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Impact of Technology in Education


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  • 1. The Impact of Technology in EducationA Synthesis Paper on Technology in EducationLora EvanouskiEducational Technology 501Professor PollardMay 6, 2009<br />Abstract<br />As we consider technology in education, we must consider the implications of that technology on the learner and as well as the teacher. What role does technology have for these two intertwined groups of people? I will show a correlation between the positive effects on both the student and teacher related to academic performance, meaningful learning, and those afflicted with learning disabilities. Furthermore, I will also show the positive effects on the applications of technologies in the classroom. Combining education and technology creates a more stimulating learning environment. In order to accomplish higher order thinking skills such as critical and independent thinking, the application of technology and improved motivation and attitudes, technology must be integrated into the everyday curriculum. This paper describes some impacts of technology on education through the experiences of teachers and students.<br />Introduction<br />Technological advances in education have been many over the last 50 years. As we look back just 20 years ago, computers were not common place inside the classroom let alone in the household. Imagine what students thought about using a word processor versus electric typewriter word processors or even using the archaic manual typewriter. In contrast, today’s students and children are considered “digital natives”. According to Wikipedia, digital natives are described as having grown up with digital technology such as the internet, computers, cell phones and MP3 players. Having a computer in every household as well as every school has exponentially increased student’s awareness of technology and also broadened their horizons about the global economy. Students today use cell phones that can do almost anything imaginable such as getting real time updates on their bank accounts, download information off the internet, watch TV or even make a movie! Imagine going through our everyday life without the aid of a computer, it could be exhilarating and yet also cumbersome to juggle daily duties.<br />Today technology reaches well beyond the classroom to serve the needs of learners with disabilities, rural inaccessibility or being home schooled have more options open to them to learn and investigate. Through internet connection students and teachers have a portal and connection to every part of the world. Computers can open pathways that stimulate learning and help develop high order thinking skills, when technology is applied in a meaningful manner. Histories of technological developments have often shown links between innovations in industry and communications with improvements in educational methods. The proliferation and success of web based curriculum at all levels of education is just the latest example of the importance of technology to both students and teachers. The greater the reach of educational programs to a growing population of students via the internet continues to challenge educators, not only by adapting the latest technological enhancements in the traditional classroom to “distance learners”, but also to discover additional ways for improving those students’ educational experience overall. The computers unique ability to offer lessons in multimedia formats, and to provide a means for real time student/teacher dialogue and exchange already enriches online instruction, but may only be the tip of the iceberg that emerging technologies will bring to the delivery of quality education in the new century. <br />Positive Effects on Academic Performance<br />Academic performance is one of the traditional standards used to measure success or lack of success in our schools. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 all schools are required to close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those that are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency CITATION Tow04 l 1033 (Education, 2004). In order for classrooms to achieve or be successful technology must be in place to improve academics. According to Kulik, computer simulations and Instructional Learning Systems (ILS) are effective only when they are integrated into the “regular classroom instruction” CITATION Blo05 l 1033 (Blomeyer, 2005). Taking it one step further, students whose teachers were high level users of technology scored significantly better than did the students whose teachers were low level users of technology in the classroom. <br />Teachers who are high level users were differentiated from teachers who were low level users in terms of frequency and extent of use of computers with students, instructional methods used with technology, attitude toward the value of technology for learning, variety of uses of technology, and perception of influence of technology on student learning and behavior CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).<br />Finally, interactive computer programs help students increase literacy rates. This “intelligent software” is particularly evident in the success and drastic improvement in mathematical skills used in Pittsburgh. An algebra curriculum focusing on mathematical analysis of real-world situations and the use of computational tools is supported by an intelligent software program as part of the regular curriculum for 9th grade algebra. On average, the 470 students in the experimental classes outperformed students in comparison by 15% on standardized tests and 100% on tests targeting the curriculum-focused objectives CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).<br />Positive Effects on Meaningful Learning<br />According to Ausubel, “meaningful learning occurs when there is personal recognition of the links between concepts; better understanding of concepts will result from proper negotiations of meanings across links that are created with relevant prior knowledge” (Keengwe, 2008). These complex ideas and information are combined with students’ own experiences and prior knowledge to form personal and unique understandings. Learning is meaningful when the student comprehends the relationship of what is being learned to other knowledge (Wikibooks, 2008). The environments in which students learn and the ways in which people work and live are constantly being transformed by existing and emerging technologies; hence computer technology needs to be integrated into the everyday school environment. An important finding shows technology improves performance, positive attitudes and motivation and creates meaningful learning when the students find the games meaningful to their lives, learning and learning about learning takes place CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Eighth graders performed significantly better on NAEP mathematics tests, when computer technology was employed for real-world simulations and applications purposes, as opposed to ‘drill-and-practice’ purposes. CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005)<br />In addition to performing better on standardized tests, interactive video programs have been demonstrated to increase problem-solving skills as evidenced by students across nine states that used Jasper video software CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). The video software was a centerpiece for mathematics instruction for 3 to 4 weeks were compared with students who did not. The comparative research demonstrated that students in classrooms that used the Jasper video programs were better at complex problem solving CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).<br />As teachers progress in this ever changing and dynamic environment of technology, those who have the capacity and knowledge to successfully teach on line or e-learning need to be able to transmit knowledge and culture to those that are being taught. Accepting these challenges is great as some teachers are unwilling or even scared of the newest technology to be used in the 21st century. For example, by getting a computer and software and setting it up in the classroom will not teach the students, just because it is in the same room does not translate into meaningful learning. Furthermore, integration of technology into instruction depends greatly on key factors such as the contexts in which teachers interact, their beliefs, and their attitudes toward teaching and learning CITATION Jar08 l 1033 (Keengwe, 2008). Student centered learning is defined by INTIME as “students are active participants in their learning; they learn at their own pace and use their own strategies; they are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated; learning is more individualized than standardized” CITATION INT01 l 1033 (INTIME, 2001). As teachers move towards student centered learning, faculty must become facilitators and collaborators, and instruction must move from memorization to problem solving. Therefore, to effectively teach with technology, teachers must shift their instructional practices from a teacher-centered approach to a more student-centered learning or constructivist approach. CITATION Jar08 l 1033 (Keengwe, 2008). Furthermore, true education reform should focus on developing teaching strategies that complement technology use within the curriculum. Teachers need to integrate computer skills into the content areas and recognize that computers are not ends in themselves CITATION Jar08 l 1033 (Keengwe, 2008). The eMINTS program, enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies, is an invaluable program that provides 200 hours of professional development, which includes coaching and technical support for teachers as they use multimedia tools to promote critical thinking and problem-solving techniques CITATION Tow04 l 1033 (Education, 2004). By following the eMINTS program, those scared and unwilling teachers will become better informed and more willing to accept and integrate technology into their classrooms. <br />Positive Effects on Learning Disabilities<br />Assistive technology can help students who have mental retardation along with students who are low performers, at-risk students or have any other learning disability. For example, expert tutoring software presents instruction in small, sequential steps, at varying levels of difficulty, and students can use the software independently, working at their own pace. Most critical for the effectiveness of the software with low performing, at-risk, or learning handicapped students, however, is the capacity of the software to analyze performance and give feedback to teachers and students CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Advances in technology have created new ways to help people with disabilities especially those with mental retardation to overcome their limitations and learn academic, social, and vocational and survival skills necessary to function independently in society. According to the US Census Bureau approximately 18.7% of the 2005 US population reported some level of disability while 12% reported a severe disability CITATION Ang08 l 1033 (English, 2008). By continually assessing the students’ individual performance the computer assisted programs can be adjusted to the difficulty in task and also experience level of the student. The technological tools that provide frequent student feedback motivate learning disabled students to remain cognitively engaged, particularly when corrective feedback is immediately provided CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).<br />Furthermore, at-risk students from low socioeconomic and/or minority backgrounds will improve their educational opportunities from using on line technology in the classroom. In a Louisiana study, success was demonstrated with low income, at-risk students by using two different teaching styles, a teacher who was not a certified mathematics teacher and the on line teacher who was a certified mathematics teacher CITATION Blo05 l 1033 (Blomeyer, 2005). The study goes on to say that achievement gains were more evident by using small groups of students in class and frequent collaboration between the onsite teacher and the on line teacher. In contrast, the students from a traditional classroom showed the same or little achievement gain CITATION Blo05 l 1033 (Blomeyer, 2005).<br />Computer-based technology (CBT) can open doors to physically challenged learners that might not otherwise be available to them. It allows for student-centered learning and collaboration, individualized learning programs and more student independence. In a study in New South Wales Australia, of basic reading and mathematics skills they found CBT to be an effective tool in teaching; however, they also found that teachers were much more willing to incorporate CBT into their teaching than teachers of “non-special” students CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).<br />Applications of Technology<br />Presently, classroom learning is increasingly dependent on the integration of technology thus enhancing learning. The current technology uses email systems, data processing and laptop audio/videos webinars. As we go into the 21st century we as educators need to define what role the computer will play in the students learning. <br />Students can learn “from” computers-where technology used is essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and can learn “with” computers- where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and can serve as a resource to help higher order thinking, creativity and research skills CITATION Lea05 l 1033 (Associates, 2005). <br />For example productivity tools such as databases, spreadsheets, computer-assisted design, graphics programs, and multimedia authoring programs (programs for creating computer-based presentations or lessons) allow students to independently organize, analyze, interpret, develop, and evaluate their own work CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). <br />In addition to fostering independent thinking, these technological processes will also help students join the workforce with greater abilities. By using technology with real-life links to education and the workforce, technology is used to meet real world demands in careers such as finance, hospitals, sales, and manufacturing. A report on the state of technology integration in Minnesota documents that information technologies bring the world into the classroom by allowing students to interact with other students in their community, state, nation and world. Information technologies have the potential for being a constant and convenient electronic connector that can join the lives and minds of students, teachers, employers and parents CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Not only will the students and teachers of the 21st century need to have technological skills to navigate through the school system but also for the global economy. In this age of information both groups need to acquire the skills to collaborate and participate to meet the real world needs facing us as a global nation of interconnected economies. For example the technological tools allow students to inexpensively and instantly reach around the world, learning directly about other cultures CITATION Cen09 l 1033 (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). By choosing this technological medium up-to-date real time news and events can be acquired instantly. A grand example of homegrown ingenuity is you tube and it has many different venues- entertainment, learning, how to segments and even commercialization of products. You tube can be seen by anyone with a computer and a modem.<br />Conclusions<br />Today the rapid advances in technology are reshaping our society, social institutions and schools. Modern technologies have vastly increased our capacity to know and do things and to communicate and collaborate with others. They allow us to transmit information quickly and widely, linking distant places and diverse areas of endeavor in productive new ways. These advances allow us to form and sustain communities for work, play and learning in ways unimaginable just a decade ago. The students of today have a wide range of new technology open and available to them. This information changes the relationship between people and knowledge. <br />As you can see when technology is applied to learner’s lives a positive outcome arises. By adapting technology for education teachers, students and parents alike will see positive improvements in many different categories such as:<br />academic performance<br />motivation<br />critical thinking skills<br />Literacy<br />attitudes <br />real life work skills <br />The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a federal law to improve education for all children. It also holds schools responsible for results, gives parents greater choices, and promotes teaching methods that work. In accordance with that law technology will enhance education in all areas. The technology that we use in our everyday curriculum, whether it is computers, iphones, webcasting or any other type of mobile technology, will only lead to enhancing our educational system in the 21st century.<br />Recommendations<br />As schools in the state and local areas become more and more technology focused in the education of their students, a clear and concise plan of what software is to be used needs to be in place to monitor what types of assessments they are using as well as content standards. Technology will enhance and stimulate learning, but studies indicate more research is needed. Only one metric; ESPRI, currently exists to measure student success with online education CITATION Blo05 l 1033 (Blomeyer, 2005). This appears to be promising but more research based practices need to be in place to effectively show a positive correlation. In addition to basic learning research, there is a strong consensus that Level II and III research has not kept pace, and that is where the most immediate need for research is to be found CITATION Fou00 l 1033 (Fouts, 2000). For example, critical thinking skills are improved by online learning but yet very difficult to quantify in an assessment.<br />As technology changes and shifts to meet the demands of education so does the software. According to Fouts, some very interesting questions are raised on how to implement and be successful in using dynamic new software technologies in education CITATION Fou00 l 1033 (Fouts, 2000):<br />Does the software meet the demands of specific groups of students such as at-risk or appropriate age groups? <br />Does the technology enhanced instruction provide the types of learning measured by the NAEP and TIMSS assessments?<br />Does the technology enhanced instruction effect student performance on the NAEP and TIMSS assessments? <br />Finally, teachers need to be trained in a more organized fashion. What exactly would be the most effective means to train the teachers of tomorrow? For our students to be successful we as educators need to be successfully trained in technology and its uses such as software applications, how to facilitate technology into the curriculum and so on. By cultivating extensive teacher development and through administrative support and funding, technology will be even more successful in the classroom which translates into more effective learning from the students.<br />References BIBLIOGRAPHY Associates, L. P. (2005). Critical Issue: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement. Retrieved 04 21, 2009, from NCREL:, R. L. (2005). A Synthesis Of New Research on K-12 Online Learning. Naperville, IL.Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology. (2005). Retrieved April 4, 2009, from CARET:, Katie M., Honey, Margaret, Mandinach, Ellen. (2003). A Retrospective on Twenty Years of Education Technology Policy. Washington DC: American Institute for Research.Education, U. S. (2004). Toward a New Golden Age In American EducationHow the Internet, the Law and Today's Students are Revolutionizing Expectations. Washington D. C.: U. S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology.English, A. (2008). The E-Learning Council . Retrieved 04 19, 2009, from The E-Learning Council:, J. (2000). Research on Computers and Education: Past, Present and Future. Seattle, WA.INTIME. (2001). Integrating New Technologies Into the Methods of Education. Retrieved 05 06, 2009, from INTIME:, J. O. (2008). The Use of Computer Tools to Support Meaningful Learning. AACE, 16(1) , 77-92.Stratham, D. S. (1996). Computers in the Classroom: The Impact of Technology on Student Learning. Boise ID: Army Research Institute.Wikibooks. (2008, 05 08). Retrieved 04 18, 2009, from Instructional Technology/Utilizing Technology for Meaningful Learning:<br />Introduction- Overview of components of paper<br />Body<br />Positive effects on academic performance<br />Students<br />Teachers <br />Positive effects on meaningful learning<br />Students <br />Teachers<br />Positive effects on learning disabilities<br />Students<br />Teachers<br />Applications of Technology<br />Students <br />Teachers<br />Conclusion- review contents of paper<br />