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School computer technology, necessary? - Page 2

post #16 of 45
Well, I guess we will need fry cooks and sanitation engineers in every generation, so maybe we should make kids stick with pens and pencils during the only time of day they are not screwing around on the playground or whatever....
post #17 of 45
There definitely is a problem, as lee mentioned, with the mindset of computers solving the woes of the educational system. You can hear the computer ads all targeting parents with the notion that the computer will help the now smiling kids get better grades. The reverse of the coin is that a lack of computer skills will represent a hardship in every sense -- even an emotional one -- and that almost any semblence of participation in human affairs requires these skills. Imparting them at an age where the mind can uptake them easily is rational. The way to properly use computers in learning settings is to reinforce the idea that you use the thing to go further than you could before, and not just let the computer think for you, lowering the bar from a pre-computer era. I worked with some middle-schoolers from a very poor district, and they all had laptops, but couldn't spell 'google,' nor anything else, and used google as a spellcheck once they found it. Similar travesties are college students citing Wikipedia in research papers as a primary source, or doing PowerPoints and resumes with a wizard. My calculus classes were an excellent example of how to employ computers -- you learn the material by hand, you study by hand, you do the majority of the tests by hand. However, you also do projects and tests that would be wasteful tedium or nearly impossible by hand with your TI-89 or Mathematica. This imparts the necessary understanding of the material while showing how you can then apply technology to go further than you could have before -- raising the bar. Forcing students to do it all by hand doesn't open them to possibility; it merely mires them in the past. Allowing unfettered use and access allows results (not necessarily answers) without insight.
post #18 of 45
In six years of studying university-level Japanese, writing by hand was required for four, including essays and presentations. The final two years required rather more sophisticated bilingual computer skills. In this case, both are essential to mastering the subject, and I use both handwritten and computer-based Japanese skills in a professional capacity on a daily basis.

In some cases it's not an either/or situation.
post #19 of 45
the campus I'm at is totally computer based. every student is issued a Dell laptop. Tests are taken via computer. Grades and communication by computer also.

Is it effective? Yes and no. I lecture through power point presentations - a decade ago it would have been through 35mm slides.

I'm now looking into downloaded text books and audio textbooks via ipod. the technology does not guarantee that the student will absorb the information, they may never crack the textbook either. when the technology works seamlessly its pretty cool! when there is a glitch, i'm back to the chalkboard -not bad either.

I do not let them use the computers as I lecture. At any given time, half of them would be instant messaging and playing poker /solitaire.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by designprofessor
I do not let them use the computers as I lecture. At any given time, half of them would be instant messaging and playing poker /solitaire.

I see this in every one of my university classes. I think in some respect, computers promote laziness in the sense that students are less inclined to actually open a book or see how something works because they can just find pictures on the internet. On the flip side, those who ARE inclined to do so, then the computer is a very powerful tool that can maximize their capabilities. Computers are very useful -- but they can also be a distraction from traditional, lectured learning, which, I feel, still has its merits.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchapel
I see this in every one of my university classes. I think in some respect, computers promote laziness in the sense that students are less inclined to actually open a book or see how something works because they can just find pictures on the internet. On the flip side, those who ARE inclined to do so, then the computer is a very powerful tool that can maximize their capabilities. Computers are very useful -- but they can also be a distraction from traditional, lectured learning, which, I feel, still has its merits.

I completely agree. I basically told them, if I'm going to put forth the effort to research and put the content in front of you and walk you through it, then you should pay attention to it -at least for the class time you signed up for.
Its interesting though, even with the new technology -a fair amount of the students still like it "low -tech"; pen and paper and lecture from the podium. As a professor, its hard for me to compete with the latest gadget, but the students still like it that there is an actual person there that cares about the subject and gives them personal attention.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by designprofessor
the technology does not guarantee that the student will absorb the information, they may never crack the textbook either. when the technology works seamlessly its pretty cool! when there is a glitch, i'm back to the chalkboard -not bad either.

I do not let them use the computers as I lecture. At any given time, half of them would be instant messaging and playing poker /solitaire.


I'm in the same boat. Just because you use the technology doesn't mean the students will pay attention or work any harder on studying. At times here it feels as if they are shoving the technology down our throats.

And I teach a couple courses that do not work with the tech. I need to be able to write long equations out on the board along with accompanying graphs. Yet more and more classrooms are being made into little tech caves with little or no board space. I complain. Maybe it's part of the reason I got fired.

There are benefits of the tech though--being able to bring up an example of something on the web really quickly is great. But there's a limit.

bob
post #23 of 45
Technology has became a crutch to get by with incomplete understanding.

I got this all the time as a computer consultant - people want to know how to get from A to B, but jotted down just the bare minimums to get by on the task and then move on. No understanding, no background, just Menu >C >S >A >QQQ and done. Read the screen? Sorry, not happening. I wished I could set fire to their notes. If the letters changed they were lost.

So my fellow finance students got to a point where they could punch out NPV in excel, but when the calculators came out they were helpless. How short-sighted is it to have only one tool that you know how to use, and be mystified by its inner workings?
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas
Technology has became a crutch to get by with incomplete understanding.

I got this all the time as a computer consultant - people want to know how to get from A to B, but jotted down just the bare minimums to get by on the task and then move on. No understanding, no background, just Menu >C >S >A >QQQ and done. Read the screen? Sorry, not happening. I wished I could set fire to their notes. If the letters changed they were lost.

So my fellow finance students got to a point where they could punch out NPV in excel, but when the calculators came out they were helpless. How short-sighted is it to have only one tool that you know how to use, and be mystified by its inner workings?
Yeah, that's what bothers me about the technology thing. When I was a kid, we had to program the computers to get them to do anything fun. (Snow everyday, uphill both ways, blah blah) but anyway I learned by fixing computers and making them do what I wanted, and now I make money doing that. Not everyone needs that level of proficiency, but it amazes me how some kids still have no idea how a computer works. It used to be that the kids were the ones you asked to program the VCR and stuff... maybe that was just my generation of kids and now that's over.
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
maybe that was just my generation of kids and now that's over.

It seems that there's a generation of pioneers, and following generations just sponge off them and forget about self-sufficiency. Boy, I sound like a cranky old man today!
post #26 of 45
The irony of finding luddites on an internet forum. Technology should be fully integrated into teaching methods as evolution not obviation. Has anyone even talked to children about using computers for learning? Are they enjoying learning better this way? Are they learning more? You cant just say it has no place in school without seeing the effects.
post #27 of 45
In Japan, they use abacuses in very modern contexts.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
In Japan, they use abacuses in very modern contexts.

I had no idea Chanel made abacuses.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rome
The irony of finding luddites on an internet forum. Technology should be fully integrated into teaching methods as evolution not obviation. Has anyone even talked to children about using computers for learning? Are they enjoying learning better this way? Are they learning more? You cant just say it has no place in school without seeing the effects.

The irony isn't lost on me, but there is a distinction to be made. I work with computers every day and find them very useful and great for productivity. However, in the case of a power outage or system crash, I could still function without one. I know other people who cannot say the same.

This dependence is what I find objectionable. Schoolchildren in particular should be learning, and I think it does a disservice when computers are relied upon to gain productivity at the expense of knowledge. Even if children are taught the basics, the easy availability of computers are sorely tempting to get results without understanding how or why.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rome
The irony of finding luddites on an internet forum. Technology should be fully integrated into teaching methods as evolution not obviation. Has anyone even talked to children about using computers for learning? Are they enjoying learning better this way? Are they learning more? You cant just say it has no place in school without seeing the effects.


At least two of us are speaking form the point of view of teachers. There are plusses and minuses. But the fascination with making all things techy isn't necessarily good. Many of the old teaching techniques (such as memorizing mulitplication tables) have value. Is a PowerPoint presentation more effective than "chalk-and-talk" as we economists like to call it? Hard to say. It probably depends on the student. But I've had plenty tell me how bored they are with PP presentations.

b
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