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Computers in the Classroom is Not a Good Idea

Computer technology has advanced in recent years; computer-assisted instructions by teachers and the use of computers in the classroom by students have become increasingly prevalent, almost becoming a trend acceptable in most institutions in the world. Educationists have been pursuing more efficient, effective, and satisfying learning and teaching practices, leading to the acceptance of different curricula and teaching approaches that today not only focus on tradition and mental discipline but child development, social efficiency, and social meliorism. It is generally thought that computers and the use of information technology in the classroom will lead towards that goal, but how far it actually improves efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of learning, research, teaching, or educational management is still debatable and not as obvious as is commonly assumed.

In the Book ‘High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian’, Clifford Stoll presents compelling arguments over why a reliance on computers in the classroom is not contributing to a better education, rather he argues that it leads towards mechanical typing lessons rather than actually challenging the student 1. He argues that computer literacy does not require the same level of instruction as American history, physics, or English and that competency in software is being taught that will likely not be used in the student’s future life. Despite the fact that applications and software have advanced from the time when Stoll presented his arguments, most of the contentions that are raised are still valid today, despite advances in technology.

Many arguments reinforce Stoll’s position even today. Laptops, iPads, or Personal Computers are a source of distraction for the class. During the lessons, students could be using them for personal reasons. Despite the fact that school internet and computers can be restricted by administrators, it is well-known that students today have become very tech-savvy and have learned to bypass these controls easily. An overreliance on computers leads to neglect of fundamental skills essential for becoming well-educated 1. For instance, replacing handwritten notes and assignments with computer-typed work hinders the development of grammar and spelling since those software already come with grammar and spelling checker tools. Therefore, relying on machines instead of their own motor functions, intuition, and learning does not sufficiently challenge them the way it is needed.

It is commonly observable that those students who rely on calculators to solve mathematical problems do not develop the kind of skills those students develop that are taught to do math without using a calculator. Since the calculator or the computer does all the work for them, it does not allow them the opportunity to absorb and implement what they have learned, ridding them of the thinking process actually required to perform their task. Furthermore, computers also interfere with the student’s emotions and connection to their teachers, as the human support needed for the students, which should come from the teacher, is now only a Google away. It reinforces the belief in a student that the computer can solve problems for them that their teacher cannot. During instructions, observing a natural phenomenon in person compared to observing it in an edited and often sensationalized motion picture makes the real experience seem boring and dull to Student 1.

Academic dishonesty and cheating have become even simpler, as using plagiarized work to paste data into reports has become simpler, whereas sharing and transmitting answers between students is only a click away. Additionally, learning through interactive games between teachers and students is more productive than learning through computer games. Furthermore, the disparity in the student’s computer literacy levels can also lead to problems.

If people argue that since computers have become a part of everyday lives, then it can be argued that cars have also integrated into our lives to such an extent that life is not imaginable without them. However, automotive technology is not taught with the same reverence as computer-based literacy 1. An over-reliance on computers has led to teachers trying to squeeze computers into their curriculum instead of investigating what role a computer can have in their subject.

Overall, having computers in the classrooms has a negative effect on the student’s learning, despite some obvious advantages such as the need to carry fewer books to school or being able to dig out information in an instant instead of browsing through a library of books. Education that is supposed to enhance a student’s actual learning ability. There is no doubt that computer applications have to be taught, but due to the nature of the literacy skills involved, they can be taught at a later age 1, unlike core essential skills that are required to be developed in childhood.

References

Stoll, C., 1999. A Literate Luddite. In: High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian. 1st ed. s.l.:Doubleday.

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