Computer Learning

Better to Borrow Than Use a Computer

Ed, my neighbor next door, wanted to borrow my Saturday’s Leader-Post.  He heard there was an obituary in the paper that he needed to see. Why would he buy a newspaper of his own since he could borrow mine? I mentioned to Ed that he could go online and get his information very easily. He said that he refuses to become a computer geek and that computers are ruining the kids of today. Ed groaned that they even have computers at school for the kids to use.

I knew Ed was going to say that when he went to school he learned the hard way, as I have heard it before.  According to Ed, he learned at school with his mind, and used books, pencils, pens, and paper to do all his work. Today, the computer does the work. It is easy learning by the typing of a word or two on a keyboard. “You don’t even have to have readable handwriting, as the computer prints up your work neatly every time,” says Ed.

Ed knows I disagree with him. I don’t believe learning always comes easily even with the use of a computer. I still believe students have tests and exams and need to cram today. Maybe this is the sentiment of a misguided old guy.

I like the speed of finding information on the computer. It makes research faster and more extensive. That is, until I run into problems and get lost or stuck in cyberspace. Computers can be excellent learning aids and terrible time wasters. It is tempting to surf around the internet on every interest and hobby and even get stuck in what would be better left alone. If I was using a computer to do my homework as a student, I would be tempted to use it for fun things rather than my schoolwork.

Computers need to be respected, because they have their bad side as well as their good one.  A car can be a safe vehicle or a deadly weapon in the hands of a dangerous driver. Likewise, computers can be used wisely or unwisely, for they appeal to our sinful nature. On the computer, there is almost unlimited freedom. Perhaps the hardest thing to handle wisely is our personal freedom.  Rules make life easier to handle. Freedom means choices and decisions and the results they bring. Using a computer, we are tempted to choose as we please. Some will always choose what others are doing. How many will choose to do right every time they are on the net?

Paul in the Bible spoke of freedom when he cautioned us to use our freedom wisely and not as an opportunity to indulge our sinful nature. Some choose to use the computer for sexual immorality and impurity. Some use it as a way to lie to and cheat the unsuspecting. Some use it in pursuit of their selfish ambitions. Some use it to hurt or bully others. We are always free to love others as ourselves on the internet. Paul calls us to test and approve what is God’s will for us and this applies also when using our computers. He cautions do not be overcome with evil.

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Raymond Maher
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