Computers impact academic performance

The use of computers in education has been debated since personal computers arrived. Apple did a wonderful job by dominating the classroom with superb software. In one of the best analysis I have seen to date, Lowell Monke observes students who frequently use computers perform more poorly academically than those who use them rarely or not at all. More recent research, including a University of Munich study of 174,000 students in thirty-one countries, indicates that students who frequently use computers perform worse academically than those who use them rarely or not at all.

Educational computing is neither a revolution nor a passing fad, but a Faustian bargain. Children gain unprecedented power to control their external world, but at the cost of internal growth. During the two decades that Monke taught young people with and about digital technology, he came to realize that the power of computers can lead children into deadened, alienated, and manipulative relationships with the world, that children’s increasingly pervasive use of computers jeopardizes their ability to belong fully to human and biological communities—ultimately jeopardizing the communities themselves.

The connected computer has amplified our youths ability to virtually ” go anywhere, at any time” it has eroded their sense of belonging anywhere.

Internal moral and ethical development must preced the acquisition of power – political, economic, or technical – if it is to be employed responsibly.

At the heart of a child’s relationship with technology is a paradox—that the more external power children have at their disposal, the more difficult it will be for them to develop the inner capacities to use that power wisely. Once educators, parents, and policymakers understand this phenomenon, perhaps education will begin to emphasize the development of human beings living in community, and not just technical virtuosity. I am convinced that this will necessarily involve unplugging the learning environment long enough to encourage children to discover who they are and what kind of world they must live in. That, in turn, will allow them to participate more wisely in using external tools to shape, and at times leave unshaped, the world in which we all must live. read full article >>>

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