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Information Technology in the Classroom, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Over the decades, technology has surged forward in our world. It is impossible to go even a single day without encountering technology and using technological devices. From streetlights to 3D theatres, Smartphones to wireless internet, technology is all around us. It is both seen and unseen. As technology has advanced through history, its use within the classroom has also changed. Technological advances have given us new learning and new teaching tools. As with everything, the use of technology in the classroom carries with it both advantages and disadvantages. This paper will examine the introduction and advance of use of technology within the classroom. The advantages and disadvantages of modern-day usage of technology in the classroom will be laid out for discussion. A timeline of technological inventions and developments related to the classroom environment help to show the prevalence of use within the classroom today.

The first book popularized within the U.S. classroom was known as the ‘Horn-Book’ and used from around 1650 throughout the colonial era. (Wilson, 2010) They were wooden paddles with the alphabet on one side. The other side would be filled with writing from edge to edge, often with a bible verse or two, maybe a poem, and some excerpts from books. In 1870 came the ‘Magic Lantern’, the original slide machine. The magic lantern projected images printed on glass plates. (Wilson, 2010) In 1900, mass produced paper and pencils replaced the use of slate boards in schools. In 1925, the New York City’s Board of Education used the radio to impart lessons to schools. For two decades, schools throughout the country used radio to broadcast lessons to millions of students. (Wilson, 2010) The language lab headset sprung up in 1950, fueled by the idea that students learned best through repetition and drills. The late 1950’s brought television into the teaching game with educational programming airing on stations across the country. (Wilson, 2010) Hand-held calculators were first used in classrooms in 1972. Computers first debuted in public schools in the 1980s. Interactive whiteboards began to appear within classrooms in 1999. The interactive whiteboard uses a touch-detecting white screen combined with a projector and a computer. (Wilson, 2010) In 2005, the iClicker made it possible for teachers to quiz students and receive results in real time. The release of the iPad in 2010 has both students and teachers imagining the end of the textbook. (Wilson, 2010)

Many of these inventions and developments have been a boon to teachers and students alike in the learning process. Inventions like the magic lantern, slide projector and interactive whiteboard made it easier for teachers to impart information, while inventions like the hand-held calculator and portable recording devices have helped students. Educational programs through radio, television and the internet have increased access to education for many. A report by the Sloan Consortium says that 29 percent of students enrolled in a degree-granting program take one or more of their courses online. (Farkas, 2011) Computer learning programs have been advantageous in serving as tutor assistance for teachers. In heavily populated classrooms, teachers can only do so much. Computer learning programs help pick up the slack, acting as tutor for students falling behind and reinforcing concepts through practice exercises. (Gulley, 2003)

As easy as it is to see how technology has helped within the classroom, there are arguments against the use of some technologies in the classroom, particularly against computer technology. R. Wehrle worries that the use of computers will neglect the emotional support students need. F.T. Boyle argues that the computer does more of the thinking for students and so the use of computers within classrooms “may actually be making us stupid.” (Gulley, 2003) Other disadvantages to the use of technology in the classroom include frustration with and time lost due to technical problems and inadequate training with materials. (Olsen, 2011)

Works Cited

Farkas, K. (2011, May 7). Online education growing as colleges offer more classes to meet student demand. Retrieved August 13, 2011, from Cleveland.com: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/05/online_education_growing_as_co.html

Gulley, K. P. (2003). Pros and Cons of Computer Technology in the Classroom. Sacramento: California State University.

Olsen, K. (2011). The Disadvantages of Technology in Classroom. Retrieved August 13, 2011, from eHow family : http://www.ehow.com/about_5435887_disadvantages-technology-classroom.html

Wilson, C. (2010, September 15). The Learning Machines. Retrieved August 13, 2011, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/19/magazine/classroom-technology.html

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