Tempestuous over robotic learning

19th January 2007 at 00:00
Your picture of the ICT class at Broadclyst primary (TES, January 5) made me thankful that my four children are now beyond school age and that I am retired from teaching. Compare the faces of these computer-bound children with those of the active learners on pages 13, 14, 16-17 and 24 and you can see how different is the quality of involvement in their tasks.

ICT may well have many uses, and be necessary, but any extension beyond what is now on offer can only result in a further diminution of the essential human skills of communication and creativity. Machine skills are fine for robots, but for children they must be strictly rationed to allow the growth of the person. It is worth noting that visions of the future - in films and literature - often portray an alien, demotivating machine world where a rogue, machineless nation, outside the boundaries of society, maintains those human qualities that the national curriculum puts such emphasis on in its introduction.

I am not a Luddite: I could not do my work without a computer. But I doubt that Miranda from Shakespeare's The Tempest, walking into the Broadclyst classroom, would say: "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in't."

Michael Rought-Brooks


North Yorkshire

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