Computers in the classroom include any digital technology used to enhance, supplement, or replace a traditional educational curriculum. As computers have become more accessible, inexpensive, and powerful, the demand for this technology has increased, leading to more frequent use of computer resources within classes, and a decrease in the student-to-computer ratio within schools.
College campuses used computer mainframes in education since the initial days of this technology, and throughout the initial development of computers. The earliest known large-scale study of educational computer usage conducted for the National Science Foundation by The American Institute for Research concluded that 13% of the nation's public high schools used computers for instruction, although non-users still outnumbered users at a ratio of 2 to 1. The study also concluded that computers proved to be very popular with students, and that applications run on early models included sports statistic managers, administration tools, and physics simulators.
Most schools will require teachers to incorporate computer use into the grade level curriculum. The new teacher may need assistance deciding how to do this on a daily basis. Some teachers are hesitant to introduce computer time into the classroom because they view this as a form of "free time" or they may not be confident in their own computing skills. However, when governed and lead properly, integrating computer time into the classroom will have several benefits.
Students gain word processing skills when learning to type: skills they will need in college and the workplace.
Working on computers fosters collaboration between students and between the student and teacher as they work together on projects.
Often leaders emerge who really enjoy computers and can help others, which is useful to classmates and the teacher.
Computer time promotes using higher order thinking skills and is a natural form of discovery through trial and error.
Computer time increases responsibility, independence and a sense of accomplishment.
Computers can reinforce instruction or are an assertive tool in the instruction through podcasts, video and multimedia.