Development and Education - What Are the Positive Outcomes of Incorporating Ict (Information, Communication and Technology) Into Classrooms?

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Introduction

Computers and technology are present in most areas of everyday life. From telephones to CT scanners, technology has changed the way we live. In classrooms teachers are incorporating technology into their lesson plans and at some schools children are given laptops in grade 3. In this report we research the positive effects of incorporating technology on children’s cognitive, physical and socio-emotional development. Are teachers embracing this change in teaching and is adequate training and in-servicing available to them? Are parents aware of the changes taking place within their child’s classroom?

Background
The 21st century has seen the drawing of a new age, a computer age. “The development of the computer for learning is regarded as one of the major achievements of the twentieth century.” (Etherington, 2008, p.35). There has been negative press in regards to childhood obesity due to the increase in inactive time spent on computers and game consoles and the anti-social impacts of too much screen time. “For the majority of children computers pose (or contribute to) health hazards and serious developmental problems, such as repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain, obesity, and social isolation” (Etherington, 2008, p.43). With the negative press in mind the survey conducted for this report looks at ‘What are the positive outcomes of incorporating ICT (information, communication and technology) into classrooms?’ Do parents know what technology is available to their children in the classroom? What training has been conducted to ensure that teachers are making the most of the technology resources available to them? According to Brady and Kennedy (2003), "Australian governments have clearly taken up the challenge of transforming schools to meet the challenges of the information age" (Jamieson-Proctor and others, 2006, p. 513). As this report is being written a study is underway in Queensland Education to explore the use of ICT in the classroom.

Technology is a way of life and children need to be equipped with the knowledge to use these tools. Computers were invented to enhance our everyday life. March and Smith (1995) state that “Whereas natural science tries to understand reality, design science attempts to create things that serve human purposes.” (Arnott, 2006, p3). For that part, teachers need to understand this importance when incorporating technology into the classroom. Teachers have a vast array of technology at their disposal, from computers, phonic ears, IWB (interactive white boards), iPad’s, Ipods, calculators and computer labs. None of this is important or advantageous to the students if the teacher does not know how to use them. “The problem is... lack of adequate training and lack of understanding of how computers can be used to enrich the learning experience” (US Department of Education, 2004, p.22) as cited in Newhouse, C., 2005. Teachers need to be provided with training opportunities in new technology to pass on the knowledge to their students.

Having worked with children and computers, the author has hands on experience in the benefits of computers and technology on prep children. The excitement of remembering a password without prompting, completing all the tasks set by the teacher and getting to the next level, the children are motivated and enthusiastic about this lesson. Children who have issues with hand writing a sentence can easily write their story on a computer for all to read.

Computers need to be embraced by teachers and their benefits need to be exposed. There is a degree of caution when using computers with children and protecting them from any unsavoury material that can be found whilst searching the internet. It is the schools responsibility to ensure that all computers have adequate blocks in place to protect the children at school. At home it is the parents responsibility to ensure their computers are safe. Schools work with parents to ensure they stay informed of...
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