iPods, iPads distract not empower: Obama
Modern tools are not only putting new pressures on students but also on our democracy, said Obama.
Washington: Observing that modern tools like ipods, ipads and Play Stations are distractions rather than source of empowerment, US President Barack Obama on Sunday asked students to make progress in the field of education.
"You`re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don`t rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said in his address at the Hampton University in Virginia.
"With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment. All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy," he argued.
Obama said US students are falling behind foreign students in the fields of mathematics and science.
"In 8thgrade science and math, for example, American students are ranked about 10th overall compared to top-performing countries. African Americans, however, are ranked behind more than twenty nations, lower than nearly every other developed country," he said.
"All of us have a responsibility, as Americans, to change this; to offer every child in this country an education that will make them competitive in our knowledge economy. But all of you have a separate responsibility, as well," he said.
"Allowing you to compete in the global economy is the first way your education can prepare you. But it can also prepare you as citizens. With so many voices clamouring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who`s telling the truth and who`s not.”
"Let`s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I`ve had some experience with that myself," he said.
Obama said an education can fortify the US to meet the tests of its economy, the tests of citizenship, and the tests of the time.
"But what makes us American is something that can`t be taught - a stubborn insistence on pursuing a dream," he said. Obama said it is a period of breathtaking change, like few others in the history. "We can`t stop these changes, but we can adapt to them. And education is what can allow us to do so. It can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time," he said.