Computers are used to perform various tasks in the classroom and they tend to simplify the way students learn. Students use computers to learn how to write because they have word processing applications which enable students to take notes or write articles for academic purposes in the classroom. A word processing application comes with auto correct functions which can help a student improve their vocabulary.
But on the other hand, computers have reduced the creativity of students because students have become over dependent on them. For example, a simple mathematics equation cannot be solved without the aid of a calculator, also some students who bring their computers to class, tend to misuse them, by using them for non-academic purposes during class hours. Most of them spend most of their time watching funny videos on the internet, chatting with friends on social networks and play non-educational games during class time. This has resulted in poor performance in the class and failure of final year exams.
Below is a detailed list of pros and cons of using a computer in the classroom.
PROS OF USING COMPUTERS IN CLASSROOMS
- Encourages peer to peer learning: Teachers can insist students create virtual study groups using computers to share or ask academic information. With the many social applications available, it is very easy to connect students using computers. Naturally, some students who are too shy to connect with others in the real world, may find it less challenging to connect virtually.Thus teachers can spot such students and encourage them to create a peer to peer computer discussion platform which students can use while in the classroom or outside the classroom. There’re some tools like Piazza which help teachers achieve this goal in their classroom. Students learn easier when they get examples and illustrations from their fellow students. So as a teacher it is very important to mix clever students with moderate students or slow learners. You can keep the group small, between 4 – 6 students per group.
- Improve students writing skills: Many students have issues with proper grammar and using a computer in the class will partly help in correcting that issue. Though this will not make them the best writers, but it will help them write grammatically correct sentences easily and learn faster. Teachers will still have to take the extra step to guide their students on how to write well composed sentences, because a computer can only do the basics, i.e; spell checks which can be corrected by auto-corrects. But a computer can not teach a student when to punctuate or start a new paragraph. Verbs and nouns are used in a different manner and a computer will not know that, past tense and present tense are completely different, but computers can not know that. All this is supposed to be taught to a student by their teachers and the student can use their computers just to aid in the speed of typing notes and research work.
- Visual illustrations on computers make learning easier: If the classroom is computerized and every student has their own monitor on their desks, the teacher can illustrate lessons in a visual format, this will aid those who are visually inclined. Since computers have graphics software, students can also draw illustrations which can help them during peer to peer interactions. Students can also use the internet to learn through videos or use puzzles and academic games to solve specific challenges while in the classroom.
- They personalize learning: This can be achieved when each student has their own computer in the classroom. The teacher can easily receive and reply to students’ comments while in class. Teachers can assign work to their students directly on their computers using electronic mail or classroom online platforms. Students will find it easy to ask questions using computers as opposed to when they have to raise their hand in a big classroom.
- They reduce on the amount of text books students carry to school: It is true students can store most of their notes and text books on their computer devices. Now days many online book stores like Amazon.com , sell soft copies of most academic books, these books are in the form of PDF or EPub, so a student can easily download them and save them on their computers. A soft copy of a text book is always cheaper than a hard copy, because soft copies require no shipping. However, the only obstacle is that a few publishers have not created soft copies for distribution of their books which I think is obviously decreasing as the virtual craze continues.
CONS OF USING COMPUTERS IN CLASSROOMS
- Creates distractions in the classroom: The use of computers in the classroom can create distractions, especially when students use them for personal reasons while the teaching is teaching. The only way teachers can control this bad behavior, is by setting rules on when and what to use computers for while in the classroom, failure to comply with the terms, students will stand a great risk of losing their computers.
- Poor writing skills: Just like I mentioned in the topics above, the computer can notaccurately teach students how to write a correct essay or sentence. Computers do not teach punctuation, paragraphs, and verbs or nouns. A computer can auto correct a wrong word and it can also do some essential basics in writing, but the best job must be done with the paper and pen. Teachers can easily read through students notes and correct them. Also proper penmanship cannot be achieved virtually, students must practice writing in order to develop neat and legible handwriting
- Expensive: Computers are expensive, so not every school or student will be able to afford a computer of their own in the classroom. In most schools, students will have to share one computer per a group 5-8 people. Unless when governments change their policies towards education and use tax payers money to buy equipment needed in the classroom. It is mainly private schools that provide these facilities to each student.