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Are computers assets or liabilities to Learning?

13 Apr

I recall clerking several governing boards at the turn of the nougties (around 2010) when Interactive White Boards (IWBs) became the rage in many schools and academies.   The IWB craze was followed by one for laptops and Ipads.  Headteachers professed to their governors and swore by their holy books that this was the future of learning and persuaded them to release chunks of their institutions’ budgets to purchase all things technologically new on the market.  Many governors complied.  How could they do anything else, given that they were the lay people and their headteachers the professionals?

As we enter the third decade of this century, we are discovering that computers are not what so many thought them to be.  Rather, like fire, water, money and (yes) even food, computers can be used for good – and bad.  Under control, they can be a force for extensive learning.  Out of control – they can destroy young people’s lives.

More recently, researchers have discovered that computers do not necessarily enhance learning.   Readers who know me could well be justified in recognising a Luddite. They would be partly right in doing so.   I need my son and daughter to help navigate the intricacies of the digital age – the PC, laptop and mobile phone especially – and have the patience of Job so do so.

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