The Invasion of Computers and Computer Technology into the Modern Classroom Christopher J. Claggett Western Oregon University As we continue to move forward in time, we find ourselves becoming more reliant on computers and computer technology everyday. Cellular phones are more common place today than beepers and pagers were 10 to 20 years ago. 20 years ago, few could afford have a computer at home. Today, few do not have at least computer one. When I was in Elementary School computers did not begin to arrive until 1986, and even then they only inhabited a small room in the back of the library. Over the next few years they slowly made their way into nearly every classroom in the school. When I graduated form High School in 1994, we had three computer labs and a very few teachers had computers in either their offices or their classrooms. Now, my children’s teachers have at least one computer in the classroom for their own personal work as well as one or two for the students to use for projects and research. Teachers are now facing the fear of possibly being replaced by the computer as the primary educator of children. In a possible near future, students could be sitting in front of a computer screen for most of the day learning whatever is put in front of them. Teachers might be reduced to the rolls of babysitter to both the student and the computer. At first as I researched the idea of even more computers in the classroom I found that people differed greatly on this topic, with one certain remaining constant, one day computers will be a force in the classroom. While (Bennett, 2002) sees a world computers have made a huge education revolution, one where student, computer, and teacher all live in harmony with everyone benefiting from greater individuality and specialization; (Anderson, Becker, and Dexter, 1999) see computers as a way for teachers to rethink their personal philosophy towards education, all agree that teaching, as a profession is going to have to change to better utilize computers and computer technology. As (Bennett, 2002) computers are already in our schools and the teachers that are there have been trained to use them in the classroom. “Education authorities apparently hoped for comparable results because they have placed millions of computers in schools. By 1999, there was one computer for every six children1. Yet despite this massive infusion of technology, overall improvements in education have been minimal. Scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress point up this lack of advancement. Results of 1999 showed no significant change in reading, mathematics, or science for the three groups tested – 9-year olds, 13-year olds, and 17-year olds – from 1994 through 19992”. It is not a problem of teacher training, in a 2000 U.S Department of Education study, half of all teachers reported that college or graduate studies prepared them to use computers and computer technology in the classroom (Bennett, 2002). The main problem arises with the proper software to properly engage and motivate the student. Ideally, Bennett sees a school system where teachers are able to function much more freely then they do now. Teachers would be freed from the grade books and correcting papers, and given the chance to learn with their students. Teachers would only then have to seminars and discuss topics with the students that were only truly interested in the subject matter and ready for it at the level the teacher wanted to present it. Students would have one teacher that they checked in with and spoke to anywhere from several times a day to once every few weeks depending on the student’s maturity, grade level, and rate of achievement. This would also benefit parents during conferences, with only having a single teacher to discuss their student’s education. However, truly interactive and adaptive software is only a very recent development, and not one that is ready to be applied to the schools as a fix all to the education system. Anderson, Becker, and Dexter all point to computers as a tool for teachers to be more interactive with their students and to engage them in more unique ways. Their study shows that the more willing a teacher is to deviate from traditional teaching methods and go towards the more liberal group projects and individual research topics in 1 Becky Smerdon et al., Teachers' Tools for the 21st Century: A Report on Teachers' Use of Technology (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education St

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