We don’t have computers at school…

I came across this article in a local community newspaper at the weekend. I have blurred the details of the school but have highlighted the most interesting part for me.

My first thought was, “Yikes! How can a school have such an opposing philosophy on learning in the 21st century than my own?”

The school’s own website (does not seem to have been updated since 2005) states:

We do not have computers in the school for use by pupils.

Then continues:

We believe that the human relationship between teacher and child is the key to healthy learning. Only another human being can respond to expressed interest, fire with enthusiasm, and lead by example.

I have no arguments with those concepts!

Older pupils in the upper school however, not only have access to computers, but are encouraged to use them. Many pupils use the Internet to research Main Lesson topics, and several have had success with web page design. Computing is a useful skill, which can be picked up quickly when it is needed. The life skills that we teach here – social, artistic and intellectual – cannot be so easily assimilated and are vital for a fulfilling life.

I am a little confused now. Do they use computers or not? If not, is it really because, as suggested in the article,

…we don’t think computer literacy is a skill that takes seven years to learn.

Woah there! Computer literacy is forever changing, sometimes on a daily and certainly a weekly basis. Take the release of the iPhone 3G this week. The incredible capability of this and other smart phones has pushed the boundaries of computer literacy to different levels and meaning. What about the continual development in Web 2.0 tools? A site I subscribe to has countless new tools or sites to look at every week.

Are we preparing our students for life in the 21st century if we deliberately plan not to include computers in our learning? I think not.

By the way, could you live without a screen for a month?

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