By Kelly Friedman | December 30th, 2013
Photo courtesy of Flickr: utbmobile
The public education system no longer considers the integration of technology as a debatable issue in the classroom. In fact, many schools have started to incorporate the technological use of computers and mobile devices in the classroom to further the academic performance of students. Computer technology in the classroom has evolved beyond drill and practice programs. Today's technology can provide teachers and other school faculty with greater opportunities to bring information to their students. This allows educators to prepare students for the future, both in their personal and professional lives.
The Benefits of Computers in the Classroom for Students
Computers have changed the way society functions. Future generations will need to compete with the growing trends of a technologically-driven society that relies on computers to perform daily tasks. The classroom is a good starting point for people to learn how to use these complex machines. If students learn word processing skills and how to navigate computers and the Internet early on, they will be prepared later in life to utilize computers for more complex assignments. Computers grant access to the Internet, which hosts academic research and offers educational support. Historical records and social organizations are only a click away, providing a wealth of information for studying history and social studies. Students and teachers are now able to communicate with educators and other students anywhere in the world easily and instantly. This new phenomenon opens up opportunities for collaboration that did not previously exist. There are also many resources and communities online that are available to help students develop and improve mathematical and scientific understanding. Even though computers are extremely beneficial to the educational process there are some negative aspects that present themselves. Students have access to greater distractions during research or study time, in the forms of games and social networking websites. There is also the risk of students interacting with potentially dangerous, anonymous individuals. Therefore, it becomes vitally important for teachers and school faculty to monitor computer use to ensure they are being used safely and for the right purposes.
The Benefits of Computers in the Classroom for Teachers
Teachers may encounter students who have already acquired computer skills. In fact, some students may have developed computer proficiency beyond their teachers. This can make it easier for the teacher to incorporate computers into the school curriculum. The majority of public and private schools have already begun the transition to using computers in the classroom. Computers offer teachers the unique ability to collaborate with other educators and professionals opening up worlds of understanding to them and their students. There are many networking sites available to instructors that offer teaching plans and project ideas. Sites like Youtube.com can also prove to be useful when demonstrations or examples are needed to further explain concepts being taught.
Other Types of Technology in the Classroom
As new technology is developed teachers will have more tools available to them. Electronic books and tablets may remove the need for physical textbooks, costing schools or parents more money initially when the device is acquired, but less through the years when licenses can be purchased for each class. Some technology utilized by students in the past were voice recorders and iPods. Today, most cellphones come equipped with voice recording capabilities and many phones can download and playback podcasts, which makes lectures available for review at a later date. Although most instructors frown upon the use of cellphones in the classroom, there are some benefits to them being used responsibly.
Teachers can incorporate several software applications to help students learn more about the course material. Word processors, drill and practice programs, spreadsheet, database programs, and presentation software enable teachers to create fun and interactive ways to help students learn the course material while also reinforcing computer skills. For instance, teachers can direct students to WebQuests.org to reinforce Internet browsing skills. In addition, it also helps students incorporate research skills to answer homework questions and compose essays. Teachers may also challenge students to create blogs, glogs, and podcasts about their coursework for extra credit. Wikis can also help students learn more detailed information about the main points presented in the daily lesson plan.
More about Kelly Friedman:
Kelly is an avid tech and computer enthusiast and spends her free time keeping up to date with the latest technology advancements. Kelly also enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and riding her motorcycle.
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Wow! This question is timely for me, because I will be teaching at a school next year in which, all students will receive apple laptops. They will be allowed to take the computers home, and we will encorporate computer usage into daily instruction.
As an English teacher, I find computers to be very helpful for the following reasons:
1. Students are able to reasearch information quickly. They can find their own answers, discover their own truths.
2. Computers lend themselves to a lot of creative and interestion activities i.e. creating a "commercial to advertise your favorite book"
There are also some downfalls:
1. Students can easily get off task. They may wander to sites like Facebook, MySpace etc. (I know that schools usually block these sites, but students often find ways around them.
2. Without knowing it teachers can create computer-related activities that are quite exciting, but the intended content is not learned i.e. teachers focus too much on the "cool activity" rather that the actual lesson itself.