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For or Against: Computer integration in classroom

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  • For or Against: Computer integration in classroom


    Some of the arguments I heard made against computer integration in the classroom is as follows:

    1) Students will be distracted by the internet with games, social media, youtube, etc...
    2) Computers are expensive and kids will break them.
    ​3) Schooling got along just fine without computers; don't need it in the classroom to teach.

    ​4) Students will use the internet to cheat.

    ​Refutations:

    ​1) Disconnect computers from the internet and install only educational software.
    ​2) Computers in 2018 are not expensive anymore. Sub-$200 laptops can be bought and computing cost is still falling.
    3) A lot of things got along fine without modern innovations. But new technology brings convenience and efficiency; as the computer does.

    For example:
    • Students can carry a 4-5 pound laptop rather than a 20-25 pound school bag.
    • The average person writes between 12-31 words per minutes. On a computer, though, notes can be taken at 40-50 words per minute or faster. It's much faster taking notes on a computer.
    • It's cost effective and efficient. Each school year a school spend about $25,000 dollars on paper. Even a laptop with a small 32gigabyte hard-drive can replace the $25,000 dollar yearly spending and hard-drive space can be re-used.
    • ​It's easier to organize files on a computer.
    ​4) Refutation one nulls argument four.

    ​What do you all think? Are you For or Against computer integration in the classroom, and why? Do you foresee issues with computer integration in classrooms?

  • #2
    It does not matter. You were a teacher? There is training program, accountability of the teacher. There are gifted children and the desire of teachers to give these children more. But the number of gifted children decreases. This is a problem. Parents are moral monsters, and the children too.

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    • #3
      Call me old fashioned but I love handwriting and my fear is that it may disappear one day.
      When I see kids barely talking and they already know how to use a tablet for games better than I do, I'm not sure it's doing them good, although in the meantime I always encouraged my kids to play games and use a computer (since late 80s!). There are priorities and although it's necessary to have more time dedicated to good use of technology at school, it should still be used as a tool and not as a replacement.

      The time argument (taking notes) is not valid for me - people need to stop running after seconds and minutes and they should take their time. If you type more yet struggle to sort out and understand what you wrote, if you don't allow your brain to process all this, then what's the point of schooling ?

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      • #4
        Books, computers, laptop or mobile phone, it's all just a medium. As long as you use it right. Cheating, distraction, etc, exist long before computer exist. It's just how you do it that change along with the new tech.

        As the technology progress, I think there would be more advantage in using it rather than not.

        Maybe one day, we have the computer implanted in us. Less space, more efficient, etc.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Patafix View Post
          There are priorities and although it's necessary to have more time dedicated to good use of technology at school, it should still be used as a tool and not as a replacement.
          ​Agreed. As you said, a computer is a tool and it should be used as such. The argument was never replacement of something, but rather, enhancement of the learning experience. Textbooks will still be used. Teachers will still be the instructor. The textbook will just be in digital format and notes will just be taken with a computer. Also, try to imagine students carrying around a 4-5 pound laptop instead of a 20-25 pound backpack. Students no longer have to suffer from back pain because of the dead weight.

          Originally posted by Patafix View Post
          The time argument (taking notes) is not valid for me - people need to stop running after seconds and minutes and they should take their time. If you type more yet struggle to sort out and understand what you wrote, if you don't allow your brain to process all this, then what's the point of schooling ?
          I write slow, and in my schooling experience, teachers put up notes faster than I can write them down. The notes are often erased from the chalkboard for more space before I can finish. I often had to take time after class to copy the notes from classmates. I also never come to any understanding of the notes as I was taking them down. Understanding comes after the notes are studied. If I were to try to come to an understanding of the notes as I was taking them down, I would never finish taking the notes.

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          • #6
            Historically the problem in schools has been inequality. When my kids were at school, I donated hundreds of floppy discs so every child had at least one. Over the last 25 years, ICT has gone mobile. What's the answer? I guess schools could install fixed solid state hard disk drives (as they're cheaper than personal computers). Students can use their own mobile devices to exchange information to and from the central school library (perpetually kept on-line, and backed-up offline).
            Last edited by look4swissmiss; 01-15-2018, 12:34 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by look4swissmiss View Post
              Over the last 25 years, ICT has gone mobile. What's the answer? I guess schools could install fixed solid state hard disk drives (as they're cheaper than personal computers). Students can use their own mobile devices to exchange information to and from the central school library (perpetually kept on-line, and backed-up offline).
              A Solid State Drive is cheaper but it requires a monitor to display data and a keyboard to input them. Also, PCs have become cheap enough that schools can provide them for the students. The C.H.I.P computers only cost nine dollars. The Raspberry Pi3 cost 50 dollars with case and power supply. The Asus Chromebit cost 80 dollars. Then there are the Chromebooks, which, I believe to be the best option because all other options I mentioned require a keyboard, mouse and monitor.

              This year, at least two Chromebooks have been marketed that cost only 150 dollars. 150 dollars is no lunch money but each school year parents can easily spend about a hundred dollars on school supply, anyways. Instead of spending a yearly 100 dollars on school supply, might as well buy a laptop that could be used for years. Schools can also buy in bulk to further reduce the cost for the students.

              It would be good for the environment, too. In 2013, 20.7 million tons of paper was produced in the US and to produce that amount between 55 million to 110 million trees had to be cut down. Even if schools use only a fraction of the sum total of paper, we're talking millions of trees.

              More importantly, having a laptop can eliminate a health hazard. Research studies have shown that students should carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight. But that limit is often exceeded. So each year, about 14,000 students are treated for backpack related injuries and about 5000 needed to visit the emergency room.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tyrobanks View Post
                ...

                It would be good for the environment, too. In 2013, 20.7 million tons of paper was produced in the US and to produce that amount between 55 million to 110 million trees had to be cut down. Even if schools use only a fraction of the sum total of paper, we're talking millions of trees....
                Totally agree with that and I think in our current situation, this one reason outweigh almost all other reason not to use computers at school.

                However, can you imagine, how much implication it is, for publisher, especially those who have most of their income from selling textbook? I know many publisher begin to move to ebook, but if they really do totally move to e-book. How many labor is going to lose their job? That would be another problem as well. From my personal observation, the largest bookshop in my town, have at least 10-15 employees and there are about 4, that would be 40-60 people having their job in danger. That's also only small part of the whole industry.

                Almost every time I try to think about helping the earth, I always find that it is in the cost of social problem. I even think that to any policy, the cost would be bore by those who are at the bottom of social ladder. At certain point, that would surely cause social unrest.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Han1977 View Post
                  However, can you imagine, how much implication it is, for publisher, especially those who have most of their income from selling textbook?
                  ​I'm not sure the situation is so dire. Schools will still be buying textbooks from publishers. The textbooks will just be in digital format and digitized textbooks would mean the elimination of the printing press. A printing machine configured to print a large quantity of books could cost 10s of thousands of dollars. Then there's the cost of paper, ink and maintenance. The cost to the publisher to produce the textbooks will be reduced. Publishers may even keep more of the profit.

                  Originally posted by Han1977 View Post
                  I know many publisher begin to move to ebook, but if they really do totally move to e-book. How many labor is going to lose their job? That would be another problem as well. From my personal observation, the largest bookshop in my town, have at least 10-15 employees and there are about 4, that would be 40-60 people having their job in danger. That's also only small part of the whole industry.
                  Yes, with complete digitization of books some jobs will be lost. But that has long been the case in the advent of new technology. When the automobile came into mass usage, most horse breeders lost their jobs. But in turn, a whole new industry was created and traveling became much more time efficient.

                  ​The same argument can be made for textbooks. Digitizing textbooks eliminates the printing press and the maintenance guy will lose his job. But in turn, a web designer is hired to build and maintain a website to sell the e-books and students won't have to suffer from back pain due to carrying around heavy textbooks.

                  ​With implementation of new technology some occupation may be lost but new occupation may be created as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tyrobanks View Post
                    Yes, with complete digitization of books some jobs will be lost. But that has long been the case in the advent of new technology. When the automobile came into mass usage, most horse breeders lost their jobs. But in turn, a whole new industry was created and traveling became much more time efficient.

                    ​The same argument can be made for textbooks. Digitizing textbooks eliminates the printing press and the maintenance guy will lose his job. But in turn, a web designer is hired to build and maintain a website to sell the e-books and students won't have to suffer from back pain due to carrying around heavy textbooks.

                    ​With implementation of new technology some occupation may be lost but new occupation may be created as well.
                    But it could become a problem if the previous job doesn't require certain skill, and the new available job require certain skill and education. It might not be easy for someone say in his 40, used to do a routine and not creative job, suddenly lose his/her job and the only job that is available require him/her to learn the whole set of new skill.

                    It's almost similar with automation (my job), in the case I happen to see, the company use machine rather than people for packing. About 40 people with low education (some only finish elementary, some junior high school) lose the job. A new job available -> to maintain the machine, but it only take 1-2 people to maintain the machine and it require an education (electrical engineering) that is too far beyond those 40 people's reach.

                    So 40 people lose their job and 2 new people get job. Fortunately automation is still a bit rare in my country, there are many job that need low skill labor, but with the advance in technology and how company compete against each other. the option for low skill labor is willing to get lower paid or losing their job.

                    Of course, there will always be people who smart enough to deal with it, but many probably having hard time.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tyrobanks View Post
                      It would be good for the environment, too. In 2013, 20.7 million tons of paper was produced in the US and to produce that amount between 55 million to 110 million trees had to be cut down. Even if schools use only a fraction of the sum total of paper, we're talking millions of trees.
                      And how many data centres ?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tyrobanks View Post



                        More importantly, having a laptop can eliminate a health hazard. Research studies have shown that students should carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight. But that limit is often exceeded. So each year, about 14,000 students are treated for backpack related injuries and about 5000 needed to visit the emergency room.
                        When there's good health policy from schools and institutions above, this issue can be solved easily. When I was at school we didn't carry that much, we took what we really needed (hardly more than one book at a time) and lessons were organised accordingly. I think a lack of clever organisation of work and too many subjects on one school day made those schoolbags too heavy.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Patafix View Post
                          And how many data centres ?
                          Not too many. A school is not a tech company likes Google. A student need only a laptop with a 32gb harddrive, and if that's not enough, a flashdrive cost only a few dollars.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Patafix View Post

                            When there's good health policy from schools and institutions above, this issue can be solved easily. When I was at school we didn't carry that much, we took what we really needed (hardly more than one book at a time) and lessons were organised accordingly. I think a lack of clever organisation of work and too many subjects on one school day made those schoolbags too heavy.

                            That's not my experience when I was in school. What I had to carry in a schoolbag was: a dictionary, five notebooks, pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, reading material from English class (usually a novel) and at least one textbook weighing 7 or 8 pounds. Often, two textbooks are needed for homework assignments. As the school year progresses notes stack up and not until after the finals exam of each term will old notes be discarded. The schoolbag easily weighed 15-20 pounds when I was in school. That's been the experience for both my siblings as well.

                            And I'm not so sure any health policy can reduce the amount of weight a student need to carry. If teachers from three different classes instruct the student to read a chapter from the textbook of their respective subject, what does the student do? During middle school, I remember the math teacher telling us to hand copy the math problems so we don't have to bring the textbook home. But a student don't have the time to hand copy a whole chapter from a science textbook, or a history textbook.

                            No clever organization of work will help with avoiding to bring two textbooks home when the assignment is to read them.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tyrobanks View Post

                              Not too many. A school is not a tech company likes Google. A student need only a laptop with a 32gb harddrive, and if that's not enough, a flashdrive cost only a few dollars.
                              Yes of course, I was just stressing another energy-blowing model... but that's not like we can stop it from growing now

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