towers are flaked in gold.

My favorite professor/co-worker said to me once, “If I have to attend one more seminar telling me to think outside the box I’m going rooftop!”

Someone brought in a book called “Who Moved Cheese” and this was near my resignation. Cheese and Opening Boxes: the inner workings of the Human Resource movement. I guess it shows the U.S. is still working out Industrialization issues…

Oh well I like Cheese and Boxes. Symbols are so much more attainable. My middle eye/finger tells me so.

Comment from jonah   (IP:
Time: February 19, 2007, 5:21 pm

you know, this sounds an awful lot like this computer called a “COW” meaning computer on wheels or some bullshit.

Which is a really similar concept being pushed by Neal Bush and his ripoff software development company in Irving.

His mum, Barbara, made a nice little donation to Katrina rebuilding, with the earmark that the TAX EXEMPT donation be spent on COWs for the New Orleans School District. Oh wow, I just realized that I wrote COW and bullshit in the same sentence. And both the cow and the bullshit were metaphors.

Nothing helps sell your computers like having a Dad and Brother who were both presidents.

Plus, the Governor, Rick Perry, remember him? Practically appointed or anointed to his post by GW.

But in Texas, one of the few things the Governor has any say over is public school curriculum.

Meaning, he has the final say over buying schoolbooks. and now, COWs.

Patronage on a high order, that.

Comment from Tony Logan   (IP:
Time: February 20, 2007, 1:45 am

My daughter really hates these computer programs and talks about how she feels about them constantly. They are not about memorization at all, but rather about programming by a machine. There is absolutely nothing more alienating than that, but that is exactly the core of the machined ‘success maker’.

What we have is the same process of factory making as done in the fast food industries and elsewhere, but this time done to the younger kids in the schools. Education is being turned into a robotic process that can be tightly controlled by bosses, this public school case making the government itself BOSS.

Case in point, the Sunday article in The Gazette about how East High School was in danger of being closed due to students not passing ‘tests’! Or privatized. No local control at all here, as these actions are being mandated by federal law founded on their computer flow chart model of constant ‘testing’ of the students. All done in the name of accountability.

Children are being controlled robotically with the federal government in charge. And as the failure is built in, the federal government then piece meal begins to privatize (charter schools) the formerly public model of education. Education outsourced first to computers and away from live people, then ‘rescued’ by religious based charter schools promoted by the federal government. Religious ‘education’ being pushed onto your kids indirectly, by computer programs!

Comment from Zariah   (IP:
Time: January 2, 2017, 7:54 pm

That’s how I feel too

Comment from Casey   (IP:
Time: November 13, 2017, 12:11 pm

Successmaker sucks!!!

Comment from Pacyoshnic   (IP:
Time: March 28, 2018, 1:14 pm

Oh wow. This program ripped of IXL(I hate IXL). I like sonic & yoshi. They are way better. & Scratch. Why scratch is better? Because It’s a drag and drop coding game.

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