Why using the Computer in Excess Hinders Learning

With the introduction of new and ever improving technologies, it is commonplace for people to use ICT in their everyday lives. The television, mobile phones, computers and the Internet are all technologies that have been devised to enhance and simplify people’s day-to-day lives. Educational settings have also benefited from these technological advancements with students having the benefits of a wide range of facilities available to them with the purpose of aiding their learning and allowing them to reach their full educational potential. However, the use of computers in education has also had some negative impacts on students learning.

Spelling

The spell-check facility that is available on most computers has been a major advantage to many students, particularly those who have poor literacy skills. However, it is also responsible for the deterioration of people’s spelling ability. Students no longer have to think about how to spell words as the computer does it for them. A further disadvantage of a similar nature is that is a word is spelt incorrectly the computer offers the closest possible replacements. These do not always include the actual word that the student was initially attempting to spell.

Handwriting

An increased use of computers in the classroom has led to students having fewer opportunities to handwrite work in the traditional way. In turn, this has led to a deterioration in their handwriting. This means that their handwriting becomes untidier and less likely that people will be able to read it. This has implications both for day-to-day life and for handwritten examinations in the future.

Research

The ability to research subjects is a skill in itself. Computers provide students with access to the Internet and there are many advantages to researching a topic this way. However, it removes a natural part of the research process as it can lead directly to the answer rather than helping them find out additional information, looking at processes and providing extended learning opportunities that would occur when researching subjects in more traditional ways.

Thought processes

When learning students utilize various cognitive processes including logical thinking, memory and rational thought. The use of computers limits the cognitive processes that students go through when they are learning. One of the main reasons for this is that the Internet provides direct answers with little thought from the student. Similarly, word processor functions prevent them from using their basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Distractions

There are also some that would argue that computers are a distraction in the classroom. They can remove the focus from learning activities by providing students with the opportunity to play games and use social networking sites. To counteract this problem many schools block students’ access to sites that provide these services.

Although the use of computers in educational settings has brought about many benefits to both teachers and students alike, there have also been negative implications of their use. These negative effects have included poorer spelling, illegible handwriting, inability to research independently, distraction from learning and a reduction in students using their own cognitive processes to arrive at the correct answer.