Technology is part of our daily lives. Computers, mobile phones, TV, iPods – there are so many available tools I could make a huge list. So, let’s talk about computers and the internet. We use them to work, to study, to read books, to get to know people, to talk to our family and friends, to play games, to listen to music and so on. This week I came across an interesting video about children and students and the use digital media in learning. It asks “Are kids different because of digital media?”
Computers were not around when I was a child and though I liked video games (we had a Master System and I loved playing Alex Kidd) my brother and I played a lot of “real” games. We also studied by reading books and made friends the old fashioned way. I still love reading books and getting letters instead of emails –touching the paper feels amazing and cannot be compared to looking at a screen. On the other hand, the way children and teenagers make of technology nowadays can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. One girl featured in the aforementioned video says “books are not the standard thing for learning anymore” and she’s right.
Schools should prepare themselves to deal with the use of technology by their students and try to bring it to the learning environment. The internet itself can be considered a great informal learning environment. Blogging, e-mailing, playing games, when used properly and cleverly, can enhance the learning experience. To deal with so much information kids have to be multitasking, think fast and make decisions. But how is it possible to go from just playing games to learning from them?
Students should be stimulated to reflect on what they are doing, how they are doing it and the results achieved with their actions. Teachers should try to arouse their curiosity, allow problem-solving and critical-thinking situations, motivating students in order to see beyond the game and use it for learning.
The use of technology empowers students by engaging them in the learning process. They are familiarized with technology and therefore learn through it, which brings reality into their studies and makes learning much more meaningful.