COMMENTARY The Effects of Computers on Education Thursday, March 22, 2007 By Joseph Bonsu-Akoto PhD DBA CA Education has been identified as a strategic resource in helping a nation to reduce their dependence on foreign professionals. Educators and economists have not always recognized the close relationship between their disciplines. But now, as reported in The Economist: “All over the world educational achievement and economic success are clearly linked – the struggle to raise the nation’s living standards fought first and foremost in the classroom.
Certainly, no one any longer needs convincing that education matters. The new jobs in tomorrow’s industries, in manufacturing and services alike will require workers that are literate, numerate, adaptable, and trainable – in a word, educated”. A country that strives to produce educational services is constantly increasing the range of economic productivity and affluence for itself. In recent years, a global consensus has emerged on the importance of investing in human capital, which is viewed as an essential part of efforts to raise incomes and achieve sustained economic growth.
The pace of changing technology, economic reforms, and the rapid increase in knowledge have brought about more frequent job changes in the lives of individuals. This has created two key priorities for education: it must meet economic needs by meeting demands for adaptable workers who can readily acquire new skills, and it must support the continued expansion. Economists view education as a sound investment. For individuals and families, education increases income, improves health and reduces fertility rate.
For society as a whole, investing in education raises per-capita income and production Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reduces poverty as well a crime, and supports the expansion of knowledge. On the business side, they view education as important too. Many businesses will locate to the areas that have high-quality education. Location economics seems to be emphasizing the human component, according to Schonberger. Nevertheless, the effect of computers on education is the theme of this commentary.
Alliance for Childhood, believes that there are three fundamental beliefs and concerns: Childhood is a critical phase of life and must be protected to be fully experienced. It should not be hurried. Moreover, each child deserves deep respect as an individual. Each needs help in developing his or her own unique capacities and in finding ways to weave them into a healthy social fabric. Children today are under tremendous stress and suffer increasingly from illnesses such as allergies and asthma, hyperactive disorders, depression, and autism.
To Alliance, computers are reshaping children’s lives at home and at school, in profound and unexpected ways. They continued: Common sense suggests that we consider the potential harm, as well as the promised benefits, of this change. Computers pose serious health to children. The risks include repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain, obesity, social isolation, and, for some, long term physical, emotional, or intellectual developmental damage.
Our children, the Surgeon General warns, are the most sedentary generation ever. Will they thrive spending even more time staring at screens? Children need stronger personal bonds with caring adults. Yet powerful technologies are distracting children and adults from each other. Children also need time for active, physical play; hands-on lessons of all kinds, especially in the arts; and direct experience of the natural world. Research shows these are not frills but are essential for healthy child development.
Yet many schools have cut already minimal offerings in these areas to shift time and money to expensive, unproven technology. The emphasis on technology is diverting us from the urgent social and educational needs of low-income children. Massachusett Institute of Technology (M. l. T. ) Professor Sherry Turkle has asked: “Are we using computer technology not because it teaches best but because we have lost the political will to fund education adequately? ”