The downside of hi-tech

22nd September 2006 at 01:00
As a former headteacher and educational adviser, I have sympathy with the luminaries who signed Sue Palmer's letter about the ill effects of modern life on children (Opinion, page 19).

However, the reality of the 21st century has to be acknowledged. The majority of working people today spend their time in front of a computer screen. Most jobs require a competent level of keyboard skills and familiarisation with ICT. It's no wonder that children's lives are dominated by electronic images.

Classrooms have PCs, interactive whiteboards, laptops, ICT suites, interactive assemblies via CCTV - the list goes on. We live in a screen-dominated society. Parents want their youngsters to be proficient in the use of this technology because they know this is the future world of work and to be successful you need to keep up with technology.

At 60 and a father of four, I get depressed because this is not the future I want to be part of. However, a reality check around the developed countries shows the same developments.

The facts are these: the majority of children would rather watch a DVD or go on the internet than listen to an excellent teacher.They prefer an interactive whiteboard to reading a book. They enjoy typing on a keyboard rather than using a pen. Art is more fun with the latest software than with a paintbrush. Those of us born in the 1950s and 60s have created this revolution and must live with the consequences.

Anthony Callaghan Alpington, Norwich

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