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Technology in the Classroom
         During the past 15 years, computers have appeared in schools across the county.  Students now receive training on computers as part of their class curriculum.  They also communicate with teachers, download class notes, and find a world of new information through the Internet.  Some people disagree with these new forms of instruction in the classrooms.  They believe that on-line research projects only produce massive amounts of useless data, or that replacing personal conversations with e-mails discourages real communication between teachers and students.  What they forget is that students tend to enjoy using the computer for their school work; it is a treat when class is held in the computer lab.  The process of using the computer as a medium is more interesting for students and a convent means of communication.  Introducing students to computers during their academic careers helps enhance the education process and provides useful knowledge for later in life
         Like every medium of education, using computers and the Internet for instructional purposes is only helpful to the student that wants to learn.  For example, some college professors now make their class notes and other important information available through a class web-site.  Students, if they want, can take the time to look up the days information prior to class and print out the notes.  If after class, the student continues to struggle with the information, the class web-site may have further comments or suggestions on other places to look.  The web-site works well for those students who want to learn but feel intimidated by talking to teachers directly.  On-line links to the classroom can also help a sick student keep up with missed work.  They can look up the missed notes, and if the class is using an on-line bulletin board for class discussion, the student can participate even away from the classroom.
         On-line bulletin boards are another example of technology in the classroom.  For the shy student, the bulletin board gives them a chance to speak their mind without having to confront the entire class with their ideas.  It does not discourage communication; rather the bulletin board provides another way to communicate and sometimes works better.  Each student posts messages and can respond to their classmateís posts with out directly confronting them or getting interrupted while they discuss an idea.  The on-line discussion not only encourages communication between the students, it helps generate new ideas without the distraction that sometimes comes with in-person discussions.  Instead of two people fighting for a chance to speak, they all get to post their opinions.  Having the students use computers as part of the educational experience provides a new way of learning.  It helps to generate new ideas while students become familiar with using a computer and the Internet.
         Teaching students to use a computer and work with the Internet is important.  In the job world today, eveyone needs to know basic computer word processing skills.  Iíve worked a few temporary positions where they had me look up things on the Internet.  I needed to understand how to use the Internet in order to complete those tasks.  Students working on the Internet for research projects learn the basic knowledge on how to collect data from the it.
         There is a massive amount of information on the Internet today for both professional and personal use.  If students donít learn how to use this technology in school, where else are they going to learn it.  Using computers as part of classroom curriculum helps students when they start looking for jobs.  Today even the simplest jobs involve using a computer in some way.  The day of the burger-flipper is passing.  To work at McDonalds now, one need a basic understanding of how to use a computer.  Computer technology has increased the skill level of the general public.  Students should be exposed to computers, e-mail, and the Internet while they are in school.  Then they are better prepared to enter the job world upon graduation.