Last Updated 17 Jun 2020

Curricular Ramifications

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The employment of computer technologies in elementary school education has significantly increased across the globe. The benefits and advantages of computer-based learning have been comprehensively discussed, yet it is also important to enumerate the ramifications associated with this endeavor. However, it is imperative to determine whether this technologically intense activity is appropriate for application to young children attending elementary school education. This paper will identify several issues that are associated with the use of computers in teaching basic lessons to young school children.

One of the most alarming reports regarding the ramifications of computer-based instruction at the grade school level is that the brains of young children are inundated with so much information at an early age (Healy, 1998). It has been earlier established that the brains of young children are still undergoing further development and thus it is best to allow time and the normal activities to enhance the young individual’s brain capacity as he grows through adolescence and adulthood.

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The exposure of young children to computer programs is thus a novel experience that has not been fully examined with regards to its long-term effects of human behavior and cognition (Kay, 1992). It is acceptable that adults employ computers at work and at home, yet allowing young children to use computers at such an early age may be rushing their underdeveloped brains to mature at a faster pace. Another issue associated with the employment of computers in elementary school education is that the quality of software programs may significantly vary, depending on the designer or creator of the program.

There are currently so many software programs that assist a computer user in uploading, integrating and consolidating different types of information on a computer. It is thus possible that the computer program that is used by a certain elementary school has not been reviewed and endorsed by the school district and thus the school children may be affected in terms of their learning skills and behavior. The ideal computer program that could assist in teaching grade school children should not only include lessons on how to count or read, but also instill good morals, as well as conduct (Cassell and Jenkins, 1998).

It may thus be possible that the computer program employed by a certain school was simply purchased based on the price of the software packaged. There are so many versions of tutorial software that are featured with violent activities that attempt to teach children how to count or read. It is therefore important that computer programs are designed as a simulation of classroom lessons, which will always include teaching of proper attitudes and behaviors.

Another issue that may result from the use of computer programs in teaching lessons at the elementary school level is the decrease in interpersonal interactions among students (Whitley, 1997). One features of elementary school education is that these children are allowed to interact with other children of the same age, as they also learn lessons from their teachers. The employment of computers in teaching lessons to these young children therefore removes the social interactions that are important in shaping the personality of a child.

Computer programs will thus accumulate more time spent sitting on a desk and staring at a computer screen. The young schoolchildren will thus lose significant time in playing and interacting with other children. Computer-based learning may also decrease the opportunities for a young child to learn the concept of cause and effect, which is strongly linked to social exchange with other children. It is generally observed that compassion is often learned at children and this is mainly through seeing what happens when one child is affected by a particular stimulus in the environment.

In the case of employment of computers in elementary schools, children will be left with less time interacting with children and thus they might not learn how to appropriately interact with other people. The effect of this setting may not be immediately seen unless they have already grown older as full adults (Whitley, 1997). Another issue associated with computer programs in the elementary school level is gender difference in the use and appreciation of computers (Barker and Aspray, 2006).

According to earlier reports, grade school-age boys are more comfortable in using computers than girls, thus reflecting the concept of male dominance in computer technology use (Butler, 2000). This gender difference may therefore affect the performance and learning capacity of the female school children, as these do not fully appreciate the reason why they have to use computers in learning specific lessons at school. In addition, there are reports that describe that elementary school-age girls develop an increase in their negative perception of computers when they reach the age range of 12 to 13 years of age (Kay, 2006a).

On the other hand, boys of this same age range show an increase in their interest on computers, and thus reflect the significant improvement of their test scores from computer lessons and activities (Kay, 2006b). It has been suggested that this correlation between boys and computer use is influenced by the sense of confidence that this gender feels as they use such technological gadgets. Another obstacle that is associated with the use of computer technology in elementary school instruction is the difficulty of teachers in integrating this technology in their curriculum (Jenson and Rose, 2003).

It is critical to understand that computers have only been employed in most human activity in the last twenty to thirty years. In addition, it has only been in the last 15 years that communication methods such as the email and short message service have been fully appreciated by society. It is thus possible that there are certain teachers in elementary schools around that world that are still not comfortable with using computers in their teaching curriculum.

There are some teachers that would rather stick with the old classical method of instruction, especially when they have been teaching young children with only the basic lessons of reading, mathematics and writing (Howe, 1997). In the case where the Department of Education or the school district obliges all elementary school teachers to integrate computer programs in their teaching curriculum, this may present some form of stress of certain teachers that are not used to this technology.

It is thus important that teachers be highly trained with regards to the use and the recognition of the advantages of including computers in their curriculum. It will be disappointing to see reports in the futures which describe teachers that are misguiding young school children in their classroom lessons because the teacher himself is not familiar with using a computer program. Given these ramifications on the curriculum of elementary schools, it is thus important that the decision and choices made with regards to computer use be thoroughly reviewed and assessed.

Elementary schoolchildren’s brains are highly malleable and thus it is critical that the appropriate and relevant measure are undertaken in order to ensure good educations among these young individuals. References Barker, L. J. and Aspray, W. (2006). The state of research on girls and IT. In: Cohoon, J. M. and Aspray, E. (eds. ). Women and Information Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pages 3–54. Butler, D. (2000). Gender, girls, and computer technology: What's the status now? Clearing House, 73, 225–229. Cassell, J. and Jenkins, H. (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and computer games.

Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Jenson, J. and Rose, C. B. (2003). Women@work: Listening to gendered relations of power in teachers’ talk about new technologies. Gender and Education, 15, 169–181. Healy, J. (1998). Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds – For Better or Worse. New York: Simon & Schuster. Howe, K. (1997). Understanding Equal Educational Opportunity: Social Justice, Democracy and Schooling. New York: Teachers College Press Kay, R. H. (1992). An analysis of methods used to examine gender differences in computer-related behaviour.

Journal of Educational Computing Research, 8, 323–336. Kay, R. H. (2006a). Addressing gender differences in computer ability, attitudes and use: The laptop effect. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 34, 187–211. Kay, R. H. (2006b). Evaluating strategies used to incorporate technology into preservice education: A review of the literature. Journal of Research on Technology and Education, 38, 383–408. Whitley, B. E. (1997). Gender differences in computer-related attitudes and behaviors: A metaanalysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 13, 1–22. .

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