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Gingersnap
11-23-2009, 04:57 PM
Brain boffin calls for schools to get back to books
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By Nigel Constantine
Friday, 20 November 2009 04:03

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A brain expert says that concentration on computers in schools is a waste of time and money and has called for a return to books.

Edinburgh University brain scientist Professor Sergio Della Sala has dismissed a claim that computer games consoles can improve pupils' maths ability and said that pupils' performance was just as good when using traditional textbooks.

Governments all over the world have been falling over themselves to use computers in lessons, particularly in math classes, because of a myth that they help a child learn.

However, Professor Della Sala told Scotland's headteachers at their annual conference that research shows that when pupils in a school use a games console, after ten weeks they become a bit better at math. However, the same applied to the students who did not use the console.

He said that teachers who are bombarded with these new flim-flam initiatives about how they should improve their teaching is they are good professionals, they should resist.

Della Sala said that the study shows there is no advantage, so why should we spend money on finding out more rather than spending money on good teaching and good learning?"

Printed books were first developed in the 16th century as a non interactive format long term storage device. They have been being progressively replaced by interactive electronic formats which last five minutes.

Actually, books were first developed as an ultra cheap and "open source" alternative to laborious and error-riddled hand-written manuscripts. If the writer had read more books as a kid, he'd know that.

The boffin probably has a point. Books require sustained attention and the ability to recall previously read material. This comes in mighty handy during that whole "learning process" thingy.

I can tell the difference between kids who read actual books a lot and kids who read primarily on the Internet. The book kids have better concentration and focus and are more likely to retain a previously read factoid without a lot of repetition (after a certain age, I mean).

It's easy to learn how navigate a variety of sites and construct meaningful searches (although of kids can't do that). It takes some skill-building to decode books. Those skills can be applied to a lot of non-book situations. Surfing skills aren't very useful outside of surfing situations.

Tech Gen (http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-features/44746-nigel-constantine)