Computers and Teaching
"The speed with which technology has developed since the invention of the computer has been extraordinary and surprisingly sustained. For educators, the rapid and continuing introduction of new technology into education, has outpaced the ability of teachers and developers to evaluate it properly, " says Levy, (1997:1). And he continues, that as soon as teachers have become acquainted with one kind of software and hardware and have developed some ability to use it for educational purposes, "better" machines appear to displace it.
According to Ahmad et al (1985), computers bring to education what all new technical devices have brought about: skepticism and fear, or "euphoria followed by frustration," because teachers, who in the past were demanded to master the use of a textbook, chalk and blackboard have lately been exerted to become experts in the use of a whole range of new technologies, such as slide projectors, cassette recorders, overhead projectors, language laboratories, video recorders, and now – computers. This disappointment may be due to a failure in the focus of teacher training, which for years has pointed to the techniques and the advantages in using new technologies but not to classroom strategies, "where teachers are struggling is at the application level: how to integrate it into the classroom" (Leonard, J in Cwiklick, R: 1997)
Though, as Levy says, it would be irresponsible to go after each technological discovery, teachers must try and understand what is happening despite the pace of change, and think of positive and productive techniques for managing innovation.
Ahmad (1985) also affirms that teachers do not want to become computer scientists. Rather they want to know how they computer can help in their everyday business of teaching.
The question that arises is how teachers should deal with computers at school. They’d better train students in computes skills in a specific area like IT , or they must consider computers as part of the class as the pencil, pen, chalk and blackboard. (Classe, 1998)
"In our schools, every classroom in America must be connected to the information superhighway with computers and good software and well-trained teachers" (Clinton, B: 1996, in Bush et al: 1997)
Teacher training has been supported by different sources, as mentioned by Cwiklik (1997). Federal funds have been used in programs such as the Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program, which provides funds for schools developing projects that encourage the good use of technology in education. And the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund set up last year for state education agencies to distribute to school-technology initiatives.
Schools, districts or teachers’ certified agencies also sustain programs to develop teacher training, such as the Community School District One in New York, the New York Public Schools with the "Project Smart", or the Olympia, WA,...