The Nomenklatura of Silicon have decided that when their children are education, they want a human touch with an absolute minimum of computers:
The Waldorf School of the Peninsula is small, exclusive and packed with the children of Silicon Valley executives who love the role that technology plays in the pupils’ education there. That is, it plays no role whatsoever.
Instead children at the $25,000-a-year elementary school in Los Altos, California, are learning to explore the world through physical experiences and tasks that are designed to nurture their imagination, problem-solving ability and collaborative skills.
Pencils, paper, blackboards and craft materials abound while tablets, smartphones and other personal electronic devices are banned from the classrooms until they are teenagers studying at the middle and high school campus nearby. Even then technology is only introduced slowly and used sparingly.
Alumni and present pupils include the children of Alan Eagle, a director of communications at Google, who helped to write the New York Times bestseller How Google Works, as well as those of a chief technology officer at eBay and senior executives at Apple and Yahoo. Their outlook is in line with some of the most powerful figures in the industry. Last month Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, said he did not want his nephew, who is about 12, to use social media. Last year Sean Parker, the billionaire and an early Facebook investor, admitted that he and the other creators of the publishing site had deliberately made it as addictive as possible. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he said.
Ms [Beverly] Amico [Head of outreach at Waldorf Schools] sees no contradiction. “It’s a very attractive option for people in the tech world for their children,” she said. “All employers, tech world or not, are looking for graduates these days that can think independently, take initiative, are capable of collaborating, have curiosity and creativity.”
The approach contrasts starkly with the new classroom orthodoxy in most American schools where children are spending more and more time staring at screens in lessons. There too, however, a grassroots movement is beginning to build against the relentless march of technology, supported by research illuminating the harmful effects of smartphone use on young brains and new shareholder pressure on the IT giants that make them.
These folks know that at best, they are peddling digital crap, and at worst, they are peddling digital crack, and they want their children to have none of it.
Think about that the next time that you hear about your local school district, or charter school, going all “high tech”.