What Are Disadvantages of Computers in the Classroom?

While computers are often praised as a helpful classroom tool, they have also been subject to criticism. Notable complaints include that they create a distraction if student use is not well monitored, that they can lead to a lack of basic skills if relied on for instruction, and that they can be very expensive to provide and maintain.

Management of student use is essential for efficient use of computers in the classroom. Personal use during instruction can create a distraction from lessons. It is important to provide a clear use format for students explaining when and how to use them, including a loss of use if they fail to comply.

In addition, students may not learn some basics if they rely too heavily on their computers for instruction, particularly in writing and mathematics. Using the computer word processing program to edit their work, they may not learn standard writing conventions. Dependence on computers or advanced calculators for mathematics instruction can reduce student understanding of the essential basics of mathematical concepts.

In addition, computers can be very expensive to provide and maintain. Many schools may find it difficult or impossible to provide this resource for students. If only limited numbers of computers are available, students may have to share them among small groups, which can undermine the potential benefits of computer learning.