Computers or Books?

Nisha George

  • What are the advantages of computers for children?
  • Is computer education for children a growing concern?
  • Which is the right age to get children started and what should be their minimum skills?

These are a few questions in the ongoing debate about what role technology should play in the classroom for pre-school children.

teacher's-diary

Over the past few years, computers have become vastly popular. Our children’s lives are already getting influenced by technology and this is just the beginning. We find computers in use everywhere. So parents and educators are in a dilemma whether their children should be allowed to handle computers and develop strong computer skills early in life.

Are we unconsciously forcing children to act like adults at an early age?

I think children at this age need human interaction. Children have to learn the basics of social behaviour, and therefore, the need for personal and social interaction. Children should go out to play and not be wired to a machine. Children explore and learn by building blocks, digging in sand boxes, drawing, playing and moulding clay, etc. These activities support the development of skills which include creative problem solving, co-related learning, conceptual learning, etc. Instead of encouraging such activities we are taking the easy way out by making three and four-year olds sit in front of a computer – a perfect baby sitter! We must ensure that electronic devices help and not hurt children. We want kids to be kids and learn to read, write and play and have a healthy childhood. Let us not expose such young and beautiful eyes to the strain and radiation of a computer, instead let’s give them a picture book or a story book and have indoor and outdoor games for them. As parents and teachers we are spending less quality time with our children by letting the computers parent them.

Computers are certainly the future, but old fashioned learning techniques should not be forgotten. A child needs to interact with other people and not learn everything from computers.

For children between two and five, overall growth and development must take place through outdoor and indoor play, through activities, picture talks, and stories. Therefore, let us ponder hard over whether computers should be allowed into young classrooms.

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