I’ve been hearing about how schools across the country are closing their computer labs, and right here in Maryland, several local districts are laying off computer teachers. As a computer teacher, this worries me. Here are several reasons why I think this is the wrong decision.
1. I’m all for technology integration, but who will teach the students the skills they need to integrate technology? The classroom teachers? I know there are MANY capable classroom teachers out there, but they are already stretched to the limit. Now they have to teach computer applications too?
2. Some say that students don’t need specific instruction in computer skills, that they are such Digital Natives that the skills come naturally. In my experience, this is NOT true. Most Kindergarteners come to me with no idea how to hold a mouse. Can students play computer games? Sure, but do they know how to format the font and paragraph style in a Word Document? Do they know how to effectively conduct internet research? No.
3. One topic that classroom teachers don’t have time to teach, that is CRITICALLY important, is Internet Safety. In my experience, most parents are clueless, or at least ill-informed, when it comes to safety. I’ve found this first hand, through my own child’s Instagram account. Many of the parents of the children she follows either don’t check what their children post, or don’t even know they have an account!
Schools, don’t follow this alarming trend. Transform your computer labs to fit with current/future needs? Sure. But get rid of them because “everyone has their own computer anyway?” No way. You are doing your students a disservice. #SaveTheComputerTeachers!!