Put computers to work for kids

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 06/14/2005 - 01:35.

An unexpected gem of an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer observes "more than two-thirds of pre-school students use computers". "Education must evolve along with the rest of society" - "pre-schoolers who use computers at school regularly make greater gains than those without such technology." "The challenge for community leaders is to ensure that the advantages of the digital age reach all young people, including those of modest means." Read on below...


The Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial - Monday, June 13, 2005

A new report from the federal govern ment finds more than two-thirds of pre school students use computers - and a quarter of them access the Internet.

Think about it: the majority of 3- and 4-year-olds are fully comfortable with technology before they set foot in a traditional classroom. Yet the adults who lead those classrooms have hardly begun to grapple with the implications. Textbook spending is booming, and classrooms still sport chalkboards. Computers, though certainly present, often are used for the same kinds of drills previously done by hand.

Education must evolve along with the rest of society, or it will find society's leaders seeking new ways to learn. Initial studies find that preschoolers who use computers at school regularly make greater gains than those without such technology. As these students reach adolescence, scholars report, they become increasingly impatient with what they perceive as obsolete approaches to teaching.

The challenge for educators is not to resist or bemoan this cultural shift, but respond to it. The challenge for community leaders is to ensure that the advantages of the digital age reach all young people, including those of modest means. Meeting those challenges will be neither easy nor inexpensive. But the regions that thrive in the coming decades will be those whose residents recognize that this investment is one they cannot afford to miss.