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Computers and Children's Learning

Uploaded by JEANNE on Oct 08, 2001

Evaluate the significance of working with computers for children's learning in the classroom


The role of technology in childhood education is a controversial topic, and both parents and educators have concerns about the potential benefits or harm to young children. Critics contend that technology in schools wastes time, money and childhood itself by speeding up the pace and cutting down on essential learning experiences (Cordes & Miller, 2000; Healy, 1998). Proponents suggest that children should have the advantages that new technologies can offer. There is also some concern that modern technology is not being used in the best ways, or obtaining the expected results (Healy, 1998). This essay will review the considerations for technology use in childhood education and will address the question of whether computers can replace more traditional teaching methods.

Both critics and proponents of computers in the classroom agree on the importance of the early years in a child's physical, social-emotional, language, and cognitive development. Perhaps the area of development most researched in relation to computer use has been that of cognitive development and the question of how modern technology is affecting children's minds. Are computers being used to enhance and hasten cognitive development, or are they detracting from and inhibiting intellectual growth in some way? Can technology support the specific needs of children or does it take away from essential developmental experiences?

Knowledge of children's development and studies of children and technology use can guide understanding and inform decisions. Recent research on brain development has focused attention on the capabilities of young children, the stages and styles of learning, social-emotional development, and successful educational practice. Such research has argued that children lack knowledge and experience, but not reasoning ability and that the appropriate stimuli, such as close interaction with caring adults and engaging hands-on activities, enhance the brain's development (Healy, 1998). A study by the National Research Council (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999) states that "early learning is assisted by the supportive context of the family and the social environment, through the kinds of activities in which adults engage with children".

The influence of Piaget's and Vygotsky's constructivist theories are evident in this recent research and it is in considering their models of development that we can make some assessment about the significance of working with computers for children's learning.

Much research has attempted to apply the developmental theories of Piaget to children's computer usage. In considering the Piagetian tasks of...

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Uploaded by:   JEANNE

Date:   10/08/2001

Category:   Psychology

Length:   12 pages (2,772 words)

Views:   1834

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