It’s a known fact that our generation is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. Let’s be very real – we probably wouldn’t even know where to start if we were forced to live without it. But let’s switch that around: what if we were forced to live with it? That’s what the UK has decided is a good idea.
Of course, technology is essential to our education now as college students, and has played a big role all the way through middle and high school. It was neverforced, but it was always present. We were usually given an alternative should we not have the equipment to fulfill an assignment (such as, in lecture, being able to text our answers instead of using a laptop, although I realize this is still using technology). However, the UK seems to disapprove of this manner of teaching. The Europeans are now moving to incorporate technology into all education levels to a degree where every single student uses some form of laptop, or other high-end devices. New grants and scholarships are being created to promote every child possessing some electronic that the school deems necessary, and, among many other things, new programs are being developed to ensure that every home has internet access – since, according to one manager of these new investments, “The worst thing you can do is give a child a computer without access to the internet.” Additionally, 98% of teachers who responded to a survey voted that technology is critical to preparing students for the workforce.
The UK plans to move from what they consider “19th-century teaching” to a new era in which technology forms the basis of education.
Although this might come with a few perks, these new plans have simply gone much, much too far. Already, kindergarden students have been added into the equation, having been given a new software for story telling activities to try out, and offered what I’m assuming were very illiterate suggestions about it to scientists via Skype. Skype. Since apparently these researchers couldn’t just walk to the class by themselves. Not only this, but systems such as Wii and GPS devices may find themselves as new additions into the classroom as well.
My first question is: what?
My second is: why?
I can already feel the ghost of Socrates flying over to Europe right now in an angry rage.
Don’t you think? Socrates believed in such a different form of teaching – learning about life, about yourself, about right and wrong, good and bad. But education has moved so far from that, to being focused on what can make a student succeed in a business world the fastest. Never would Socrates have considered a system, where a day of education as a sixth grader meant spending it creating your own video game, as a system of learning. To me, this quote from one professor says it all: “Turned off devices equals turns off students.” Oh no, not turned off minds, turned off discussions, turned off teachers… nope. Turned off cell phones and laptops. Sadly, students have already lost the meaning of what an education is. But with attitudes like this of the people who are supposed to be leading their education, it’s easy to see why.
On a side note, Socrates also believed that experts are best suited to be teaching students……So who remembers that one 80 year old teacher who could engage in one of the hottest discussions about the battle of morals during the Cold War, but who spent the first half an hour of class figuring out how to run his slideshow?
Forcing students to interact with this new equipment will force teachers to do so as well, which strays much beyond what their purpose is.
So what do you guys think? Is this a good move to incorporate what is already such a large part of our lives, into our school systems as well? Or is it a bad thing that “teach” has turned from “teach the students to think” to “teach the students to use a laptop”?