griffyndor wrote:I am a teacher and I really worry that all the technology is doing them a disservice.
Funny, I worry that education in the way it's administered does our children a disservice. See: Ken Robinson http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/2010/10/14/rsa-animate-changing-education-paradigms/
"We have students who want everything on the computer but they aren't computer literate. They work on presentations and focus more on the pretty aspects than the information. They are caught in a no man's land. They've no idea how to use plain old books to research because they are used to being able to get the answers quickly from google or wiki. They don't understand how to determine whether a source is valid or even what key words will give them the best results. Of course we do what we can to cover all this information but it is time consuming."
Covering how to research and determine the validity or credibility of a source was still taught when I was in school, before the internet existed. I don't see it as time-consuming, but a necessary lesson the importance of which has only increased.
"I also worry that the creativity is being usurped by instantly gratifying images that are found everywhere. There is no need or desire to read anymore because it takes too long and they can't imagine the scenes. If the student it given free reign to create, they come to a stand still."
But this happens anyway as students grow older. To blame it on the plethora of media available is only one possible cause. The other is, children not reading enough when they're younger. Fortunately, there are plenty of books available on the iPad - it's not just a video or interactive games machine. That is, it is what parents make of it.
"Guidelines must be explicit or they get frustrated. They want to know how many paragraphs, pages, and pictures and can't imagine doing something until it's done. The minimum amount of work is all they want to do. If you make the mistake of showing an example. Most work returned reflects or outright copies the example."
In other words, the same as it has been for decades. You have to set your expectations higher, and show how to reach beyond the example provided. Depending on the child, age, and a class as a whole, students respond when you demand more of them and they can see that it's not just to keep them busy or bore them.
"When it comes to the children I plan to have, my partner and I have discussed holding back on technology. I don't want them using computers, mp3 players, xboxes or the like until they are 10. Even tv viewing will be greatly limited. We want them to play pretend with imaginary friends rather than rely on computers. Then we will gradually introduce tech. Imagination, creative thinking, and problem solving are all important skills that don't seem to readily manifest in an overly technical environment."
We have a Wii, which we use primarily for Wii sports and Wii balance board games. It's a great way to teach turn taking indoors, and they have improved their balance while skiing on TV.
We tried an XBox360 with Kinect in the hopes of improving understanding of cause and effect and spatial awareness. ("I move my arms and the screen copies my movement!" was what we had hoped for.) It didn't work out, due to the difficulty we had in getting Kinect to see 5 year olds. Size of room, height of sensor, height of children were a factor.
We have two iPads, one for each child. They have been everything from guides to trace letters on (iWriteWords), to Grimm's Fairy Tales (with images, and without.) We have an MP3 player for one of the children, who uses it for therapeutic listening, which has improved her ability to concentrate on a task at hand.
We don't limit either child's time on the iPad. And yet, on Sunday morning as I sit typing this, they're sitting on the floor playing with clothespins that have numbers of dots on each one, and matching them to arabic numerals, speaking about imaginary cats and bumblebees.
The point being, there are lessons in everything. It is how you use what's available that makes a difference. One of my children knows how to speak, knows how to read, write and spell in part due to the iPad, and in other parts due to her teachers, SLP, and OT. She still surprises us and her teachers with her ability to correctly spell words we haven't taught her at all.
When you open with "I am a teacher," and state your belief that technology is ruining students for learning, you're making the fallacious argumentum ad verecundiam - appeal to authority. That is, because you're a teacher, we must not question your authority on the matter. I, too, was a teacher. If I were teaching today, I would equip every one of my students with an iPad, as has been done at the http://ipadacademy.com/2010/11/going-one-to-one-with-ipads-learning-on-the-leading-edge