Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Internet Access

Scribbit is a blogger I picked up from Kelli's blog roll. I read a few posts, found her funny and have her in my browsing list. I confess that I don't read every post, depending on my own time restraints and interest, but I especially like this post: Is Internet Access Necessary in Public Schools?

With an abundance of involved and professional parents it's no surprise the school has a state of the art computer lab. Last year during her sixth grade year Grace had a teacher who prided herself on cutting edge computer skills and took it upon herself to teach the children how to use the internet. Now given what I'm now doing this very second, I'm obviously not opposed to new technology, but, realistically, how did you learn to use the internet? Did you need a teacher or a high-tech lab to teach you about email and yahoo?

It made me think of what I've learned about searching on the internet and how I learned it -- trial and error. I believe, given the accessibility of good information and the overwhelming amount of it, the time would be better spent teaching students about plagarism, copy right laws and proper referencing of sources (OMG, I sound like an ex-English teacher...oh wait...)

In my family, I'm the techie and currently monitor the bulk of the computer usage -- both time and sites visited. For time, I use my kitchen timer. When it beeps, Ollie knows that time is up and no amount of arguing will earn him more minutes. In fact, too much arguing decreases or eliminates the next session. I was pretty comfortable with the usage until he wanders into the living room one day and asks for my credit card.

Yep, Ollie discovered the joy of online shopping. Please keep in mind that he is six.

I have to agree with Scribbit's last thoughts.

But let's say, hypothetically, that the filters do work, that access to the nasty stuff is blocked. What then? Still the internet holds little value for the public education system. "Research" is usually the argument most frequently used, that in our tech-based world children must learn to do internet research. True, but again, how long does it take to figure out how to google? I would be willing to bet that most American pre-teens are masters.

It's simply a matter of priority. When American children are graduating with sub-standard reading, writing, math and science skills, why on earth is there such a frenzy to get computers into the classroom? Children don't need more screen time, they need more teacher and study time.

From my own experience, I figure that the argument will come up, but not every child has a computer at home. True. But that child probably has access to either a public or school library. It would still be better to teach them to evaulate the sources that they find, whether it is in print or online, then give them lessons on Googling and setting-up email accounts.

How does it work at your house?

1 comment:

scribbit said...

I'm so glad you visited--thanks for the mention and kind words.