Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What If...?

...this was all you needed to produce a great short story:

Wore gray suit and black hat. When she had learned about his past. Thinking he was someone else. The bus three blocks ahead. 

"Behold The Writeulator!" says The Core Knowledge Blog, discussing the idea of a writing version of the calculator, which would take the above fragments and produce a completed writing assignment. 

But, you might say, if students never practiced using verbs, grammar, and syntax, how would they ever speak properly, send a business letter, or be able to read a legal document?

It seems outlandish, doesn't it? So, why do we assume that children no longer need to learn basic math facts? - because they can just use a calculator!

It's as if we expected an architect to troubleshoot designs without knowing geometry or physics, or a composer to write a symphony without knowing how to read music. 

Without the grammar, the vocabulary and basic understanding of any subject, advanced tasks and creativity are nearly impossible.

As Paul, the original author at When Galaxies Collide, says, "Language is a hierarchy of document, chapter, paragraph, sentence, word, and alphabet. [...] Math is even more hierarchical than language [...] every single time I did anything in mathematics (sans caclulator) I was traipsing through the hierarchy, walking down the stairs back to counting."

Thanks to Alexander Russo at This Week in Education for bringing this post to my attention.

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