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Computers Effects On America Essay, Research Paper
The impact of the computer on America has been enormous. Everyone is amazed by what the computer allows people to do. With the benefits that a computer is equipped with, the computer is almost a mandatory thing to have in the home, at work, and especially in schools. It will allow students to do things that were not even thought of twenty years ago. The computer is going to change the way that education works. The school system, specifically teachers and students, will all be highly influenced by the computer and the world of information that it will allow them to access.
Over the last two decades the computer has become part of everyone’s everyday life. It is in schools and in office buildings everywhere. The computer has become very important to us. It helps us in all aspects of living. We can now fit the computer in our pockets, while the first computer, ENIAC, took up an entire room. ENIAC is an abbreviation for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer. John Mauchley invented the ENIAC. It was completed in 1945. It only had 256 bytes (Perron 1). ENIAC weighed 27,000kg, which is 60,000lbs. The ENIAC s first job was for the military. The ENIAC calculated ballis tic firing balls and helped design atomic weapons. However, it had to be reprogrammed to do each task. In the early 1960 s, John McCarthy of Stanford University and Fernando Corbato of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) pioneered time-shared computer systems that were the opening lines of a fast moving play, thus leading to what we of the 21st Century call the Information Marketplace (Dertouzos 27). Today, people center their activities around the computer. Computers are needed for almost any job and are convenient and helpful to have in the home. They are helpful to everyone, specifically students. The computer has several positive effects on students such as children in elementary and middle school and older students that are seeking a college degree.
When dealing with the computers and children there are also some effects that are negative. Parents, teachers, and guardians need to be careful because of the cardiovascular implications such as overweight, slow and weak bodies, or even isolation that can result from extreme involvement with computers. A child might decide to go on-line rather than going outside to play with their friends. One idea is to limit the child’s use or time on the computer perhaps allowing the child use the computer for homework and when they are done, allowing them to play a game or two. It is getting harder to keep children active, especially since children are becoming more involved with computers at an earlier age. Children need to be involved in some kind of activity to stay social. At least one researcher advises: Do not put a computer in your child’s bedroom. It can be harmful to them. They can “just disappear into their rooms and spend all of their time with [these] media.” (Kelly 79). Researchers suggest that by using the computer a child gets no two-way human connection. A good way to avoid this isolation from happening is to have the computer in a place where the family gathers. This placement promotes families to interact with one another. Parents, teachers, and guardians also need to be on the look out for any aggressive behavior from children playing computer games. Sometimes that game that the child wants to play rather than being helpful can be harmful. Some games can make children’s blood pressure rise along with their stress levels (Dorman 134). However, there are more positives than there are negatives. Computer games, when used in a positive way, can provide information and promote skills that will be useful to children. It is reported that children who play with computer games are more willingly to speak and have more friends than children who do not play computer games (Dorman 137). Also, the educated computer games that a child uses will help them in subjects such as math and reading along with improving decision-making skills.
In addition to helping the child in academic work, computer games have also become a means by which parents and children can learn and play together. One writer goes so far as to say: “Probably the most important effect of computer games is that they have brought the computer into millions of homes and convinced millions of people that it is fun, useful, and easy to operate. Individuals from all socioeconomic levels have developed their interest in computers through playing the computer games” (Walker 66). Health Works is an animated graphics game. Smack is a game that teaches children the negative effects of drugs. Math Blaster is a game that helps with math problems; it is available for all levels and for all grades. Sim City teaches the child learn how to build a city. It teaches them what it takes for a city to run. Sim City can also be played in-groups, which can help in social skills. Slingo, similar to Bingo, helps children with their numbers and with their speed. Learn to Read is a game that teaches students how to read. The program, Paint, helps develop the child’s creative side. Technology can greatly affect a child’s education. It can have an impact that makes a child want to learn and have learning be fun. All of these games can be beneficial to a young child’s growing mind. Educators have long known that if you are going to help children to learn, the best way is to use material in such a way that they think that learning is fun, and easy to do.
The effects that computers have on children are very strong. The positive effects the computer has on children in elementary and middle school are far greater than the negative. One of the many positive effects that computers have on children is physical. When children interact with the computer it helps with their hand and eye coordination, posture, visuals and typing skills. Those students who have computer skills are more likely to go to college than those who have no skills. Those children who work on the computer work with a high degree of spatial visualization have “the ability to rotate mentally, manipulate and twist two and three dimensional objects (Walker 66). Students with a high degree of spatial visualization are high achievers in mathematics and science (Dorman 138). An expert contends, “Students utilizing computers to master basic skills perform better on standardized tests” (Walker 64).
When a child works on a project on the computer and the child is doing well, answering questions correctly and getting work done, the child feels good about him or herself. Success boosts the child’s confidence, giving them positive emotional benefits. Doing well on the computer it makes the child want to get back on the computer and do well again. It is a myth that computers in the classroom isolate children from the teacher. Actually, the computer helps children interact and collaborate with them (Walker 64).
The future is very important to children. No matter what job today’ s children are looking to hold — doctor, engineer, teacher, FBI agent, policeman, or stockbroker — they are going to have to know about technology, including computers. Those children who learn computers at an early age have an advantage over other children. They are more comfortable in front of a computer and know what they are doing when, for example, the need comes to research an idea or type a manuscript.
By using a computer there is a positive academic effect that takes place. When a student can work at home on a project or school assignment and then save it on his or her disk or e-mail or transfer the material. For students who use the computer it does not seem like they are doing something academically. They think that using technology is more like enjoying a video game. Thus learning becomes fun.
Clear View Charter school, in California, is made up of many races of students, most from low-income families, and different academic levels. The principal, Dr. Ginger Hovenic, became worried when her students performed below their peers on standardized tests. She began wondering what technology could do for her school. In 1999 a program invented by IBM called Teaching and Learning with Computers (TLC) was brought to Clear View Charter Schools attention. The software included such programs as, “Writing to Read 2000; Stories and More; Writing to Write I, II, and III; Measurement, Time and Money: and finally Math” (”IBM’s Teaching ” 58). Dr. Hovenic reports that the school has advanced on the Stanford Achievement Test. Before the IBM program students were averaging a .7, lower than a one. Now students are scoring a 3.2 on a four-point scale. . She reports, “Second graders have created and written their own math books, experiencing reading, writing and mathematics in the process. Combining various types of problems solving, math manipulative and cut and pasting in Math and More, they’re able to pull together different components into one work product. Children’s reactions and excitement about the next assignment have been incredible” (IBM’s Teaching ” 59).
Children who do not have access to a computer will be at a disadvantage. However, the lack of technology is not the child’s fault. The child can be coming from a low-income family who cannot afford a computer. Furthermore, some parents do not have any computer skills themselves and do not see a great need for their children to have these skills. However, parents who want their children to have a computer, and are unable to afford it, can now take out a loan just for a computer. Thus, every child can have an equal opportunity to the best education. Some people argue that the children of low-income families would use computers just to play games on. But even game playing develops computer skills. One researcher says, “Computer enthusiasts counter the critics by making the point that computer games have educational value by teaching logic and vocabulary skills” (Walker 66). Furthermore, “The dropout rate for high school students who use the computer regularly at home and school is drastically lower than the general high school population” (Walker 64). Thus, the opportunities for students who have access to computers will continue to be greater, while those who do not will continue to be in danger of dropping out. It has been reported that students who possess computer skills are more likely to go to college than those who have no skills. These skills are essential if a student plans on continuing his or her education. Furthermore, as a college student it will be extremely difficult if a student are unaware of the benefits that doing research on the computer has. There are many different assignments that are to be completed that involve getting information from the computer.
The biggest asset of the computer is the little amount of time it takes to receive information. Another big asset is the Internet. Today, the Internet is one of the fastest ways to gain information. The use of the Internet allows students and people alike to do a variety of things including research and communication. A commercial service called Homework Helper has been started in Philadelphia by the Infonautics company, which lets students use plain English to access an extensive online library of thousands of magazines, newspapers, reference books, photo archives, and more (Dertouzos 178). The computer not only helps students to learn about their surroundings, it also helps them to learn how to communicate and cooperate with students of a different culture. The Internet is a great asset for schools. Some schools are now putting homework assignments on their home pages so that students and parents are able to access (Dertouzos 178). No longer will students be able to claim that the teacher did not assign them any homework. At the same time, parents are able to get an idea of what their children are learning in school. Yet, even this great source of information has its downfalls.
While the Internet has an unlimited number of benefits to offer people, it must be said that there are negative effects that it can have. The Stanford Institute conducted a nationwide survey for the Quantitative Study of Society. The survey consisted of 4113 people who were over 18 years of age. Of the 4113 people, 20% were online for at least five hours per week. Of the twenty percent, the study showed that thirteen percent spend less time with their family and friends, eight percent attend fewer social events, fifty-nine percent spend less time watching television, thirty-four percent spend less time watching, twenty-five percent spend less time shopping in stores, and another twenty-five percent are working more at home (Markoff 3). This study is extremely significant to college students. According to scale surveys of the social impact of the Internet, today s obsession with the Internet is leading people to spend more time with a chair and less time with friends and family (Markoff 3). It is important for a college student to possess the social skills that they will need to survive in the working world. Therefore it is important for any student not to spend all of their time sitting down at the computer. It will lead to a lacking in personality skills. They will be turned down for jobs that will be given to someone else with the necessary communication skills that it takes to work. It is not a bad thing to be on the computer. However, it will become a bad thing if students do not isolate themselves from the computer. People are not going out as much as they used to. More and more people are working from their homes. If these statistics keep up, society is in trouble. The internet has become a powerful symbol of society s expectations about the future-a future of fast moving, disruptive technology that is shifting the terrain not only in business, but also in politics and culture (Lohr 2).
The computer means a great deal for the future of the student. The students of the future are going to have to get adapted to a far more complex world then students of their previous generation (Dyson 97). More will be expected from them. Although it may be difficult for them to adapt to, they will benefit much more. Students will gain intelligence at a much earlier age due to all of the educational programs that are being made for the computer and the Internet. With all of this knowledge of information being applied to students, it is likely that today s third grader is tomorrow s fifth grader. There is no doubt in my mind that the both the computer and the Internet will allow for a smarter group of students in the years to come. It is essential that all schools across America be given connection to the Internet.
Many people complain about the money that it will cost to have the classrooms connected to the Internet. However, a study was conducted in 1996 by McKinsey & Company which proved that money was not a factor. The study concluded that it would take only four percent of the annual school budget to get access to the Internet in each classroom (Dyson 88). Therefore it would not be all that difficult for the schools to pay for the access to the Internet and, in turn, it will help the students to better their learning. The Internet is very important to a student such as myself. In my experience as a college student, it is extremely beneficial for all students to connect with their instructors both in and out of the classroom. Now, even when you are not in class and you need to send something to the instructor or just need help with an assignment, you can just send the instructor an e-mail. It is a simple process that can be done at any time of the day.
Some colleges and universities are now requiring students to purchase computers under favorable financial arrangements. The goal that the colleges have for their students is that all of them will have the opportunity to use a computer in a variety of ways. They will be able to prepare and submit assignments that are accessible to the instructor. Students can also browse the files of a library, take tests and exams, and also exchange messages via electronic mail (Rosenberg 133). All of these benefits are due to the computer. These things should make students become better learners.
The question that is frequently asked about is whether or not the computer will improve a students learning. Many studies have been completes to try to find out how and if the computer benefits a student s learning. The simplest conclusions of these tests have shown overall improvement in learning. Areas such as basic arithmetic, vocabulary, and simple science all showed improved test results. With students understanding the computer, teachers, too must get accustomed to working on a computer.
The difficulty with computers in education is that many teachers are not well adapted to the functions of the computer. However, it is extremely likely that teachers will be required to have experience with a computer before they are able to get a job with a school.
With the improvements being made to enhance the works of the computer it can only mean great things for education in America. The entire nation depends upon the computer. There is no question that the computer has left its mark on society. To put it in other words, the computer has changed society. The computer will be extremely significant in determining our future in America. However, people must understand that it is not technology that is going to determine our future. Rather, it is we the people who will determine our future (Celente 22). We can not just rely on the experts to learn the information for us. People need to understand the computer the same way that a mechanic understands a car. It will mean a great deal to society if we all become acquainted with how the computer works.
In closing, it is important that all people learn what this machine can do for our country. The computer alone is going to mean more jobs for people. Parents must interact with their children with the computer so that their children are equipped with the necessary skills that the computer demands. This will allow their children to become better students. Computers in the classroom must no longer be an option. Furthermore, if student’s lives are full of these opportunities, such opportunities that computers and technology offer, society can begin to enjoy what these educated students will give to society in return.
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