The use of computers in classrooms is no doubt a huge step in innovative learning. However, just like everything else, it comes with its cons alongside its pros. The real question here is do the cons far outweigh the pros? In this article we will be concentrating on the cons of using computers as learning tools in classrooms. Computers are used in many diverse ways by students in the classroom as a learning tool which has come to sometimes replace or be combined with traditional learning tools such as textbooks, pen and paper. It simplifies the way basic tasks are taught, learnt and carried out. There are many advantages of using computers as learning tools in classrooms but for each of these there's been a few notable complaints such as distraction, lack of basic skill, cost of provision and maintenance, and a host of others. The internet is full of content that range from educative to entertaining to downright unacceptable. Proper monitoring of usage by students will have to be employed to deal with the issue of distraction. Internet access is usually required for access to research materials as well as learning applications and portals however; this access can be abused by students if proper monitoring is not put in place. Certain websites can be restricted such as social media platforms, YouTube and other content driven platforms. This can minimize the risk of exposure to material that could be potentially distracting to students in the classroom such as comedy skits, YouTube blogger videos, funny videos and lots more. Computers have helped students to learn how to write, solve basic mathematical problems such as addition and multiplication but this in fact could encourage dependence on the computer and as a result students would be found to be lacking in basic skills such as spelling, grammar and basic math. Applications such as word processors and calculators come with many functions that assist students in writing study notes, essays and doing basic mathematical problems which can lead to a dependence and ultimately lack of basic knowledge and skill required to handle tasks such as these.
There is a cost factor associated with the provision and use of computers. Computers are not cheap hence providing a computer per student might be a challenge which leads to students sharing computers. This can result in a lag in the learning process. Computers need to be maintained by frequently updating software and applications plus the cost of purchase of said software and applications. This is not cheap considering the number of computers required in the classroom. There's also the issue of training or skill of the teacher. Not everyone is proficient in the effective use and troubleshooting of computers. Except the school trains or hires teachers who are already have prior experience and skill in using computers as learning tools there might be technical hitches which would ultimately result in downtime in classroom activities which could affect the overall performance of the students in comparison to their peer who have a more experienced teacher.
Students will need to be educated on how to use the tools the computer provides for learning in the classroom. This in itself is a problem as students have varying degrees of learning skills. A student who is unable to learn how to use the learning tools provided by the computer will do poorly in class. Equal learning opportunity will be asking for too much as teachers will spend more time with students having challenges with using the computer or will ignore the students challenges altogether which could lead to poor grades. Internet access is another key disadvantage of having computers in classrooms. The internet with its relative anonymity and accessibility is the most convenient platform for predators. Children are vulnerable and can be easily deceived by unsuspecting individuals hiding behind a computer screen pretending to be something he/she is not.
Computers in classrooms with internet access exposes students to pedophiles as well as other ill meaning predators looking for vulnerable and easy prey. Strict monitoring and rules of use will have to be put in place and maintained to protect students in the classroom from this type of exposure. This is an uncertainty as we leave our children in the hands of teachers and supervisors who we would love to trust. Are they doing their jobs is a question that's up for debate and an entirely different topic of discussion. Another factor of internet access is unsupervised content. The internet is full of vulgar and inappropriate content available at just a click of a mouse. Some sites put a warning and an age restriction which is just to avoid legal troubles in my opinion. There is no secondary means of verification confirming if indeed the individual behind the screen is above the age limit to access such content. With the advent of pop ups and search engine optimization children sometimes happen upon inappropriate content even if they really didn't go looking. Think those annoying pop ups that you get upon clicking an otherwise innocent link while searching for genuine content. Yes, that could be your kid and what do you think they will do? Venture further of course, their curiosity is at its peak at this point. It is a really scary thought. In conclusion, I do not agree with the use of computers in classrooms. Computers could serve as a form of distraction to students when they're exposed to non educative material while studying in the classroom. The use of computers as a learning tool could create dependence for basic tasks such as simple addition or subtraction as well as spelling because a student may rely on auto correct or word processors to correct grammatical and spelling errors. Computers are expensive so this will certainly be a capital project for schools. Software updates, training, maintenance and numbers of computers needed are all function of cost. Students will have to be prolific in the use of computers to be able to effectively complete their class work. Students who are poor in the use of the computer stand a chance of lagging behind as the teacher may not be able to dedicate the required time in assisting such student since there's a lot of students in class to supervise and teach. Students are at a risk of becoming victims of predators and child molesters who could easily hide behind the anonymity of a computer as well as being exposed to unfiltered and inappropriate content on the internet all in the ‘safety’ of their classrooms