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Computer Literacy

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English II

31 October 2005

Research Paper

Computers as a Part of Primary Education

Today's society is becoming more and more dependent

on electronic devices. The skill needed by normal everyday people has changed over the years. The population needs to become more computer smart if it is to stay abreast with technology. Computers in the classroom are a great way to motivate, teach, and learn for not only the student, but for the teacher. Some states have adopted set computer knowledge and use standards, or goals, for the students attending primary schools in its districts. Computer skills should be a fundamental part of primary education curricula.

According to Kathleen Cotton of the NW Regional Educational Laboratory, in 1990 American schools have acquired over two million computers bringing the amount of schools owning computers from 25% to nearly 100% (Cotton). This only makes sense, with the shift of everyday business. Computer skills are becoming more and more prevalent in every thing we do today: checking out at Walmart's automated check out, filling up at the gas pump, or paying for a hamburger at McDonalds are only a few. Students need to learn computer skills at a younger age to stay abreast with technology. According to The International Society for Technology in Education, National Technology Standards Project, about half of the states in America have adopted set standards for computer skills. Prior to completion of Grade two students will be able to use the mouse, keyboard, printer, correct terminology, correct behaviors and correct technology resources for problem solving skills (International). Upon the completion of grade five, students should be able to expand on their learning from the previous grades and be able to communicate online. Grade eight brings about advanced computer skills, with, developing WEB pages and identifying outdated equipment and programs. Upon the completion of high school, students should have a broad knowledge of computer use and skills.

First you must have an understanding of the terms used before understanding the research findings.

According to Kathleen Cotton, Computer-based education (CBE) is anything computer based in a scholastic environment. Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is based on technology but is directed by the instructor. Computer-managed instruction (CMI) is a management of instruction by the staff of the school. Computer-enriched instruction (CEI) is anything with developing technology, which enriches or stimulates and motivates students. (Cotton)

According to Scott Carlson of The Chronicle of Higher Education, he argues students taught with computers score inadequately on handwritten compositions (Carlson). Research conducted shows, of the group of students selected for the studies; the best method of instruction is CAI (Cotton). The students taught with CAI performed superior to students taught traditionally by instruction alone. They were able to learn writing as a process, as opposed to the ultimate outcome of the final composition. Word processing programs allow students to work more efficiently when writing essays. They have the ability to use better sentence structure, paragraph format, move text around, revise without sloppy handwriting, and provide longer written work. These things relate to a more literate and articulate person emerging into society.

According to Claudia Orr of the Journal of End User Computing, attitudes about computer use have improved during the last few years (Orr). This is only a natural occurrence with the amount of personal computers emerging into everyday undertakings. Looking back at my youngest daughter during a parent/teacher day while she was in the second grade, she was playing a game dealing with population control and urbanization. Though a computer game, it made a fun way of learning about how cities are planned, zoned, and constructed. Furthermore, it taught the concept of population control by overcrowding the cities and causing the student/player to construct more urban areas for the people to move to. This simple game helped to improve her attitude and confidence level using the computer by providing immediate feedback, teaching her how to use the mouse, keyboard, disc drive, and printer.

Cotton stated, students who use computer-assisted instruction have both a greater understanding of the material presented and a better ability to recall the information taught than traditionally educated students. Studies show CAI students learn as much as 40% faster than teacher-directed instruction (Cotton). According to Douglas Clements of Scholastic Parent and Child, students using computers in math class can work together on cooperative problem solving skills. Additionally, students can get a better grasp of geometry by playing a game, which allows them to see shapes that are transparent, and then fit them into a puzzle (Clements). Students like CAI because it gives them a fun and entertaining way of learning, gives immediate feedback, it is great for drill and practice, and it builds useful skills in computer use proving valuable later in life.

With the amount and quality of instruction offered

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