Excuses, Excuses

What Are Our Excuses, Again, For Not Putting Computers in the Hands of Our Children?

So began Scott McLeod’s blog post today which was backed up by an inspiring Ted Talk video about kids learning from each other. I couldn’t agree more that, with the price of powerful computing coming down and down we’re still so reluctant to put these most powerful learning tools into the hands of students in any systematic way.

So why not? Well, here’s some excuses I’ve heard

  • It’s too dangerous for students to be connected
  • It’s distracting
  • It’s not the real work
  • How do we test for it?
  • Our teachers don’t like it
  • It’s easier to keep the computers out of the classroom than re-educate the teachers
  • It’s not proven
  • It’s not literacy or numeracy
  • They can use computers at home
  • Their handwriting will suffer
  • It makes them hollow and vacuous and sallow and emaciated (or words to that effect!)
  • We can’t afford it
  • They won’t look after them
  • We can’t afford the bandwidth
  • I want them to look at me, not a screen
  • Parents don’t like it
  • It’s not collaborative
  • It’s too collaborative

I’ve honestly heard all of these, and mostly in these words!  I’ve seen schools begin a 1-1 notebook and abandon it because entrenched conservatism from teachers or parents made it ‘unworkable’. I think we’ve got to be bigger than that.

Below: the TED talk video

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2 comments

  1. I totally agree Warrick. I’ve just been to a gifted ed. conference and there was a lot of talk about teaching kids to be responsible technology users. North America is still a long way behind Australia in the technology department (as well as others!). One of the presenters, an educational psychologist, said that we (adults) will never know what it is like to grow up in such a digital age and therefore we shouldn’t pretend we understand what it is like for these kids but just accept it and move forward. He also used the term ‘chronic connectivity’ which I thought was great!

  2. Since I read the McLeod post, and commented on it, I’ve been receiving all many comments that have been posted on his blog about it (I must have pressed some button like ‘keep me informed of updates’)

    Thing is that some of them are pretty depressing, lots of them coming from teachers who echo the kind of excuses I put in my post or worse, think that they don’t need an excuse to keep powerful tools out of the hands of kids as learners. There’s some classrooms emerging that I wouldn’t want to be part of; as a peer or worse, as a student!

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