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Computers were first introduced into schools almost twenty years ago. The introduction changed the way in which young children would learn forever. When the computer was first introduced the main beneficial first order effect was seen as; when used appropriately technology could supplement and extend learning. Not only this but it was also predicted that it would give the young population an opportunity to become familiar with computers, giving them a head start in later life.
Traditionally, the pre-school curriculum stated that schools must incorporate a variety of activities that try to promote “a balance of social, emotional, physical and intellectual stimulation for the young child. “(Campbell, Fein 1946) Piaget stated, “Young children learn through hands on interactions with tangible materials, through play and by interacting with nature. ” Piaget was the first to take children’s thinking seriously. He was not an educational reformer but he championed a new way of thinking about children that provided the foundation for today’s educational advances.
Children need opportunities to interact with the people and objects in their environment and to learn from their surroundings. Concerns were arising that maybe young children were missing the more interactive and intimate relationship with other children, becoming more isolated thus affecting their social development. So maybe the introduction of the computer to schools was not entirely beneficial to the children. The debate had begun. It all began with the introduction of the BBC computer. As technology became easier to use and more appropriate software available, young children’s use of technology became more widespread.
Classrooms across the country were beginning to use the BBC computer for number, colour and letter recognition. Appropriate software became available which would engage children in creative play, problem solving and conversation. It was discovered that the sounds and graphics gained their attention and that they were able to control the pace of their learning. Supporters of this new technology believe that the computer stimulates children to perform tasks otherwise not developed until later stages. Young children were becoming as familiar with computers as they were with their toys.