The future of public
Use of computers in schools and public libraries.
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Draft text: 2006/8.
Computers have been installed in schools and public libraries in record numbers - but arguably without analysing either their real value or cost effectiveness. Plagiarism in universities is now a major problem because of misuse of the internet. Libraries have been much changed by the People's Network, in which £140 million of 'good cause' Lottery money was utilised to help fulfil a core government programme. In order to increase visitor numbers to public libraries - a target set by central government - they are being deliberately and enthusiastically 'dumbed down'. University admission standards have fallen alarmingly. This is all a part of a wider Blairite agenda of 'social inclusion' and 'social engineering'. But is too much that is valuable being lost in the process?
The common factor that runs through many recent government computer projects is that 'New Labour' politicians seem incapable of analysing whether an investment in 'new technology' may be worthwhile. In effect, they seem incapable of asking intelligent questions.
Many of the articles and letters that are reproduced here discuss the use of computers in schools - where ill-thought-through expenditure of £2000 million has not brought commensurate benefits in learning.
Index for this section.
Internet fails to improve school results - front page news - 10 Feb 2003
Pupils find internet ' a poor learning tool' - major report - 23 Feb 2003
Plagiarism is soaring as students crib from internet - 17 July 2003
Young people should learn practical skills - article from Telegraph - 18 Oct 2003
Keyboards that fail our children - the view of Ian Hislop - 9 Nov 2003
Undergraduates are being taught less and less - 13 Jan 2004
The lowering of higher education - book review - 25 Jan 2004
I yearn for Edna - a nostalgic look at libraries by D J Taylor - Guardian - 9 Feb 2004
Why many children lack language skills - parents do not talk to them - 3 April 2004
"Cheating just one more way to learn" so says exam chief - 4 April 2004
A minute's silence, please, for the late public library - the Independent 28 Apr 2004
Plagiarism with a shrug and a laugh - articles about dumbed down universities June 2004
Degradation of Sidmouth library - early letters in the local paper - August 2004
Historic Whitechapel library closes down - to be replaced by 'ideas store' - 2004
Use of computers in schools - are they largely a waste of money? - 21 March 2005
Radcliffe Camera library under threat - Oxford University in the spotlight - 31 March 2005
Libraries will close in 15 years - Tim Coates, ex-boss of Waterstone's - 4 June 2005
Just Google 'waste of money' - article on computers in schools - 11 Dec 2005
Internet increases visits to libraries - but book borrowing is down - 5 Jan 2006
Money is spent on 'dumbing libraries down' - Letter in the Sidmouth Herald 3 Feb 2006
Spoon-fed students cannot cope at college - report Daily Telegraph 9 February 2006
The role of school libraries in education - letters in Daily Telegraph 10 February 2006
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