A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Home schooling is good even when done by less well educated parents
Previous entry: Paul McCartney, George Harrison and someone's dad in an old school photograph
Tuesday April 15 2008

Earlier this evening I was back at Kings Cross Supplementary, after the Easter Break.  I taught Small Boy, who is really very clever and doing very well.  And I assisted Mr Maths in his efforts to explain averages.

But before it began, I happened to buy several exotic juice bottles at Kings Cross station, and then I met Miss Headmistress on the way there, and she said she was rather thirsty and I gave her one of my bottles.  Something combining apple juice and tea.  She liked it.

imageWhen we were all done and on our way back to the railway station, Miss Headmistress and I were talking about computers and computer games and suchlike, and I was able to ask her about that Nintendo Maths Training thing I photoed on Sunday.  Having got into her good books with the juice, I felt free to really press her on the subject of how good it is.  It turned out she had actually done that very programme for a bit, a few months back.  I forget the details of the conversation, but I can report that in Miss Headmistress’s opinion, it is very good, and is everything I hoped it might be.  Good practice.  Cleverly programmed to respond to individual skill levels.  You can feel yourself getting better at sums as you do it, a bit each day.  It remembers what you’ve done (according to who you signed in as), and gives you exercises graded to your level of attainment.  Different people can sign in under different names, and it remembers who is who and keeps them separate.  It is, in short, everything that computerised Kumon ought to have become, but (I (suspect) hasn’t, on account of Kumon (I suspect) disapproving of computers.

Next time, I must remember to ask the boys at Kings Cross Supplementary what they think of Nintendo Maths Training.  Boring?  Okay?  Good?  Addictive?

This is a huge story. Because, sooner or later, the verdict on one of these things is going to be: addictive!  And, what these gadgets will be able to teach will get more and more elaborate.  Historians will look back on this as one of the most important things now happening, right up there with major wars.  I’ve said that before, I know.  Too bad.  It’s too true and too huge not to be repeated, a lot.