Yesterday, we reported that 7,000 students in Florida were currently enrolled in an e-learning classroom, where a teacher wasn't required, if not needed at all, and learned core lessons from a computer. We've seen how education departments trying to save money have turned to robots to help in any way they can. And, further back, we've seen how the iPad was being made part of lesson plans in some schools. The "negatives" of these changes are obvious, but new research may show us, bluntly, why this future may not be the best for our kids.
The research was conducted within the University of Southern California. The gist of the study was to see how kids are in today's world. Comparing their usage of technological devices, versus how they interact with one another, and more importantly, how they go about handling normal, day-to-day actions. Unfortunately, the research doesn't paint a good light for the future generation. The researchers suggest that kids are now being taught how to interact with the world virtually, but in the process they are losing how to do simple tasks. Like tie their shoes.
Some of the results include: two-thirds of kids part of the research could use a computer just fine, but only one-third could write their first and last name with a writing utensil. 73% can use a mouse without effort, but only 11 percent can tie their shoes. And, one-in-five know how to use an iPad skillfully, but 48 percent don't know their own home address.
The argument that these kids are simply learning how to interact with the world in a new fashion, so that they can be successful, seems misguided. Yes, it is a good thing that these kids can use an iPad, a computer, and a mouse. Yes, it's a good thing that they can email one another, tweet about their (non-existent) classes, or even text message all day. But, if they can't tie their shoe, something is obviously missing out of the equation.
Perhaps putting teachers back into classrooms, and finding a happy medium to the way that kids interact with technology, from computers to videogames to whatever else, is something that the world needs to strive for. Technology is something that needs to be part of their lives, our lives, but we need to define a line where a student, a child, can understand the usage of an iPad, but can't tie their shoe. We need to define that line, and draw it in something a bit more permanent than just the sand.