Computers & Literacy by Michael Callanan

Lucky for me, if Radio National has an episode with Education and/or ICT content I can alway count on my Mum & Dad to have heard it and then pass the link on to me!  🙂

Here it is: Radio National: Ockham’s Razor – Computers & Literacy

This particular speech is by Michael Callanan (a Brisbane Secondary teacher) talking about the possible impact on literacy by computers in Education.  Unfortunately, I found this to be over-the-top negative regarding computers and takes a while before Michael acknowledges that there are other issues regarding the decline in literacy.  He sees computers as “fetish objects” and seems to have a very limited view of using a computer for “socialising and entertainment”.  The thing that bugs me is the negative tone that is used.  Michael does eventually point out that it’s the pedagogy that has failed and I think this SHOULD be discussed more.  “Embedding” and “enriching” learning by including ICTs in a teacher’s pedagogy is what I’m learning at University and what current teachers are learning NOW.  The problem that I see is NOT the computers but the lack of professional support for teachers (lack of money & time).

In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer that simply giving every student a laptop is probably not going to increase their literacy or enhance their education; yeah I agree, that’s pretty “starry-eyed”.  I actually blogged about a similar idea in a previous post – Throwing technology @ Education is not always a good thing.   I don’t understand why some people/teachers have to take a “side”, it doesn’t have to be such a black/white issue.  It’s not about whether we should have computers in the classroom or not.  The discussion should be about HOW TO use computers to enhance learning, sometimes there are great ways to embed ICTs and sometimes it’s simply best not to use a computer.  But there should be a CHOICE and the well-trained teacher will be better able to identify when and how to embed ICTs in the classroom.

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