Yet another thing to blame on Bill Gates:
It's never been easier for kids to get their fingertips on a keyboard or to cruise cyberspace. Statistics Canada reports three out of four households with school-aged children regularly access the Internet, and a growing number of users are turning to high-speed connections. Our schools now have about a million computers, 93 per cent of which are online...
Yet [...] the evidence is mounting that our obsessive use of information technology is dumbing us down, adults as well as kids. While they can be engaging and resourceful tools for learning -- if used in moderation -- computers and the Internet can also distract kids from homework, encourage superficial and uncritical thinking, replace face-to-face interaction between students and teachers, and lead to compulsive behaviour.
Anyone want to volunteer to email this article to Jackie Goldberg?
I've always thought that access to computers and the web, in and of itself, doesn't improve education. Sure, some math and stat stuff becomes more fun, and online research is often easier on the feet and the eyes. Basic computer usage can also be considered a part of literacy in this technological age. But kids who aren't motivated and don't have the basic skills aren't going to magically become geniuses just because their teacher puts everything online.
University of Munich economists Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Woessmann analyzed the results of the OECD's PISA international standardized tests. Not only did they tap into a massive subject pool -- 174,000 15-year-olds in reading, 97,000 each in math and science from 31 countries (including Canada) -- but they were also able, because participants filled out extensively detailed surveys, to control for other possible outside influences, something remarkably few studies do. Their results, which are only now starting to make waves among pedagogy experts, confirm what many parents have long intuited: the sheer ubiquity of information technology is getting in the way of learning. Once household income and the wealth of a school's resources are taken out of the equation, teens with the greatest access to computers and the Internet at home and school earn the lowest test scores.
This suggests teens are perfectly willing to use the Internet as an alternative to TV, with much the same educational results.Posted by kswygert at June 6, 2005 12:34 PM