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2019: Community Activism, Education & More

January 25, 2019

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Growing up with or without Technology

February 5, 2019


I like to think that I am one of the lucky ones. My father taught computers at the local community college at a time where computers were elite, mysterious devices. I was 5 when we got our first PC at home. My brothers and I spent hours playing games like Droll and Oregon Trail.


I grew up with access to computers and with parents who encouraged us to learn how to fulfil our educational needs by researching answers to our own questions(we had encyclopaedias). As a result, I am extremely tech savvy. I’ve built my own websites and have fixed my computer,  Not because I ever took a coding class, or ever even pursued computers as an interest, but because my parents taught me that with the correct mixture of technology and intrinsic desire, very much is possible. 


Even as I look at myself as a model of success for the digital age, I still feel very hesitant about its application within the classroom. I work as a primary school teacher, and I just don’t really feel that up until the age of 10, approximately fourth grade, there is no major bonus pedagogical advantage of having technology in the space.  I align a lot with the principle shown in the videos of Kamori school in this sense. I want children to be empowered learners through self, and having a firm grasp on their intrinsic motivation before I introduce them to electronic devices, as a way to assist their learning process.  


I do believe that older students, such as the high school aged students from the videos of the Northern Beaches Christian School, do benefit intensely from learning how to work with technology and music within the classroom. The future will surely will hold lots of advantages for those who learn enough technology to be able to produce their own beats and mix record their own albums. 


That being said, all of this up until know has been my own personal beliefs, based on my personal experiences. 


The research is pretty clear: computers in classrooms have a negative effect. A 2017 Study done at West Point Military Academy showed students who had access to computers in class, even with strict limitations, scored 1/5 lower than the average in final exams.(1)


“A study by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, published in 2014, found that students who took notes on a computer tended to copy down what they heard verbatim, without engaging in the deeper processing required for conceptual learning. On subsequent tests, students who had taken notes by hand outperformed those who used computers.” (NPR,  “Is it time to ban computers from classrooms?”)(2)


As technology becomes more intertwined with our day to day lives, it is harder to get students to separate their usage of it efficiently into work and play. 


All of this brings me to the “The greatest Kindergarten” in the world, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka in Japan, and described  in his Ted Talk: “This is the best Kindergarten you’ve ever seen.”(3)  The school is giant donut shaped building with kids being able to play on the completely exposed top level, and learn on the bottom. There is no access to technology,  just teachers and other children, nature and the sense of freedom.  Give kids the physical freedom to move in the world, and teach them to be responsible within their social environment before you give them “digital freedom.” 


Without this important distinction, the world become endlessly full of negative distractions. 


(1)Should Professors Ban Laptops?

How classroom computer use affects student learning


(2)The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking Pam A. Mueller, Daniel M. Oppenheimer https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797614524581

(3). This is the best Kindergarten you have ever seen.

Takaharu Zezuka


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