Eight states have recently been approved to receive waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act, bringing the total states to 19 with an additional 18 applications still under review. Why would states need waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it has been extremely ineffective. Not only has it significantly restricted teachers from educating children, but test scores in the United States have still lagged behind other nations since its inception. This should come as no surprise to most of us. Requiring ridiculous standards to test children is clearly not a solution to education. We should focus our attention on the methods being used to educate children.
In the 21st century, with the advent of the Internet, computers and software, why are we still using obsolete methods to educate our children? Textbooks are still a major way of communicating information to students. Clearly there are more efficient ways for children to learn. I believe using computer software to educate younger children is the best possible choice. This would allow children to garner more information in a shorter period of time. Computers would grade the students’ tests, freeing up teachers’ time. Students could learn geography and science with game and puzzle programs at a younger age. Teaching different languages to younger students is also a possibility.
Textbooks contain a limited amount of information that becomes outdated almost immediately, given the number of discoveries occurring every year. But computer software can contain much more information than a textbook, and also can be updated unlike a textbook and at a cheaper cost. Software allows education to be more interactive than a regular textbook. Plus it can contain videos, games, assignments and links to informative websites for children to carry out additional learning. Imagine biology classrooms having kids explore human anatomy, or learn about the inner workings of DNA and the human cell by using visually interactive software. Computer programs offer so much more than textbooks and standard teaching methods.
Using Skype to link classrooms in the U.S. with classrooms in other participating countries could open up a whole new avenue for learning. Envision children being taught by teachers in other countries and interacting with children in those countries. Translation software can allow children in the U.S. to communicate with children in other countries. This would allow students to experience the beliefs and culture of other countries making them more informed about these countries.
Computer software would become the primary tool for educating students in the United States. This has the advantage of making education more enjoyable for children, and allowing schools to store much more educational information in a smaller space. School media centers would no longer carry physical books, but computers, discs and other electronic forms of storing information. Students could checkout books online from their school library and download them onto their computer or iPad from home.
In the age of computers and the Internet, it is ridiculous to think that we are still using such primitive methods to educate our children. Thick, heavy textbooks are filled with information that could be more efficiently contained electronically. Scantrons (which are already obsolete) would be a thing of the past, as well as cumbersome textbooks. Teachers would have more time to devote to students and answering any questions they have about the material being taught. It’s time we stop thinking about the amount of money we spend on education and instead think about where that money should be spent. Computers offer a much more effective means to educate students and I think investing money in them will bring better results.
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