Nowadays every school has to have computers. I don't refer to legal requirementbut to perception. Schools are judged on how many computers they have. It would be more to the point if they were judged on their computer-savvy.
I'm a fan of computers; my computer is a vital part of my work. I believe computer literacy is as important for our children to acquire as any other "basic skill". But I'm not a fan of the wholesale introduction of computers into our schools, particularly the junior ones. How many computers a school has is not the issue - the issue is, how do they use them?
In many cases, the answer is: poorly.
The reasons are simple enough. Foremost, the teachers have insufficient training and experience with computers. Relatedly, computers are not yet an integrated part of the school curriculum, and every school and teacher re-invents the wheel, trying to find good software, trying to work out how to fit it into the classroom curriculum, trying to work out schedules to make sure every student gets a fair go, struggling with the lack of technical support. And of course, in many cases (perhaps most), the computers are old, with the associated problems of being more likely to have technical problems, being slow, limited in memory, incompatible with current software, and so on.
The most important problems schools have with computers:
- lack of financial resources (to buy enough computers, up-to-date computers, enough printers and other peripherals, licenses for good software, technical support)
- the inability of teachers to know how to use the computers effectively
- difficulty in integrating computers into the school / classroom curriculum (problems of use, of scheduling, of time)
Using computers effectively is much more than simply being able to type an essay or produce a graph. Parents and educators who deplore the obsession with computers in schools see computers as eroding children's basic skills and knowledge, because they only see computers being used as copy-and-paste and making-it-pretty devices. But computers have potential far beyond that.
Computers can be used to help:
- extend the scope of searches
- retrieve precisely targeted data with greater speed and accuracy
- increase the amount of data held ready for use
- sift relevant data from irrelevant
- turn data into information
The true value of a computer isn't seen until the user can use it not only as a presentation tool (for making work attractive), and as a productivity tool (for producing work more quickly, effectively, thoroughly), but also as a cognitive tool.
Using computers as cognitive tools
A cognitive tool helps you think.
Many people thought computers would revolutionize education by providing individual instruction in the form of tutorials. In particular, as a means of drilling students. Drilling can be helpful to overlearn a skill to achieve automaticity, but it doesn’t help transfer to meaningful problems. That is, you can learn a skill, you can rote-learn facts, but drilling doesn't help meaningful learning - it doesn't teach understanding.
Although computer tutorials have become somewhat more sophisticated, they still only present a single interpretation of the world - they don’t allow students to find their own meaning. They don't teach students to reflect on and analyze their own performance.
“I do not believe that students learn from computers or teachers — which has been a traditional assumption of most schooling. Rather, students learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities, which can be fostered by computers or teachers.” (Jonassen, p4)
So, the computer itself isn't the issue - the issue, as always, is what you do with it. For example, when the Web is simply used as a source of material that can be downloaded and pasted without thought, then no, it is not of value. But when the learner searches the Web, evaluates the information, finds the gold in the dross, uses that to construct a knowledge base, to develop meaning, then yes, it is a valuable resource.
Computers can support meaningful learning by
- reducing time spent on mechanical tasks such as rewriting, producing graphs, etc
- helping find information
- helping organize information
- making it easier to share information and ideas with others
Related articles/sites on the Web:
A recent news articles on the subject of compulsory laptops at a Seattle school
New York Times articles about computers in education: Technology critic takes on computers in schools ; Making the most of the Internet's potential for education
An Atlantic monthly column: The computer delusion
A Boston Globe column about computers for young children: Computers, software can harm emotional, social development
An importance of the internet as a learning tool is significant. The development of Internet technologies has raised the education level in all countries and it has changed the way students are being taught at schools. That’s why it is very important for the present generation that they provide internet education for their young generations.
Internet applications respond to students and other people questions in real time. Students are seeing Google as a new Teacher and the Internet as a school. That’s why it is important for teachers to use information technology in education
The Internet has been crucial in the evolution of our education system in various ways. Teachers can use the internet as a modern tool for education. Education department should provide the infrastructure that teachers and student can use to get benefits of technology in education
Students are always curious and creative by nature. They are smart enough to know how they can use the internet to search for almost anything. It doesn’t matter if they are studying at a private school or government school. But at the same time, there is a difference in the ways they use the internet for education in schools. In private schools, teachers will teach about computer and internet skills to students. The students note the homework that needs to be done related to that computer class. And do you know how some students do this? They are forced to go to a cyber café with their parents to collect data that they have to include in their assignments. This is not good. If students are taking the help of cyber boy to collect the data for their homework I don’t think these students learned anything in this process. But the one thing they do learn is that money can work wonders anywhere.
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The teaching process that schools are following is not good and they need to use the internet as a tool, not the source. The source is a student. Teachers need to explore the creativity in their student’s minds. And then students can learn and solve problems using their own creativity and innovative thinking and not by the direct work of parents/tuition. If necessary the parents can help with encouragement but they should not do the homework themselves. Completing the assignment given is not as important as the learning process that a child goes through while doing it. It is essential for parents to provide computer and internet facilities to their children. It is not that easy for parents to pick up modern technologies as fast as their children but it is very important that parents also know about the importance of computers literacy and internet education.
In government school especially in India, the level of computer and internet infrastructure is very low. I know government school or school in villages provide computer education only after 9th or 10th class. Within that little time too, a government school student barely gets to learn much because there are 5-10 students who are assigned a single computer. It is very difficult to learn this way. I agree that this is the best time to teach them about the advanced computer skills but this is not the way to do it. The lack of Information technology infrastructure in schools is a big question mark against Government policies towards computer education. It feels bad to see on the news that computer teachers are on strike again. This happens once a year. The government must think, how computer teachers can teach with low-quality IT infrastructure in government schools and a small salary?
Related: Importance of teachers in our life
According to the Hindu.com news, Government school teachers are getting average Rs. 6,500 per month instead of Rs. 10,000 prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). Here is the news from Odisha
This is happening in other states too because states don’t have their own IT infrastructure and they are providing computer education by utilizing the services of private companies. This is a big political game played by politicians and industrialists who are interested in making money by misusing the education system in the country. And the victims are students and teachers. How can a teacher teach without tools? How can teacher/students learn and practice? And that’s why parents are right if they admit their kids in private schools. This whole scenario looks like a game played by politicians and industrialist for their personal interests at the cost of children’s internet education in schools. The fees in these private schools are very high but the parents have no other options if they want their children to learn about the importance of the internet in education at schools.
I was the victim of these kinds of policies in my school times. I was in the 9th class at that time when I started learning about computers in senior secondary school Darlaghat. I feel proud that I got my fundamental education in that school from great teachers. But do you know that I used the computer only 2 times in a year? One time was for typing (asdf;lkj) and the second time was to play spider solitaire cards game on a windows XP computer. I always thought that the computer teacher was responsible for what happened to me and other students in regard to computer and internet education. But later I understood that it wasn’t the computer teacher’s fault, it was because of our policy makers in India responsible for the education system. That was the year 2002 and today 12 years have passed but the level of computer education is still low in most of the schools in India.
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But I saw the brighter and positive side recently when a few days ago I asked my little cousin who is in 7th class in the Government school in a village (Chhamla) in Himachal Pradesh; what are you doing in mobile? He said, “I am downloading games”. It’s amazing to listen. He hasn’t studied computers and the internet in school yet but he was downloading games like a pro. The similar task is done by 70% of kids after 2 years of age. This is the power we need to understand. There is immense hidden potential and creativity in the youngest generation today. They are born with an intuitive attraction for technology. They learn fast but are we giving them the best learning environment? Politicians often use famous quotes or marketing lines such as: “Students & Children are the future of India” but how? Where? In strikes, writing and producing anti-national slogans inspired by politicians? I hate such people who are misguiding the youth in the wrong direction; even students don’t know what they are doing because they are at a tender age.
There are thousands ofthings you can do on the internet. Education should be the prime purpose I believe. Knowledge is everywhere and the internet provides us the facilities so that we can access what was not possible in the past at the click of a button today. That’s why it is important to use the power of the internet in education to improve the talents of students.
Uses of Internet in Education
- Students can search what they want to learn about by the use of Google or other search engines like Bing, Yahoo etc.
- Students can learn and take online classes anytime and anywhere.
- Notes and researched paper all are available on the internet and just a click away.
- Students can get tuition online and they can watch Videos on YouTube related to mathematics, English language, physics or any other information about any topic related to their school homework.
- Teachers can use social media to connect with students and share motivational quotes as well as subject related articles and notes.
- Teachers can teach by the use of animation, powerpoint slides, and images to capture the student’s attention.
- Teachers can record their own lectures or topics on camera and upload them to YouTube.
- Parents can also see what their student’s teachers are doing on Facebook.
- Parents can also help children by watching the same topic on the internet. They also can learn on the internet for their personal development so that later they can contribute to their kid’s education. Here is more about it:What is the importance of computers in our parent’s life?
- Parents can interact, communicate or chat with teachers and school authorities about their kid’s performance and attitude in school.
- School principals, teachers can create Facebook Groups to teach students. Here is more about it: How to use Facebook for Knowledge
- Students can post topic and can ask questions about their topic on the Internet to get advice from other teachers and others who are willing to teach.
- Students can connect with other school students for the same topic by the use of the internet.
The Internet in education can play thousands of practical roles to improve talent in kids. But this is only possible if we are going to teach our students what they really need. You can’t explain an algebra lesson on Facebook but you can interact with students about the topic. And government should pay some money for teachers to use social media.
Related: Importance of Internet Safety
The Internet in education can expand the knowledge of students, teachers, and parents. Parents can analyze what is most important to teach a kid in a particular time. Parents can research about the best career for their kids. Teachers can research for creative ideas to teach students in entertaining ways that capture the student’s attention and imagination. Students can use the internet to convert their theoretical knowledge into practical. The Internet provides the facilities for students to do the experiments, research, and development.
We are aware that all of this is not that easy. But learning and proper planning can help to speed up and improve the quality of our Indian Education System. Courses and syllabus need to be updated by seeing the demand for skills in Internet technology.
The Internet is a computer technology connected with millions of computers. It is like an artificial intelligence so it means we have to teach students and people how to use it. The Internet is full of advantages but there are disadvantages too that we need to teach and those need to be analyzed by the governments at the state and center level.
The Internet has changed our living style in a big way. The Internet has changed our daily activities. The Internet is challenging us in every second. And it is because we all are connected with Artificial Intelligence. But it is important that artificial intelligence cannot dominate human and environmental development. Artificial Intelligence will never control this world, we should have the controls and education to operate artificial intelligence. Education is important for human development so the use of internet in the education system can help us explore and gain knowledge to create opportunities for teachers, students and for parents alike.
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