Google, Apple, Yahoo, and HP executives are trying to tell America something. One school, at which 75 percent of the students are the children of tech giant executives, doesn’t have any computers at all.
That means no internet searches or word processors, computer games or text messaging; nothing electronic at least until the eighth grade.
For instance, the chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to the Waldorf School in Los Altos, Calif. where technology is the last thing on the children’s young minds.
Books, paper, sewing needles, and maybe some clay; there is not a single computer to be found.
There are 160 Waldorf schools in the United States where students are encouraged to focus on physical activity and creative tasks rather than engaging in a virtual world through computers. Students use old-fashioned pen and paper and pencils.
Google executive Alan Eagle, whose children attend the school in Los Altos, told the New York Times: “I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school.”
“The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that's ridiculous,” he said.
In the classrooms are blackboards and bookshelves and encyclopedias. Students practice knitting socks to help their math and problem-solving skills. Teachers use cakes and apples to teach students fractions.
Eagle said, “It's super easy. It's like learning to use toothpaste. At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible."
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America insists that their method works. Ninety-four percent of students graduating from the Waldorf high schools between 1994 and 2004 attended college. Their annual tuition at Silicon Valley is $17,750 for kindergarten through to eighth grade and $24,400 for high school.