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Education Technology

Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn 310

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A teacher's union in Northern Ireland is asserting that children spending too much time on computers are impairing their ability to learn. The asserted excessive computer use is being blamed for an inability to concentrate or socialize. As one teacher puts it, '... these gadgets are really destroying their ability to learn.'" This has been a topic of debate for as long as kids have had computers.
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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

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  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by simonbp (412489)

    And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No.

      A good teacher beats babysitware any day.

      The trouble is that teachers have been trying to replace themselves for years. You know how many "teacher prep" periods the average US teacher gets now? The vast majority of teachers don't "prep" shit during thier several breaks of PE, music, art, computer lab, library time, and various feedings. In these time blocks, "paraprofessionals" (read: everyone caring for and teaching kids who get paid half as much) take over another chunk of the day and the teacher can c

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AK Marc (707885) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:55AM (#47072241)

        You know how many "teacher prep" periods the average US teacher gets now?

        Nope. I don't know. And based on your insinuation without cites or numbers, I don't think you know either. At my high school, the teachers had 0-1 prep periods.

        • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by chasisaac (893152) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:14AM (#47072315) Homepage
          Currently it is 0 or 1. Most high school teachers have one prep per day. For me it is my only break of the day.
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            At my high school, the teachers all got 1 and only 1 prep period. And some of those were lost to administration (hall monitoring, and other duties). So ti becomes 0-1.

            For me it is my only break of the day.

            Now that you mention it, the problem of unions is that they are required (essentially by law). The law (in many places in the US) requires a 30 minute lunch minimum, with no work duties, and a 15 minute break in each 4 hour block. The teacher work schedule is illegal. So they get out of that with special deals with unions and such. I hav

            • There's nothing illegal about it. Most states have alternate regulations for certain jobs. For example, if you're the one and only person working a shift, and someone must be there all the time, an exception can be made requiring you to remain at your work location even through your meal breaks, though both you and the employer must agree to this and you have to be paid for the time. They also generally allow for alternate schedules for union members provided a majority of the union members vote in favor

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rogoshen1 (2922505)

        Sounds like someone works in IT, has a super cushy job -- but is too god damn entitled to realize how easy they have it.

        Or, you're a simpleton who has no idea what he's talking about. Hard to say.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jmc23 (2353706)

        Most people learn best from people.

        FTFY.

        I, like others out there, was totally incapable of learning from others. They basically thought I was retarded until I taught myself to read and started reading lots and lots of books. Which, unfortunately, meant I talked like one of the very first text-to-speech algorithms.

        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chrisje (471362) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:59AM (#47072453)

          You, as an individual, are not statistically relevant, even if what you describe is the actual truth. I say that last bit because infants, as soon as they are born, start sucking up language from their parents / caretakers, and I cannot really imagine you growing up in a total vacuum.

          I do tend to agree most people learn best from people, because of the simple reason that there is so much evidence all around us that supports that claim. It is wired into us to mimic and learn from the people in our environment.

          • There's also the (convenient in the right hands, a total mess if handled less delicately) that people who learn best independently can often be addressed by benign neglect, with some strategic overlooking of sitting in the back of the class and reading and the like, while people who do learn best from others; but are being fed e-learning modules, are more or less screwed.

            This is not to say that there aren't people who unwisely attempt to force the issue when they should just leave well enough alone; but
        • reading books == learning from others

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Friday May 23, 2014 @04:34AM (#47072813)

        This post is hysterically misinformed, or based on the school district in Teacher-Shangrila.

        I have no prep time during the school day. None. I teach four 75-min classes, two before lunch and two after. During Lunch (70 min) I supervise students in the cafeteria or I tutor students who are behind on their work. In between sentences I shovel a peanut butter sandwich down my throat. After school is the same. I work from 8am to 5pm without so much as a piss break most days (thank god I have a strong bladder). All prep work occurs either before 8am or after 5 pm, which means that my work day normally runs 6am to 5pm (I prefer that over 8am to 7pm).

        I'd love to know where this babysitware or paraprofessionals I'm supposedly offloading my job onto are. That'd be nice.

      • Ask anyone who has done IT or technical work in a school district. Technology is the coolest buzzword for driving a pedagogy of student idea synthesis or somesuch fucking bullshit. The real deal is all the grant money is in tech, and teachers LOVE another break.

        Yes and no, in my experience: Yes, 21st-century-skills-computer-something-something-digital-natives-media-literacy-differentiated-instruction-etc. is a Thing, and nontrivial amounts of money are spent on hardware, software, support, curriculum development, and so on, in order to chase it.

        However, it isn't exactly lost on teachers (who tend to be pretty good observers of student behavior, and, since the internet isn't really new anymore, may have been screwing around on it when they were in school) that a

    • My thoughts exactly.

      This sounds like round 36 of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music." Teachers indulging in future-shock is just plain trite. Boring classes have always been boring. Kids like me have always had trouble slogging through them. If the kids have trouble paying attention to something that isn't exciting, then, for the love of all that is good, be more engaging. The only way to stop boring people is to stop being boring.

      If computers actually impeded the ability to learn, I'd still be c

      • Re:BASICally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lsllll (830002) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:11AM (#47072303)

        If computers actually impeded the ability to learn, I'd still be coding in BASIC.

        I hear you, but sitting behind the computer and doing Facebook and Trackmania is not the same as peeking and poking your Apple II in BASIC.

        • by Malkin (133793)

          I hear you, but sitting behind the computer and doing Facebook and Trackmania is not the same as peeking and poking your Apple II in BASIC.

          That's a valid point. Though, it is the things that we love on the computer that first inspire us to learn to program. For me, it was games.

          The problem now is that people take computers for granted. It's a freakin' toaster, as far as most people are concerned. People are never given any incentive to look under the covers. I'm interested in what we can do to encourage more exploration.

      • Re:BASICally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Loki_1929 (550940) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:15AM (#47072321) Journal

        This sounds like round 36 of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music." Teachers indulging in future-shock is just plain trite.

        I'd like to direct you to the following quote:

        "That a century of the younger men wished to confer with their elders on the question to which persons they should, by their vote, entrust a high command, should seem to us scarcely credible. This is due to the cheapened and diminished authority even of parents over their children in our day." - Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 26

        This was the earliest, but by far not the only example of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music", as you put it. Examples exist throughout the last century, especially around the turn of 1900, where long and boring essays were published on the subject. However, the above excert is from Livy's History of Rome, written around 25BC. So when you say it's trite, that's a bit of an understatement. 2000+ years we've been listening to this shit.

        • Re:BASICally (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rtb61 (674572) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:37AM (#47072395) Homepage

          If I can direct you to this reference http://www.usingenglish.com/re... [usingenglish.com]. Are computers causing education problems, very bloody likely as computer geeks and nerds, a minority, are the only ones that really effectively thrive on that interaction and in that environment. For the rest, they very likely are not exploring that computer educational environment but doing the very same dopey social interactions over and over and over again, like wired up monkeys getting a jolt from a joy buzzer each time they get another like or make a 'friend' or what ever other socially manipulative interaction designed by some shit head doctorates in psychology, working for social network companies, to keep their victims seeing and clicking adds.

          All the older geeks and nerds should fully appreciate by now that computers on their own are not the best educational environment for the majority and that their use needs to be limited and properly implemented and logically adjusted to suit the psychology and personality as well as of course existing measured outcomes of each student.

          Stop thinking only about what works for you and demanding that everyone else aligns with you and start focusing about what works for each individual and how computers can be used to tailor the educational environment for each student and ensure human social interaction still remains dominant, we are humans after all not machines. Computers should augment the education of the majority not dominate. For us computer geeks and nerds, the story would be different, leave us in the computer lab with the other geeks and nerds and we'll be happy and thrive.

        • Re:BASICally (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Geirzinho (1068316) on Friday May 23, 2014 @04:53AM (#47072857)

          Around 400BC Socrates quipped:
          Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

          And I think we have found some cuneiform tablets from Sumer with exasperated teacher comments way older than that:)

        • by mrzyx (811029)

          However, the above excert is from Livy's History of Rome, written around 25BC. So when you say it's trite, that's a bit of an understatement. 2000+ years we've been listening to this shit.

          The first similar example that I know of is from Plato's Republic, Book VIII, 360 B.C.:

          "And these are not the only evils, I said --there are several lesser ones: In such a state of society the master fears and flatters his scholars, and the scholars despise their masters and tutors; young and old are all alike; and the young man is on a level with the old, and is ready to compete with him in word or deed; and old men condescend to the young and are full of pleasantry and gaiety; they are loth to be though

        • This was the earliest, but by far not the only example of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music", as you put it.

          Yeah, probably not the "earliest." Certainly there are sentiments like this Plato and Socrates. But we can go even earlier -- and even more specifically complain about the new pop music. For example, Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic from 500 years or so before your quotation:

          For what sense or understanding have they? They follow minstrels and take the multitude for a teacher, not knowing that many are bad and few good. For the best men choose one thing above all--immortal glory among mortals; but the masses stuff themselves like cattle.

          It's not precisely clear who "they" is here, but the reference to a "teacher" probably implies that we're talking about youth or a younger generation... who follow around the "bad" musicians ("aoidoi" or "minstrels") who were becoming more

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If the kids have trouble paying attention to something that isn't exciting, then, for the love of all that is good, be more engaging. The only way to stop boring people is to stop being boring.

        Just asked my 9 year old and he disagrees. Maths is boring. It just is, doesn't matter how it is taught. Maths is just boring.

        And English is boring too. Terraria, on the other hand, is fun.

        "I like Terraria, because it's the only thing I'm good at."

        Science, by the was, is boring. In case you didn't know. Playin

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWX (665546) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:57AM (#47072245)

      And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

      That's a false dichotomy and you know it. There are lots of teachers that can manage a classroom to make it interesting to those kids that are willing to pay even the littlest bit of attention, and there are far too many teachers that have to rely on electronic babysitters just to maintain enough order in the room to keep their jobs.

      How about holding parents accountable when they don't provide an environment at home that's conducive to their kids doing well in school? Most of the problems start in the home, and punishing the schools because the kids aren't taught by their parents that they need school in order to do well in life doesn't make the situation any better for those kids. I guess it's too much to ask parents to turn off the television and actually talk with their kids or to check over their homework, or to read to them before they go to bed...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689)

        I guess it's too much to ask parents to turn off the television and actually talk with their kids or to check over their homework, or to read to them before they go to bed...

        You're making assumptions about a family's situation that suggests a rather limited understanding of the world around you.
        So yes, it might be too much for a parent if they just worked two shifts and then spent an hour on the bus to get home.

        I mean shucks, everyone could have a beautiful nuclear family just like the 1950s, if a single blue collar salary could support a family of 4, like it did in the 1950s.

        • by TWX (665546)
          If that kid is under twelve, that kid should have adult supervision of some sort even if there's no parent around. Whoever provides that supervision should be engaging that child in the manner described at least some of the time.

          Humans learn through interaction, and if they don't interact with people with more experience then they don't learn what they'll need to be successful. That's why being a parent comes with an awful lot of responsibility, but I guess it's easy to forget that when the hormones ar
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lsllll (830002) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:07AM (#47072289)

      Ummm, let me guess. Yes? Sitting in boring classrooms got us to the moon and got us the computers we're sitting in front of, so I think we must have been doing something right.

      I am not saying that we got it all right before computers. Sitting in boring classrooms may not be the optimal use of time, but it sure beats wasting the same amount of hours sitting behind the computer. I am a computer programmer and I spend much of my time behind the computer, but had I been in school I would have thought it would be better to attend classes, whether they were boring or not. What TFA is saying is that children have lost the ability to concentrate and that multitasking and online social media has robbed the kids of their ability to relate to their peers in the real world. I have raised two kids and always attempted to curb their use of computers, not harshly, but sensibly. In addition, they were not allowed to have televisions, game consoles and computers in their bedrooms. This was all an attempt to get them to spend time on the first floor with their parents or with their friends around the neighborhood. I am fairly certain that now that they're in college and looking at their peers, they appreciate the way they were raised.

      A part of life is actually learning to deal with the boring parts, since there are many instances in our lives that are spent doing things we really don't want to do. Calming down, taking a sip of coffee while looking outside the window and admiring the bird, passers by, and the clouds, is something today's kids do NOT understand.

      • There are several studies that show income based disparities. High income people's kids use the internet for leaning (wikipedia, etc..), low income famlies buy xbox's and games which actually cost more.

        It used to be hard to find interesting material, computers make it easier. The parent needs to direct the child to VALUABLE interesting material, relaxing and watching birds may be something of value, as is science on the internet.

        Today's kids also are fed a diet of nothing but sugar and refined carbs, wh

      • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TWX (665546) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:44AM (#47072417)

        A part of life is actually learning to deal with the boring parts, since there are many instances in our lives that are spent doing things we really don't want to do. Calming down, taking a sip of coffee while looking outside the window and admiring the bird, passers by, and the clouds, is something today's kids do NOT understand.

        Kids don't understand at all, in any generation. A lack of technology previously forced kids to learn, and the ever-growing invasiveness of technology is delaying that lesson and making it harder to learn.

        I like to think of it similarly to fractals, but not necessarily the identical-endlessly-repeating style. Look at spartanly-furnished room cursorily, it's boring. Look at the chair, notice the characteristics of the back, the curvature of the seat, the styling of the legs and feet. Look at the particular choices of color, at the wear. Consider the chair, what the design and the wear mean for its history. Repeat for any other thing in the room, or even for the room itself.

        I can always find a way to entertain myself. When I was a kid eating breakfast I'd memorize the box. We all did. We didn't have computers to distract us from what was literally right in front of us.

      • ...children have lost the ability to concentrate...

        No. Today's children haven't lost the ability to concentrate, because they've never been forced to learn it. People who, unlike you, let their children spend all of their time playing games, fooling around on social networking sites and, in general, use computers as electronic babysitters have never given their children a reason to learn how to concentrate on a task until it's completed, just as an earlier generation let their children use TV the same
      • by PvtVoid (1252388)

        I am fairly certain that now that they're in college and looking at their peers, they appreciate the way they were raised.

        Nah. They're probably passed out in a closet somewhere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Define "boring". As a science instructor at a four year school I can tell you "boring classroom" is a subjective thing. In my environmental science classes I would bring in news releases/summaries about scientific articles and have the students read and discuss and if I could get 10% of the class interested in the material it was a tremendous success. Most students would stare at the article, let the rest of their group discuss the article, then check their phones. If I was talking about some topic or

      • Maybe boring is a good thing. A lot of life does consist of important but very dull tasks - it's important for people to learn how to handle that.

    • by Mr0bvious (968303)

      I'm not sure why everyone here is discussing teaching and the use of computers in school - it has very little to do with the premise of the article.

      This has nothing to do with the classroom or school and everything to do with outside of school.

      I'm also convinced that excessive computer (read Internet/Games/Entertainment) use does hinder the social and real world skills of children.

      Instead of climbing trees, going fishing, building things in dad's shed, experimenting with the things around the house and most

    • by NapalmV (1934294)

      And sitting in a boring classroom for hours on end enhances their ability to learn?

      At a minimum it trains them into being capable to perform a given, needed activity even when its not perceived as greatly entertaining. Something that computers/tablets/consoles will never do.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:46AM (#47072205)

    Is are kids learnding?

  • The reality is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119)

    ... learning is trapped in the 19th century. I'd love to take this game and get a developer to polish it to AAA level graphics.

    http://immuneattack.org/ [immuneattack.org]

    We learn from things we do repeatedly, so it would make sense to discover how to take advantage of our pleasure centers to make certain kinds of learning addictive in and of themselves. Now this is NOT to say that traditional learning is all bullshit but there is definitely a severe dearth of talent and intelligence when concerning how data is displayed, in

  • by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:50AM (#47072219)
    The summary makes it sound like computers in the classroom are the problem. That's not what the article says at all. The teachers' union is accusing out-of-school exposure to "instant gratification" digital devices and games for ruining attention-spans before kids are old enough to go to school. The article claims youngsters are aggressive and inattentive due to past conditioning by games and always-on entertainment. It doesn't even mention computers or tablets in school. Misleading title & summary.
    • Wait, wait, are you saying that slashdot editors are dramatizing news just because it's related to computers?!

      Surely that can't be. Next thing you know, I won't have to insert html to make a new paragraph.

    • The summary makes it sound like computers in the classroom are the problem. That's not what the article says at all. The teachers' union is accusing out-of-school exposure to "instant gratification" digital devices and games for ruining attention-spans before kids are old enough to go to school.

      It is entirely possible that computers both help kids learn (with the right software) and they ruin their attention-spans.

      I was about to delete the last half of that sentence, thinking maybe it isn't true that computers ruin attention spans, but then I got distracted by two other tabs at the top of my browser before later in the day realizing I had this comment half done.

      Click submit quick before I get distracted again!

      • I don't think that computers "ruin" attention spans - anyone who has spent a few hours lost in Photoshop or playing The Sims can attest to the ability of some programs to keep us enthralled for long periods of time. I think it's social media specifically that makes us a little ADD. Also, there are fewer activities besides computer games or art programs that can engage flow concentration on the computer, compared to the hundreds of offline things (anything from playing sports to playing D&D to building
    • Same can be said with TV. TV makes people stupid but a tiny bit of it is informative and constructive... so it's good! We need that 1% so we can excuse something we like. McDonalds has healthy food! I got a yogurt with my big mac, fries, and sugar water.

      Didn't we just have something on /. about how it is harder to READ in a linear normal fashion because people are skimming online all the time and it's impacting how our brains work to the point of diminishing reading skills (that is, conventional reading sk

    • Plus, the general comment seems to be that the children are used to getting their own way, and have become used to immediate gratification of their wishes. Doesn't sound like it's got a whole lot to do with computers to me. It's certainly easier to leave pre-school kids in front of iPads that it would have been to leave them in front of the TV - they have more fun with the iPad than the TV. But it doesn't change the fact that this is simply bad parenting, and not a problem with technology per se.

    • by xtal (49134)

      The only thing the Teacher's Unions are terrified of.. is that they're going to be replaced.

  • by TWX (665546) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:52AM (#47072225)
    Schools do not know how to use computers for primary school students. They simply don't have the curriculum and they're unwilling to take general-purpose PCs and turn them into specific-purpose PCs that don't let one get off-task. They're also addicting and kids that aren't using PCs but see PCs in front of them are jonesing for their next fix.

    I grew up in the tail-end of the era of the Apple II in schools, and the beginning of the Macintoshes, before wide-spread TCP/IP networks and before Internet connectivity. The Apple II was well-suited to educational use, as the student could only run the program that they were given the disk for. They couldn't distract themselves from the educational goal. They had one program and one program only, so they could either use that program or do nothing. PCs running DOS had a similar situation, though that was usually more because of DOS being hard enough to use that if one exited the game one generally didn't know how to go about distracting one's self.

    Then the Macintosh and early Windows came around. Now they could do some other things in addition to the assigned program, but admittedly there weren't a whole lot of other things to do, so it was fairly easy to keep students on-task.

    Then the local area computer networks came about, and if a campus had multiple tasks on their computers, then the students could often figure out how to do those other tasks not for the curriculum for the current class, and suddenly it became that much hard to keep on-task. It became possible to share things with other kids without the teachers catching on, or possible to mess with other kids. Proto cyberbullying if you will.

    Then the Internet came along with the browser and general-purpose computers with hundreds of preloaded programs and at least tens of thousands available through the Internet, and now it's almost impossible to keep kids on-task. They can do anything, and with 9,999 wrong choices but only one right choice, that one right choice simply gets drowned out.

    Primary school kids need to learn how to read, write, perform basic mathematics, and to learn how to find information the old-fashioned way. They need to learn what an index is, and how information can be sorted and archived, and how to sort the information that they want to present. Learning these skills manually will teach them how these skills work when they can do them electronically or with some other form of automation. Technology as classroom aids in elementary grades needs to be limited to special-purpose machines, like things that help present curriculum, or help in classroom discussion to let the teacher or the students aid their point, or if they're used for things like testing to make grading easier, they need to be locked down so that they only do the function that they're called upon to do at that time.

    Once the kids get to secondary school, then start introducing the general-purpose machine. Let them learn how to use a productivity suite, or how to do research electronically, or how to use programs to aid in science education. At least at that point it's possible for the skill to actually still apply to the person's life once they reach adulthood where it might have to be applied.
    • Once the kids get to secondary school, then start introducing the general-purpose machine.

      Nah. My junior school had BBCs as was the fashion in those days. Fine general purpose machines and it's what got me hooked on programming.

  • Comic book
    Dancing
    Movies/Cinema
    TV, cartoon/anime etc...


    So yeah. Pretty much anything which might interrest a kid and is not school related is seen as a distraction. Call me back when tehy have a peer reviweed article showing it is worst than any other distraction source. Until then : BFD.
    • by TWX (665546) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:52AM (#47072431)
      The difference between all distractions before the Internet and the Internet-connected computer is that for the first time, one has absolutely limitless possibilities for getting distracted without end. The TV show ends and the credits roll. The comic book runs out of pages. The dancer gets tired and the dance hall closes.

      The limitless possibilities are addicting. It's almost impossible to stop. Hell, I'm a grown man with a good job and here I am arguing on the Internet in the middle of the night, I've got the defenses to fight this to a greater extent and I even struggle with it.
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:54AM (#47072239) Homepage

    What is really important here is:

    us /. nerds, being geeks who are almost always involved with computer technology of some sort, in capacities professional, hobbyist, or both, immediately become defensive and insulting toward anyone who talks about technological devices in a negative way.

    Never mind the claim, immediately condescend and attack anyone suggesting that electronic devices may not be the optimal solution for every situation!

    Bonus: the teacher's union angle! The few right-wing of us (which is me, actually) can immediately jump on that one too. These fucks don't care about kids! There's no way professional teachers know anything about teaching kids! Because they are a teacher's union, they must be speaking on behalf of the anti-ipad wing of the Kremlin!

    There is no way that parking a kid in front of a screen for several hours a day can have any ill affects, you socialist pinko union teacher!

    • by TWX (665546)
      *grin*

      Computers have their place, but only once the kids have learned the skills that computers don't really help with. Trouble is, computers in primary school are a solution looking for a problem, and thus end up making more problem then they do solution.

      Once the kids have learned, well, how to learn, and have begun to learn how to think, then have them start using computers. Not until then.
  • by AnotherBlackHat (265897) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:33AM (#47072377) Homepage

    Maybe the reason those kids aren't paying attention is because they are learning stuff elsewhere and feel you're just wasting their time.
    Or maybe it is, as the union suggests, because they realize how lame school is by comparison.

    Or maybe kids are paying better attention now then they have in the past, and the union is falling for the golden age fallacy.

    From http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/10_02_05.pdf [princeton.edu]
    The limited evidence available also indicates that home computer use is linked to slightly better academic performance.

    I'll take that limited evidence over the "no evidence" supplied by the teachers union.

    • I had this problem growing up, it destroyed my interest in school and motivation to learn. In 5th, 6th, and 7th grade I learned algebra 3 years in a row. I even remember getting ahead of my class in elementary school in math, then having my progress 'reset' by the teachers every year as I advanced a grade.

      A lack of individualized learning plans and forcing everyone into the same progress speed, caused by the grade-age system and lack of resources, destroys the enjoyment of school for the gifted. The iron

  • ...destroying their ability to learn *without them*.

    Whether or not that's a bad thing is a totally different discussion. Do you think the future of learning is with or without computers?

    Welcome to focus and opportunity cost.

    • by Livius (318358)

      The only issue they care about is whether the future of learning is with or without the teachers union.

  • The basic idea [youtube.com] was expressed brilliantly in 1957 along with a great way to combat it.
  • Used as a Crutch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alzoron (210577)

    Computers aren't the problem. The problem is buying a bunch of computers and thinking your job is done. Before computers we didn't just throw a bunch of kids in a room with text books and lab equipment and expect them to emerge 6 months later with a deep understanding of Biology. Why do we essentially do that with computers and expect any meaningful result?

    • Read more carefully. They aren't talking about computers in school, but about broader effects relating to how extensive computer use (In the manner children use them - games, facebook and such) is affecting them in a more general way. Constant exposure to the high-stimulation environment of games and instant-gratification is (according to the teachers) impairing childrens' ability to maintain focus on less interesting tasks.

  • by thephydes (727739) on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:37AM (#47072677)
    to see this, just look in any cafe. Several people around a table all checking their phones. Social interaction has definitely changed, in some ways for the worse. As for learning, other posters have mentioned engagement. The top students will not need to see "exciting" stuff to learn because they love learning and being challenged. The middle to low students will need to be entertained because that is what they are used to - TV, facebook, youtube, etc etc. Unfortunately this is the way of the new world. At the school where I work, the Phys Ed teachers tell me about children who have never climbed trees or chased/kicked a ball, and have terrible gross and fine motor skills - another symptom of technology not doing them a favour I suspect.
    • I'll give you the one about chasing the ball, these damn things keep rolling and rolling and it can occasionally be fun if you manage to catch them before they roll into the river or the lake or whatever and before you get completely out of breath. But it may be ok if you live in a place like e.g. Nebraska that's totaly flat sans lakes and the ball will only go as far as you can kick it, which is not that far in most cases.

      But climbing a tree is outright silly. The lowest branches of most trees are often ou

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Could it just be that children are really good at adapting, and they're adapting to a world that you and I haven't fully figured out how to live in?

      Motor skills are useful when you have to spear a boar to eat, or drive a car. When your job is to design a machine that can kill 100 pigs at once and process the meat, or operate your self-driving car, motor skills are less important.

      About the only time I actually sit face-to-face with a human being and talk is when I have meals with my wife - in a few hours I'

  • This is an obvious troll, but I'll bite.

    From TFA: "They're so used to the instant buzz which you can get with these games and gadgets that they find it really hard to focus on anything which isn't exciting."

    So make the fucking school exciting. And no, using computers in the classroom isn't the answer. Inspiring kids to learn is a very demanding task and you can't hide your incompetence as a teacher by blaming the kids and their tablets/phones/laptops. Inability to concentrate, you say? Have you actually *s

    • Some things are inherently boring.

      For example, a good part of A-level maths is learning to apply trignometric identities and calculus. Please, try to make an exciting game about the cosine rule.

  • Leave me alone! I'm working on something very important you phillistines!

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:50AM (#47073225) Homepage

    Computers cant impact a childs learning as much as a bad teacher, The teachers union does more to keep bad teachers employed than anything else.

    I'll take the risks of my child using computers more than a completely worthless teacher that should have been fired years ago.

  • Many (not all) kids these days don't WANT to learn from a teacher because they've decided that 'if and when I need to know something, my phone/tablet/device will just tell me the answer'. This leads to them effectively having 0 memorized facts or baseline knowledge. Facts that are a foundation to do more complex things. Imagine not knowing your basic multiplication tables. I've personally tutored several (non Learning Disabled) Grade 8s that can't do basic addition in their heads; oh, but they can sure u
  • I want my son to be a douchebag tech startup CEO by the time he is 25. Sounds like he needs more computer time.
  • Schools are eliminating teachers' jobs already and using computers in their place. Obviously teachers won't feel good about computers. Classes in Spanish or French are now often without teachers. Imagine one computer program teaching every eight grade US history course in the nation. To a bean counter there is no better way to go. And we will see brick and mortar schools start to become a lot less common as a very real option of home schooling by computer emerges. Social chaos may result. Stable
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:14AM (#47073645)

    I'm the IT director for a school that teaches kids with dyslexia and non-verbal learning disabilities (Asperger Syndrome). Technology is a hugely beneficial tool for these types of kids.

    Language based learning disabilities make it hard for kids to learn other subjects. A student that can not read at grade level is hindered in all other subjects. Text to speech and speech to text technologies can help a student complete history and science classes while they remediate their reading and writing skills in other classes.

    Google Apps has a ton of educational apps that are reducing our need for textbooks. Stuff like Geogebra and Plotly are free online and have almost eliminated math textbooks for our school.

    Show me a teacher that says technology is a worthless teaching tool, and I'll show you a lazy teacher.

    Computers much like books alone can not teach a child. These things must be integrated into the curriculum and it is the teacher's responsibility to guide the instruction and keep kids on track.

    Technology isn't the problem - lazy teachers are the problem.

  • However from my person experience, the computer can provide better answers, solutions and instruction then the teacher.

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