It seems that more and more often computers and related equipment are being involved in the educational process nowadays. This tendency of wiring schools, exercising long distance learning, and depending on the internet for information is apparently being actively promoted. Lately, politicians and some educators have begun praising computers as the new technological universal remedy, “the one that will turn classrooms into cybernetic gardens for growing young minds” (EMC Paradigm Publishing). The utilization of computers in education has speedily altered the way that people learn in a short period of time. However, there is a topical question of whether this change is for good, whether it have actually repressed or improved learning process? Considering the experience of recent years, when such things as educational television and the language lab failed to truly become a successful educational technology, many individuals nowadays feel skeptical over the noises about computer’s potential to modernize both teaching and learning processes. I believe this skepticism to be vain. In my opinion, the difference this time is that the technologists may be right. I believe that if being applied properly, education through computers can bring numerous significant benefits to both students and teachers.
It is believed that in the twenty-first century the growing number of jobs in the United States will be in the service or information area. The potential job positions will oblige students to have such professional skills as ability to “communicate effectively in speech and in writing; work collaboratively; use technological tools such as computers; analyze problems, set goals, and formulate strategies for achieving those goals; seek out information or skills on their own, as needed, to meet their goals” (EMC Paradigm Publishing). The factual problem our schools are presently confronted with is how to reorganize and improve the curriculum in order to make sure that students will develop these abilities. Use of techniques that promote project-based shared learning, teaching students to be able to gain access to information, to research the assigned topics, to perform the set tasks in the most creative way possible, can effectively be performed through the application of computers.
One important cause of bringing computers into schools is that according to statistics 60 percent of jobs in the next century will involve computer skills (EMC Paradigm Publishing). Thus it is obvious that computers are able to make classrooms more pertinent at least for this reason. “Computer literacy should be taught as early as possible; otherwise students will be left behind” (Computers in Education). Of equivalent significance is the fact that if used properly, computers are able to smooth the process of students training by the means of action and interaction that twenty-first century lifestyle will entail.
Computers as an educational instrument can serve as a tool of self-directed learning. Nowadays professional success depends on how a person is able to teach oneself, to organize one’s knowledge and skills in a new way, to discover for oneself the resources that one may require in order to learn new skills and to keep in step with a continually altering environment. Unfortunately, the way that the school program is implemented usually prevents students from being motivated for self-directed learning. To be frank, students used to treat learning process not as something they do for self-development, but rather as something that is done to them in a rather compulsory way. We used to perceive learning as something that we do exclusively while being at school, rather than something that we are constantly involved in throughout our lives. Computers can alter this approach, this standard of externally motivated learning. They can actually present the students with the possibility to control the process of own learning and to advance at their personal pace.