Jan2010

Over the Christmas and New Year period

Over the Christmas and New Year period, I was fortunate to be able to spend some time in warm sunny Spain with my friend Lucky.

During our time there, we spent a rather pleasant evening in the company of a mutual friend and his two children who had both received two brand spanking new Intel-based notebook computers from their Grandpa as Christmas presents.

My friend Lucky commented on how useful the new machines would be to both the children, who might be able to use them to write their essays for school. But the younger of the two children replied that personal computers were not used in his school for such things, and that all of his essay work had to be hand written.

So the new personal computers would be relegated to other much more important teenage tasks, such as uploading photographs onto Facebook, communicating with friends via MSN messenger, or surfing the Internet!

Personally, I was pleased to hear the news that the schools had outlawed the use of the PCs. So many children here in the UK seem to have forgotten how to hold a pen properly, let alone know how to spell or perform simple mathematical calculations. And why is that, you might ask? Well, in my humble opinion, it’s thanks to the fact that if the personal has removed the need for them to do so.

Then again, could I be wrong? The folks at Intel believe so. After questioning 2,700 primary and secondary teachers across 15 emerging and developed economies on the use of personal computer technology, almost 80 per cent of those surveyed say that using personal computers increases students’ interest in learning and 57 per cent believe using the technology in their lessons improves academic performance.

More than that, over three quarters of teachers believe that computers enable them to better tailor their lessons to the needs of individual students, a critical factor when teaching a class with a range of abilities and requirements.

The research went on to reveal that although 70 per cent of teachers believe students should be provided with a personal laptop, only three per cent have access. A great shame for the students, no doubt, but what a great opportunity for Intel!

But what really caught my interest was that over half of the teachers polled in the UK believe children under five should be given access to a computer under supervision and almost one in three say that funding is preventing their schools from making this investment.

Personally, I don’t agree that the government should go to the expense. I think that equipping children under the age of five with personal computers is a complete nonsense. It is at this early age that a child should be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by skilled professionals. Not provided with tools that will detract from such learning by Twittering their young lives away.
This comment was originally published in the Electronicstalk Newsletter

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About the Author

Electronicstalk and this Editor's Blog are edited by Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini began his career in the electronics press with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1980, cutting his teeth on a variety of learned and member publications, ranging from IEE Proceedings to Electronics and Power. He moved on to join the launch team of the innovative weekly Electronics Express in 1986, and became Editor just 18 months later. Sadly, Electronics Express lasted just four and a half years, wound up by the infamous Robert Maxwell. However, Laurence had already jumped ship and joined the world of electronics PR with the agency of the 1990s, Smith and Jones Communications. It seemed Laurence was lost to the world of journalism. But after 11 years we managed to lure him back as launch editor of Electronicstalk. Laurence is married to Sally and has a young son, Alexander.

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