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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Why Zoom sucks for teaching and always will.

My two cents in the discussion about virtual education (an excerpt from The Confession Of The Creative Brain).

I wrote a lot about education, including the distant education. 
More on this page.

Here I want to point out at the useless but very active discussion how to effectively use Zoom for teaching. 

The answer is - you CANNOT effectively use Zoom for teaching. 

Zoom, Skype, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or any other meeting software will never be good for teaching.

Of course, to understand and accept that, one needs to know what teaching is and is about.

In American culture, including the top educators, researchers and administrators teaching is not different from animal training, from training circus animals doing tricks.

BTW: one of the reasons for No sign for improving math education soon.

If teaching would have been pouring knowledge from a "knowledge storage" (a.k.a. a teacher) into an empty vessel (a.k.a a student) then Zoom would be sufficient. But teaching is not that. 


Teaching is the process of helping learners to learn. And learning is based on communication. If one-on-one communication would have been possible, then, again, Zoom would be fine. But that is not a case. Teaching requires an effective group communication. That requires a an ability to organize, manage and monitor communication between students. That requires a completely different technological instrument. 

There are many video conferencing tools, but none of them is good for teaching. Zoom is just not as bad as all other are. But even in Zoom some simple adjustments - specifically for better teaching - could be done, and yet they didn't. The guiding principle is simple - observe how a good teacher interacts with students and try to incorporate that interaction into your platform. Well, the key term is "good". For starters, a good teacher does not act like a general commanding solders telling them what to do (much more on this matter in many other posts, i.e. this one). Another example - when students work in groups, a good teacher monitors at the same time the whole class, and each individual group and can quickly switch between groups, as well as from an in-group discussion to a full-class discussion, and back. Zoom does not allow anything like that. But could, if it would modify accordingly the format of break out rooms.
A teacher needs to be able to do much more than just to see students, but the work of every (any!) student (and of course communicate with any student). And a teacher needs to be able to create and re-create collaborative groups and observe the group work and participate in that work. And this is just the bare minimum any teaching collaborative technology must do. Ideally, students should feel immersed in the same learning environment, and that means - use virtual reality. The need to do laboratory experiments brings even more demands to an effective distant teaching-and-leaning technology (far more advanced than primitive interactive videos, e.g.

To my best knowledge, there is no company or a startup trying to develop such technology. 

Hence, distant teaching sucks, and will continue to suck for years ahead.

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov 

For curious people - a reward!

No teaching technology can do any good if a teacher who uses it sucks.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of teachers in America sucks at teaching.  It is not their fault, though. America dose not have a system of teacher professional development (well, America does not believe in systems in general, and look what she got herself into).

E.g. this post, or this one (from many!). 

The roots of American decline - in all spheres, including education, starting from education! - is the extreme primitivism practiced by the managers of all levels.

America! The victim of the Primitivism.


How Stupidity Costed Trump The White House.

My first large piece on the matter of stupidity of the American elite was published in August 2018 and titled “The Degradation of White Male American Elite”. Even though that piece is more than two years old the vast portion of that post is still very much current.


Since then I have been returning to this theme many times, for example, read:


Knowledge Is NOT Power. At Least In Politics.


If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will (a word from and to David Frum)


Why Americans are Starting To Lose the World Race for Prosperity?


Greed - the American cancer that killed good management.


Monetary Feudalism, State Capitalism, or Why Does Putin Smile?


Why Do I Want To Vote For Trump?


China v. The U.S.: The Battle Of Strategic Thinking


Checking the Intelligence of Massachusetts Republicans


Why Americans are Starting To Lose the World Race for Prosperity?


The vast majority of my critique was aimed at the Democrats. There is no point to repeat it again, the main statement is very simple, no one at the top of the Democratic party has vision required for generating a single original idea, starting from 2016 election the only strong idea they were able to create and use was “Trump is bad!”.


A word to Senator Sanders, and other anti-Trump warriors


Why does Seth Moulton run for the President and what does it say about the Democrats?


Why Didn't Hillary Clinton Win The Race?


 How Smart Are You, Mr. Kennedy? The Test.


"Why Didn't I Win", by Elizabeth Warren (2020)


How and why the Democrats screwed up.


But the democrats are not alone in this sin, having no vision is the common trait of the whole American elite (fish rots from the head down).


You can find all my posts on this page.


The reason for this post is to add one more example of stupidity on the part of American elite, but this time on the part of Republicans.


I used to say that the Democrats are nice but stupid and the Republicans are smart but evil. Turns out – not so smart.


It’s obvious for me that the only reason Biden was able to beat Trump was the COVID pandemic. Actually, not the pandemic per se, but the way Trump administration handled it.


Or rather the way the top Trump’s circle handled it. Those few top Republicans who Trump needs to thank for losing the election, starting from himself.


If people would really liked the Democrats then they would put them in the state legislatures, in the House of the Representatives, in the Senate.


But they didn’t.


Trump’s team had a very good chance to beat Biden, if it wasn’t for their absolutely stupid pandemic strategy.


Instead of denying, diminishing, ignoring the epidemic Trump should have embraced it.


“America is at war with the invisible enemy” was the step in the right direction. The next step should have been “Let’s unite! Let’s beat the enemy! If you fight an enemy it is stupid not to use a helmet and a body armor! Our masks are our Kevlar, our protective gear!”


The vast majority of Trump supporters are either ignorant (poorly educated) or idiots (have some knowledge but cannot use it in new situations, cannot think). They would believe anything Trump would say, they do not assess the logic of his words, they just “drink” whatever he says. If Trump would have embraced masks, everyone in his cult would do the same.


But the inability of the top Republican circle to see the opportunity the epidemic gave eventually brought Trump’s presidency down.


Unfortunately, the top Democrats, including Biden, Obama etc., refuse to accept the fact that the only reason Bien won was due to the disastrous handling of the pandemic on the Trump’s part. Democratic Party has no people who have vision and can generate original ideas. That is why in four years the Democrats will be swept out of the American politics.


Stupidity costed Trump the White House. And in four years the Biden will repeat Trump's fate.

Obama's legacy is Trump. Who will be yours, Mr. Biden?


The roots of American decline - in all spheres, including education, starting from education! - is the extreme primitivism practiced by the managers of all levels.

America! The victim of the Primitivism.