Technology and Computers in Education

By Covington, Carrie A.; Dobbins, Thomas R. | The Agricultural Education Magazine, January/February 2001 | Go to article overview

Technology and Computers in Education


Covington, Carrie A., Dobbins, Thomas R., The Agricultural Education Magazine


Paupathy (1992) defines education as the development in knowledge, skill, ability or character by teaching, training, study or experience. Computers and other technologies address these components, by increasing knowledge, using skills, and providing experience and training that will help them throughout their life.

In former President Clinton's State of the Union address, he stated that we must bring the power of the information age into all of our schools (1996). His statement indicates the importance of computers and technology in the classroom and society. As technology continues to advance, educators are going to be forced to keep and integrate this advancing technology into their classrooms.

Some benefits to teachers of using computers and technology are: they increase variety of classroom instruction, it is a great source of communication, a source of information and resources, are productive and motivational, and is an alternate teaching method to name a few.

Technology increases variety in the classroom by, allowing the teacher to break away from daily lectures and use tools such as PowerPoint to interest students. Computers are a great source of communication in which they allow teachers to communicate with other teachers and students by email or electronic bulletin boards.

Electronic bulletin boards are an excellent way for teachers to answer a student's question that may be too shy to ask in class. They also serve as a way to post assignments. The Internet in particular is a great source of information and resources. A teacher can research any topic on the web to gather information for a lesson.

Technology can be used as an alternate teaching method. One example is having students break into groups and do web searches for information on a particular subject then report to the class. Computers and technology also allow rural areas to be in contact with the global community. This introduces the teacher and students to the issues and problems that are influencing the world around us.

Computers also help teachers with organization and, according to Layfield and Scanlon (1998), have been proven to improve their general attitude towards teaching. A final benefit to teachers is that the Internet's information is available at all times.

Students also benefit from computers and technology. Several benefits are group collaboration, a place to exchange information, paced learning, access to world resources, and computer skills.

According to McLoughlin and Oliver (1998), group collaboration at computers encourages students to share ideas in ways that support cognitive and thinking processes. McLoughlin and Oliver (1998) also found that group work with computers increases problem solving capabilities and higher-order thinking, and development of writing skills and literary uses of language.

Electronic bulletin boards serve as a great way for students to exchange information ranging from text, graphics, or audio clips. These bulletin boards also can allow the students to communicate with their teacher after school hours. Internet courses allow students to pace their learning. All students learn at different levels and speeds, and the Internet can allow students to learn at their own pace. The Internet gives students access to investigate worldwide problems and issues.

Computers and the Internet provide students with an unlimited resource that is available at all times for curricula and classroom activities. Technology and computers teach students the most common applications such as, word processing, spreadsheets, and basic computer skills that "are important for all educated members of society to acquire." (Robertson, Calder, Fung, Jones, and O'Shea, 1997).

Students learn by doing, and using the Internet or computers to complete a class assignment is teaching them not only the class assignment but also computer skills that will be important for them to have to survive in society. …

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