TED Conversations

Student , Gimnasio La Montaña

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What is the role of computers in the classroom?

We live in a digital world, where the apparent importance of computers appears to grow exponentially. Now, this growing trend has permeated a fundamental sector in our society. That is education. I have seen, and this is only my own perception, that we have blindedlessly accepted the fact that through technology, and more especifically, with the use of computers, education will improve substantially. But, will it, really? I think it´s especially important to have a debate over such topic, in a moment where the investment in technology in education grows very fast.

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    Nov 25 2013: Santiago, There are many dangers associated with this. A simple comparison would be the difference of reading a book and seeing a movie. When I read a book I set a great force of imagination into motion. By the writers words I see a person, house, farm, emotions, torment of the soul, love, etc ... these are mine and personal. When I go to a movie I see what someone else wants me to see and do not have the wonderful adventure for myself.

    Computers and calculators are wonderful tools .... but are just that. tools. I want the foundation of how to properly operate that tool. A calculator is a great tool. But if I do not know what to enter how will I know the answer or if it is correct. Do you want me to operate on you just trusting the tools?

    Computers have limited use in the classroom .... until the instructor has proven the student has the base knowledge to understand and use the computer as a tool and not as a crutch ... then it should not be allowed.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Nov 25 2013: To give students a fascinating world of visuals to complement their learning. To motivate students to research, to have the possibility to sense how much it is there for learn and how accessible it can be for them. A classroom with computers it is inclusive, allows more participation from students with disabilities. It is one of the greatest tool available for teachers!
  • Nov 21 2013: I think computers should be viewed as a tool but a very important tool which could change how we teach, i.e. flipping the class from lectures to working problems - teachers becoming mentors and tutors rather than lecturers.
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    Nov 20 2013: In my opinion(and truly it is only that) most individuals copy in the beginning,,,I believe points of view in the past where often more narrow,more controlled then now...so individuals had less ability to think outside a box they were often unaware of ..sure Galilao,Einstein,Leonardo...they were exceptional...and these types of individuals exist in all cultures..but they are the exception...most individuals are not able for numerous reasons to think anew,,,most just remake the +wheel+ Plus society often demands parallel thinking as it is concerned with its own peculiar editingof itself..and often dismisses or condems those who dare to redesign ...However with the internet there is now no limitation on design...somewhere someone will see your point of view or encourage a test run of a design...and now I can use concepts from around the world..eventually boundaries disappear...inividuals collaborate with one another to confirm concepts...before someone designed things that already existed elsewhere and faced failure,while in another community it would be welcome.Why dont you encourage your students to look up obscure knowledge if you wish to stimulate them to think outside the box...I could list thousands of ideas for little known concepts that stand the test of time and often beat the current socia economic suicide we currently are stuck to...if you ask a traditional question with a narrow search answer..you will get narrow answers..ask an exciting question LIKE what ancient city produced no garbadge,allowed women to be warriors and built their homes so the rooftops were the social gathering places....or do plants communicate?, or is there really any physical matter in the universe ultimately...these answers will never fail to amaze
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    Nov 20 2013: the hardest thing in the world is to know thyself and it would be impossible to find that answer on the net..or what is love or define happiness...no the internet has imformation...but in itself cannot be a guide for the search for the self...that will always take creativity where after studying all the options you see yourself emerge ..but intially it takes research..creativity is a fusion between what has been already done and problem solving in real time. Plus creativity is a skill like singing...some will have an natural talent which was not taught and others will study it and never quite achieve the synthesis....Are you yourself creative?
    • Nov 20 2013: I do think we are all born creative. And although I agree with you when you say that the hardest things in the world cannot be found online, I think that those things are not the only ones worth being creative about. For example, you have a student that has to be able to solve several problems, but he can find those answers in Yahoo or Google. IS that real learning?
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    Nov 19 2013: I see computers in the classroom as a tool for complex thinking and democracy...it would allow students to check up the official history being taught to them,get the latest science truisms,be able to study additional information to fill in the holes teachers accidentally leave on subjects and it provides a global eye view of the future which may be an outdated mode of thought with our collective worldly concerns...this does not mean suddenly the family unit has microwaved dinners exclusively....so dont worry...Im talking to you across the world and now we are friends......so its not all bad
    • Nov 19 2013: So it´s not all bad... TED is a proof of that. But, what if letting students use the internet to find quick answers to interesting and difficult questions makes them lose their creativiy. I mean, instead of searching for an answer for oneself, and thinking and having ideas, and realizing of errors, and so on; one just can look the easy answer in the internet. Isn´t that risky? Aren´t we educating students out of their originality and creativity with computers?
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        Nov 20 2013: I agree, Santiago, that there is a risk in this.