Phones, IT tools not best solutions

Sunday July 29, 2012
http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/7/29/education/11714628&sec=education

THE Education Ministry has plans to allow handphones and IT gadgets in schools. Have they thoroughly considered the matter?

Why can’t a child be free of yet another technological device for at least six hours a day, especially if it is just a phone?

How many emergencies can one family have in a year that they would need to call their child at school?

We adults hate it when the phone rings in the middle of a meeting.

Can you imagine a teacher having to put up with phones ringing during lessons?

It is tough enough as it is to get students to pay full attention in class.

Another cause for concern is the Evidence (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2012, whereby Internet users can be held liable for any content posted through their registered networks or data processing device.

This may be far-fetched, but if a student posts a remark in a social network without realising its impact, who is responsible?

The child, the parent or the school administration?

After all, the IP address is the school.

Some may argue that we are living in a world of technology and should embrace it.

I say we do not need to arm our children with handphones and other IT gadgets.

We just need to equip schools with good IT labs.

After all, how many subjects in our school curriculum relate to IT?

Teachers can teach and check on students’ work online without our children carrying IT gadgets to school.

Students can get the website address from the teacher and do their homework at home online. No problem. No need for tablets, laptops etc.

This can be done if the education policy requires students to study via the Internet.

However, there are many places in Malaysia where the Internet is not available.

Therefore, we need to have the infrastructure in place before relaxing the rules; otherwise it’s like buying the furniture before getting the house.

Some say laptops and tablets will solve the heavy school bag problem.

The heavy bag problem can be solved by having lockers in classrooms.

Parents can pay a nominal rental fee for the lockers.

Embracing technology is good. We need to remember that the language of technology is English.

Embracing technology for Maths and Science is essential.

I have said it before and will say it again: We need to plan and should not just make changes or decisions due to pressure from a small group.

Otherwise, we will be making flip-flop decisions.

Let us first get our curriculum in place to cater for technology, and then decide how the technology can be used to enhance learning.

SARALA POOBALAN

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