Why Are Computers Important to Schools?by Kevin Lee
While students in some developing nations may lack basic supplies such as books, many students in America boot up high-tech computers to begin their school day. The evolution of technology in schools takes a winding road and covers devices such as slide rules, calculators and primitive desktop computers running command-line operating systems.
One-to-One Computer Learning
Opinions vary about the effectiveness of one-to-one laptop programs that give each student a laptop. While some school districts may see them as too expensive, others see benefits. ASCD, an organization that develops educational programs, describes a four-year study in Texas where researchers discovered that the technology skills of students engaged in a laptop immersion program improved significantly during the course of the study. The students in the study were also less prone to disciplinary actions.
The best teachers in the world can't scan a 1,000-page essay for errors in seconds, but a word processing program can. Computers in schools also help teachers by assisting them with lesson planning, organizing schedules, tracking student progress and performing the time-saving tasks. Teachers who use computers also have the flexibility of customizing handouts and material for each student. When at least one computer with Web access exists in a classroom, teachers are just a few clicks way from looking up information they need.
When the bell rings, teaching and learning don't have to end. The Internet is a valuable source of information for students in the classroom, but it also becomes a virtual classroom when students and teachers meet online. Teachers can even set up sites similar to Wikipedia that allow them to interact with students, review assignments and provide valuable feedback after hours.
Schools that cannot afford computer equipment can receive it thanks to the government's Computers for Learning program. Federal agencies with extra computers and computer equipment have the option to report that equipment to the U.S. General Services Administration. Schools that have a valid Center for Educational Statistics number can register to receive free computer equipment to help students learn and teachers teach more productively.
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