K-12-Computers in the Classroom
K-12-Computers in the Classroom
Many education institutions have endeavored to investigate on the possible ways of mobile computing over the past decade. Current society has overseen numerous K-12 schooling institutions employing the services of computers in classrooms. Improvements and breakthroughs in computer technology such as pilot programs have provided the foundation for K-12 schools to implement teaching using computers in classrooms. The use of computers in classrooms has its roots back in 1988 at Drew University in Madison (Belanger, 2000). The university began this through the provision of notebook computers to its students. Currently, more than fifty post secondary institutions have a requirement for their students to use laptops in classroom activities on a global scale. Through many controversies and issues, society has had major impact on classroom computers in the K-12 level.
The use of computers in K-12 classrooms has been a major breakthrough and the first of its kind. Private schools in the United States gradually began to implement the strategy throughout the 90’s. In 1996, Toshiba and the Microsoft Corporation, inspired by the success of computer use in Australian classroom, started one of the most high profile schooling programs and is still underway (Belanger, 2000). This is referred to as Anytime Anywhere Learning program (AAL). Technology corporations such as NoteSyc Inc, Net Schools and Apple have all come forward to promote the use computers in K-12 classrooms. These corporations have provided software and technical supports and hardware packages to facilitate this classroom activity.
Current research was conducted to establish the establishing the extent of computer integration into classroom activities at the K-12 level. The findings were as asserted that different models were deduced with each having potent advantages in terms of implementation, benefits and savings. One was the concentrated model where tutors have the freedom of integrating instruction and assignments into the technology since all the students in this case have access to laptops. Others were dispersed and class set models where tutors incorporate laptops into class work during daytime only. Home assignments are not applicable since not all students have access to laptops. Another model is the desktop model. In this case, the technology has influenced some schools to purchase laptops for their students to use in classrooms. In this case, laptops are used during classroom activity but can be taken home to do assignments with the authority of the school (Belanger, 2000).
In addition, this endows tutors with the capability of reconfiguring the setup of the classroom to better suit the learning process of the students. A point to note is the current trend in this technology where laptops are increasingly replacing desktops in the lab setting. The Cuba Rushford School District in New York for example has established a computer lab with seventy laptops (Beers, 2000). This facility is available for use by high and middle school students in the institution. In many K-12 institutions, the primary benefit of using laptops over desktops lies with computer access. Laptops are easily portable compared to desktops and can be used both inside and outside the school.
Further influence on technology by the society has revolved around the cost of portable computers. Institutions and students who are not capable of purchasing high cost lap tops now have an option purchasing low priced computers designed to suit K-12 student requirements. For example, Dream Writer and Alpha Smart computers come cheap together with rechargeable portables with keyboard instruction and word processing. Casio Corporation has been influenced by this technology to produce a portable computer with a Geometer’s sketchpad, geometry program, and graphic programming. Therefore, this device has the capability of taking high school level science and mathematical instructions (Belanger, 2000).
In addition to portables, manufacturers have also come up with full-scale laptops for students of the younger generation. For example, the StudyPro is an infrared wireless laptop designed to suit K-12 students. Apple has also come forward to design wireless technology designed to suit schools that incorporate computers in the classroom. Through wireless networks, institutions now have the capability of distributing single network connections to multiple users without having to bear with the expenses and hassles of physical cabling.
Tutors currently dealing with classroom computers in the K-12 level are exploring the benefits of utilizing this technology. A laptop challenge sponsored by National Teacher’s Science Association and Toshiba recently established that innovative laptop use in K-12 science and mathematics education have hard a major impact classroom performance (Belanger, 2000). Award winning ideas showed of laptops by students in cases of group work, data analysis in during lab exercises, or conducting field scientific investigations rather than classroom work. Evaluators of a Seattle multi-district laptop program, the Copernicus project, found that laptops were considered suitable to facilitate student projects, writing activities, and presentations. Other abilities of laptops in the K-12 level include creating spreadsheets to solve mathematical problems, use of PowerPoint and Hyper Studio software in creating book reports. These qualities inspire student creativity as well as facilitate assignment storage through media such as flash discs. Students can also post assignments to the school’s local network connection for teacher review where they then receive feedback from the concerned tutor.
Current research suggests that the education system has largely benefited from breakthroughs in computer use in the classroom. Benefits identified include buildup of student motivation, shifts towards environments that suit student learning and higher student attendance compared to students who do not use laptops. A study on laptop pilot programs demonstrated that students with laptops exhibited sustained achievements in their academics (Kleiman, 2001). The research stated that societal influence on computer technology in the classroom has significantly influenced the designs of computers by computer manufacturing corporations. The research also noted that this influence led to benefits had a positive impact on the education system at the K-12 level.
Majority of tutors in Institutions incorporating computers in classroom activity had an influence on the increase of project based instruction and cooperative learning (Johnson, 2000). Other researches conducted indicated that tutors and education institutions had great impact on the achievements in relation to laptop use in science, mathematics, and writing use through computers by students (Johnson, 2000). Moreover, it was also established that students had began to show positive attitude to the technology. However, few K-12 institutions having incorporated the use of laptops in their classroom activities have had little time to experience the impact of students on the technology (Belanger, 2000). Society has had growing concerns over access to classroom computer technology in terms of equity. This has led computer corporations to design their products in an attractive fashion. Moreover, costs have also notably increased due to the additional hardware, software as well as considerations in technical support, with great obstacles resting on training tutors on how to use the devices.
However, the presence of laptops in school classrooms does not necessarily suggest that students own these devices. Certain institutions have had advocate suggestions of either purchasing laptops or renting from the school. Partnerships between non-profit organizations, governments, institutions and corporations have therefore helped to defray costs of this technology (Beers, 2000). In addition, parents have also come forward in a move of cost sharing to facilitate the incorporation of this technology into classroom activities. For these reason, concerns have been raised on societies influence on this technology in terms of costs. This argument is in consideration to those families that are not capable of contributing something towards the project.
Society’s influence on this technology is not only concerned with cost and equity, however, a board of education in Texas recently raised concerns through its suggestion that the state should substitute the use of text books in classrooms with CD-ROMS (Cuban, 2000). The board further suggested that the state should fund a program to release laptops to four million students. This suggestion was estimated to save two billion dollars in a period of six years. Despite these issues influencing classroom computer technology, majority of educators are endeavoring to look for ways that will assist in overcoming these obstacles, and establish better solutions to facilitate good results by the students.
The future of computers in classroom activities at the K-12 level is still uncertain. In my opinion, the use of desktops and laptops in the classroom may not become as popular as the calculator device, though they have significant benefits in the field. This technology will probably evolve further judging by the positive effects it has had on student’s performance and outcome. In my opinion, there is need for viable solutions concerning the cost of computers, equitable access, needs on technical support, and security. Many institutions however remain positive on the benefits students have received from this technology. The K-12 level of education will have increased influence on this technology, as the prediction is that demand for the product will be on a steady rise.
Beers, M. I., Paquette, K., & Warren J. M. (2000). Student view of classroom technology use. In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference. Chesapeake VA.
Belanger, Y., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology. (2000). Laptop computers in the K-12 classroom. Syracuse, NY: Clearinghouse on Information & Technology.
Cuban, L. (2001) Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. First Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Johnson, K. A., & Heritage Center for Data Analysis. (2000). Do computers in the classroom boost academic achievement? Washington, D.C: Heritage Foundation.
Kleiman, G. (2001). Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Schools. The Centre for Online Professional Education (COPE). 2-4.