Hazards of technology-driven education

Shepherd Chimururi Cool Lifestyle Correspondent
All that glitters is not gold. This ageless adage should serve to warn both learners and educators as technology driven paperless education takes over from mountains of books, dust and chalk.

Hazards of technology driven education are real. Long hours of staring, slouching, slumping and straining are now dominating the classroom for those already practicing e-learning to the letter. Clean up your act around the computer before bad habits lead to poor health. Forewarned is forearmed.

Advances in industry and technology have fundamentally changed the way globally conscious students and teachers spend their learning and teaching hours. Where it was once commonplace for the teacher to spend virtually his day on feet – walking up and down the classroom monitoring his class he now spends hours sitting on his laptop where all students are connected. Where the teacher used to twist, stretch and bend writing on the legendary black board he now uses projector or smart boards to beam text, images and videos.

Where it was fashionable to see students carrying big volume books, queuing up at the library they now spend time on their manipulating various ICT tools to get information. Writing notes itself a good physical activity has been replaced by copy and paste.

Times have changed and so are the dangers associated with educating and learning. Complaints of headaches, eye problems like eye strain, soreness, visual fatigue and headaches and other health complaints in the classroom will increase.

The worst 21st century classroom-related hazards simply are computer screen related. If your screen is planted directly on your desktop, it is time to ask school authorities for a raise. According to researches the top of your screen should be level with your eyes. The idea is to get the eyes looking down about 10 degrees. If it’s any lower or higher, computer users will adapt to it by moving their head. If your screen is to low, your head points down, causing neck and back aches. High displays, meanwhile, contribute to dry eye syndrome.

Poor posture is something that every office-based employee should consider throughout their day. Most people sitting at a computer get drawn into the screen, which means they crane their necks forward.

This imbalance puts strain on the neck and spine. The most important thing is to switch it up and work in different positions throughout the day The modern-day classroom is built around sitting, such that you can conduct business – give assignments, chat with your students, monitor and assess them, send e-mails and even participate in video conferences – without ever leaving your chair.

But there is an inherent problem with this lifestyle. Your body was designed for near perpetual movement. It thrives when given opportunity to move in its fully intended range of motion and, as we are now increasingly seeing, struggles when forced to stay in one place for long periods.

Lack of movement slows metabolism, reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation, obesity, and the litany of ills – heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more – that come with being overweight. Avoid computer-related hand and wrist injuries.

Make sure you have recommended classroom lighting. As a learner you should allocate time to research on any topic that has interest on your well being not just academic issues.

  •  Shepherd Chimururi Executive Director – Dzidzo Inhaka Audio Visual Learning. Mobile:+263 772 608 276 [email protected], www.dzidzoinhaka.co.zw

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