Incongruous: that is a big word, and if your teen doesn’t know the definition they can easily look it up on their phone in school using wi-fi. They can do this right after they watch a couple You Tube videos and then text their friends about it.
Incongruous: lacking in harmony, incompatible, not in agreement with, as with principles, not keeping with what is correct, proper or logical, inappropriate
via The Free Dictionary
For so many years parents have been judged for letting kids spend too many hours using electronics. All those years we made rules about what, when, and for how long electronics could be used, and then tried to enforce them. So many examples of social media, the Internet, and kids gone wrong: bullying, over-sharing, and privacy issues. All those years, and then in what seems like a blink of an eye, the schools are fully equipped with wi-fi.
The kids’ smartphones keep getting smarter and our kids ... not so much. At each parent teacher interview I ask the teacher: “Do you find the wi-fi in the school an asset or deterrent to learning in the classroom?”. I have not had a single teacher tell me they thought it was an asset. What they do tell me is, they now spend half their time policing cell phone and electronics use in the classroom instead of teaching. Students are on social media, or texting when they should be listening and learning.
So it is yet another educational dilemma. How do we give students access to the tools and resources they need in an ever more digital world, and teach them the basic academics they require to be successful in further education, their careers and life. Especially when our tech savvy kids always seem to be two steps ahead of us.
The debate about the pros and cons of wi-fi in schools continues, but from this parent's stand point I can see no upside. I simply can't see how this benefits learning, in fact I see it as a serious threat to learning. I think the lure of You Tube and such are simply an irresistible distraction for many students, and we are fooling ourselves if we think kids are only or even mostly using the wi-fi access for learning in their classes. The Internet can be a powerful tool, but wi-fi in the classroom is not.
For years I have been hearing from the schools, the kids need to learn to be independent, and manage their work on their own. No! First they need to be taught proper note taking, study habits, and time management skills. They need to be taught how to research and cite properly. They need to be taught math, not cloud = 9. Look around you, how many teens can you see without their heads down and eyes on their cell phone? Wi-fi in the school contributes to dependence not independence. It teaches them that everything should be immediate, and nothing about long term goals, and time management.
There definitely a place for the Internet in schools and as a tool in learning. Students need to be taught how to use the Internet, and how to search, filter and narrow Internet searches rather than getting lost in an overwhelming number of links and results. When I Googled "how to search a subject on the Internet" I got 437,000,000 results in 47 sec.
I am a parent to two tech-savvy teens currently in high school. So I asked them if they thought wi-fi in the school was a benefit or deterrent to learning? Each are very different students and both said there are definitely benefits to wi-fi. One said in particular he likes that he has access to sites such as Khan Academy at lunch. Both said that classes are split with half using it as a tool for learning, and the other half distracted from the lesson, and using it watch You Tube videos.
I guess only time will tell if the Pros outweigh the Cons.
Here are some links that might be of interest:
- Driven to distraction: bringing your own device to school could hinder learning via Jason Lodge - The Conversation
- Decreased time of Wi-Fi usage For Halton's Public Schools via Mariana Camacho - The Hamilton Spectator
- Why wi-fi is ruining my post-secondary education via Melissa McGuffin - Brant News
- Research shows tablets do not cause distraction in lessons via Innovate My School
Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about wi-fi in schools.