Computers in the Classroom

Publication, Education, Michael Zwaagstra

Executive Summary

  • The Manitoba government has identified working with information technology as “a foundation skill area to be developed in every subject area and grade.”
  • School divisions in Manitoba spend more than $26 million annually on information technology in schools.
  • There are several reasons to be concerned about this excessive focus on computers in the classroom.
  • Studies show that when factors such as household income are controlled, there is no evidence that greater access to computers at school has a positive correlation with academic achievement.
  • Equipping schools with additional computers can be very expensive. Since school divisions have fixed budgets, money is often diverted from other important areas.
  • While it may make sense for students in higher grades to become computer literate, the same does not hold true for those in earlier grades. Introducing computers at too young an age can have a negative effect on academic achievement.
  • Not all teachers are skilled at integrating computer instruction into the regular classroom setting.
  • Upgrading computer labs and providing students with personal laptops will be of little use unless teachers are able to effectively incorporate them into their instruction.
  • The provincial government needs to develop a more balanced approach to information technology.

Full Backgrounder in PDF format (5 pages)