KABEER YOUSUF –
Schoolchildren these days are lucky compared with those in the past.
While students had to dig into encyclopedias, archives or newspaper clippings for research in the past, things are easier now, thanks to technology.
Any information is available at the click of a mouse these days.
Copying notes from a classmate for having missed classes because of sickness, a family function or trip used to be a laborious task.
Now, just hold a smartphone over the notes, scan it, store it and take a printout at your convenience.
No doubt, the technology has made students’ lives easier, but has it made them depend too much on it? Or does seeking help from technology hinder their power of thinking? Will it affect their reasoning/analysing capacity?
According to Gerry D’costa, a clinical psychiatrist, technology can be an “addiction to both elders and children”. He has a word of advice: “Minimise the use of technology.
Letting these small brains function to the fullest is not an option, but a must that needs to be part of the academic curriculum.”
In the last few decades, technology has changed every aspect of our society, including the way we socialise, work or learn.
A visible difference is in the way children play and interact with each other.
Despite its benefits, technology can have negative effects on child development and the quality of life.
Teachers couldn’t agree more.“Too much dependence on technology may not prove good as it will reduce the children’s power of thinking and reasoning,” says Asma al Rahbi, headmistress of a public school.
At the same time, she was not averse to technology.“It (technology) has helped students remain informed and gain knowledge,” she says, adding that “children are lucky compared with those of our times”.A recent study revealed most of the teachers and schools themselves preferred greater use of technology and their appropriate integration into the school curriculum.
The survey indicated 1,000 education professionals across the Gulf region liked to see more schools opting for better technological integration in schools.
“We conducted a survey to find out what school leaders and education professionals needed to enhance teaching and learning experience in the classroom.
Technology-related teaching aids and learning tools were overwhelming choices,” said Sarah Palmer, Marketing and Conference Director, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, organisers of the GESS Expo, that will take place between February 27 February and March 1.
Najda Khan, school counsellor, Al Salam School, for instance, wants to see technology being integrated into the curriculum and sees interactive software as key to helping teachers and students perform better.
According to kindergarten teacher Tayyaba Farhan Shifaz, the use of ICT (information and communication technologies) and hands-on activities help students and teachers become more innovative.
“I would love my students to explore and do a lot of practical research and create projects on topics around them,” she added.
Azra Aleem, a social worker, however, advocates equal importance to both technology and critical thinking, so “our children don’t act like robots, but initiate and shoulder responsibilities and promise to be better citizens of tomorrow”.
“Several innovative projects encourage critical thinking for students, greater use of outdoor spaces and more resources dedicated to nurturing a green environment across schools, both private and public,” added Azra.