Topic suggestion: Computers and Education

What is the proper place of computers or devices in the educational system? Should they be used for every topic or class? Or should they be limited to computer labs? Has the use of computer devices helped or hindered? Many schools have eliminated very useful classes, such as writing. Is the use computer devices a reason?

An impetus for my questions here were in this article I had read:


This is an interesting question. I certainly don’t think that computers should be limited to the computer lab but they are used more than they should be. To clarify here by computer I do not just mean traditional desktops and laptops but would extend this to include tablets and smart phones too.

One issue I have here is schools often push particular hardware or software; for example my daughters high school used apps to help teach a variety of subjects but in order to access these you needed an iPad or an iPhone. In class this wasn’t an issue as there were a number of iPads available for student use but if a child had struggled with the class and wanted to go over the work at home they were at a disadvantage if there wasn’t one of these devices in the home. Many subjects required essays to be submitted as a word document or require some other particular piece of software. This may be fine if you can afford it but is, again, a tremendous disadvantage for some.

I know a lot of people who struggled writing essays for their exams for two reasons: (1) The couldn’t spell because of an over reliance on the spell checker in the word processor they used and (2) They often could not write in a linear fashion. Many people now do not think think what they want to say and write a beginning, middle and end but start somewhere else they may for example start with a conclusion, add a middle to justify it then add a beginning to explain the aims of the essay and define the terms of reference. This is easy in a decent word processor such as Writer or Word but impossible to do in a sensible amount of time with pen and paper.

Certain subjects such as Maths and English (or whatever your first language is) should use computers very little if at all and with the possible exception of Computer Science accept course work written out long-hand.

I also believe that there should be more of an effort on understanding the basics and have a greater emphasis on coding as it helps people to learn to consider all cases and plan appropriately.


I think computers are there for people, like me, who don’t get along with the traditional classroom setting.

In that I mean - if there’s a way to learn Italian through DuoLingo on a chromebook, then what’s stopping you ?

1 Like

There are always exceptions and I can be grateful that ones, like yourself, can use devices for education. The question I have in mind is for general education and the proper place for computer devices there.

Another aspect of the issue is home schooling. How practical would home schooling be without computer devices today? It has been done for decades without, but would access to home schooling be the same as it is today?

@oldgeek Well as far as home schooling (I guess) kids aren’t really a domain that I’m used to.

However I think that a mycroft-mini for kids would’ve worked well.

But, the question now seems - in terms of PG computing: Are they are questions that should’ve be contemplated when using a (hypothetical) mycroft-mini ?

perhaps Stallman would disagree, but some parents might seem uneasy with a totally switched-on 8 year old.

I forget what that parental guidance software was called that excludes certain websites, but maybe certain keywords/buzzwords would be filtered towards more ‘child-friendly’ results - or am I just listening to the BBC too much ?

Because that’s basically what the BBC does - and I could see this being applicable to an Beeb-micro application in the not-too-distant-future.

Also watching this old video - I fail to see the distinction between user group support (generally) as a space for children to go and learn programming & the place of primary education that you put them in ?

Most computers are used at away from school anyway.

I am not saying that schools don’t need IT for students, but ethically - these services are best found with LUGs providing space (and work) for the likes of AdvECDL etc.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.