Technology has become very crucial as it makes it easy for students to get access to information. According to an article written by Linda Colburn, there are many changes which are occurring and require that technology be integrated in to middle school curricula (Colburn, 2011). It goes ahead to describe that in about a year or so, students will be using laptop computers in their classrooms.
This paper is meant to focus specifically on the use of laptop computers in English classrooms. Use of laptop computers helps students to in an English classroom get more content from the internet as the teacher teaches making the students understand better.
Use of Laptop Computers in English Classroom
Laptop computers are forms of the new technology. Integration and use of laptop computers in English and also in other subjects’ classrooms facilitates literacy since students are able to read and write for themselves from the laptop (Colburn, 2011). Students are also able to learn the actual technology. Use of laptops turns an English classroom to be student centered instruction rather than the traditional form of learning. During the last few years, there has been very little being done towards allowing students to use laptops in English classrooms (McKenzie, 2008). However, a lot has been done recently and the government, teachers and students are beginning to realize the benefits which come with it. The acceptance of use of laptop in English classrooms is supported by many individuals including myself. It is very proficient especially with new and different types of literacy. In addition the work environment has become very complex and therefore requires students to come out with better skills (Colburn, 2011). For students in business, industry or any other place of work, they must have the ability to understand different aspects, write using the current technology and express themselves in their speech (Colburn, 2011). Use of laptops in their classrooms will enable them become intellectuals who can handle different situations and challenges.
Benefits of Using Laptop Computers in English Classroom
English a core subject since it is the most spoken language in the world especially for business and work purposes. Therefore, it needs to be studied with a lot of care (Floyd, 2006). Using laptop computers in English classrooms will help the students achieve their classroom goals since they will be able to readily access information which is required to complete the tasks they are carrying out in classrooms (Cat, 2010). Students will also be able to get instructions on how to use the laptops to get information and be up to date with the current technology which will be very helpful to them as they get out of school. Use of laptops in classrooms is beneficial to both teachers and students. This is because it a form of technology which has been found to support constructivist approaches to instruction (Cat, 2010). Teachers are able to give instructions to their students in such a way that the level of understanding is improved.
Students utilize the laptops in English classrooms to type, make documents and even research for different topics. When laptops are used in classrooms, they allow students to store information which they use in their discussions when outside the classrooms (Cat, 2010). Students are able to use the laptops to take tests online. When a teacher is using laptop in classroom, students get engaged in learning and students are able to get a lot of materials for learning within a short period of time (Cat, 2010). Use of laptops also provides a technology based learning environment which is enjoyable to students hence facilitating their learning. Most students are youngsters who have a lot of interest in computers. It has been found out that most students spend most of their free time in front of computers (Cat, 2010). When laptops are used in classrooms, students will concentrate more on what they are doing since they are using what they like.
It makes it possible for students to get information just by a click of a button. This is easier that having to look for information in larger volumes of books (Cat, 2010). Large amounts of information can be accessed easily and quickly using a laptop. Laptops make research easy and make it possible to access current information. Getting current information in books can be very difficult since books are never updated unless a new edition is produced (Cat, 2010). Early initiation of use of laptops in classrooms prepares students for out of school environment and is a good asset which can facilitate student learning.
Despite the benefits using laptops in English classrooms has, it is has some disadvantages. Laptops provide a great learning experience for students but at the same time students can find ways in which they can distract themselves (Cat, 2010). Students may be tempted to play games or go to MySpace or Facebook which is not allowed in class. However these are aspects which the English teacher can control during the class session (McGrail, 2006). The teacher can block these games and fun programs during class sessions or find ways of identifying those who are involved in these kinds of activities during classroom.
Use of Laptops in English Classroom Enhances Critical Thinking
Use of laptops as a new form of technology enables students to gain access to a lot of information. However, this information may not be useful to students without critical thinking (MacKnight, 2000). Critical thinking is the basis for everything including communication, listening, reading and writing. Use of laptops makes it possible for teachers to facilitate online discussions and presentation tools that enable students to engage in wide range of activities which enhance the intellectual growth of the students (MacKnight, 2000). It is the intellectual growth that leads to critical thinking which is important in students’ life. Especially for students who might be involved in distance learning, they may be able to use the online discussions to generate an idea which is based on critical thinking (McKenzie, 2008). By use of technology, students can be coached to be intellectual and be involved in reflective learning. When laptops are used in classrooms, the teacher can communicate to every student, and give them presentation tools which help students improve their analytical skills which enhance their critical thinking (MacKnight, 2000). Students are able to exchange ideas and they participate, and give their own ideas, critical thinking is enhanced. Basically, when students have laptops in classes, they are given the chance to discuss questions online and come up with their own ideas (MacKnight, 2000). This enhances their critical thinking since they are able to think independently.
As discussed earlier, use of laptop computers in English classrooms or in classrooms for any other subject is very crucial. However, many may argue that laptops are very expensive to buy and maintain especially is students are allowed to go home with them (O’Neil & Perez, 2003). There could be an alternative to this. Learning institutions may make a plan and buy desk tops since they are a bit cheaper as compared to laptops (Voogt, 2008). For convenience, they should be as many as the students and be put in different rooms assigned for each class. In this way, students can use them and leave them there without taking them home. In this way, they will not be able to play games which can damage them. This will reduce maintenance cost.
The Role which Use of Laptops in English Classrooms will Play in Today’s Life
With the incoming of new technological gadgets, life is getting simplified day by day. Technology is likely to rule our present and future life thus it’s better to expose children to these technological trends at an early age. If the children are trained during their time in school, it is easy for them to adapt to these technological trends thus becoming beneficial to the society in the long run.
According to researchers, it’s believed that children who are exposed to technology show a great improvement in their reading, writing and math skills. Technology has reduced school dropout rates among students by improving on their school attendance and learning abilities. This has laid a great foundation of success in their individual life (Mosenson & Johnson 2008). Use of laptops in classrooms has made it possible to access notes given by the teacher during the sessions. This notes are retrieved later to use in revising for exams. Use of laptops to access notes reduces mistakes which can be made by students when they are supposed to make notes manually.
Since the benefits for using laptops in English classrooms and classrooms for other subjects are very clear and real, it is now left to the schools to come up with mechanisms of getting laptops for their schools (McGrail, 2006). The government has been supporting the use of technology in schools for long now. Schools can lobby for funds to buy laptops for their students. For maintenance purposes, each student can be contributing a certain amount on monthly basis to provide money for maintenance (Lee & Winzenried, 2009). Since students would like to use the laptops outside the classroom and home for their home works, teachers can give them permission to take their laptops home (Mosenson & Johnson 2008). However, precaution must be taken to ensure that they do not damage them. Each student can be charged with the responsibility preparing the laptop with their own money if it gets destroyed in their possession.
Technology is getting advanced every day. This technology is being utilized in work environments. This makes it necessary to equip students with the knowledge and keep them up to date with the current technology so that they are ready for the outside world. In the past years, there was a lot of resistance towards using laptop in classrooms. However, this resistance has reduced with the government offering money to schools for purchasing laptops. Use of laptops in English classrooms enhances learning and reading. It makes students get engaged in class and promotes constructive instruction. Students are able to get a lot of information within a short time without relying on big volumes of books. The information which students can acquire when using laptops in classroom is current hence avoids usage of old information provided in books. Use of laptops in classrooms also enhances critical thinking as students get the opportunity to reflect and think critically during online discussions to come up with their own ideas. For schools that cannot afford laptops, they can opt for using desktops. Technology is very applicable in today’s life and use of laptops in English classrooms will prepare students for life outside school.
Cat, A. (2010). Laptops in the Classroom. Retrieved on June 22, 2011 from http://medt3401.blogspot.com/2010/02/laptops-in-classroom.html
Colburn, L. (2011). Integrating Technology in your Middle School Classroom: Some Hints from a Successful Process. Retrieved on June 22, 2011 from http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/elec_index.asp?HREF=/electronic/colburn/index.html
Floyd, E. (2006). The Use of Technology and its Effects on Student Achievement. Clemson, Clemson University
Lee, M & Winzenried, A. (2009). The use of Instructional Technology in Schools: Lessons to be Learned. Camberwell, Acer Press.
MacKnight, C. (2000). Teaching Critical Thinking through Online Discussions. Retrieved on June 22, 2011 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0048.pdf
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O’Neil, H & Perez, R. (2003). Technology Application in Education: A Learning View. Mahwah, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc
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