After experiencing my first on-campus tutorial, I walked way with a much clearer understanding of why my son feels so helpless in a computer lab learning session. I found it impossible to focus on finding the correct route to particular documents (despite completing most tasks already in my own home), while at the same time being given instructions of what to do after entering the correct area. It seems, like my son, I find it impossible to navigate a visual/hands on task while at the same time processing oral instructions ahead of where I was at (it did not help that the computer kept shutting down and repeatedly asked me for my user name and password throughout the whole session). I found the collaboration of groups around me a constant distraction and I left the session feeling physically ill, and humiliated that I failed to complete a task efficiently. To know that this is how my son feels on a regular basis in a ‘techno classroom’ (grade 10) has given me reservations on how effectively students, such as my son, are learning to cope with technology, when they are left feeling like I did on a regular basis -this feeling of humiliation must make an impact on a students overall confidence and ability.
I was diagnosed with an ‘auditory processing disorder‘ as an adult – much too late really to do anything about. But children with an auditory processing disorder, such as mine, could experience very similar discomfit as described above. As educators, we need to be aware of the difficulties associated with such disorders, particularly in a setting as described above, and make accommodations towards catering for this very real challenge.