ERIC Number: ED436231
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
Effective Use of Computers with Young Children.
Clements, Douglas H.
Educational technology can change the way children think, what they learn, and how they interact with peers and adults, or technology can teach the "same old stuff in the same old way." This paper examines computer use with young children and how computers can be used more effectively. The essay describes changes in the past decade in computer use, noting the increased number of preschools with computers, the drop in the ratio of students to computers, and increased concern over equity of access. The paper examines computer use in learning mathematics and science, and maintains that, although young children make significant gains using computer-assisted instruction software, technology should emphasize problem solving. Examples are given of programs allowing development of problem-solving skills. The essay then examines the computer's role in the home and preschool, suggesting that most children use classroom computers occasionally, mostly for drill-and-practice, although more early childhood teachers are selecting more open-ended programs. Children use instructional software even less at home, even if it is present, and far less often than games. Research suggests that computers are potential catalysts for social interaction and cognitive play, with children's interactions affected by the software being used. The paper considers changes in the adult's role as the nature of computer use has changed, and notes that with careful attention to establishing physical arrangements, giving assistance, selecting software programs, and enhancing learning, adults can optimize the computer's advantages. (Contains 45 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A