Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Computers, Computers, Computers!

I was scanning the newspaper this afternoon when I stumbled upon the funnies. I began to read them, and noticed that four of the comic strips (Dilbert, Beetle Bailey, Adam@Home, and Grand Avenue) had jokes centered around the use of a computer. I began to think about the texts I have read, most recently Preparing Teachers for "Monday Morning" in the Urban School Classroom", which describe the lack of resources in some urban schools. The fact that many inner city schools and students do not have enough computers, or internet access, while four of the comic strips in one day base their jokes on computers shows that any students without computer knowledge and computer skills will be at a grave disadvantage in their future.
The frequency with which computers serve as subjects in something as trivial as comic strips is a demonstration of how common computers have become. My household has more working computers than it does residents. We take owning computers for granted. We take our access to irtually unlimited information (the internet) for granted. Most people would be appauled if they suddenly lost their ability to find answers in seconds using search engines. Much of the nation's youth wouldn't know what to do with themselves if the social networking websites they use were suddenly shut down. Academia wold have trouble acclimating to a world without internet research databases that allow them to search for scholarly articles. The internet is jsut part of the power of a computer. Computers can be used for presentations, graphs, word processing, design, and peforming calculations and measurements that humans simply could not perform with any degree of efficiency.
At this point, I have a hard time imagining the world without computers/ internet. However, there are plently of people who have never used a computer, and some of those people are inner city students. Most desirable occupations require at least basic computer knowledge/skills, and all of those who are deprived of computer knowledge are in a technological prison, restricted from the oppurtunities that those who are embedded (at least moderately) in the modern world; the world of computers.


Anonymous said...

This indeed puts these students at a grave disadvantage. However, it is the responsibility of the urban school teacher to alert his/her students of this factor. They must demonstrate the need for computer experience is essential similar to the way a guidance councilor will argue a college education is necessary. It is their job to motivate their students to rise up and independently discover computers, at their local public library, internet cafe, or Starbucks. Having a computer available in the classroom would hardly be effective; not only due to limited funding/supply, but because one learns most about a computer via trial and error.

visva said...

You got me thinking. My house has eight functioning computers. More than we know what to do with. While some people have none. I agree that it is necessary to have computer experience. It does put students and adults at a great disadvantage if they are not skilled with computers.

The high school I attended now currently gives each student their own laptop. This is instead of text books. They also have state of the art computers for other purposes. Its unfortunate that not all schools have the same opportunities with computers. If my high school did not have advanced technology I would of never been able to take a computer graphics class. Taking that class gave me an interest in graphic design. I then obtained a degree in it as an undergrad. Computers have such an influence on how kids learn, explore, and grow within education. They can create many different experiences and grant them different opportunities that may shape their future.

UrbanEveEdublogg said...

I will not argue the value of technology in education, especially with the huge boom now and the array of activities we are able to teach and participate in - both in and outside the classroom - as a result of this technology.

I think technology is great. And if we are going to keep up with the current expanding generation of "digital natives", we're going to need to broaden our knowledge of technology and how to incorporate it into education.

However, (and you must note my somewhat vehement however), I also attended the high school in the district that currently has a 1:1 laptop ratio and I must ask the question: is that much truly necessary? Where do we draw the line?

Of course there are several huge benefits to providing this technology, such as saving paper and the ability to have students do research and type up papers right in the classroom. There are some downsides also.

Many of the students were found to be playing games and fiddling around with pictures and social sites (and i can speak from witnessing it personally as a substitute). It seems that after protections were put up, X-Rated movies could no longer be viewed, so this at least narrowed the field, but it does not seem to me this kind of concern even needs to exist to be dealt with. Not only is this quite a costly initiative, repairs and maintenance in addition to initial cost, but it seems a nonchalance and for the technology may develop. We sometimes take for granted what we are well provided with - and I have seen this already in some students.

I say provide them with the technology they need, present it in the classroom and use it in lessons, but maybe we need to draw the line.

Abbey said...

I agree that some schools must be lacking computers but that certainly isn't what we saw this week in Newark - most of the classrooms had computers in them. I think that many of these students probably don't have computers at home though which means they may not have the opportunity to 'play' and learn to love the technology.

Haitian Cookie822 said...

Computers in the classroom are important and it will help the students to understand the power of technology. At times, it will be difficult for students to have access to computer when it is needed, but there are programs to provide students to help in using the computers. It is now the schools are providing at least one computer in the classroom, which is extremely helpful. So I guess, what I am trying to say, "Computers are extremely important and we do need them!"

visva said...

Also some teachers have the resources available but never use them... I asked my mom who teaches in a suburan school how often her and her colleagues use them in the classroom and she said rarely. Most of these teachers have 2-3 computers per classroom in their room. Some teachers aren't even implementing them in their students learning. Maybe more teacher training needs to be implemented on how to enrich their students education with computers.

Anonymous said...

booo hooo, someone needs to pump my gas