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Classroom Analysis

How many times have you accessed the internet today? The use of the internet and technology has risen greatly over the years. In 2012, the number of internet users in the United States increased by 8. 8 percent, which is a whopping 2. 4 million users. In 1977 the very first personal computer was marketed by Apple. By the year 198, two million personal computers were made in the United States.

In 2013, 83. 8 percent of United States households reported owning a computer, with 78. percent of all households having a desktop or laptop computer, and 63. 6 percent having a hand-held computer. With such a large increase of computer and technology in the United States, the rising question of whether or not computer games should be used in classroom instruction is demanding an answer. Computer games should be incorporated into classroom instruction to develop basic skills, improve problem solving skills, and to prepare students for today’s technology.

With the use of online and entertainment media rapidly increasing, it would be beneficial to incorporate these outlets into the classroom to prepare students for today’s technological advancements. Today’s society is now a technologically driven society that relies on computers to preform daily tasks. I believe, as do many others, the classroom is a good starting point for children to learn how to operate a computer. If students learn how to operate a computer at an early age, they will be more prepared for their future.

Author, Jeana Lee Tahnk a reporter for New York Times, says that technology not only expands opportunities for the students but the teachers as well. (Para 10) She also reports that according to a PBS Learning Media survey conducted last year, 69 percent of the teachers polled said that technology allows them to “do much more than ever before” with their students. Whether it is taking advantage of web-based activities, online lesson plans, or educational websites, technology makes the curriculum much more flexible. (Para 10).

Computers offer limitless opportunities to students and teachers. Instead of spending hours in a library looking for one book, one resource, or one school curriculum, students and teachers can find hundreds of thousands of resources online. Using computers in classroom instructions offers a world of possibilities, from being able to google any subject or skype another classroom three thousand miles away, students will prosper from using technology in the classroom. Additionally, in the article Tahnk goes on to say that the use of computers will prepare students for their future.

She says that with an inventible technology filled life waiting for them, children who have confidence and familiarity with technology will only benefit in the future (Para 14). With more and more jobs using technology, not knowing how to operate a computer will leave you lost. Not only does knowing how to operate a computer prepare you for your future, it also helps you in college. Everything you do in college is based around a computer, from online grades, online classes, PowerPoints, and presentations.

If you do not know how to operate these tasks efficiently, you can guarantee a low grade. I attend Rockingham Community College and I have seen many students struggle to complete the simplest tasks of a computer. I see them fall behind every day in class and there is nothing to do because they have not learned the basics of technology. If the use of computers and computer games were incorporated into all schools, then all students would be prepared for college work and their future careers.

Since the use of computer games in the early 1990’s there have been numerous studies to prove that these games not only help develop basic skills but also improve problem solving skills. The public school system no longer considers the integration of technology as a debatable issue in the classroom. In fact, many public schools have started to incorporate the technological use of computers and mobile devices to improve the academic performance of students. In today’s society, computers have evolved from the standard drill and practice programs, now consolidating games that grab the attention of users.

The use of these seemingly playful, adventurous video games represent a new frontier in education. They develop basic skills such as math, reading, group work, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, self-control, persistence, and self-confidence. For example, Shari Hiltbrand, a 49 year old middle school physics teacher at a private school in Houston decided to use ‘Angry Birds’ in her classroom after realizing the physics behind the game. After weeks of creating a lesson plan she introduced the game to her students who were ecstatic to be playing video games in class.

The students spent one week playing the game and writing blog posts about the birds flying through the air; their descent and collision in terms of Newton’s Laws of Motion, force, mass, speed, and velocity. As a 29 year teaching veteran, Mrs. Hiltbrand has taught these topics in a traditional way that most of us learned from, such as crashing balls into each other or timing objects. However with this incorporation of the game curriculum, she says that she sees “such an amazing clarity and precision” and “a deeper understanding of physics.

I want my kids to be informed, scientific thinkers, and I saw I had hooked them” (Paul, Para 11). The use of videogames in class has a great impact on the students. Instead of being bored and spacing out in class students are excited to be learning and want to learn. They want to complete the task they are given and do not complain about how hard or how long it takes Another reporter from The New York Times, states “Many teachers say they use videogames to develop students ‘soft skills’, such as self-control, persistence, self-confidence, and ability to work in a group.

A growing body of research has shown these traits are critical to success in later life” (Paul, Para 14). ‘Soft skills’ are traits that every person needs to succeed in life, yet these skills are the hardest for children to develop. In Punder County Schools, they have started to use a game curriculum in 12 schools to develop these soft skills. In the elementary schools students play ‘Mindcraft’ together to build and conquer tasks, such as building a mini-city, building railroad tracks, and constructing fishing poles to catch fish.

Some individuals may say that this use of videogames in class is a waste of time, but Lucas Gillispie, the districts technology coordinator for this game curriculum notes that the students talk about their classes and the work they do throughout the day. Middle schooler Zeelie Scruggs says she looks forward to class every day because she gets to play video games in class, “I like it because we learn how to work with each other to overcome challenges, and we can keep trying something until we figure out the best way to do it” (Paul, Para 16).

When I was in elementary and middle school, I dreaded sitting at a desk. The thought of sitting in a classroom for an hour staring at my teacher talk about subjects I did not care about made me shiver. Students who are using computer and video games in class are more than happy to sit in class and learn about subjects they might not care about because they have a new creative outlet to learn. Julia Klaus, a small news reporter, says that using technology in classrooms has negative effects on the students.

Technology in today’s classrooms can take away valuable learning time, the over use of technology, and it can also turn educational experiences into games for students (Para 1). She argues that if teachers and students are not experienced with technology, valuable time is often wasted on technical troubles. If the use of computers are incorporated into schools starting in elementary schools students will be able to operate a computer efficiently. Also teachers would be educated on how to use technology and have experience with how to operate a computer and other technical devices.

Additionally, she argues that the overuse of technology can be a problem in the classroom, taking away time from learning in class. If teachers are taught how to use a computer effectually for class time, then overuse of games would be completely obsolete. Lastly, Klaus argues that if teachers do not address that the games used in class are strictly for education, students may get distracted and get off of task quickly. It is the responsibility of the teacher as an educator to prepare his/her class properly. Of course students are going to get distracted, its human nature.

It is the job of the teacher to watch and educate their students on how a curriculum is supposed to be used. With more and more computers, laptops, and cellphones it is surprising that these outlets are not already incorporated in all classrooms. Computer games develop basic skills and problem solving skills, such as self-control, persistence, self-confidence, and the ability to work in a group. The use of technology is rapidly rising in today’s society, so it is crucial that students learn how to efficiently operate a computer, starting in a classroom environment.

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