Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Electronic Resources in the classroom

Many questions are raised as to whether electronic gizmos are required in the classroom. As you can probably tell I'm not a big fan - and that's generally from my experience as a programmer. I have a deep disdain for misuse of information technology and for those that perpetrate it. Education by far is one of the greatest proponents of the use of IT and also the worst user of IT.

For instance have you experienced death by Powerpoint?  Have you waited twenty minutes for IT to be fixed before a presentation can begin? Have you ever thought that a whiteboard could have done that faster, better, smarter that the electronic presentation. My experience thus far has been that it is better to buy kids a set of great texts than have a projector and develop online content. It's far easier to interact with kids with a whiteboard than any combination of IT (including smart board - which thus far has limited application compared to a traditional whiteboard)

That's not to say that I don't use IT. Graphic and CAS calculators are needed by students to pass university entrance exams. Tools like Blender can teach 3D viewing and cartesian planes effectively. I've used Java to give depth to algebra courses - but typically these are all in afterschool extension classes with highly motivated students.

Students have motivation in upper school - it's called university or getting a job. The time wasted on motivating students with electronic gizmos is in many cases better spent on providing and creating an effective lesson.

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