The Computer as Tool - Examples

Fostering Civic Duty

When the time came to assess the students' understanding of acid rain, according to Bracey, the results were an across-the-board success. "Everyone knew exactly what acid rain was," she said. "Everyone could articulate problems caused by acid rain. And everyone could use the database to compare how families used transportation, etc." But the learning did not stop there. When Bracey announced the end of the project, one student asked, "But what are we going to do about acid rain?" Though the school only expected the students to take tests and complete the project, the students became activists in exploring pollution issues. While some volunteered to monitor the local stream, others insisted on walking to soccer practice rather than getting a car ride. By engaging the students in active involvement and continual discussion, the students themselves became engaged in the subject matter. And though the computer was by no means the center of the curriculum, they removed the pre-existing sense of academic isolation, allowing both the teacher and her students to reach out and exchange information with others.

Are computers in the classroom a fad, or are they a viable long-term tool?
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