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Computers: Helpful to Learning? Or a distraction?

For many years now at Friends Academy, computers have been an important tool in the learning environment. Although most students find them useful, there are many teachers who still believe that the best way to learn is by pad and paper.

The main issue that teachers have with computers in class is the Internet. While the Internet can be useful at times to access information, it is generally a distraction to learning. Most students cannot concentrate in class when they have the ability to search the web, play games, talk to each other, or any of the other amazing uses that the Internet has.

Most teachers will allow their students to use their computers if they are using them for academic purposes in the beginning of the year. Tenth grade English teacher and advisor Dr. Schmidt stated that it was rather obvious when kids are on their computers, but said that it was their choice to not pay attention.

On the other hand, computers do have their uses. One of the main purposes for which teachers allow computers in the classroom is writing essays. Typing is often more convenient and quick than handwriting, but standardized test prohibit the use of computers so some teachers still make you write essays by hand.

In this age of rapid progression, American youth need to be able to adapt to all the new technology at a rapid pace. When one goes to college, graduate school, and eventually a job, computer use is essentially guaranteed  So if high school is preparing students for these next steps, but in these next steps students are using this new technology, why isn’t high school letting students practice using this technology responsibly?

The next step in allowing the computer in school is to find a productive medium. There are a lot of classroom activities where one cannot use a computer yet although many students still try to use their computers. Students do not have teachers’ trust with computers yet because all of the new technology on it. In reality, most students know much more about computers than teachers do which also makes them uncomfortable. If students cooperate with teachers while using computers, listen to their rules and put them away when told, teachers will be more inclined to allow computers in the classroom, which would improve the learning environment. But maybe that is a quixotic hope.

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