Monday, December 15, 2014


If you live in the US, you have no doubt had experience with the self-check out, either at Walmart or one of the other big-box stores. The idea is this: You walk up with the items you've selected and scan them yourself. It will observe whether or not you've placed the scanned item into the bagging area, and when you've scanned all your items, it will ask you to pay. It can take your credit card, or count your cash and give you the correct change dispensed below. There will be a clerk nearby to monitor the transaction and watch to make sure customers don't cheat.

That is the model some hope to achieve in modern education. The student, taught primarily by digital devices without human intervention or human instruction will simply download the contents of their brains for evaluation, correction, and assessment. It will be guaranteed cheap, as it will take no near-by human teachers to impart knowledge, and no trained intervention or inspiration apart from what's available on youtube. High paid teachers in this situation can be easily replaced by low paid check-out clerks.

Role models will be supplied as they are today. Television.

I am working on Freobel gift number 7 which consists of sets of small tiles cut in square and triangular shapes. There are 3 kinds of triangles used in different sets. As with all things in "progressive education," the tiles were progressively introduced. so that the students could move in increments from simple to complex, easy to more difficult, and literally  expand and exhaust their creative potentials. "What can you do with these two tiles?" a student might be asked of what is given. What shapes can you create with 4 or  or with 6? At the age in which children with crayons or markers can do little more than scribble on paper, with tiles they can create perfect forms.

The craftsman might ask, "How can I make so many of these small tiles safely?" I will be showing that in the book.

Self-checkout in education is nothing new. When children are engaged in self-activity as they were in Kindergarten and in shop classes, they are self-directed into craftsmanship, and learn to self-assess their own work.

Make, fix and create...


  1. I can't wait for your book, Doug. You've sold me on it's principals for my future Grandchildren.

  2. John Grossbohlin10:58 PM

    It is the RARE occasion that I can get through a self-checkout without needing the attendant to intervene due to some malfunction with the scanner, or card reader, or the need to respond to some message that pops up on the display. The technology isn't refined enough yet to handle what perceived as a simple task... the chances of something similar working to carry out the complex task of really educating children is nil.