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

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

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:47AM (#47072213)

    ... 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. []

    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, interpreted, thought about and engaged with. Ideally you should take things that are complex and break them down into things that are both interesting and easy to understand to build bridges to higher order understanding of concepts. I think one of education's greatest downfalls is not realizing that presentation, aesthetics, etc, are just as important because they HOOK the interest of kids. If you can't hook kids curiousity and just say 'here grind through all this boring work for no particular reason' I don't think we're doing them any favors. How many adults really remember anything from school if we're honest? I bet most of us could embarass our political leaders by just flipping open a highschool textbook and asking some basic questions.

    I look back on my own education and I see how limited in imagination the current system really is on a whole host of things, schools tend to kill kids curiosity if we're honest with ourselves. Many of us didn't enjoy learning until we got out of school/university completely because of the nature of schools structure itself.

    I think there is still plenty left to learn about learning and things we don't yet understand that the old guard has trouble dealing with.

  • 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 chasisaac ( 893152 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:21AM (#47072345) Homepage
    NO! No! NO! No!

    "Computers are the new primary conduit of communication and learning for this generation."

    As a teacher I am amazed at how inept most kids are with computers. I did a simple ctl-c and cmd-tab and ctl-v. Just a simple copy and paste. Students looked at me as if I had just done voodoo.

    These are not students new to computers. They were high school seniors who have had 1-to-1 laptop program since 7th grade.

    The amount these students do not know is amazing. I taught a college level class as an adjunct. The college students could not use the computer.

    The best part of the computer is writing papers. I get longer and better edited papers that are word processed.

    Of course the students can get on facebook, games, and other such toys. Real work not really.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:33AM (#47072379)

    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 trying to explain a concept I would not see any response/interest unless I had some flashy powerpoint slide. The subject matter is not important but, if you have "cool" graphics.

    To be honest, this generation scares the crap out of me (and I am only in my late 30s). You can tell that their learning process was developed by the Internet and they have become consumers of information and factoids, but heaven forbid you ask them memorize or think or try to understand something. Interpretation, analysis, and application of knowledge is so foreign to them.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.