Although computer use in the learning process has been hailed as a nascent way of facilitating education and promoting student engagement in the learning process, the cons of having such a curriculum are starting to be felt with students being constantly distracted during combined with lower grades attributed to lower conceptualization. This paper seeks examine why the education system should abandon this system of computer integration in schools.
In the quest for creating a techno-savvy society able to keep up with this new age of digital growth, computers have been introduced to the learning environment. From tertiary institutions, elementary schools and even pre-schools worldwide, computer use in the education system has been integrated, and this trend seems to soar by the day. The United States of America, seen by many as the poster child for this trend, is estimated to have roughly 5.8 million computers in use nationwide in their learning institutions (Provenzo, Brett, & McCloskey 22). This translates to one machine for every nine students. This rise in the use of computers in schools has had adverse negative effects on the learning process and I am of the opinion that students should not use computers to study.
ARGUMENT 1: LOW ACADEMIC PERFOMANCE
The goal of learning aids in schools and institutions is to ensure that the students become high achievers, but computer use seems to bring forth the opposite result. This is mainly due to the fact that these devices act as distractions to the students during learning sessions and classes. The occasional peek to check ones email, Facebook or twitter may lead to a student being completely engrossed in this new distraction leading to the disruption of learning.
According to Yamamoto the light that emanates from these computer devices end up distracting many individuals in a classroom setting as the glow is conspicuous, leading to divided attention that would most definitely translate to poor performance(43). From this notion we gather that this distraction does not only affect the individual using the computer device, but all those who are within the vicinity.
To add to this, it is also difficult for the learners to ignore their emails, social media platforms and instant messages, which in essence leads to a lack of attention during the learning period (Biggs & Tang 23). Students who do not pay attention in class end up performing below average.
According to Porter, the “Wikipedia Syndrome” has lowered the thinking capacity of students as most of them do not engage in analytical thinking but instead look up answers online where they get them straight away (14). Such students become fully dependant on computers to do their work for them and this ultimately leads to lower cognitive abilities.
ARGUMENT 2: COMPUTERS USED TO TYPE NOTES LEADS TO A LACK COMPREHENSION OF THE MATERIAL
Computer use during the learning process in education is also responsible for a lack of proper comprehension by students. When students type the notes that they are dictated to them, in most occasions, they end up not internalizing what they have heard as they only type the notes. Writing the notes the longhand method on notebooks usually required an individual to first understand a particular concept, before putting it down in their own words.
According to Leoffer, the typing process leads to what he calls the “mechanical transcription” where the students try as much as possible to get the notes exactly as they were dictated to them (2). This creates a situation where the students do not first comprehend the particular notes given to them as their main priority at this point is typing the notes.
Mueller and Oppenheimer also did a study on students who took notes the longhand way and compared with that of those who typed their notes (3). His results clearly showed that those students who took notes down using the longhand method performed well averagely as compared to those who typed their notes when it came to the answering of conceptual questions.
Aiken, Thomas, & Shennum, also noted during their study on what they had initially called the “encoding hypothesis” that it was proven empirically that students performed better if they were allowed to write their notes on notebooks with pens instead of typing the information(439). Students thus comprehended the information easily when they put it in their own words after internalizing the information given to them.
ARGUMENT 3; TANGIBLE BLOCKS CREATED BETWEEN STUDENTS
It has been noted with great concern by most scholars that computer use create blocks between the students. There is minimal interaction between the students in a computer integrated class and in essence this stunts the human interaction that is necessary for the learning process to be fruitful.
Young argued that it was paramount for there to be group interaction in a class as this leads to critical thinking among the students (39). He thus argued that it was important for the tutors to limit the use of computers in classrooms in order to ensure that the learning process is not impaired in any way. This would lead to better inter-student interaction that is paramount for the educational growth of students.
Furthermore, Bhave noted that it was indeed true that the use of computers in the learning process impaired the interaction that is need and he suggested that the training of teachers on this aspect was very important (30). This would ensure that teachers are well equipped with ways to deal with a scenario where computers are introduced in the class.
In order to improve the grades of students in schools, it is important to limit the use computers in the classroom. This would ensure that the students are attentive enough to understand what is being taught in class by their tutors and the interaction that is there between them and their peers would ultimately improve their cognitive abilities.
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