While computers were only invented a few decades ago, these devices have had a deep impact on almost all parts of human life. Most aspects of modern living today are influenced by these systems and more ways of utilizing computers are being devised. Computers have affected the education field and they are used in schools all over the country. The use of computers in schools has elicited varied reactions among educators.
In general, there has been disagreement regarding the usefulness of computers in the classroom. While some argue that computers are a potent learning tool, others see computers as overrated machines that may in fact have negative impacts on the learning process. This paper will argue that computers are important assets to the student and therefore, each child in every school should have access to a computer.
Arguments in Favor of Computers
Research efforts by students are greatly enhanced by computers. Using computers, students are able to access the wide variety of resources available on the internet. Students no longer have to rely solely on the physical libraries for relevant research material. Accessing information using computers increases the efficiency with which students operate.
By using search engines, students can quickly identify the relevant material for their research and use it to achieve educational goals. The computer therefore enhances the quality of education by providing students with a wide array of resources.
Computers increase the collaboration efforts among students. In the traditional classroom setting, collaboration among students from different schools was hard to implement due to the physical separation between them. Using computers that have internet connectivity, students can collaborate with each other in spite of distance and hence enhance their educational experience. By holding discussions on difficult problems in class work, students can exchange ideas and arrive at solutions. These activities, which are facilitated by computers, will increase the academic outcome of individual students.
Computers can increase student interest in class since it is possible to present material in a way that increases enjoyment. Obtaining and retaining the interest of the student is a major goal of educators since high interest positively contributes to understanding. Teachers present some topics in a boring manner and this makes the students to lose interest.
Loss of interest has a negative impact on the achievement level of the students in the particular subject. Computer programs used for educational purposes are often designed to be fun and interesting since the developers want to appeal to the user and hence increase their sales. Computer use therefore helps to increase student interest in school material.
Computers make the carrying out of self-pacing exercises by students possible. The level of understanding varies from student to student with some being able to grasp information faster than others. In the traditional classroom, the teacher is unable to meet the unique needs of all students since he/she has to teach at a uniform pace. Computers make it possible for students to access information at their own pace because most applications are user driven.
The learning efficiency of the student is significantly increased by the use of computers since the student is able to make use of the learning model most suited to him/her. The personalized learning environment provided by computers also helps to build student self-confidence since the student can set his/her own pace and level of challenge.
Computers encourage exploratory learning among students who would otherwise rely primarily on the teacher for all their learning. Computers provide students with greater levels of freedom as they are able to access many educational resources both on their local machine and on the internet. In most cases, the student is able to access the material when they want to and they can follow links to additional material. This exploratory learning increases the knowledge base of the students and contributes to their academic success.
Many students regard computers are relevant tools both for school and future work life. Gaining proficiency in computers is therefore a common goal for many youth. Statistics show that students are in favor of using computers since they believe that the skills they gain by using these devices will be beneficial in their future lives. Use of computers can therefore assist in mitigating the student dropout rates in our country since students find computers relevant in their lives.
Arguments against Computers
In spite of the many advantages of computers in schools, some real problems may arise from computer use by students. The autonomy given to the students might decrease productivity in class, especially if the teacher is unable to monitor the students effectively.
This is a major problem since students are likely to engage in non-educational activities using their computers during class time if they are not closely supervised. Unlike in the traditional classroom setting where the teacher can easily tell if the students are engaged in other activities while teaching is going on, it is hard to detect this when students are using computers.
This lack of accountability facilitated by computer use will degrade the learning experience of the student. This problem can be solved by installing monitoring software on each student’s computer to help the teacher to remotely observe what the student is doing.
Computers make it easier for students to engage in academic misconduct. In classrooms where computers are being used, students can easily provide each other with solutions to problems using e-mail or chatting tools. The collaboration tools can be used by students to obtain solutions from their peers instead of trying to solve the class problems on their own.
This is a major problem since a student will not improve his/her performance if he relies on other people’s efforts. This problem can be addressed by imposing huge penalties for identical work by students. Such a move would deter students from engaging in academic misconduct.
Students can easily be overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that is accessible using the computer. When carrying out research work using the computer, students might end up finding too much information from the internet. Sorting through the information is a hard task and students may end up providing poor quality work.
Teacher input during research can help students to better utilize material from the internet. The teacher can provide the best sources and save the student from having to deal with too many irrelevant resources.
This paper set out to argue that computer use by students is mostly beneficial and it should therefore be encouraged. To reinforce this position, the paper has discussed some of the most significant merits of computer use. The paper has noted that computers provide an element of fun, involve participants actively in the learning process and make self-pacing possible.
However, the paper has acknowledged that computers have some inherent demerits which include too much autonomy, higher risk of academic misconduct, and exposure to irrelevant material. The negative impact of these problems can be addressed therefore ensuring that computers remain beneficial to students.