Experts say the increasing reliance of laptop computers in schools is 'seducing' students into bad habits because of the internet's ability to distract them from class work. Paul Murray spoke to educational author Kevin Donnelly about the problems with laptop taking over from desktop.
An email from a listener to the Morning program addressed some of the problems experienced in the schoolroom by teachers battling the misuse of laptops.
Read Jo's email below.
So glad you are speaking about this issue. After recently going back to teaching as a relief teacher in a secondary school I have seen first hand the problems that these laptops have created.
The school I was at would be considered a very difficult one with low achieving students. I found the laptops made my job extremely difficult as almost all of the students had no intention of using
their laptop for learning. The task was for them to complete a maths exercise. Whereas once I would tell them to turn to the appropriate page of the book without worrying if they were looking at something
inappropriate on the next page now their textbook was on the laptop. With the click of a button they were looking at videos, playing games or watching recordings of what they got up to on Sat night. In a class of 30 kids
I had no hope of watching everyone, while I was helping one student with a genuine maths problem others were playing, openly taunting me with inappropriate music and video clips. It was like I was battling spot fires,
as I put out one, another 10 would erupt somewhere else. Just when I thought I had things under control someone would play the Big Brother promo music and several students would leap up dancing.
After speaking to other teachers they also say it has made the job very difficult and there has been little educational benefit. Using this technology requires a level of maturity and a motivation to learn that these kids just don’t have.
Needless to say I have refused to do any more relief at that school despite them ringing me every day. I value my sanity too much!