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Economics

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Computers: Why do we have them in schools?

I realise that this may seem like a stupid question, but if you really think about it, it's far from stupid. Another problem which has caught my attention is that apart from a bit of research and Microsoft  office, the usage of computers in school are pretty unproductive.
Sugata Mitra was recently awarded the TED prize of $1 million to build a school in the cloud (to find out more about that, click here). The reason that I mention him is that in one of his experiments, he put a computer in a hole to allow children from slums to use it. With no prior knowledge or any help, the children were able to browse the internet. Mitra took his experiment to rural India to check whether his results were valid. Children were given the task of learning DNA replication. A topic which you would cover in university, were being covered by 12 year olds with little knowledge of biology and chemistry. The brilliant part about this was that the work was all written in english and in order to understand the work, the children had to learn english.


I've made my previous paragraph rather long to make one small point. The children in India taught themselves. The experiment also shows us how important computers truly are. Just imagine if every child had access to a computer. Who knows what the world would look like.

In British schools, the kids are not willing to teach themselves. They all want to be spoon fed, and that is what they are getting. You can constantly hear the students complaining that their teachers are terrible. Terrible they may be, but that is no reason to fail. You cannot allow yourself to fail simply because you didn't get the best help. The best help out there is helping yourself!

There are a numerous amount of resources out there on the cloud and I personally feel that it is not being utilised as much as it should be. This is frankly rather disappointing. Hundreds of computers in my school live life everyday carrying out tedious tasks such as checking email, browsing the internet and running Microsoft Office. There are many online courses, videos and games which are all of use to us, and yet we don't actually use them. Something needs to be done about this. We need to move away from the traditional pen and paper and allow ourselves to immerse into the cloud.

Slightly rambly and extreme generalisation. Other than that, hope you liked it,
Rishabh Malu