Magazine article Techniques
Computer Usage in the Classroom
AS EDUCATORS WE NEED TO MAKE SURE STUDENTS ARE ENGAGED in learning when using technology. Careful consideration should be made about how computers are used in the classroom. Are computers for delivering information or are they being used as tools to help students learn more about their world? Educators need to focus on skills students need to be prepared for the future. Thinking incisively and thinking creatively are skills needed for the future workplace. Computers can be used as tools to help teach these skills. However, it is important to note that software programs cannot teach these competencies and offer poor preparation for such abilities.
To be effective, teachers should use sound educational practices and focus their energies on how to effectively use technology as a tool when teaching students how to learn. Using the computer as a tool or device to help students gather data from which they can analyze information and present their findings on graphs, PowerPoint presentations or written format are examples of how educators should use the computer to prepare students for the future. An example of using computers as a tool would include teaching students how to use spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, and then having each student use that program to create an electronic budget sheet using spreadsheet formulas. Such formulas could include: weekly and monthly total; percentage of money spent; and show plus or negative balances using conditional formatting. Using formulas allows students to analyze and manipulate data, which helps them to make better decisions. Charts and graphs can be produced within this software which permits students to easily interpret their data and provides a professional way to display it. There should be no question in one's mind that using technology in the ways listed above will engage students in higher order thinking skills and really prepare them with vital skills for the future workforce. …