Thursday, 28 June 2012

Should schools replace books with computers?

Should schools replace books with computers? I think there should be a balance between both personally.

I think there is a need for both computers and books, so both should be taught.  If a school only relies upon books and handwriting alone there will be a lot of children growing up to be adults unable to use a computer properly, for the purpose of work that is as I can't imagine a world without computers in the future.  However, saying all of this, how are we to know what future computers will be like?  Will there be any need for even typing in the future? 

There is no doubt that computers are the future, but I would like to think that there will still be the personalised touch: hand-writing.  To me it would be like saying in the future there will be no such thing as art!  There is nothing nicer than recieving a handwritten letter or card from a friend or a member of the family; it seems so cold recieving a typed up letter that is supposed to be personal.

I also think that if we learn to be dependent on the computers and their artificial intelligence then we will become lazy ourselves.  I believe there will no longer be so many of us that can spell without a spell check or do sums without a calculator.  Our brain is a muscle after all, if you don't use a muscle it becomes weaker.  I and my children love the challenge of making and solving our own maths problems outside without even pen and paper, all because of the practise they have had at the table; it is a very rare occasion that the calculator will come out.

As a home educator, I like to teach my children both.   I type a lot myself, as I'm sure that is quite obvious, but I do like to write out my notes in pen.  I don't know what it is about writing by hand, but it's kind of relaxing I find.  I also find that holding a book and turning the pages is a really nice thing to do.  There is something a little magical lost from reading it on a screen.  Also with my visual stress I find the glare of a computer screen much more tiring.  Perhaps I'm just old skool, what are your views?


  1. Personally, I think there is room for both computer and hand written notes. I work in IT, if I write anything up I always type it. I rely on 'copy' and 'paste' to quickly move text from one window to another, quickly and efficiently...

    But if I want to think, if I want to work something out or try to visualise something new, in the first instance I will always reach for a piece of paper. I just find it easier to sketch out ideas, jot down notes, scribble around diagrams and collate lots of ideas on paper first. Once I've done so, I read through what I've got then pull it together, typing it into a computer and tidying up as I go.

    Most of my colleagues take the same approach.

    I think this parallels the differences in how we learn; some people need to use different media in different ways to record information. For me, being able to write, quickly and legibly is still a useful skill and I can't see this changing in the near future.

    On a similar note, I love books and reading. I own a kindle. I own lots of books. While I like my kindle and will happily read manuals on a computer for work, I prefer books and printed materials. I like the heft of them in my hand. I like flicking through a book rather than several computer screens. I like the ease with which I can mark a page and return to it, sometimes just remembering where it was rather than placing a marker of any kind. I like the fact I don't need to rely on electricity or batteries or any outside intervention. When researching, with a book you can have several books open in front of you, cross referencing between them. Try doing this on a computer and unless you have a lot of screen acreage, you'll find it difficult and confusing very quickly.

    Computer based reading matter is great and in some cases makes accessing information a lot easier, but to mind you just can't beat a good, old fashioned, physical book. :-)

    1. I do like how computers make life quicker and easier at times too Julie, that is all very true and I also completely agree with you that it is difficult to beat the good old fashion book :) x Thanks for commenting! :D x

  2. I'd definitely go for both too, Lisa. A pen and paper can be used instantly and in the dark and rain (altho results are variable). A keyboard makes things quicker and easier because you can edit your work. My latest technotoy is a pen that I can write with on special paper and then download into my computer. Only time will tell how well we get on together but I like having the best of both worlds.

    1. I like the idea of your pen Anne! Do please let me know how it goes, I would be most interested! x