Used properly, the computer is a valuable asset in the classroom. A computer can free up a teacher's time by acting as a tutor, ready to repeat drills and spend time with students who need extra support. A computer also enables swift communication between the teacher and parent or other staff. A computer can improve the quality and interactive nature of lessons and ease some of the many administrative tasks that a teacher must do.
Computers in the classroom can help teachers prepare materials for their lessons and activities. With access to the Internet, teachers can prepare interesting worksheets without relying solely on books and offline reference material. The Internet also allows teachers to access websites with suggestions for lesson plans. Computers enable teachers to use interactive whiteboards, with which a teacher can project a page from a website or an interactive game for the whole class to enjoy.
Computers enable teachers to provide more individualized, tailored learning programs. Students who need extra help with practice drills and exercises can work on the computer while the teacher helps other students in the class. The computer in this kind of situation acts as the teacher, providing both instruction and feedback. Similarly, teachers can find or prepare work for gifted students to do on the computer.
Computers make communicating with other school staff and parents easier and faster. Teachers can also email organizations and companies for information to include in lessons. For extra ideas and support outside the school, teachers can participate in the many forums available online. The email program can also enable students to gain information for a research project. If the school is involved in marketing or fund-raising, email can help spread the word to the community.
A computer enables teachers to keep accurate and secure records of students' progress, such as grades and reading performance. Other administrative record-keeping tasks include "filing" lesson plans and teaching materials for future use. Copies of letters to parents or marketing materials can also be kept on a computer. Storing on a computer system cuts down the amount of paper used by a school and ultimately reduces the school's costs for waste collection.
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