Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Computers are like cars

I have been reading some blogs where I find myself leaving comments comparing computers to cars so much that I’ve decided to write my own post about it. One blog, Je Pense wrote a post called Brick Wall that had me thinking about computers for children living in poverty.

Using computers is a lot like driving a car. We can teach students how to use a computer just like we can teach them to drive a car. But where they go once they learn how to drive is up to them unless you set limits on them. If students use computers in school, you give them direction and set limits just like driving a car in the parking lot that has speed limits and certain directions. Cars can go to inappropriate places just like computers can go to inappropriate website but as teachers, we need to teach students what is appropriate and what isn’t. Peer pressure can cause students to drive over the speed limit or even recklessly and it can also cause students to use the computer inappropriately.

The post Brick Wall says we need to make sure that we meet the student’s immediate physical needs before we teach them about technology. This made me think about how do we meet student’s needs when they do not have computers? Again, I compare this to cars. People who do have cars may have different kinds of cars just like people will have different kinds of computers. Some cars will be bigger or better and have different accessories which can also apply to computers. Not everyone has cars and governments accommodate this by offering alternative options for transportation like buses. Many cities even offer special buses for the disabled to use. Not everyone has computers but I think schools and cities make accommodations for this also. Many schools have computer labs or have computers that students could use. When I traveled before I had wifi or a laptop, I was able to go to the public libraries and use the computers there. In November when my father had his stroke, I had a laptop but no wifi connection so we were able to go to the public library to do research and check email when I had a break.

I’m agree that we should meet a student’s physical needs before technology needs but we also need to make sure we teach students about the alternatives out there if they do not have a computer. Just because they do not have money for a computer should not keep them away from one. We should also make sure that parents are aware of these alternatives and encourage them to make use of their public libraries so their children can be more successful in school and society in the future.

Photo credit: Belmont Library Regular Computer Lab by Librarian in Black


Bill Gaskins said...

This is a post to bookmark. I like the metaphor you used throughout the post. We definitely need to equip kids of poverty with cars and get the teachers learning beside them in our classrooms.


loonyhiker said...

Glad you enjoyed it. For some reason the computer and car connection stuck in my head and wouldn't let go.

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