I think computers are good tools to utilize in a classroom; however, I do not think they are the only tools. Computers allow for a different way of teaching and sharing information. Teachers can display information in interesting ways using programs or scavenger hunts on the computers. Students can construct their own learning and make presentations to share with the class. Many students will already know how to use a computer before they enter the classroom and some will not have had access to one. Students can then use their own knowledge to create interesting projects as well as share with their peers the different things they have learned. Using computers at a young age will better prepare them for the real world in this technological age. I do not think computers should or could replace teachers entirely because there are always problems that arise with technology or a need for further explanation on a topic that only human to human contact would fix. I also do not think that textbooks should completely go digital. Though I applaud the “green” approach, digital technology, such as computers or iPads, pose new problems that textbooks did not. For instance, staring at a screen for hours is bad for one’s eyes and, unlike a traditional textbook, the digital textbook could potentially run out of battery. Also, the technology (that has the ability to play games) could be a major distraction both in the classroom and during work time at home. Computers are a great tool to learn and present information, but should not be used as the sole tool.
I think it is important for students to have fun while they are learning. Educational games on the computer could therefore be a great way for children to learn. I will also teach my students how to use various programs, such as Word and Powerpoint, and have them use those programs for class projects. Before a test or quiz I could have them use a drill-and-practice program so they could receive immediate feedback and focus on the concepts that they need the most help on. I will also have them do computer scavenger hunts in order to quickly gather and analyze information as well as give them a break from regular classroom activities. I hope to find more ways to use technology in my classroom and learn how to effectively teach elementary school students about computers.
The label given to today’s youth is “digital native.” A digital native is someone who has grown up with technology. I think that accurately describes most but not all of today’s youth because not everyone has access to technology. I would consider myself a digital native because I have grown up using and figuring out how computers and other technology work. I think in most situations there is a visible difference between a digital native (i.e. student) and a digital immigrant (i.e. teacher). I can recall many times when my peers and I have taught our teacher how to do something on the computer. I think it is because we (as digital natives) have gradually learned how to use various programs and technologies whereas digital immigrants had to learn everything and apply it to their workplace almost immediately. Also, when people learn something at a young age it is easier to build from. I think there will always be differences among generations, especially due to growing technology. I don’t see this as a huge problem as long as the teacher knows how to use the programs and devices that they will be teaching and utilizing in the classroom. Since teachers (or people in general) cannot know everything about technology, this can provide an opportunity for students to become the teachers; whether it be to the teacher herself or to their peers. I don’t think that disqualifies or makes a teacher look bad, it allows the students to develop leadership skills.