While computers can be a valuable tool, there are disadvantages to integrating these technological devices into a classroom. Computers offer convenience and allow students to create polished products, but with these advantages come potential problems that could lead to decreased educational effectiveness within a classroom and allow for problems down the line in the child's schooling.
When computers and other technological tools are used constantly, students develop a dependence upon these tools. Just as pupils who are never required to do math without a calculator lose the ability to solve math problems manually, students who use computers for nearly every activity experience a decline in their ability to spell and even write by hand. Students must practice these simple skills without technological tools regularly to ensure that their skills do not atrophy.
Varied Computer Literacy
Computers present an added challenge to educators because teachers must deal with students of varying computer literacy levels. Some students enter the classroom fully versed in the applications of a computer, while others come with no prior experience. It is difficult for teachers to deal with this vast difference and ensure that they provide students who need assistance with that assistance while not requiring capable students to slow their academic progress and wait.
Technologically Enhanced Academic Dishonesty
While cheating is hardly a new phenomenon, computers make academic dishonesty even easier for students to perpetrate. Students who wish to plagiarize can simply copy and paste information into their reports, and those who wish to share answers to tests or assignment questions can transmit those answers digitally. This added ease of cheating may incline more students to attempt academic dishonesty.
While computer games are just as, if not more, engaging than board or card games, they do not afford the same degree of player interaction. Many computer games are individual pursuits. When students complete these digital games and activities they miss out on the interaction practice that that they receive through the playing of traditional games.
The use of computers opens students to potential dangers. Students can fall victim to Internet predators or become the target of cyber-bullying while on the Internet. Many parents elect to closely monitor their children's Internet usage at home, but at school keeping a close eye on all students simultaneously can be difficult. When computers are used in school, teachers must be vigilant in their monitoring of student activity to ensure that they do not become entangled in a dangerous situation.