Do computers in the classroom improve student learning?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do computers in the classroom improve student learning?

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An overwhelming majority of teachers polled reported that they believe computers in the classroom improve student learning. In fact, the results showed more than 80% believe this to be true. Computers are beneficial in so many aspects of learning that this result is not surprising.

Having access to computers in the classroom allows students to learn not only about relevant course and research material but to learn about computers themselves. Some level of computer proficiency is required at almost every jobsite, so learning their capabilities and functions while still in school makes students more job ready once they graduate. The use of research assignments, co-operative web quests, and report presentation all serve to educate the student on the subject matter and on computer usage. It's like killing two birds with one stone.

In days gone by, students practiced their writing and printing skills by producing essays and presentations as hand in assignments. They learned about North America, for example, and produced maps, posters and written assignments all to increase their knowledge. At the same time they were practicing penmanship, cartography and presentation skills. Not much has changed, except the medium through which many assignments are completed. Instead of penmanship, students practice typing skills. Instead of library skills, students practice web research.

As always, the job of teachers is to educate and prepare children for the future. If the future is going to contain computers, which it almost certainly is, it makes perfect sense that the more exposure students receive to this technology the better off they will be. Report presentation via Power Point is much more relevant to the workplace than poster boards full of various graphs and charts displayed on easels around the boardroom. Technology is here to stay so we better get used to it.

The trick to the use of classroom computers is trying to make sure that students receive exposure on an equal playing field with other students in their classroom and across the country. We shouldn't be creating a system of haves and have "nots" where some students are left behind due to socio-economic barriers. Schools should remain an equal opportunity education provider.