Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The "dangers" of electronics in school, really?

picture by woodleywonderworks
I came across this article titled "Dulling ourselves with Back-Lighted Displays." The writer seems worried about the electronics/computers/interactive whiteboards used in schools today. He infers that the "pipeline" of learning maybe be tainting the actual learning. I think he brings up some good points, but I first have to ask him if he's tried teaching today? Many people who aren't in education tend to long for the good old days when they were kids. But times have changed. We don't have the same kids who will sit quietly for 30 minutes while a teacher "lectures." We don't have kids who will sit for 10 minutes while the teacher erases the chalkboard. We have different kids, who live in a different, fast paced environment. I don't think it's better or worse, but it's different and we have to adapt.

Dulling Ourselves With Back-Lighted Displays - FoxNews.com via kwout

He says that in previous generations, students had to bring themselves to the learning process physically and mentally, while today the just merely enter words in a search box, which isn't the same thing at all. I agree with that. And he might want to go into some classrooms before assuming that's what actually goes on, though. Yes, of course, many kids do use Google for a lot of research and learning. But involved librarians are working on moving kids to the next level of research through information literacy. We're doing our darnedest to teach kids how to evaluate websites and how to use databases effectively. We're also integrating research processes like the Big 6 into the curriculum. Many librarians are doing a wonderful job with this. 

I'm not sure what point he was making by bringing up the quote by John Naisbitt, "We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge." But I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have so much knowledge at our fingertips. I do think it solidifies the need for information specialists, like school librarians, to throw life rafts to our children or better yet, equip them with speedboats to navigate these information waters in the most efficient ways possible.

What are your thoughts on the article? Are our children in danger?