Pencil or tablet: digital is really better

Pencil or tablet: digital is really better

Pencil or tablet: digital is really better?

Pros and cons: Digital change has the potential to radically change school and learning. But: knowledge cannot be replaced by a few clicks.

PER: Digital change has the potential to radically change school and learning.

And that scares many. So far, so understandable.

But the fear comes mainly from those who first had to develop the digital world themselves. From those for whom the internet is still, to some extent, this eerie web of pornography and crime. For digitization, equation is the mutilation of communication, the isolation of people in front of the screen.

The children would unlearn how to write because they only click or type or simply wipe around on all sorts of screens. Instead of an overview of the knowledge, there are only unrelated snacks. If anything: Because you could google everything anyway.

As an example, one could reply that the handwriting will one day function as a candle. It brings romance to life. And if the battery should run out, you are glad that you still have a pen in your pocket (or in the basement) and know how to use it.

In fact, most horror ideas contain a small (or larger) grain of truth. But it would be the wrong strategy to keep children and young people artificially away from new technologies. And to use them as little as possible – instead of as cleverly as possible. Instead of forbidding them the Internet because otherwise they only copy Wikipedia for the presentation, they have to work with it as much as possible. Um – of course in context! – to understand what is reliable and what is not. And what is dangerous.

New technologies also offer unprecedented opportunities for teaching, indeed for the entire school system. It’s not just about what many derogate from having fun, but what can enrich the class enormously: Developing physics formulas using a video game on a tablet instead of in frontal lessons. To film a play with a cell phone. Visit historical places on a virtual city tour.

It’s also and above all about individualization. For example with a kind of wrong classroom: Students can watch new subject areas at home by video as often as they need it and then ask their questions at school, deepen them when practicing with the teacher, and discuss them.

Or they get customized exercises: In the USA there is a mathematics program in which computers spit out an individual learning program for each student overnight – depending on how he has done before. What a teacher can do for his class, if at all, with the greatest expenditure of time.

This is not for every subject, and of course not for the whole day. But if it is used at the right moments (and there is very, very great potential upwards), it does exactly the opposite of what the critics of the digital school fear: it creates time for teacher-student relationships.

CONTRA: Knowledge cannot be replaced by a few clicks.

In order for students to acquire knowledge, a teacher is needed who can inspire them. And no device.

Children need digital skills, so the battle cry. Some demand that these should have the same status as German classes. After all, digitization would shape the professional life of the future. You have to keep up with progress, and that quickly, faster, fastest. So the children should start at elementary school. But what exactly should they learn? That is still open. And anyone who asks is quickly seen as hostile to technology.

The most absurd argument in this context: It is completely out of date to seek knowledge. Within a few seconds (or even faster!) You can pull the information out of the network, all you need is digital skills and a cell phone. Of course you can google almost everything. But that doesn’t make knowledge obsolete. On the contrary, because the network is also full of false information. Without basic knowledge, you are hardly able to distinguish neutral information from opinion making. The fact that some want to instigate a duel between knowledge and competence should be cause for concern.

Does digital learning make you smarter? Even Steve Jobs says that he would not let his children use iPads, or only to a very limited extent. This is in stark contrast to the philosophy of the Steve Jobs School in Amsterdam, where most of the learning is done using a tablet. The teacher now only has the role of a coach who is available to answer questions. Books are almost gone. Family Minister Sophie Karmasin (whose department finances the school books) is impressed by the concept. Another concept goes even further, it is the latest craze in digital education: it is not a human teacher, but a virtual coach who creates the learning program. This actually makes individualized learning possible. But don’t you overlook something? We learn about relationships. Because someone inspired us for something. Because we want to prove ourselves to someone or maybe even want to refute someone. A good teacher can answer the question of why we should learn something. He can establish the relationship between the subject and the student.

At home, it really gets digital

Digitized learning poses many dangers in reality. Students can disappear on the Internet during class. Constant multitasking creates stress. The teachers are hardly trained for new forms of learning. One must not lose sight of the overall picture either: psychologists point out that one should consider the total time that children and young people spend in front of the various screens. Because at home, many people really get started with digital competence.

Apart from that, the devices are not there anyway, as some like to claim. No country can afford to equip schools with tablets or computers across the board. Why the standing sentence of the future will be BYOD: "Bring your own device". The fact that there are many legal and social problems hidden behind this only makes parent representatives the subject.

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Christina Cherry
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