Talking ‘tech in the classroom’ with Mrs. Dagman

Photo via SandPointWaldorf .org

There are many many approaches to education. Some prefer “hands-on learning” and others prefer online. Today, we compare and contrast the best (and worst) aspects of public schooling vs. Waldorf. Don’t know what Waldorf is? Keep reading!

The largest community for hands-on learning is the Waldorf school system. The Waldorf school educates the child as a whole person with rather unconventional teaching styles. The students at Waldorf are taught to work with their hands, with sewing, knitting, and woodworking. The students create their own textbooks, and much of the curriculum is focused on art.

The most notable part about the Waldorf school is their no-tolerance policy for technology. Cell phones are frowned upon on campus, and none of the students are taught to use computers, because at Waldorf, there is no need to.

Barbara Dagman, English teacher at Helix Charter High School, was once a teacher at the Waldorf School of San Diego. She knows the best of both worlds; tech-free and tech-friendly. When asked which school she prefers to teach at, she says that she “misses some aspects of Waldorf, but [she] believe[s] in the public school system.”

However, Dagman believes that students are crying out for more opportunities for creativity, which she gives them in her classroom with writing prompts focused on thinking outside the box.

I was a Waldorf student before I transferred to Helix. The transition was harder than I expected because of my limited skills with technology. At Waldorf, I was taught to write in cursive, but I was missing a very important skill: typing. In my experience, Waldorf made me a very imaginative person by teaching me creative, but ultimately impractical skills.

Dagman expresses her feelings about the public school system being too dependent on technology. “If I was planning a tech-heavy lesson and the internet went down, the class would be wrecked,” she says.

The under-appreciation of technology at Waldorf contrasts greatly with the heavy reliance on technology in public schooling, which leaves less room for creative expression.

So, what is the ultimate teaching method as far as technology is concerned?

Dagman has found the answer- letting students write (or type) their hearts out is the perfect middle ground between Waldorf and public schools, falling somewhere between unicycling and scantrons.

Thank you, Mrs. Dagman, for letting the prompts be just that: prompts.