Nowadays, there is a great debate among the great thinkers of our time regarding the use of computer-assisted education in elementary school classrooms. Experts are divided on the issue. Some experts are in favour of computer-assisted technology, while others are against it. Let us first discuss the pros of having a computer-assisted education.
One of the pros of having such an education system is that it would encourage peer-to-peer learning. Students who are shy in real life would be able to communicate with their peers through technology. Such an arrangement would help in their learning process by creating discussion platforms which can be accessed anywhere at any time (MunÌƒoz, 2013).
Tools like Top Hat are very useful, and students learn much more quickly through examples given by their fellow students (IOWA State University). Moreover, Top Hat would help teachers answer student queries, as well as help in the grading process. It would also help in monitoring student performance, something which teachers have found overwhelming due to the number of students (Sarwar, 2012).
Writing skills would also be improved since the computer can point out errors in grammar and spelling. It would not eliminate the role of teachers, as they would still have to guide the students on other writing-related tools and techniques which a computer cannot do (Gavriel Salomon, 2003).
In a computerized classroom, students would have access to monitors on which a teacher can teach lessons in a graphical format. It would certainly improve the learning process, as visual information is easily remembered and understood as compared to other types (Kouyoumdjian, 2012).
The burden on a student can be reduced by using electronic copies of books. By storing books on an electronic device, they do not have to bear the burden of carrying them to school or pay so much for the books. Soft copies of books are much cheaper than hard copies.
Teachers are also humans and thus are limited in their knowledge. By using computers, they and the students will have access to an infinite amount of data which would be useful for their learning and development.
Now let us focus on the cons as well.
Having computers in classrooms would result in more distractions which would affect the learning of the students. Despite rules and procedures, students will begin to use computers for personal purposes during lectures. It would create an unpleasant learning environment (Watson, 2015).
Moreover, computers are expensive. Not every school would be able to afford a computer which is suitable for learning. It would create a gap in the quality of education as some children would have access to it while others would not. Also, if students have to share the computer with other students, the learning process would be disturbed (Zheng & Warschauer, 2017).
There is also the issue of privacy. Digital devices are prone to hackers. Hackers may be able to access the computers of students and use them for nefarious purposes. It would be a huge problem for schools and children alike (Ronan, 2017).
The use of computers at such a young age has its drawbacks. Elementary classrooms are where personalities and developed with the help of teachers and peers. By introducing computers at such a young age, we would be hampering the personality development of children as they would be spending more time on computers than on physical interaction (Line, 2012).
The use of computer-assisted education in elementary classrooms comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. However, the advantages carry more weight than the disadvantages. Through careful planning, we can mitigate or remove the disadvantages. Finally, since we are living in a digital age, it is pertinent to impart knowledge of computers to our young students.
Gavriel Salomon, E. K. (2003). COMPUTERS AND WRITING . Handbook of children’s literacy, 409-442. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from http://www.edu.haifa.ac.il/personal/gsalomon/Computers%20and%20writing.pdf
IOWA State University. (n.d.). Top Hat: Learning and Teaching with Audience Response Technology. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/facilitating-learning-with-technology/audience-response-technology
Kouyoumdjian, H. (2012, July 12). Learning Through Visuals. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201207/learning-through-visuals
Line, T. B. (2012, January 4). Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2012/01/technology-is-destroying-the-quality-of-human-interaction
MunÌƒoz, J. (2013). Technology use in elementary school classrooms. Digital Commons @ CSUMB. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1282&context=caps_thes
Ronan, A. (2017, January 16). The Pros and Cons of Technology. Retrieved Februay 26, 2018, from http://www.edudemic.com/technology-pros-cons/
Sarwar, S. (2012). Hindering factors of beginning teachers’ high performance in higher education Pakistan: Case study of IUB. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT, 26(1), 27-38. doi:https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541211194365
Watson, C. (2015, March 24). The pros and cons of a computerised education. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/03/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-computerised-education/
Zheng, B., & Warschauer, M. (2017, June 17). Why schools should provide one laptop per child. The Conversation. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://theconversation.com/why-schools-should-provide-one-laptop-per-child-58696