Machines taking over?

There has been a recent shift to computers and the Internet to facilitate learning in schools these days. Most, if not all, are advocating ‘e-learning’ which has led to the birth of a generation of ‘digital learners’. It is a fairly good idea, but the consequences are slowly starting to become apparent and the public are finding it difficult to digest them.

Due to heavy usage of computers, many children are attaining very low levels of literacy in school these days. They depend on ‘Microsoft Word’ to do their spell checks when they are older. Computers are supposed to ‘help’ us, not render us solely dependent on them to do our work.

When I observed a lesson during my school placement, a teacher allowed students to use the schools’ mini laptops to find resources. The children were really excited, but when it came to locating and reading specific material on the Internet, they were unable to do it. All they wanted was a single answer for everything and they lacked the patience to read through an article on the internet to discover the findings. Does this mean that ICT has snatched away critical and analytical thinking skills?

In addition, research shows that a considerably high level of dependency on machines (computers, iPods/iPads) can also result in memory loss at a younger age. Not many people actually remember their friend’s birthday, they just log on to Facebook and send a message to their inbox.

Furthermore, not many children actually go to libraries and borrow books for leisure reading. They have eBooks and may not feel the need to walk to the nearest library. I’m not against the use of technology, I have an iPod myself, but we have to limit the usage before it is too late.

Sometimes, all we need is a break, some “me” time without the Internet to value life! Although computers and technology are useful and living without them is virtually impossible nowadays, we should be aware that we are becoming complacent and not using the maximum potential of our brain.
With this in mind, computers should not be used in education just because they are an exciting tool, they should be utilised to consolidate learning.

In conclusion, it is time that members of society rethink their attitudes and perceptions towards computers. Question is, when you have finished reading this – will you get straight back to your Facebook & Twitter?!

Photography by Danilo Rizzuti & Clare Bloomfield from

Article edited by Jennifer Le Roux

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