Media & Communication Department

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carpenterTanya Carpenter
Teaching Computers Outside the Classroom: Examining How to Best Introduce Children to a Rapidly Advancing Technology

Since computers were first installed in classrooms, debates have raged over the technology's educational benefits. These debates focus on whether or not the introduction of technology is useful or detrimental to a child's program of study. As a double major in Media and Communication and English with a writing concentration, I personally struggled with the computers-in-the-classroom question. While contemplating this technology debate, I realized the important role of teachers and decided to get first-hand experience before I made up my own mind. Hired as a teacher of after-school computer classes at the Boys and Girls Club, I concluded that technology in the classroom adds to a child's learning experience because computer use teaches kids how to think and write on a higher academic level. This paper proposes a new option for the introduction of computers into a child's education. The after-school computer program at the Boys and Girls Club proved successful due to many factors: the small classroom size, my knowledge of the technology used, and the view that computers should be used as tools to aid the writing process instead of as a crutch that encourages laziness while working on assignments. Supported by past research and concrete proof of the literacy improvement demonstrated by my students, I argue that an after-school computer program is the best option for teaching children how to use a computer.