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Computer technologies became an inevitable part of human life. It is impossible to imagine an industry or a sphere where innovative technologies are not used. Education is one of such spheres. When the computer technologies were integrated in education, only secondary and higher schools were influenced as there was an opinion that students of elementary schools are too young to use computers. Nowadays, this opinion is ruined and there is another point of view.
Students of elementary schools should be taught by means of the computer technologies for a number of reasons. Different business companies try to implement an opinion that computer technologies are really effective while teaching students in elementary schools and to offer numerous programs and applications which can be used in this age category. The main purpose of the research is to consider the background of the chosen sphere, the elementary education, and discuss current business issues in the computer technologies which may be used in the sphere and may be helpful for business development directed at teaching and computer technologies.
Brief background of elementary school
About 36 million children attend elementary schools in the United States of America. This period is considered to be the most critical in students’ development of personality, establishment of learning habits, and formation of other skills and attitudes which may be really important in the future life. It is crucial to remember that the basic skills students should obtain at the elementary level are reading, writing and calculating. Physical needs are important as well as “early attempts to address the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of young students are very important in the child’s healthy development” (Bennett, 2008, p. 1).
Present system of elementary education involves numerous activities which influence students’ understanding of the modern world. It is proven that democracy is really important for the elementary school. Here are some ideas which prove this statement. Attending elementary schools, students face new circumstances different from the family ones. The necessity to follow some specific regulations and rules may make some students feel inconvenient. This may prevent those from the development of personal traits in communication in the society.
An elementary school is the first step for students socialization. It is really important for the elementary school students to create personal democratic attitude. Students should be learned to make personal decisions without being pressed by the authority’s opinion. The management in the classroom should be democratic. This can be achieved by means of the following actions, “identifying rules in classroom management, obtaining students’ ideas, and treating all students equally in the classroom” (Samanci, 2009, p. 31). It is natural that being supported in democratic desires in elementary schools students will become the deserving members of the society in the future.
It should be noted that much attention has been paid to the computer technologies for the latest period. One of the central ideas for implementation of the democratic norms in the elementary education is the use of the computer technologies. Students have an opportunity to control their achievements personally. Many computer programs have been created especially for the development of learning skills for elementary students. There are programs which assess students’ performance and give some specific recommendations for further development.
All these practices and programs are directed at students’ self-assessment which is conducted under teachers’ supervision. Doing some tasks on the Internet or writing some specific exercises with the help of the computer programs students learn to control their time and effort personally. It is important to understand that computer based learning in the elementary school is not only a great opportunity for students to become the deserving members of their society with democratic considerations and good knowledge, but it is also a good business which may help numerous companies get the niche and win new markets.
Discussion of Current Business Issues
Before getting down to the discussion of the current business issues related to the computer based learning in the elementary school, it is necessary to consider the current situation in the sphere. It should be mentioned that computer based learning should be provided on two levels, at school and at home. These two facilities open new perspectives for business development.
The implementation of the computer-based technologies in the classroom is really important for a number of reasons. Most of those have been considered above, so it is important to shift to the discussion of the specific issues. According to the research conducted by Ming-Chou and Jhen-Yu (2010) the online support of the theme-based learning positively affects students’ learning process. The main conclusions made in the research are as follows, “Web-based thematic learning actually facilitates a learner’s knowledge integration” and “Web-based thematic system provides learners with effective scaffolding” (Ming-Chou & Jhen-Yu, 2010, p. 37). These conclusions are really important as this gives an opportunity for the companies to develop the idea.
There is an idea that the computer-mediated learning and teaching on the basis of the online classroom is one of the best variants for student control and knowledge possession. Dwelling upon the advantages of this method it may be stated that the online classroom may be considered as a learning center with the possibility to renew the sources and to change the form of the learning interaction with the purpose to make the learning more varied (Barabash, Guberman-Glebov & Baruch, 2003, p. 150).
The creation of the online classrooms may be a good decision for the elementary school students as this will give each student an opportunity to record their success, some through the tasks for several times to understand it fully. Moreover, such opportunity may help students solve the problems connected with class missing for the reason of diseases. Online classrooms may be available from different parts of the city.
Much attention should be paid to the home computer-based learning as in this case parents are involved in the process. More attention should be paid to mathematics as this is the central subject for many future disciplines. Mathematics for the disables students of the elementary school age is exactly what is considered to be necessary for the modern system of education. It has been proved that if students work successful at home, their learning performance increases. This problem is crucial for students with learning disabilities. The research conducted by Oz (2008) shows that parental interaction and the integration of computers in home studying supports students and makes their progress more effective.
Discussion of Proposed Solution
Dwelling upon the theme-based learning as the issue for the business development, it is important to remember that to implement this strategy in the elementary school, teachers should come across 5 stages,
- Find a theme
- Find the focus of interest devoted to the theme
- Find materials
- Integrate the materials
- Publish and share the integrated knowledge (Figure 1).
Such actions may be rather complicated for the teacher as along with this task, he/she should cope with numerous other tasks. However, this strategy is considered to be the most effective for teaching. So, business companies should create software which would release teachers from coming through those steps. It is more convenient to use the program which has already been created rather than think about the personally.
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It is also crucial for such programs to be related to the elementary school curriculum. The implementation of such software for the elementary school students would be really effective and profitable. On the one hand, students improve their knowledge, and, on the other hand, they improve their skills. The ability of the companies to prove that such software is really critical for elementary school students may be important for the company profit as the more schools order the version, the more money the company gets.
Online classrooms on the basis of the computer-mediated learning and teaching are great facilities for solving the problem of students’ diseases and lagging behind the whole class. This solution may be effective in a number of reasons, first, a teacher is able to notice the problem at the very beginning and second, the problem of missing school for different reasons may be solved. The online classroom may be a great opportunity for the whole elementary system as being too young students are unable to do some tasks individually, they always require some specific help. The online classrooms may be really helpful. The teachers’ actions will be eliminated to minimum, to check the completed tasks and comment on them.
Special attention of the business companies should be paid to the creation of the programs which could help parents teach students with learning disabilities at home. These programs should not substitute the class teaching, they should help those in realization some additional abilities students may have. It is important to remember that students of elementary age have a desire to study if they are interested.
The solution of the connection of the home programs with the classroom curriculum is a good opportunity to help students cope with tasks more effectively and encourage parents for more collaboration with their children. Turning to the business, this variant is effective as the programs should be created for both schools and homes, so double income may be expected. Thus, it is high time to summarize the information considered in the previous two sections and provide the information in the form of the strategic business planning for the three years frames.
Recommendations for the Executive Committee
Before getting down to the discussion of the specific actions which should be provided by the executive committee in the relation to the implementation of the computer-based technologies in the elementary schools, the costs and profit of the program should be considered. It is natural that before starting a new program the advantages, disadvantages and risks are discussed. Relating to the information about the costs schools should expect to spend, it is obvious that this affair is not cheap. Million-dollar investments in the technology should be provided by the elementary schools in the whole country. Moreover, one should remember about the support and services which are necessary for the correct functioning of the software and programs (Hurst, 2005).
Thus, relating to the considered information, it may be stated that the executive committee should first think about the theme-based learning on the basis of computer teaching. These programs should be aimed at helping students make their learning process more effective and successful. The attention of young learners is unstable and the change of the forms and methods of teaching is crucial in their age. His program may help teachers vary students’ learning. The program should be implemented at the first year teaching.
The second year should start with the familiarization of students with the online classroom on the basis of the computer-mediated learning. Those children who did not get the main idea of the previous program should continue working there. This may be one of the methods for flexible teaching which is rally effective especially in young students’ age. The programs for home learning should be implemented on this stage. It is important that during the third year all students of the elementary school could use all three programs. The gradual implementation of those is an effective strategy which helps teachers get acquainted with all those programs, understand the strong and the weak sides of each and be able to implement those in teaching process when necessary.
It is important to remember that technologies do not stand still and in a couple of years the whole world will be controlled by means of the computer-based technologies. Moreover, the whole business world as well as other industries has already been computerized, so the earlier students get to know about computers and their opportunities, the more acknowledge they are going to be in the future. At the same time, the secondary and high school education is based on the computers and online technologies. This is one more reason to involve elementary students in the computer world to make their future collaboration with the technologies easier. Three years is not so much, but this period is enough for creating something new and more innovative in the sphere of education.
Thus, it may be concluded that elementary school, computer-based technologies and business are absolutely consistent notions and may collaborate together. The computer-based technologies are important for the elementary school as they can solve a number of problems in the future. Moreover, computer-based learning system may help teachers in the educational process and support students’ learning in the situations when they lag behind. The problems and their solutions have been considered and the strategic plan for the nearest three years was created.
It is important to provide the changes gradually. On the one hand, the business companies can get more profit from the release of different programs, on the other hand, the educational establishments in general and the elementary schools in particular will be given an opportunity to choose the program and software which is the most convenient for them. Thus, it may be concluded that the impact of the computer based learning on elementary schools is great and in the nearest years the sphere of elementary education will be absolutely computerized. At the same time, the teacher will never be substituted with the machines as he/she is a guarantee of students’ success and the means of control of students’ performance that can not only access but also evaluate.
Barabash, M., Guberman-Glebov, R., & Baruch, R. (2003). Decision-making in Construction of Courses Combining Classroom-based and Internet-based Learning and Teaching Strategies in Mathematics Teachers’ Education. Journal of Educational Media, 28(2/3), 147-163.
Bennett, C. (2008). Elementary Education. Elementary Education — Research Starters Education, 1.
Hurst, M. (2005). Schools Eye Future Costs. Education Week, 24(35), 34.
Ming-Chou, L., & Jhen-Yu, W. (2010). Investigating Knowledge Integration in Web-based Thematic Learning Using Concept Mapping Assessment. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 13(2), 25-39.
Oz, A. S. (2008). Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning between Children and Parents: A Home-Based Early Intervention Study to Improve the Mathematical Skills of Young Children at Risk for Learning Disabilities. (Doctoral dissertation).
Samanci, O. (2009). Democracy Education in Elementary Schools. Social Studies, 101(1), 30.