The Use of Computer Technology in the Classroom

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The Use of Computer Technology in the Classroom

The classroom as we know it is undergoing dramatic changes in the information age. New technologies have always been introduced into the classroom such as overhead projectors, televisions, and even instructor-operated computers, but they never significantly affected the process or the experience of teaching and learning. However, individual computers and the advent of digital textbooks have emerged to reshape and redefine the classroom. Many debate the effects of e-books and the Internet on students and the overall impact that it will have on the educational system as a whole. While keeping up to date with technology is an important aspect of growing up in the digital age, some traditional forms of teaching seem to benefit the individual student in ways that computers cannot imitate.

The invention of the computer and the Internet has allowed enormous amounts of information to be accessed. This influx of information and the current rise of interactivity on the Web attract many schools eager to teach their students in a more modern fashion. The race to become a technologically advanced school has also resulted in a market push for items such as electronic textbooks and other interactive learning supplements. The information age definitely calls for a technologically based learning experience; however, many debate about how far technology should be allowed to penetrate into the classroom. Neil Postman's book, Technopoly, warns that technology produces winners and losers, and that sometimes the winner does not become clear until the loser has disappeared (Butler, 1). If this is the case, it is highly important that the affects of integrating a modern technologically advanced classroom equipped with individual laptops and e-books are studied before they are imposed upon innocent children.

The debate against the implementation of electronic textbooks and the digital classroom has many elements. One of the hardest things to prove to educators and academics is the true effectiveness and advantages of e-books compared to other forms of learning. The U.S. National Science Board of Science and Engineering Indicators stated in 1998 that, “the fundamental dilemma of computer-based instruction and other IT-based educational technologies is that their cost effectiveness compared to other forms of instruction-for example, smaller class sizes, self-paced learning, peer teaching, small group learning, innovative curricula, and in class tutors-has never been proven” (Alliance, 1). It appears that in order for e-books and other technologies to enter the classroom they must prove that they have distinct advantages over traditional forms of learning, and currently there is no such proof.
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