Don’t Rely Exclusively On Computer Technology

I have been using computers ever since the fourth grade when the elementary school I was going to had us use Macintosh computers, and I did not know how to type until the seventh grade when I took a keyboarding class. Computer technology is a great tool because it makes life much easier and more efficient, but it has some negative side effects as well. People don’t use proper skills with the use of computer technology. They feel it’s not even necessary to have certain skills. Computer technology hinders the learning process because it makes everything people do much simpler. Computer technology does not allow people to use basic fundamentals that one should know, does not allow people to use proper social skills, and some teachers would let the computer do the teaching instead.

One way computer technology hinders the learning process is that computer technology does not allow people to use basic fundamentals that everybody should know. Computers give out the answers to problems quicker than the speed of light without having to do much thinking. One example is with the use of calculators. One can input math calculations and not learn basic math skills. When people use a calculator, they do not learn why the calculator came up with the answer. Due to this fact, stores close down when electricity goes out because cashiers don’t have basic adding and subtracting skills because they have not learned them. Additionally, GPSs are a very useful tool because they can easily help you navigate in unfamiliar places, however they aren’t always reliable. It might guide you off a cliff sometimes or make you take an illegal U-Turn like one made me do once when I was driving in Springfield, Missouri. One should still know how to read and understand a compass or a map. When I was in boy scouts, I was taught how to read a compass and how to find my way by the moss on the trees. I am not too sure what is taught in boy scouts anymore since I haven’t been in scouts since the seventh grade; however, to mark the boy scouts 100th anniversary two years ago, there were some things mentioned on the news about the boy scouts. One was that they were teaching the kids how to use a GPS. The GPS is not a tool the scouts should be taught because they should be taught strictly survival skills. Additionally, word processing software is also a great tool to use, however people don’t learn proper penmanship, grammar or spelling skills using it. I personally never developed my penmanship skills and I do feel it is because I never was taught how, and I do get embarrassed at times about how bad my penmanship is. I am a decent speller, but when I make a spelling error my word processing software tells me, and if I make a grammatical error it tells me than as well. Another basic fundamental we should have that computer technology hinders the learning process of is research. With the invention of the search engine people don’t use proper research skills. One just types in the topic they are looking for and several links are than provided with their answer. I was taught how to use the Dewey decimal system and how to read a card catalog while I was in elementary school, so that I can find books in the library on any topic it had available. I was also taught how to find things in the dictionary or encyclopedia which also isn’t necessary to know with the search engine.

Another way computer technology hinders the learning process is it does not allow people to use proper social skills. While taking some online courses can be a good thing in this busy environment we live in, students don’t interact in person with other students or their teachers to learn the material. Sometimes all you will learn is what is mentioned in a book but you will not see how something is to be done. Another example is instead of calling or meeting other students or teachers, some students would much rather text or email their fellow students or teachers. While this is good so you can see what the other person is saying, you can’t read the other person’s emotions or see how the work is to be done. If technology were to fail, people should have a place to meet in person to communicate. Also, with the invention of the social network people have started developing fake identities and creating fake personalities. This can be positive on a creative scale, however if you’re doing this when you aren’t comfortable with yourself it can have a negative side effect. According to Sherry Tuckle’s essay, How Computers Changed The Way We Think “Information Technology has made it possible for lonely people who are afraid of intimacy to have the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” I am more comfortable talking to people online than I am offline because I find it easier to talk to people through a computer than I do in person.

Finally, computer technology hinders the learning process because some teachers have grown accustomed to allowing the computer to do the teaching instead. One example is PowerPoint presentations. They are a wonderful tool but should be used sparingly. Elementary age kids are attracted to very neat things and therefore should not be shown PowerPoint at such a young age because of the bells and whistles the PowerPoint presentations have. During my first semester in college I had to make a PowerPoint presentation for the first time and I was amazed at all the different things you can put into them: videos, graphics, and audio included. I have also heard of some teachers who teach just by PowerPoint and for hands-on learners this is not good. I am a hands-on learner; I am also a visual learner. I have found that when I actually “do” the work I can learn better. Another example is online videos. Some teachers have gotten to where they show mainly online videos in their classrooms. This is a great tool but also should be used sparingly because of the students who learn hands-on. A final example is that some teachers don’t even teach at all and just give out the assignments and expect you to figure out how to do the work instead. This is a major downside to taking online courses. I took an online course last semester, and I took my time on the course. The required assignments were taken right out of the book. The book was interesting, and I learned a few things from reading it, however I don’t feel I learned anything extra by taking the class itself.

Computer technology is a great asset to mankind and it can be a great educational tool, however it does hinder the learning process and should be used wisely. People should use it as the helpful tool that it is but not let it control everything. People should still know and use the basic fundamentals and survival skills in case computer technology was to crash. Mankind also shouldn’t teach young children how useful computer technology is neither. When we do teach them we should also teach them that it shouldn’t be used exclusively and that we should still use our brains. People have taken computer technology for granted. One day the power will go out permanently and computer technology will crash. What will mankind do if that were to happen and we relied exclusively on computer technology?

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