The History of Computers in Education

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The History of Computers in Education


Computers were first introduced into schools in the late 1950, however, at that time they were only used by large universities for clerical work such as accounting, payroll, and for storing student records. Computers began to emerge more and more in the 1950, but it was still uncommon to see computers in schools. Today, one will find that quite the opposite exists. Since 1977 there has been a rapid growth in the use of computers throughout schools. Today the average public elementary school has 110 computers and 98% of these schools have access to the Internet. The ratio of students to computers, as of the year 2000 is less than five students per computer (Kafer np). Since their first appearance they have greatly changed education and have proved to be useful, valuable resources both in and out of the classroom.

In the mid 1960 through the early 1970 the cost of computers decreased, while the availability of the machines increased. This allowed more schools and colleges to buy and use computers. With this new technology, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel could complete required tasks in less amount of time. One main benefit of computers in schools was that they saved the time and the energy of those who operated them.

When computers were first introduced into schools they were largely used for secretarial tasks and administrative purposes. Records of the school students and faculty could all be stored on a computer. Also, inventory control and accounting could be done with a computer now. Computers allowed schools to keep and produce accurate records, which helped avoid financial disputes. Grades and attendance could now be stored on a computer drive, which also prevented disputes over miscalculations that might have occurred if records were kept by hand. Another administrative convenience introduced with computers was the ability to process and print student schedules. School resources, such as library books could now be managed through a computer system, monitoring what books were on loan and what was available. Having computer access in schools was extremely beneficial for administrative purposes.

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The next step after the administrative use of computers was using computers for instruction. Computers provided teachers with many conveniences. Educators could now use computers in order to prepare lesson plans, work sheets, tests, and reports. Also, computers allowed teachers to calculate student grades, a task that takes long, careful concentration if done by hand. Information about each individual student and his or her current standings and progress could all be stored on a computer. This easy availability to store and access information about students and any other class related material was and still is today very beneficial to teachers for productivity, analysis, and accuracy.

Today, computers are used more than ever in the classroom and software programs are now designed specifically for educational instruction. Instructional games, tutorials, drills, and simulations are used to assess student¦Ðs abilities, and to help improve academic standings. All of these advances made possible by the computer created a more efficient and productive school environment.

The integration of computers into schools has resulted in unavoidable changes. The increasing use of computers has required schools across the nation to alter their curriculum and has forced educators to vary their teaching methods. Today, it is pertinent that teachers be familiar and comfortable with computers since they play a large role in modern education. Due to the wide use of computers in schools today, and in society ingeneral, some colleges, such as The College of New Jersey, require future educators to take a course on Computer Literacy. As Stephen M. Alessi states in his book Computer Based Instruction, Most educators agree that the primary objective of computer literacy, or nonprofessional computer education, should be to make people comfortable with computers. Students should learn how to operate them, should know their applications, and should understand about computer ethics and the use and misuse of computers (51). Thus, by taking Computer Literacy courses students are provided with an opportunity to further familiarize themselves with computers and prepare them for entering the educational field.

Over the past fifty years our country educational system has gone through a drastic transformation with the advancements made in technology. Computers are widely used throughout primary and secondary schools and in colleges and universities, for both administrative and instructional purposes. Due to the overwhelming presence of computers in the field of education, in order to be a successful educator today, it is necessary that one is computer literate. As stated in the book Computers in Schools, If you are an educator or are planning a career in education, if you are apparent concerned about how computers relate to your child education, or if you are simply and interested bystander observing educational processes, you need to know more about the use of computers in education (Bramble 19). The rapid changes and increase in technology require both students and teachers to familiarize themselves with the world of computers.

Works Cited

Alessi, Stephen M. Computer Based Instrucation. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Inc., 1985.

Bramble, William J. Computers in Schools. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company,
1985.

Kafer, Krista. Educational Statistics. 2003.
<http://www.heritage.ogr/Research?Education?WM134.cfm>. 13 Sept. 2003


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