A HUDDERSFIELD University professor has written a book attacking the use of computers in schools.
Cedric Cullingford, Professor of Education at the University of Huddersfield, says schools are managing to turn computers into a ‘big switch-off’.
He makes the claim in his new book called Computers, Schools and Students: The Effects of Technology.
He said: “Instead of enlivening lessons, information technology has become just another dreary subject on the curriculum.”
Prof Cullingford, also chairman of the town’s Civic Society, wrote the book with his former PhD student Nusrat Haq.
The book looks at the experience of schools and pupils with computers.
Prof Cullingford said: “At home young people regard computers as an essential part of their everyday lives.
“Whether for playing games, gathering information or communicating with others, they become expert users.
“Then they come into school and are taught as if they are ignorant about computers, using machines that are out of date and with teaching methods involving worksheets. They find it appalling and a waste of time.”
The research involved schools and colleges that specialised in computers and some that did not.
Prof Cullingford (pictured) still found no difference in the attitude of students.
He said: “Even if you put a few more banks of computers into a school that makes no fundamental difference to the way pupils think about them.
“They associate the pleasure and the utility of computers with home, but at school they are just another dreary lesson.”
However, Prof Cullingford argues computers could be used more imaginatively as a way of enabling pupils to find out information – and then learning how much they should trust it.
He said: “You must be very careful about information you get from the web. Students often use computers in the wrong way and obtain a lot of second-hand, unreliable material.
“They should be learning not just how to accumulate information on which they can be tested under the National Curriculum, but how to challenge and question things.
“Schools should encourage them to be critical and to think.”