Computers have become an essential tool for educators. Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a time before computers when communication, grades, attendance and lessons were completed manually. Computers have affected education in significant ways.
Programs such as IG Pro and Power School save the teacher's valuable time. Grade books are now online. Percentages and individual weights for assignments are calculated by the computer, decreasing the possibility of error. Parents and students can view daily assignments and grades from home with an assigned username and password.
When instruction is relevant, the students are engaged. Computers bridge home and school as kids showcase their technological expertise and gain a sense of accomplishment. The computer is familiar and increases the student's desire to learn about a particular topic.
Software created for kids is fun.The tedium of rote memorization is replaced with interactive math and reading games. Puzzles and higher order thinking games encourage students to solve problems critically.
Critics say "technology schmectology," believing that computers are considered machines similar to television and movies. Computers are viewed as time fillers that take away from productive learning time. The more parents are informed about computers, the more receptive they are to technology.
Students will be plugged in similar to the School of One pilot program at Yat Sen Middle School 131 in New York City. "This could be the school of the future," said School Chancellor Joel I. Klein while observing math students hooked up to individual laptops where lessons plans are generated by a complicated computer algorithm. Computers tap into a student's individual strengths and weaknesses, and lessons are adjusted accordingly. Students take online quizzes and use virtual tutoring.
Inequity exists in the inner cities and many urban schools lack funding for computers. Educators and parents may agree that computers need to be available to all students across the districts regardless of socioeconomic status. Funding through grants and local businesses helps needy districts to become more technologically equipped.
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