One of the biggest buzzwords in education
today is the use of technology and computers in the classroom.
Many see computers as the wave of the future that will propel
students into the 21st century. However, if computers are to play
this role they must be integrated better than they are now.
Tom Loveless (1996) argues that computers are capable of improving schools; however, it is quite obvious at this time that they are not making much of an impact at all. Why? The computer and technology industry has ignored the most important aspect of computers in the classroom-how they should be used.
Loveless. describes the principle problem
as one of underuse. Even though there are 5.8 million computers
in the public schools (one computer for every nine students),
70% of eighth graders have never used a computer in the school
This is largely due to the way computers are made "available." Most computers are in labs, thus reinforcing the idea that computers are not central to learning, and are to be used only for special occasions. The infrastructure of schools rarely allows for enough electrical outlets, much less modems, and air conditioners, for computers to truly be integrated into the classroom.
To maximize the use of computers in schools,
Loveless suggests three initiatives. Schools need a strong technical
infrastructure, computers should be employed to make teachers'
work easier, and the goal of using computers in the classroom
should be to increase student academic achievement, not totally
Integrating computers into the classroom
curriculum must be a high priority goal if we are going to maximize
student learning. Unfortunately, no one, especially computer makers,
has taken the time to study how computers can make the greatest
impact upon education. Because of the current underuse and misuse
of computers, it is possible that technology budgets may be reduced
in the future for lack of "results." Educators and administrators
need to demand the training and support that would make computers
a vital and integral part of the classroom. Computers need to
be available in the classrooms to students and teachers, and curriculum
and policy changes need to make computer use a central focus.
If these problems are allowed to fester, the computer may become
the electronic pencil that continues to support 18th century didactic
Loveless, Tom. (1995). Why aren't computers
used more in schools? Educational Policy, 10, 448-467.