Internet and Education—One Mom’s Perspective

My child isn’t a genius. Most aptitude testing has revealed that she is of average intelligence. But somehow this child has managed to consistently score above the 90th percentile nationally on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills—98th and 99th percentile in math. And, on Georgia’s sixth grade Criterion Referenced Comprehension Test (CRCT) scored 450 out of 450 on the reading section, surprising given that math has consistently been strongest subject. We have just received her scores on the eighth grade CRCT with a score 422 on the reading portion showing the previous reading score was no fluke and exceeding on every other portion of the test. She also scored a 92 on Georgia’s End-of Course Test for Algebra I. In short, she is doing quite well academically in school.

I’m not sure of the exact reasons for the performance on these tests, although I believe a lot of it has to do with her hard work, consistent effort, and my persistence as a parent. That persistence has included using every resource I can find and afford to help my child excel. Many of those resources have been on the Internet.

Friday night found us in front of the computer playing at a website based upon the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” game. The differences are that all the questions are related to science, we can’t actually win a million dollars, it’s absolutely free, and my daughter and I 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: