Friday 7 December 2012

Computers - friends or foes?

Recently I attended an award ceremony for the best teacher blogs 2012 organized in Latvia.
Yes, my blog was chosen as one of the best (so far, I'd like to add, because I am sure a new wave of talented and insightful bloggers will appear in no time).
While the recognition of my work was gratifying and inspiring, the discussions which followed the event made me think about the fragile reputation of technologies and computers, in particular.

It seems there are still lots of teachers who would gladly ban computers from students' lives blaming the machines solely for the kids' deteriorating physical bodies.

I get irrationally defensive when I hear vehement assertions that computers are to be blamed for the generation of weak, unfit children and their inability to perform well in sport or other physical activities. It reminds me of another popular culprit - PowerPoint, which is held responsible for all unsuccessful, unprofessional, boring presentations.

While I admit that computers can have a negative effect on two things - handwriting and eyesight, I can not get rid of the feeling that we would like to make computers account for physical laziness, inert lifestyle, too much eating, too few walks, parental neglect, lack of interests.

We forget to acknowledge that the use of computers develops young people's brain, their ability to cope with unexpected situations, their decision making skills, their reaction rate, their dexterity after all.

I don't even dare to hope that the time will come when schools here will approve of the flipped classroom method in teaching. That would be one straw too many...

I'd really like to hear your opinion. You can write in Latvian as well.


Lāsma Ulmane-Ozoliņa said...

Baiba, I am so agree with your post. I am working with teachers to try to change their opinion about IT usage in classrooms. And there are so many who declaim IT (as you wrote).
But as I always say - if you as a teacher do not show how to use IT in meaningful way for learning, children will use it for fun and maybe never will find the power of IT in learning.
But we can't and shoudn't escape of its power.

Baiba said...

Hi Lāsma, thanks for writing your opinion, it's important to me that someone else thinks the same way as I.
My strongest belief is that kids need guidance, not bans! Computers mustn't be a taboo but the source of new skills and knowledge.