The Great Parenting Debate: Should School Kids Rely on Computers?

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/04/2012 ( 34 moms have responded )

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As you consider whether to arm your child with a laptop computer or iPad this Christmas, consider also which battle line to stand behind, as the fighting grows over the increasing reliance on digital devices in the classroom.



Grad schools, colleges, and even grade schools are relying more and more on Apple iPads and laptops for instruction -- and increasingly handing out computers for students to use.



Learning should be interactive, of course -- but should it be digital?



That’s a question the Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, Calif., answered recently, deciding to give iPads to every student for use in the classroom.



Several other grade schools and universities, such as the Stanford University School of Medicine, are also giving out iPads and laptops to every student. Some schools districts, such as the one in Fergus Falls, Minn., are experimenting with classes where students only tap in from home over the Internet.



Many parents are worried if all of this screen time is healthy, however. They’re concerned about possible negative side-effects of kids using computers all day at school, and fear issues with blurred vision when students get older -- or back problems from leaning over an iPad all day long.




http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/2...



While I strongly believe computers are a wonderful tool. I also strongly believe they have their place. I, for one, do not believe they should be in a classroom, for each indiviual child to use. There is still a very important part of knowing how to use a pen and paper.



Ability to use a computer all day, means less likely to learn how to correctly spell, since there is spell checker. It is less likely to learn penmanship, why would they need to, when they can type all day. They are less likely to give their undivided attention to the courseware being taught, since there are so many other distractions, while being on a computer.



It is also very tramautizing to your body. Incorrect posture all day, will definitely cause problems with the back, the wrists and neck. The eyes are constantly being strained. I know, where I work on a computer all day long, that when I do get up, it takes me a second to get my eyes to refocus. I constantly have to get up and move around. Would they allow that in class, every 30mins or so?



However, it is an essential piece of technology and deifinetly has value. I just believe they should be used in a computer lab or at home for big projects. I know I still make my daughter use a pen and paper at times. Other times, I will allow her to use the computer. All her drafts must be done freehand, her "good" copies may be typed up.



I never had a computer growing up. I actually had to go to the library to do any research. I really enjoyed it. It was an experience. Now, all they have to do is sit in front of a screen and search the topic. Which, can be scary at times too, god knows what is going to come up depending on how they worded their search or if it is going to be accurate information.



My daughter does use a computer for a lot of her homework and they do get lab time at school (in a computer lab). So far, they only have one computer in the classroom, which is used for when they present their projects. I think this is the correct approach.



What do you think? Should computers be the way, the "only" way and be allowed for each child in the classroom? Or should they be given a specific amount of time in a lab to work on their projects?

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Jodi - posted on 04/05/2012

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Shawnn, I am a big believer in needing to teach the process (i.e. kids must learn the PROCESS of maths, handwriting, spelling, etc) before they can use short cuts (such as calculators, spell checks, etc), because an understanding of the process brings greater comprehension and literacy. I am shocked that they are encouraging Year 2 students to use calculators. Is it any wonder that so many people in the US are homeschooling if this is what is going on? Your schools are spitting out kids with very limited ctitical thinking skills.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/05/2012

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I vary. I believe that they should have the necessary (to me) skills of handwritten communication. I FIRMLY believe that they need to learn how to do math without using calculators, which in my area were required for use from 2nd grade on. Imagine how horrified I was to find out that they were encouraging the kids to use calculators instead of TEACHING THEM MATH! Neither of my sons understands how to do basic Algebra, unless they have a computer and calculator.



I'm not a doomsday scarebringer, but I HAVE been in situations where the technology failed, not just for a few minutes, but DAYS, and the tried and true pencil and paper had to come out of storage and be dusted off. And to be quite honest, I was appalled at the number of adults who could not do basic math, did not have at least minimally readable handwriting, and who were completely lost without having a computer to rely on. There was only a small handful of us that were able to function without the technology, and that is my concern.



What is going to happen when: A) we run out of resources for power? (ok, I know that's stretching, but it could happen...) B) something major happens: Disaster/terrorism strikes that knock out power?



Theoretically it could happen, and I'd rather have my kids at least be able to add 2+2 and make change for a dollar in their head.



Now, that being said, I'm guilty of buying them personal laptops as soon as they hit middle school...knowing they'd be a good tool...LOL



So call me wiffle-waffle. I don't like it at all, but I recognize that I can't fight it. The best I can do is have them do manual skills at home to back up the technical skills at school

Kelina - posted on 04/06/2012

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A c level student though is a c level student for a reason-probably because they're not understanding in some other way or not bothering to do the work. And when you think about it, public school teachers have up to 30 students to deal with, usually a couple or more with learning disabilities, and very little support. Could you imagine how many students would be slipping through the cracks if they all did all their work on an ipad with access to the internet? and you're right it would be obvious in their class participation but because of class size not every child can participate in every subject. So if say history is not their strong suit, they rely on the internet and their textbook, they don't bother raising their hands to provide answers. Or a student might be shy and not participate in class at all. Simply do all their assignments and hand them in and the assignments are exceptional work, but really the student isn't retaining or learning very much. It's one of the biggest problems with public schools, teachers are simply way too over stretched, with little to no budget and/or help. And every child learns differently, so if a child can't learn something in the classroom then goes home and learns it a different way that could also explain the difference between their classroom work and their homework.

Kelina - posted on 04/05/2012

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Jodi, in response to your post about it being a teacher assessable task and it being obvious-it's not. I used to do my reports the same way. I got A's and B's all through highschool and could turn out one of those types of reports in under an hour. In one of my college classes, I did my final project in the 3 hours before my class and still got an A-. Do I believe kids should learn how to use technology? absolutely. I believe that technology is an amazing tool. But my kids will only be using it sparingly in their elementary school days. My plan is to homeschool them until close to highschool. I think kids need to have decent penmanship, need to be able to tell time with an analog watch, and need to be able to plan things out with a pen and paper and memoriZe things. We rely WAY too much on technology these days and when we do, we're screwed. Royally. If my dad's blackberry ever dies a horrible, bits and pieces kind of death, he'll have no way to get in touch with me. He doesn't know my phone number. He doesn't even know my birthday. Same with my best friend. She at least knows my birthday, but doesn't know my phone number. Luckily, last time her phone got stolen I was with her. My best friend can't do math without a calculator. We're talking 2+2 type of math, because her parents always allowed her to do her math homework with a calculator so she never felt the need to memorize it. another friend of mine keeps her calendar on her phone so if her phone dies, she doesn't know when her doctors appointments are or anything like that. My saving grace in college was that I took my notes freehand so even though I didn't always get everything down, I retained more than I would have if I'd done it all on the computer. I know that this is not the case for everyone, but I really don't believe that allowing every child to have an ipad or laptop all day long would be beneficial to them. Teach them in new creative ways. Get them outdoors more, moving more, more involved int he classroom. Get them excited about learning. But don't expect that interaction to come from a computer. How does that teach them to interact with other people? How do they learn to form social bonds? Only so much can be done at recess and lunch and from what I've heard many schools have cut out recess. My husband told me once that when he and his sister got cell phones, they would sit there and text eachother-from 3 feet away during church. I think that the temptation to sit there and look at your technology all day rather than really learn from firsthand experience what the world around you is all about would be too strong. We'd be breeding internet addicted kids. Technology addicted kids. And one of my biggest questions is, when they grow up and have children of their own-would they be able to break the habit and give their kids the attention they needed? Would they even know how? Or would they be even worse than some of my generation of moms who need to take crash courses in nursery rhymes and how to play with your baby? human interaction should be something the majority of adults do as easily as tying their shoes. And yet, these days, many adults I know, don't know how to do either.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/05/2012

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Michele---For myself, I find that writing things by hand enables me to remember better. I took notes in high school/college and the process of writing was the first part of studying. Now, if I write something in my calendar or to do list,



This is one of the biggest places I see a huge purpose for hand written things. I am the exact same way. If I write it, I am more prone to remember, than if I typed, saved and closed it, in one short swoop.



I dunno, maybe I am old and new school, as I see an importance in hand writing drafts (as Rebecca 3, stated), I also see an importance in the use of a PC for good copy material.



I most definitely, do not think, every single child should be placed in front of a PC, from the time they arrive at school, to the time they leave. I honestly think this would be robbing them of some very critical brain (cognitive) growth and activity.



My daughter can pull out a full report in the matter of an hour or two, just by going to various sites and slightly changing the material to her own words. Is she truly learning that way? I bet you, if I asked her a year later what she had researched, she would remember less than half of the projects, in good detail, let alone what the topic was even about. ;)



I do make her, however, take short hand notes when she is researching. To me it is important to be able to short-hand-note take and then develop from those. It gets your brain spinning.

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Cyndel - posted on 04/11/2012

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At one time children learned through stories told by adults, living and working along side their parents and neighbors, why learn to read/write? Why bring books into it when there are men who travel the world to tell news and stories?

Just as reading, writing, and books have become and irreplaceable part of daily living, so has the digital world. While I think it is important for children to know how to write with pen and paper, I also believe it is of extreme importance that children know how to use a computer, know their way around word, excel, power point, adobe reader, know the best search engine and how to find out if a website or source is reliable and trust worthy, to be able to fix small problems and run routine anti viral etc programs and how often, what the warning signs are for a virus and other issues in the computer, how to install and uninstall without the usual automatic programing. Computers are such a integral part of our lives that every graduating high school student should know how to do this or at least quickly be able to figure it out for themselves.

So my point is it is important to have an equal share of digital and paper/pen in the class rooms.

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I think it depends on the age. I don't really see any reason why elementary school kids need to use computers. As they get older, some computer use is OK, but I don't think it should replace teachers as the primary source of education.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/09/2012

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Yes, they can block certain things but not everything can be blocked. They cannot block the internet, if they want them to be able to research. It is easy to get distracted while surfing the internet. They can block specific sites but only sites that are recognized as being an issue end up blocked.



My daughter likes reading stories. She isn't into playing online games. If there are very few children going to the same sites, they are not going to catch that and block them.



In a school of 500 children. There would be a lot of traffic on the network to search through. Only the highly used sites are going to be caught. ;) Again, only specific sites can be blocked.



I know, it sounds easy. It however, is a ton of overhead. I am in IT. I have a complete understanding of how networks and the internet work. I have worked at Governement sites where they do block specific sites and applications. It wasn't hard to get around it... ;) Kids are far from stupid. Actually, my daughter (in grade 7) just came home the other day and announced "They blocked some site (can't recall which one it was) and so and so, found out the password, so we were able to get back on." Ummm, that network is not locked down very well. Typically a school has a 3rd party come in and setup their network. It takes some knowledge of what you are doing. It takes a bit to get them back to fix any issues, including resetting a password every 3 days. ;) They also don't want to lock it down too much, or the use of the PC would be useless.



Nah, keep the PC's in the lab and have blocks of time for the kids to use them. When they get into high school, sure. Let them use their laptop more often, still not all day long.

Nicole - posted on 04/09/2012

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If they can put enough blocks on what the students can do with the computers than distraction should be kept at a minimum.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/09/2012

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Yes, I agree that it is a great tool, especially while at home. It is not difficult for a parent to mind a single child using the PC.



In respect of every child having one during class, though, is where I find it difficult for a teacher to monitor, what each child is actually doing. My daughter has 33 children in her class. Unfortunately, I guarentee, she would not be monitored enough to ensure she was staying on topic, while using the PC or whatever the technological tool is, being used. She would end up either dropping grades drastically or having an enormous amount of school work to be completed at home.



I don't know how many times I have been told during parent/teacher interviews (which I no longer attend for this reason), that my daughter is too busy in her desk, she is too busy drawing on paper, she is too often drifting off....blah, blah, blah. I guess, at least, they know what she is doing, though. If she had a PC to bury herself in, they would'nt a clue and she would not have her ears to rely on. I quite going to the meets, simply because she still pulls great grades and I am tired of hearing the same crap. She pulls great grades because even though she is doing something else, she is still listening and taking it all in. This would not be as easy for her on a PC.

Nicole - posted on 04/09/2012

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I have to laugh as the oldest son that has the ADHD will not necessarily get distracted by other items on the computer but will go to the bathroom, get something to eat, and on occasion watch videos on the computer. LOL yes, it does distract at times, which is usually why I have to be in the room to make sure that doesn't happen. Like you said, it is not done on purpose, it is simply part of who they are. My point is that anything can distract a kid, not just computers. As their parents, it is our job to find a way to make it all work together.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/09/2012

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My daughter has severe combined ADHD. While the computer is wonderful for her in many ways. Including that, she too, has terrible handwriting. It also, causes grief. As she often becomes unfocused with the task at hand and is found doing something other than the task she should be. For instance, if she is supposed to be researching a topic, when I check on her in 20 mins, she just spent the last 20 mins looking for music to play while she does research. Or, while she is supposed to be doing research, she will be found reading stories, that have nothing to do with the research. She isn't deliberately disobeying, she honestly got side tracked.



So, while I agree whole heartedly, a computer is a wonderful tool, it can also be a counter active one.

Nicole - posted on 04/09/2012

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My son has both ADHD and is Dyslexic. Ever since we got an Ipad it has been like magic. My child's attention span when reading is longer, I think it has something to do with the backlit screen. When he comes across a word he doesn't know, he touches it and you are then asked if you would like the definition. On top of that, he struggles with his handwriting, which is almost unreadable and also struggles with putting words to paper. We have a small Apex laptop that he uses for his writing assignments. For my youngest son who is 6, he is super bright and does not get challenged nearly enough. For that, we head to the Khan academy, which he considers "walk throughs" for math. It has been wonderful for him and does a great job in teaching him different math techniques.. He is now doing double digit addition and is currently working on multiplication and division. If I were to sit with him with a workbook he would not have the patience for me, but because it is a computer video, he will sit there and plug away at everything. I have to say, that teaching can be very interactive through the computer and can be very hands on. In our house, computers are our miracle workers....

Danielle - posted on 04/07/2012

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I should add I have been in love with computers since I was nine, and I've worked in the IT support industry for over twenty years. I started on the 'net back in 1990 before there was even a "web". I LOVE my laptop, tablet & cell phone, however, I still use an old fashioned daytimer for writing down appointments & important notes. As someone else noted (no pun intended), I'm more prone to remember stuff when I write it by hand. I also like how it's easier to see my week/month at a glance when I have to schedule the kids' various appointments and activities while also balancing school, my husband's work schedule and my two work schedules. I make a point of writing legibly so anyone can read my writing. Likewise, I try to make sure my posts online have as few errors as possible. Why? Because they are reflections on/of me.



I'd no more leave my house half-dressed with my hair all over the place and cold cream on my face (okay, that's a stereotype, but I'm trying to make a point) than I would want something that could be traced back to me posted out there half-assed. IMHO if I'm going to take the time to post, then I do my best to take the time to post it where my past English teachers would be proud I was their student & took their lessons to heart.



Well, and maybe my OCD would give me a bigger headache if I didn't. ;)

Danielle - posted on 04/07/2012

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Spellcheck doesn't teach a person how to use correct grammar. Just look at all the posts here where individuals use "their" when it should be "they're" or "there" and vice versa. Then there are those who think you need to add an apostrophe to a word to make it plural when apostrophes are for conjunctions & some possessives. I actually cannot read the posts/comments when people use "no" for "know". This is stuff that should've been learned in elementary school so wth aren't people using simple language skills?!? And with more and more people using these writing "styles", more and more fall into the same bad habits and our society continues becoming increasingly dumbed down.



As for a minor having an iPad or laptop to use at school, I would be worried about them breaking it &/or it being stolen. I'm all for bringing back handwriting classes/subjects and grades in school and EVERY teacher holding EVERY student responsible for learning to use their minds & their hands to learn, perfect & use correct grammar and correct spelling. My son's school counselor was taken aback when I told her that I really wished the school would hold him back a grade if he didn't get Cs and better on his report card. She told me how a recent study determined that children who were held back were more likely to drop out of school than complete their high school degree and thus the district supported social promotion with the assumption the kid would catch up with his/her peers while continuing thru the grades. Again wth?!? No, if you continue to promote a kid along with peers when he/she doesn't know the material, you're basically telling that child that it doesn't matter that he/she isn't applying him/herself to the studies. How is that helping the child get ready for the real world?



My mom has taught college grads for most of her career. She said the university wants her to pass more students because failing them discourages them & then they're more likely to drop out before getting their degree, and thus the school loses money. Even my ex would give his students Ds instead of deserved Fs while teaching freshman comp in community college when they shouldn't even have graduated from jr high. Why? Because his management said they needed to encourage the students to continue with their studies. If the students aren't learning, what's the point of continuing with the studies? When you have all these companies out there that won't consider anyone without a degree even when those with the degree don't know squat due to the overwhelming support of social promotion, it's insult to injury for those of us without the degrees who have decades of work experience & can prove we have the knowledge to complete the job.



Sorry. This is a major pet peeve of mine. I don't believe I'd mind the degree requirement so much if I hadn't personally encountered so many who shouldn't have even graduated from high school.

Jodi - posted on 04/06/2012

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OK, well, our class sizes aren't that big, so I guess I see it differently. It is quite possible to get all students participating in class. I've done it, even with a student with Aspergers, but you are right, it is smaller classes.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/06/2012

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Shawnn---I would BEG their teachers to hold them accountable for not finishing work, or having illegible work, and they refused, saying it would damage a child's self esteem. WHAT??? Not teaching them to follow thru with a project, and then expecting them to be successful at life is what I believe to be damaging!



I agree with you.



Yep, this is a big problem with some teachers. Which is why, I make my daughter bring all of her assignments home. I check if they are legible and if they are not, she gets to do them over again. If she forgets to bring them home, I get the assignment from the teacher(s) and make her start all over again.



Yeah, some may think I am a bitch but I don't care. I am making sure my child is learning as she should and that people can actually read her work. ;) Maybe this is why she has ALWAYS been an A/B student. She has never ever gotten anything less than a C. She also learns how important it is to put effort into your own work. I mean, who wants to look like a duffus? lol



It is important, as you also knew, to supplement their learning at home. Schools are a great thing and very much required but we as parents need to add a little extra to those area's our kids need. Glad you did that. I know how it can be a fight but it is so worth it in the end, eh'? ;)

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/06/2012

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Jodi, I so agree with you! I have 2 wonderfully intelligent young men, and I see them struggle with critical thinking skills. Both were diagnosed by the school system as having "Graphic output disorder", which was explained as a difficulty translating their ideas to paper.



I asked when I'd been consulted about the testing, because I'd never received any type of consent form, or even notification. The district told me that they "saw that my eldest struggled with writing assignments". Really? Ya think? Maybe it's because he was never assigned a writing assignment until age 10! And it's a good possibility that he has trouble completing homework because the TEACHERS have never required him to!



I would BEG their teachers to hold them accountable for not finishing work, or having illegible work, and they refused, saying it would damage a child's self esteem. WHAT??? Not teaching them to follow thru with a project, and then expecting them to be successful at life is what I believe to be damaging!



Needless to say, I didn't pull them out to homeschool them, but I supplemented their education with manual skills at home. They at least can complete an Algebra problem using the proper order of operations, but it took a lot of fighting on my part.



UGH! LOL

Jodi - posted on 04/05/2012

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I meant it would be obvious in her understanding in class whether she understood the stuff she was writing about or not. A teacher who knows her students would know whether that student was truly understanding the content of the class (and therefore the assignment) or not. A C level student is not going to hand in an A assignment and not have the teacher questioning that. That's where I was going. It's not JUST about the content of the assignment. That student would also be showing evidence in class of depth of knowledge.

Jodi - posted on 04/05/2012

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"My daughter can pull out a full report in the matter of an hour or two, just by going to various sites and slightly changing the material to her own words. Is she truly learning that way? I bet you, if I asked her a year later what she had researched, she would remember less than half of the projects, in good detail, let alone what the topic was even about. "



Believe me, if this is a teacher assessable task, the teacher would be able to tell whether she understood the topic, or had just copied and changed a bunch of stuff. If that's what she is truly doing, then it would be pretty obvious.



The idea that teachers will become redundant is also ludicrous, because regardless of what is available online, teachers are still necessary. I think you should view online learning as an ENHANCEMENT to traditional teaching and learning rather than a REPLACEMENT of it (which seems to be the view that you are holding). In fact, with the ability to use online resources, teachers have been better able to cater to various learning styles than they ever have before.

Michele - posted on 04/05/2012

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Oh and there are online schools that use technology and remote access for learning. See k12.com

Michele - posted on 04/05/2012

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Hot topic in our town right now. I believe in balancing technology and written work, as many of you have said. My youngest son, however, is in a Waldorf methods charter school and media and technology is extremely limited. They don't even use textbooks, but kids create their own books throughout the year. It is interesting to see. I do know that most of these students (k-8) have access to media/technology at home, though. The school asks that they not use it at home during the week, though. Many of these children go on to a high school that is very technology oriented.



For myself, I find that writing things by hand enables me to remember better. I took notes in high school/college and the process of writing was the first part of studying. Now, if I write something in my calendar or to do list, I remember more about what to do. If I type it into my Outlook calendar, not so much. But my daughter uses her cell phone to put in school assignments (she is a freshman in high school). To each his own...

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/05/2012

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Amy---I guess I don't see how you are making the jump from computers in the classroom to not needing teachers.



Well, for instance, anything and everything we learn here at my place of work, is done via online learning. They have course-ware created for ALL courses a person would ever need to learn, that pertains to their role.



So, in essence, out of 35 000 employee's (we are a Global firm) not one of these employee's require a classroom based teaching. There are over 10 000 courses available within our "Company University Online Learning" portfolio. So, yes, it could very well occur, that children, would/will eventually hit the exact same type of learning experience. There are mentor's available via online learning, however, they are not a physical entity.



I will add that, these online courses can be anything from boring as hell to exciting. It all depends on who wrote them. Our education systems (where I live) are rather cheap, I would have to say they'd be closer to boring. I of course, cannot assure this, it is just a belief of how it would go.



If the computer age forced it's way to completely engulf our children's way of learning, it would be more difficult, even for the parent's that do "pay attention" to know what their kids are learning, as they would not have a physical entity to meet with and converse with.



Rebecca 3---It's important for kids to learn with the tools that are their generation's tools, otherwise they will be left behind. However, making the last generation's tools obsolete would rob some students of some great options.



Absolutely!

Mrs. - posted on 04/05/2012

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You know, the internet didn't really hit until I was in college and then it was super slow, not all that accessible. Afterwards, everything I ever wrote was on the computer, outside of small notes, lists and cards. It wasn't until I went back to school for a writing course that I had a teacher encourage us to handwrite our first drafts and see if it helped develop our skills. The first time I did it, it was a bit of a revelation. I felt more creative and it made me feel open to write sentences that were a bit more messy and loose without fear of the mighty spellcheck looming over me. I had also forgot that when a word processor was first introduced, or even with an electric typewriter (I'm really aging myself, but that is how I learned how to type..you know on a typewriter), I hated composing on it. I found it very anti-creative.



Now, I'm going back to handwriting everything first and then doing a nice edit between paper and screen. It has helped me get back to basics and remember the value of just sitting in a room with a pen and paper.



Obviously, not everyone processes like me, but many do. That's why I think it is important to still teach students how to handwrite and compose the old fashioned way. They should also be able to do it on the computer, but to eliminate handwriting all together would cut off the people like me, who might have more success without looking on a screen.



It's important for kids to learn with the tools that are their generation's tools, otherwise they will be left behind. However, making the last generation's tools obsolete would rob some students of some great options.

Amy - posted on 04/05/2012

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I guess I don't see how you are making the jump from computers in the classroom to not needing teachers. Computers can't teach everything and people still need to learn to interact with people. You are right not all parents contribute but if a parent contributes now they will still contribute when kids are using a lap top.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/05/2012

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I agree about some kids having bad writing. My daughter is one of them, which is why I believe in her typing everything that is being produced for a final mark.



I too, when in College was in front of a computer the entire time, of 4 years.



I agree, it is the way the teaching era is headed. I don't think this is a bad thing at all, I just don't think it should be the only way.



I can also say, that for my daughter, of whom is very distracted, when she is researching a topic, she often gets side lost and ends up doing something completely different. I have to monitor that she is staying on task and is not fiddling with "music", "games", "pictures", "email", "social networking" and the such. However, within a school, most of these things (not all) can be blocked.



However, if we believe that everything should be on a computer, the time will come when, a teacher will not be required. A school, will not be required. Everything will be taught via online learning. This may be in a structured setting, within a building but, does not necessarily mean anyone will be teaching anything in a tangible way. Which, IMO, is not something I really want to see. Not all parents contribute to their children's schooling now, I could see a lot of children being left behind, simply because the parents are not able to stay on top of what the children are learning or they are less willing to.



There really needs to be a line of when it is appropriate and when it is not. IMO.

Amy - posted on 04/05/2012

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When I went to college 13 years ago I went to one of those cutting edge schools where we were required to purchase a lap top and use it in the classroom to take notes. I type faster then I write so I actually had notes that had more information and I never had to question what I wrote because typing on a computer is always legible.



I agree that kids need to learn to write and spell but I don't think a computer is necessarily going to stop it, afterall they have to be able to select the correct word. They'll also have to proofread because sometimes you may mistype but because the word isn't spelled wrong it's not going to show up. I would have no problem with computers being in my sons classroom, it's where we are heading and I do think he'll be at a disadvantage if it catches on at schools and his doesn't find a way to incorporate it.



I would also add some kids just are bad spellers and have poor handwriting, I don't think they should forever be at a disadvantage when there is technology out that may actually help them excel at school and get them interested.

Janice - posted on 04/05/2012

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I didnt see Jodi's post before I posted. I 100% agree that computers are necessary in every classroom.

I just fail to see the necessity in each child having a laptop or ipad.

Jodi - posted on 04/05/2012

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Actually, I personally think it creates extra work to do drafts in handwriting, but that's me. I have noticed that at school, they are often requested to submit a draft at midway level into the assignment, just so there can be some assessment of how they are doing and where they may need some ongoing assistance and additional direction (which I think is fantastic - we never had those opportunities when I was at school). I can't see any problem submitting these as typed drafts and revising them on the screen.



It takes different skills to be able to read and review online than it does to read and review on paper, and our children are far more adept at reading online (and I think you will find that if they are not, they may become disadvantaged in college - I can tell you now, 80% of my reading material is online as PDF or HTML documents). I think we are unnecesarily concerned.



Yes, they do still need to be able to write neatly, but it is becoming less necessary for them to use this skill. Eventually, even tests will be done on a computer of some sort, and I suspect such initiatives aren't generations into the future, but well and truly in our lifetimes. Handwriting will eventually become an exception rather than the rule, and while I am struggling with this, I do understand that this is where the world is probably headed. We will always need our handwriting, but its purpose will change.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/05/2012

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Actually Jodi, I agree with absolutely everything you said. I believe computers are a very vital part of our children's learning experience and of our own.



I just do not agree it is an end all, be all, tool. They still need to know how to use a pen and paper, as well as, how to spell without continuous help.



With that said, they definitely have their place, as I did say in my portion of my OP. I am on a computer all day long, it is not necessarily a good thing. It is terrible for your body and eyes.



I agree they should have access for all their "good" copy projects, as well as, the use to research what they are expected to learn for that project.



My daughter uses the computer at home for all of her school work but I do make sure she does her drafts on paper. She still needs to know how to do this as well.



We have been lucky thus far, that there has not been a major internet hiccup, however, it does not mean there never will be. We all need to know how to live without, too, for a period of time.



While I completely believe in our technology today and promote the use of computers and the internet, I believe a computer has it's time and place. It should not be used all day long, as being suggested in my OP. It should be available but not the "only" go to form of learning.

Janice - posted on 04/05/2012

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Grade school children using computers all day long seems a bit excessive to me. There needs to be a balance.



What is most distressing to me is that there are districts who can afford ipads for each student while the poorer district "next door" cant even afford to keep the art and music teacher employed. As someone who lives where school funds have been cut 3 years in row in almost every district with in 20 miles, this really emphasizes the inequality in US schools.

Jodi - posted on 04/05/2012

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Well, I am currently doing my Post Grad in teaching and am actually now in the classrooms, and while I may have agreed with you prior to entering this course, I actually have reviewed my position on this issue and now must disagree.



Before I go into too much, please allow me to add that 95% of children in our city have access to computers and the internet in their homes (so I live in an area where there is fairly high socio-economic status), and the schools have fairly reasonable computer and internet access.



We have to remember that this is the computer age. In education they are discussing the fact that we have entered what is called the "Digital Revolution". The previous revolution with such significant cause for change in the history of education was the Industrial Revolution model, which, at the time, was suitable for the demand from business. Now, the demand is different. The changes that are taking place in the world, and the new needs of business are demanding a different type of education, and digital literacy has been added to the literacy skills considered important (alongside traditional literacy and numeracy).



The fact is, the kids are out there using this technology and it ENGAGES them. The only way to teach a child and expect them to learn is to ensure you engage them. You can combine lessons with traditional materials (text books and worksheets) with more stimulating materials (downloading relevant YouTube videos, linking in to educational sites with activities and tests), or even request kids make podcasts or vodcasts as their assignment submission. As teachers, we can also make podcasts to teach the kids. Heck, they walk around with those iPods all day anyway, why not give them an option to learn that way too, if that's how they learn best?



Should computers be the ONLY way? No. But they have their uses.



As an example. I was team teaching a class with my mentor teacher the other day and we were discussing philosophies of community service organisations. One of the activities was for the students to go onto the computers (som rooms have computers, some you have to reserve the school netbooks) and find a community service organisation and locate their mission statement, then determine what it meant. The kids really responded.



I could go on. But I won't because it is late and I've had a long day.



So no, I don't have an issue with computers being used in education. I believe that the on;y way to engage children these days is to use a variety of techniques. That is not saying they should be on computers all day (which they aren't), but that it should be included, where relevant and of value. Yes, it can VERY much add value to a well planned lesson.

Tracey - posted on 04/05/2012

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My daughter is so severely dyslexic that she has to use a computer for all her written school work as her handwriting is illegible. She doesn't use it when it is not needed and does research etc in the library using books.

Barb - posted on 04/04/2012

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I am not a teacher, but I am a parent who has raised 3 kids to adulthood over the past 20 years of various technologies.



I believe it is absolutely essential for a child to learn the technology there is today because by the time they get into the workforce, it will be obsolete and they will need at least the basics to work with whatever they will be using. I think they should get as much as they can possibly get . And if they find they wrong things while searching, well then, they will learn how to do better searches.



One thing that keeps sticking in my head.. SEVEN BILLION. People on this earth, am I giving my children what they need to survive when I'm gone? Am I helping them have an edge on the competition?

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