Benefits of Computer Use

Research has shown that 3- and 4-year-old children who use computers with supporting activities that reinforce the major objectives of the programs have significantly greater developmental gains when compared to children without computer experiences in similar classrooms-gains in intelligence, nonverbal skills, structural knowledge, long-term memory, manual dexterity, verbal skills, problem solving, abstraction, and conceptual skills (Haugland, 1992). The benefits of providing computers to kindergarten and primary-grade children vary depending upon the kind of computer experiences offered and how frequently children have access to computers. The potential gains for kindergarten and primary children are tremendous, including improved motor skills, enhanced mathematical thinking, increased creativity, higher scores on tests of critical thinking and problem solving, higher levels of what Nastasi and Clements (1994) term effectance motivation (the belief that they can change or affect their environment), and increased scores on standardized language assessments. In addition, computers enhance children's self-concept, and children demonstrate increasing levels of spoken communication and cooperation. Children share leadership roles more frequently and develop positive attitudes toward learning (Clements, 1994; Cardelle-Elawar & Wetzel, 1995; Adams, 1996; Denning & Smith, 1997; Haugland & Wright, 1997; Matthew, 1997).

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