Should Schools Shun Computers?

An article on the front page of today’s New York Times talks about a school in Silicon Valley that prides itself on keeping computers OUT of the classroom. This practice is based on the belief that at a young age, hands-on experience—for example, learning fractions by cutting up and then eating a cake—is much more compelling than interacting with screens. Since computers have become so much more user-friendly, the argument goes, why not wait with these potentially distracting gadgets until later?  Certainly food for thought. I’ve always felt that hands-on experiences, involving all five senses, were more useful than screen time for young children (and the rest of us, too).  Maybe avoiding computers entirely is a bit extreme, but finding a way to moderate their influence so that books and other real, physical objects can have a central place in learning is not a bad idea.

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