Education And Technology
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Education And Technology

Schools can never be replaced.

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Education And Technology

Introductory Note: Neil Postman was a professor at New York University. Many of his writings warn about what he saw as the problems created by uncritical reliance on technological media like television and computers in the education of young children. The following article is based on one of his readings and my reaction.

Computer technology provides vast amounts of information to everyone who has internet connection and a computer or smartphone. With unlimited information available to us so readily, the benefits are numerous. Education is one such field that benefits from computer technology, but educators, such as Neil Postman, are skeptical about it, and for good reason.

We should be skeptical about the use of technology in education for various reasons. In an ideal world, children would use technology for educational purposes first and then recreational purposes. Dr. Diane Ravitch, former Secretary Of Education, envisions a world where children study math when they’re unable to sleep at night. As beautiful (for the math nerds out there) as this scenario seems to be, the chances of this actually happening are as good as winning the lottery (one in 175 million).

In reality, the child would put on a movie or TV show to watch or listen to music (yes, even the math nerds would) rather than learn about fractions or memorize the multiplication table. In the field of education, computer technology is more of a distraction than a resource, especially to the younger kids.

Apart from being a distraction, computer technologies also fail at imparting values. Time spent at school teaches us more than just what is written inside the covers of a book. “Sharing is caring” is a phrase we’re all too familiar with. Attending school ensures that young children pick up good values from a very young age. Learning among peers is so much more beneficial as compared to learning at home on a computer. Communication, teamwork, time management, and multiple other skills develop with time in school. Schools do more than just impart knowledge. The extracurricular aspect of education can never be met by computer technology. Computer technologies aren’t revolutionizing education; they’re revolutionizing how information is shared.

I share Postman’s views on the ability of computer technology to revolutionize education. Growing up with friends in school contributed a lot to making me who I am today. Growing up with like-minded people, playing sports together, and commuting together in the bus may not seem like significant events at first, but they go a long way in shaping children. While computers present a plethora of websites to learn from, they don’t provide hands-on experiences that allow for better memory retention and easier learning.

Computers are a valuable resource and their uses are limitless, but even as a college student, I find it difficult to restrain myself from listening to music or watching a TV show ("Friends," obviously) while studying (math; math nerd myself). Like me, millions of other students do the same. Expecting younger kids to use computers for only educational purposes is never going to work. Learning from textbooks, professors, and teachers is a more effective way and certainly one I prefer.

While computers have successfully started to replace textbooks, they will never be able to render school-learning obsolete. Computer technology will successfully create academically outstanding individuals (perhaps someone of the caliber of Benedict Cumberbatch in "Sherlock"), but it is schools that will create outstanding communities. Classrooms give students a second home, and this is where education flourishes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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