“Educational technology, especially computers and computer-related peripherals, have grown tremendously and have permeated all areas of our lives” (Valdez, 2005, ¶ 3). Computers are a prevalent part of most people’s professional and social lives. They serve an essential role in a myriad of industries including but not limited to, finances, health care, and retail. On the personal front, social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace have gained a popularity that few could have predicted a decade ago. With technology, particularly computers, present in nearly every aspect of the average person’s life, why wouldn’t it be as prevalent in the education? Similarly, as it is a large part of the typical student’s life, it would be natural for that to translate to their classroom experiences. While there are some disadvantages to integrating technology into schools, they are strongly counteracted by the benefits of its addition.
A team of scholars at the University of Amsterdam quote a fourteen year old boy describing his experience with using technology at school: “I like working with computers at school. It is nice to be active, to determine your own way of working and to not have to listen to the teacher all the time” (Heemskerk, Dam, Volman, & Admiraal, 2009, ¶ 1). The student has found many gratifications in his use of technology, all of which are alluded to in a brief response. He has gained autonomy. He has felt less sedentary and passive. Rather than being a passenger in his education, always a listener, he has become proactive participant and director. Another student, this time a girl, says “It is nicer than the usual lessons …” (Heemskerk et al., ¶ 1). While her words are less descriptive, she expresses that she prefers using technology to “the usual” (Heemskerk et al., ¶ 1).
The use of technology provides motivation for students. Many enjoy using computers. There is something about interacting with the computer that is more amusing than looking up information in textbooks or completing worksheets. The variety is also a motivator. Participating in the same routine tasks over and over again is tiresome for anyone. Rather than listening passively to a teacher’s voice, the student has a chance to really do something. As much effort as good teachers do put into making their instruction dynamic and interesting, students often interpret it as boring. While there is merit to purposeful written work, a change in the usual, such as engaging in an educational computer game which serves the same purpose, can spark the learner’s interest (Heemskerk et al., 2009)
It is important for teachers to do their best to teach all types of learners. Not everyone learns best from a textbook, listening, or engaging in hands-on activities. Some students learn better when they utilize computers, to both learn new information and demonstrate their own knowledge. Technology can help differentiate the educational process for...