Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Education and the use of technology: Pass or Fail?

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Guest speaker: Louse McOuot

Education in Britain on the whole is something that we should all be aware of. It can effect us in so many ways.  I look at kids today and I see them running around with the latest phones and laptops, and think 'well at least they know they can use modern technology, that should help them when it comes time to get a job'. Then I see my son doing his home work and the worksheet he gets from school and think ' Oh my goodness'.

When I went to school the only thing I was allowed to use a computer for was Office information studies, and I could only use a calculator for Physics. I had to write everything down, no matter if I got cramp or not. I had to use book to research my course work, I could even walk in the library and walk straight to the book I needed because I spent so much time there. My teachers had no problem telling me to get on with my work regardless of whining or huffing. I would get a note sent home to my mother along with a punishment exercise that said I had to write 100 lines or something similar. If I continued to misbehave, well then I was suspended, and given work to complete while I was out of school. 

The use of technology in schools, it not a bad thing, however if the kids lean on it too much they can lose out on the actually learning process. I remember a time when I would use nothing but pen and paper for everything sometimes going five or six jotters for one class, unlike now when one jotter while last my son, a whole year. The use of a computer was a treat, a reward for hard work.

Now it seems that teachers have to replace some of the good old fashion teaching styles, to incorporate PC learning. Nearly every child I have met can work a computer better than I can, Is this really necessary?. Every school is fitted with an IT lab, that the children can use when the have free time, on to work on class projects, I have to ask, what is wrong with the library?  

While computers allow access to the world wide web, and a massive wealth of information. Most take what what is said on the web as fact, and never bothering to check the validity of the information. Kids would rather just check wikipedia, instead of going to the library to check out a book, that would have the same information. That to me seem lazy, I have to wonder if they are losing out on the experience of using they natural curiosity and sense of accomplishment you get when you find the information themselves with hard work.

The world around us, is now so reliant on technology, It has become essential for kids to learn how technology works, I feel that most are looking for the easy and quickest way out of doing actual work. In this fast pace world, it seem technology is they way forward.

SO what is technology doing to our educational experience? It is teaching kids that if you can find a quick and easy way, do it.

I recently suggested to my son, to find a Penpal, something that was very common when I school. I enjoyed the process of getting to know people from around the world, writing a letter and taking to the post office, the weeks of excitement waiting my reply.  My sons answer, ' mum, I can just email them'. I shook my head. I tried to explain that letters with a person from another part of the world was a great learning experience. He muttered something along the lines of ' that's what the internet is for'

 Really is that what the world is coming to? An impersonal, instantaneous, auto-corrected form of communication. Is this how all over children's social interaction will be done from now on, in the cold digital world.

From a young age our children, are surrounded with technology, and they grow up thinking that this how the world has always been. The are shocked, to learn that their parent never had mobile phones to call their friends, or had to write all over their class work down, or had to visit the library to get information. Technology in school is teaching our children how to be closed off, and reliant on others to get knowledge. Technology is taking vital experiences from our children, and it is starting in out school, exam results are falling, university applicant aren’t meeting the requirements, because a simply 1500 word essay, isn't up to scratch.  Even our children’s social relationships are suffering.

I am not saying technology should be removed from school, but it should be used less. More traditional teaching should take place, so that our kids can, get the job they want.

Signing off for now. Feel free to get involved, leave you thoughts.

Lou McOuat


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