The Use of Computers in the Classroom

Teachers in the modern classroom stand to benefit from integrating computer technology into their curriculum. However, simply putting computers in classrooms is not enough. It may prepare students for working with computers but not improve overall academic performance in other areas. Teachers need to know how to effectively use computers to better educate students.

Many classrooms have computers these days.
Many classrooms have computers these days. (Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images)
Integration

There is a certain degree of mystique to using computers. Students and teachers alike might find the device intimidating because they don't know how to correctly use it. The easiest way to get past that mystique is through direct interaction with computers.

One practical way to ease into learning computers is to integrate them into the existing curriculum. Teachers and students are familiar with the criteria they are using the computer to examine.

As the comfort level rises, computer integration lets the teacher teach two things at the same time: the day's lesson plan and how to use a computer.

Computers are a hands-on learning activity.
Computers are a hands-on learning activity. (Goodluz/iStock/Getty Images)
Proper Training

School districts spend approximately 15 percent of their technology budget on teacher training, according to Ginger Rodriquez, an educational specialist, in an essay for the industry. Rodriquez suggests districts spend 30 percent of their technology budget on teacher training. Schools might be able to afford top-of-the-line computer technology for the classroom, but it won't do them any good if the teachers are not up to speed. Teachers need to be comfortably using computers; knowing how to use the computers is not enough.

Teachers need to be up to date on computers as well.
Teachers need to be up to date on computers as well. (Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images)
Student Distractions

Having computers in the classroom can end up providing a student distraction. Reduce the distraction by disabling or turning off the monitors when students need to pay attention to the instructor. Also use computer software to restrict students' access to certain features. Note that restrictions, especially with older students, can backfire by disabling areas students need to finish an assignment.

Computer software can disable all the monitors in a classroom with just one mouse click.
Computer software can disable all the monitors in a classroom with just one mouse click. (Steve Hix/Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)
Available Resources

Teachers may find it difficult to have adequate access to enough computers for their lessons. Classrooms should have at least three computers for computer assignments if a lab with units for each student is not available. If a classroom has three computers, students can take turns for computer-related assignments and work on other assignments when they don't have access to a computer.

Sometimes students need to share computers.
Sometimes students need to share computers. (Dmitriy Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)
Educational Benefits

Kirk Johnson's study "Do Computers in the Classroom Boost Academic Achievement" found that computer-classroom integration may not significantly impact student achievement in areas other than learning how to use computers. However, that is not to say that using computers in the classroom is not beneficial because students will likely need to know how to use computers in their careers and to fully interact with modern society.

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