United States Senator, Nancy Kassebaum once said, “There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if the teachers themselves are not able to bring it to the classroom and make it work, then it fails” (Education and Technology Quotes). When I read this quote I automatically thought to myself, this could not be truer. In a few years, I hope to be a teacher in a classroom. Not just any classroom though, a Special Education classroom. I want to teach the children who may need a little more assistance when learning how to read, a different way of approaching mathematical equations and a way to ultimately fit in with the rest of the world. But my question is, “Does adding technologies to the classroom provide more opportunities for these children or does it hinder their capabilities by doing the work for them?” In this paper, I would like to access the impact the computer is having on an individual’s education.
As a society we are being called the, “Net Generation,” meaning that from the age of three some children have had hands-on access with a computer. This easy access to the internet and computer can offer both positive and negative impacts on the future student. On an average day, most of the commonly used items you work with are in some way both directly and indirectly linked with computers. Did you ever realize when driving your car that it is actually controlled by a computer or that medical scientists use computers to cure diseases and space exploration was made available through the advancement of computers? These ‘mechanical brains’ are a part of our everyday lives and without them we would be living a completely different lifestyle. Is this the reason that we should include them in our classrooms? Computers impact many areas in our world today. Businesses use computers to keep track of accounts, pharmacists use computers to keep records, entertainers use computers to create effects for movies, psychologists use it for knowledge of human capabilities and experimental methodology and lastly, educators use computers to help the student learn more by doing less work (Pearson 2005).
In an average classroom, the current student-to-computer ratio is ten to one. This is an all-time low however, and in some states such as Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska and Florida the ratio ranges from about six to one. A school’s access to technology ranges just as anything else would, students who attend poor and high-minority schools have less access to computers than students in other schools. The ages of the children made a difference on how the child would use the computer. A fourth grader would use the computer to play games whereas an eleventh grader would use the computer to write stories or papers. According to “Computers and Classrooms: The Status of Technology in the Classroom,” nine percent of fourth graders, ten percent of eighth graders and nineteen percent of twelfth graders said they used a computer for schoolwork almost daily. Also, sixty percent of fourth graders, fifty-one percent of eighth graders and thirty-seven percent of twelfth graders said that they never used a computer for school-oriented work. These percentages show that the use of computers is not crucial to classrooms. Research shows that the reason that technology is not implanted into the curriculum is because teachers are not given the training needed to apply computers into their courses (Computers and Classrooms).
There are both advantages and disadvantages to having technology in the classroom. In an article titled, “Computers make Special Education effective and fun,” the author describes the experiences of two Special Education classes that were introduced to computers. Both classrooms had a successful outcome, which convinced them that computers can be very valuable for student with many different types of learning disabilities (Kleiman and Humphrey). The researchers in this article tested twenty-nine children from the...
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