Hardware & Planning
Many types of technology
can be used effectively with children. The setting, the purpose, and
the developmental stages of the children involved will help decide
the best choices in a particular situation.
recorders record children reading aloud or telling their
own stories, poems, and songs, and let them listen to stories
recorded by others.
record skits, performances and presentations on film, video or
in a digital form. Children can tell a story in pictures and write
or dictate the captions.
play back recordings of class activities, and tapes that the children
machines reach out to other schools, to outside organizations,
and keep in touch with parents. They can be used to gather information,
invite guest speakers, and send thank-you messages.
keyboards allow children to type in text without being
distracted by other options such as graphics, for a fraction of
the cost of a computer. If desired, the text can later be transferred
to a computer for graphics and formatting.
microscopes display magnified images on the computer screen.
These handheld microscopes allow children to explore and investigate
the world around them.
- Computers let
children access information and explore make-believe worlds; they
can create, draw and write, and analyze (compare and contrast,
sort, and categorize) information. Computers can also be used
to communicate and publish with others around the world.
There is no one answer
on what type of technology to buy, or even whether to buy additional
items. For younger children especially, the best choice for a particular
situation may be no new technology, or simple tape recorders and
Adding computers to the
classroom does not automatically ensure that learning will take place.
Technology can do great things in the classroom, but to be effective,
it must be planned for and managed. Consider these questions as you
If you decide that
a computer is the right answer for your situation, consider these
- Word processing and
spreadsheets will run on relatively simple computers.
- CD-ROM encyclopedias,
hypermedia, and Internet use require a more powerful machine.
- Newer software may
require a CD-ROM drive.
- Developmental software
programs, with features such as verbal instructions and the child
in control of changing situations, have certain memory and performance
- Some software may
run on only one type of operating system.
- If you plan to add
external devices such as a scanner or digital camera the computer
needs to be able to connect with them.
- Think ahead to what
you will want the computer to do a year from now. Keep in mind,
however, that bigger is not always better--you may be paying for
something you don't need.
- Games, which require
the fastest, most powerful machines, are not necessary in a school
(peripherals) you may want to add:
- Internet access requires
a telephone line, a modem (the device that connects the computer
with the outside world through the telephone line), and ongoing
telephone access, or access to a network connection
- Printers are necessary
for a paper copy of a child's work.
input information into a computer.
for Information on Selecting a Computer
- Talk with colleagues
and knowledgeable friends.
- Stop by the local
library and skim through current computer magazines that are geared
toward the general public.
- Computer magazines
have up-to-date information on products and pricing.
- Publications that
provide information to consumers can be helpful.
- If looking in stores,
go to businesses that carry more than one type of computer, or
visit more than one store.
- Look at sites on the
Internet for information.