How computers make our kids stupid

This article reported the situation that is on-going in Toronto, Canada. Computers and the internet are found (some findings by the children themselves) to have the following effects:
1. distract kids from homework
2. encourage superficial and uncritical thinking
3. lead to compulsive behaviour
4. “MMORPGs” (massive multi-player online role-playing games) are highly addictive and a lot of people have screwed up their lives playing them”
5. things kids read and see online invade their imagination
6. whizzes through homework in half an hour, and then starts surfing, gaming and chatting with friends on MSN until 1 a.m.
7. “I procrastinate a lot more than before and everybody’s marks suffer to some degree if they spend as much time as (I did online).”
How we are going to educate our children to control this ‘beast’ and not the other way round really needs serious pondering … come to think of it, I wouldnt be surprised if some adults are also ‘suffering’ from some of the above symptoms … ?????

Top researchers are gamers ?

Many of our students are hooked to different types of games (pc, ps2, xbox, mmorpg etc) and it has been deemed by many teachers that these games are a waste of time. Well, interestingly, this article points out that 3 of the world’s top researchers believed it to be otherwise.
As a computer gamer myself for the past 17+ years, I have learnt much from games. Besides facts which are obtainable by reading books, the training of reflexes (physical and mental) is perhaps something unacheivable by reading alone. The use of games can definitely complement the use of books in teaching and learning. One should not look at it as though books and games are mutually exclusive. Now that we are also going to explore games in our R&D work, wow, it’s going to be very exciting indeed.
[source: slashdot]

Banning of Instant Messaging (IM)

Organisations as well as educational instituitions all the world have been banning the use of IM, for some reasons which includes security, waste of time, a form of distraction etc.
This post by James F in his blog has reminded us of the global community we are in as well as the world in which our students are growing up.
Quoting findings from a paper “Instant Messaging � Collaborative Tool or Educator�s nightmare!” by Robert Farmer, it is no surprise to me that under “students’ normal usage outside of class activities”, the frequency in use of forums is less than half that of IMs. It’s now 2005 and I believe the trend is there to stay, if not increase.

While IM is relatively new to the educational environment, it is raising many questions and concerns. Clearly students have embraced this technology, while faculty have not.

As a user very much hooked on to IM myself, perhaps it is timely that we (re)look in-depth on the benefits of IM *hmm*

More computers at home hinder learning?

Some German researchers studied a sample of 175,000 15 years old students in 31 countries and discovered that too much exposure to computers may actually affect the developing mind.
Research shows that ability in maths and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home. And while students seemed to benefit from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school saw their academic performance decline significantly as well.
“You could argue that’s the big issue here: People need guidance in how to use [computers in education],” says Dr. Marcia Linn, professor of education and director of the Technology Enhanced Learning in Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley.
The people here will refer to not only teachers but parents as well. Many of our current parents have grown up and learnt in the no-internet era. So it seems that there are still some gaps to be closed in our education before computers will bring less ‘side-effects’.
Read the source of report here.