As countries across the globe work on one-to-one laptop initiatives or plan on converting their textbooks to digital clouds, one Canadian school is bucking the trend entirely, reports the Ottawa Citizen. The Ottawa Waldorf School doesn’t use technology. At all. Not even calculators.
Instead, the school focuses on human interaction, using things like the arts and even knitting. They draw maps and learn about fractions by cutting up homemade pies.
That’s not to say that faculty there oppose computers as a rule - they just think that for anyone younger than 14, technology is a distraction that hurts creativity and development:
The Waldorf model is the brainchild of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher who founded his first independent school in 1919…He believed there are three phases of a child’s development and created a curriculum to match. The first stage, from birth to age seven, focuses on physical development; the second, from age 7 to 14, on emotional development; and the third, from 14 to 21, on intellectual development.
Introducing students to computers as an educational tool in the first or second stages, when they may not have fully developed the physical and emotional aspects of their personality, could impede the healthy development of a child’s intellectual side, [Waldorf teacher Alan] Krueger explains.
Canadian college students demonstrated against rising tuition cost and increased amounts of student debt upon graduation on this week’s National Day of Action for Post-Secondary Education, according to Canada.com. Student debt is approaching $15 billion in federal loans.
For instance, at the Vancouver Island University (VIU), where tuition has increased from $1,200 to $3,859 in the past decade, students typically graduate with anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 in debt. Students at the university collected signatures on a petition to Premier Christy Clark, while students at North Island College held rallies and bashed a car labeled ‘Debt’ with a sledge hammer.
Katie Marocchi, a third-year political science student at VIU, said she’ll have $35,000 in student loans when she graduates.
She said she believes any thoughts of being able to purchase a house after she graduates will have to be postponed for many years as she tries to deal with her debt.
“It’s starting to look like post-secondary education will soon be just for the rich in Canada,” Marocchi said.
“If we want a strong society and educated society in this country, then post-secondary education must be open and affordable for all and not just a few.”
The International Herald Tribune tracks Indian college students to Canada, where people are friendly and tuition is low. While I was in India, quite a few students talked to me about their aspirations to attend graduate school in Canada; MBAs seemed to be the course of choice.