Laptops in the classroom

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Am I the only one wondering why in North America, we still don’t use laptops in our classrooms ? I’m not even talking about early elementary school, but common, high school students are still expected to write everything with a pen and paper ? Worse yet, even some colleges and universities aren’t encouraging the use of laptops ?

We’re being embarrassed on the international stage. It’s been almost a decade since South Korean schools (elementary schools included) started adopting practices and policies that had every student working with a laptop on their desk. By the year 2015, South Korea plans to digitize 100% of the classroom. Read that again: no more physical textbooks. OK, so South Korea is ahead of the norm, but none the less, a lot of western and eastern European countries are requiring laptop use for high school students, and it’s being promoted more and more in the earlier years.

Many people don’t like the change. They think in a traditionalist sense. They like that kids are required to learn how to physically write, even handwrite. But let’s be serious here and ask some tough questions. Are we adequately preparing our children for their future lives and careers ? I’ll offer some disclosure here, yes, I am a technologist. I work with computers and systems day in and day out. More so than the average person. None the less, I can tell you that in the last 12 months combined, I have not written, as in hand printed, a full page of paper. I can’t remember the last time I wrote more than 3 sentences at any one time. 95% of my writing goes on Post-It notes which wind up stuck on my monitor, a failsafe ‘to-do reminder’ so to speak. But even those of us who aren’t technologists aren’t writing much by hand these days. For example, no one I know has a hand written ‘grocery list’ anymore. Everyone puts their needs in their smartphones.

As a society, we need to wake up and make sure we’re teaching our youth what they need to know to be successful in life. We could talk about the education system’s curriculum, which is a completely different topic which will have to wait for another post, but we really need to look at some fundamental changes like incorporating technology into our student’s learning. Keeping it away from them is just bad practice, and doesn’t give them any of the skills they need to be successful in the real world. In a day and age when we have unprecedented globalization of economies and business, we simply can’t afford to lag behind the rest of the world.


Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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  1. Aaron Whitcomb June 18, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Regarding technology leaving education in the dust, one reason maybe the, unspoken, rivalry between the public and private sector. Us Americans love rivalry and to question EVERYTHING.

    Over in Asia, there is less of that and much more focus on “The Group” and the bettering of it, so if something has proven itself then it will be used in all its glory to better the group such as Martin’s example of computers in the Korean classroom above. Whereas in America, everyone has their own stubborn opinions and, in this case, is hurting the kids. Thanks for your thoughts, Martin, keep geek’n out.

  2. ebey June 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Besides the content in laptop..or electronic devices there’s lots of distractions.For..subjects like math..face it bro…never!!!
    If u talk about montitering content in these devices…it too my college know that they have to ban library… Until then..only YouTube and MySpace..were there…and people teaching..good ones at far as I know are old people…they won’t like it…I donno..probably…never…or far future…

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