The Internet and Education: One Mom’s Perspective

On many a Friday night my daughter and I can be found in front of the computer playing an online game based upon “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. The differences are that all the questions are related to science, we can’t actually win a million dollars, it’s absolutely free, and we are the players. It isn’t unusual for us to spend a couple of hours playing this game. I am always amazed by how much she knows as her age as well as how much I
seem to have forgotten at mine.

Many years ago while developing and teaching Air Force training courses for U.S. Space Command, I became fascinated with the use of computers in learning. Also while working in the training area, I became a fan of the basic premises of Thorndike’s Laws of Learning. Although some would characterize them as almost forgotten and even sometimes discredited, I have found the laws to be helpful in flagging what works and what does not in educating my child as well as adults and youth in other programs I have managed. I have realized much success incorporating the essence of those laws of learning and computer technology as I have dealt with my child’s learning. Thorndike’s laws are pretty simple:

The Law of Readiness deals with ensuring a child is ready to learn–making sure the student is fed, free from too much worry, comfortable, and well aware of the importance of what is to be learned. In other words the student must be prepared to learn. One exercise I have done with my child dealing with this law is researching the admissions criteria for different schools. We foun