The open source revolution has helped put more computers in the classroom at a significant cost savings for schools. But are computers an asset or a liability when it comes to learning? John Dvork at PC Magazine thinks that the use of computers in the classroom should be limited and that computers are not a panacea that will improve the ability of students to learn and grow.
According to PC Magazine:
I'll make this assertion once and only once. The only thing a computer does in the classroom is distract from studies. Of course, if you are studying how to use a computer or how to do a great Web search, then the computer is a perfect tool. But that should be where it ends. Teachers should be the focal point for teaching, not computers.
There is something weird and pathetic about a teacher who goes from student to student to help them individually on the computer. This is not teaching, this is IT support.More at PC Magazine
I could not disagree more with Dvorak. One of the things I always hated when I was in school was having to sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher drone on endlessly about a subject. It felt like it was taking forever for them to get to the point and present the information. Really, I remember doodling on my notebook while the teacher went on and on in what seemed like an endless monologue about whatever.
Maybe that was just my perception at the time (I graduated high school back in 1987), but I would much rather have had faster access to all of the course information rather than waiting for the teacher to regurgitate it verbally to me. Oral communication in person is such a slow and ponderous way to transfer information compared to what you can do with today's computers and tablets.
And I would have welcomed the ability to take tests on a computer instead of using a pencil and a piece of paper. It would have been faster and easier than writing things out by hand, and it certainly would have been easier for the teacher to read what I wrote on a computer screen than in my awful handwriting.
I truly wish we had had today's computers and tablets back when I was in school. Unfortunately, that was more than 25 years ago so computers were never an option. I would have given a lot for one of today's tablets or laptops back in those days.
I think perhaps John Dvorak's commentary about computers in the classroom is more an indication of his age and a longing for "the good old days" than anything else. He seems trapped in a past that thankfully no longer exists. Today's students are blessed with the power of today's technology and that's a good thing.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown now on Linux
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