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Computers in Education
The computer is a magnificent tool that can aid us in our daily lives. Can the computer also aid us in our education? Yes, definitely!! Students and teachers, alike, have found the many benefits of the computer invaluable.
The most popular computer that almost everyone possesses is the calculator. The calculator is a form of a computer that automatically calculates a series of numbers. The most common functions of a calculator are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The PC or personal computer has more highly specialized programs that does so much more. Microsoft Excel, spreadsheet software, is a program that works with mathematical computations. Spreadsheet programs are used to not only calculate one set of numbers but several series of numbers. You can save these numbers and even apply data to name them. For example, teachers use spreadsheets to keep grades on their entire class. They set up formulas that will automatically calculate a specific students average with just entering one number and hitting the enter key. After each test, all the teacher has to do is enter the grade for that specific test and it will automatically give the overall percentage. As long as you can figure out a specific formula, anyone can do the most complicated computations as well as the simplest.
Spreadsheets also have the capability of forming graphs. We can make graphs to enhance our papers and presentations. These graphs can be done at a touch of a button. We only have to know the specific codes and tools to perform the task.
PIMs (personal information managers) are another valuable program. These PIMs act like a daily planner. We can keep our schedule of classes and of tests. We can set alarms to remind us of important events. Not only can we save our schedule but we can also keep an address book of important phone numbers and addresses. Databases are more complicated then PIMs but they have the ability to do the same function without the fancy extras.
Of course, the most valuable program is the word processing programs. Word processing programs can aid in writing those important papers. These specific programs not only aid in writing papers but also correcting them. We can find lists and templates of the most popular formats to aid in the construction or the actual appearance of the paper. We do not have to figure out exact spacing or margins. These programs will automatically do this according to our specifications. To personalize your paper even more, you can add clip art to your writing. Clip art are pictures that you can find in many of the popular word processors. You can even form your own clip art through special drawing programs. Word processors can check for grammatical errors and provide suggestions in correcting them. The main advantage of the word processor is the ability to find and correct spelling errors.
Can a PC aid in the classroom? Yes, in the form of a notebook computer. A notebook computer is a smaller version of our desktop computers. Notebooks have the same capabilities as our huge desktops. They can provide the same programs in a lightweight compact form. The main advantage of a notebook is its size. They can be carried very easily in a backpack or a briefcase. These computers can be plugged into a wall socket or they can get their power by means of a battery. Notebooks can cost about the same amount of a desktop according to the type you want. We can find them with single or multiple color screens. They can come with a Pentium processor as well as the 486 or 386 processor. Some of them can come with modems and CD ROMs. The type of notebook you get should depend on the use of the computer as well as the capability of the computer that you need.
How can a computer aid in a classroom? For many who have difficulty writing, a computer can aid in taking notes. If we need help in finding definitions, synonyms or other forms of words, the computer can contain dictionaries and even thesauruses. Again, the computer has the capability of assisting in numerical computations. The computer does not only compute the information we put in but it can also save the information.
There are more specific programs that can aid in a specific class. We can find programs that help teach algebra, chemistry and even trigonometry, just to name a few. These programs are not designed to work alone but to work along with our classroom teaching. We can go as slow as we need or as fast as we need. We can go over our trouble areas as many times as we need in a more comfortable, safe, controlled environment.
On-line services provide classes and tutorial services over the Internet. The classes are not normally major classes (although there are a number of schools that do offer degrees via electronic classes) but they can assist us with getting started. On-line services can also provide information to aid us in our decision of an educational environment. These services can provide the cost, how many are attending and the requirements in attending. We can also find help to assist us with the financial end in the form of scholarships or government programs. The disadvantage of on-line services is the time and effort we must put in to find the information. In the end, however, it can be rewarding to take the time.
Up to this point we have been speaking of computers to aid the adult in education. Computers can also aid younger students in grade school or high school. It has been proven that children learn more effectively if we make learning fun. Children can learn the alphabet, math and word definitions from programs that make a game out of learning. There are special notebook computers designed to teach children the basics. Schools are incorporating the computer in teaching grade school students and high school students.
We have seen that computers are very valuable to everyone. Persons who have difficulty in learning or specific physical complications that affect their learning have found the computer a valuable compensation tool. We are very fortunate to live in this age of the computer. Computers can be scary at the beginning but, in time, they can become our friends.
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