Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

In response to Michele Whiting’s response “Technology can help students” to my Letter to the Editor “Crimes of technology”.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

There is no empirical evidence that shows computers enhance learning, and mounting evidence that they don’t, yet school systems throughout North America are investing heavily in their use. Teachers are becoming a remnant of the past, rapidly being replaced by TeacherMates and XO’s, but at what cost? We don’t know, and that’s the problem. Technology is invading home, school and work spheres at a rapid pace, without necessary empirical data to guide application. Studies show screen reading results in poorer retention, comprehension and increased distractibility over book reading (Mangen 2008). High speed technology is hard wiring children’s neurology to use short distance tracks, not long distance tracks to the frontal lobe (Small G 2008), a favored brain structure for learning due to its role in impulse control and executive function. Tossing the baby out with the bath water, educators in primary school settings have reduced teaching printing to a mere 10 minutes per day (Graham S 2008), assuming computers will replace the need to print. Yet these same educators grade children based on their printing output! Math, spelling, sentence production, and short answer fill-in, all require printing skill. Technology is raising our children to be illiterate, delayed in development, obese, detached from humanity, mentally ill, unable to socialize verbally with their peers, aggressive, lacking in empathy, and unable to pay attention or control their impulses (www.zonein.ca Fact Sheet). The fact that these children might be advanced in certain aspects of cognition is a paltry consolation. Encouraging children to detach from humanity and attach to devices will result in dire consequences, and raises the question “Will children of the 21st century be sustainable”?

Cris Rowan, Occupational Therapist

6840 Seaview Rd.

Sechelt, BC V0N3A4