Importance of technology in education


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Importance of technology in education

  1. 1. Impact of Technology Page |1The Impact of Technology in EducationA Synthesis Paper on Technology in Education Lora Evanouski Educational Technology 501 Professor Pollard May 6, 2009
  2. 2. Impact of Technology Page |2 AbstractAs we consider technology in education, we must consider the implications of that technologyon the learner and as well as the teacher. What role does technology have for these twointertwined groups of people? I will show a correlation between the positive effects on boththe student and teacher related to academic performance, meaningful learning, and thoseafflicted with learning disabilities. Furthermore, I will also show the positive effects on theapplications of technologies in the classroom. Combining education and technology creates amore stimulating learning environment. In order to accomplish higher order thinking skills suchas critical and independent thinking, the application of technology and improved motivationand attitudes, technology must be integrated into the everyday curriculum. This paperdescribes some impacts of technology on education through the experiences of teachers andstudents.
  3. 3. Impact of Technology Page |3 Introduction Technological advances in education have been many over the last 50 years. As we lookback just 20 years ago, computers were not common place inside the classroom let alone in thehousehold. Imagine what students thought about using a word processor versus electrictypewriter word processors or even using the archaic manual typewriter. In contrast, today’sstudents and children are considered “digital natives”. According to Wikipedia, digital nativesare described as having grown up with digital technology such as the internet, computers, cellphones and MP3 players. Having a computer in every household as well as every school hasexponentially increased student’s awareness of technology and also broadened their horizonsabout the global economy. Students today use cell phones that can do almost anythingimaginable such as getting real time updates on their bank accounts, download information offthe internet, watch TV or even make a movie! Imagine going through our everyday life withoutthe aid of a computer, it could be exhilarating and yet also cumbersome to juggle daily duties. Today technology reaches well beyond the classroom to serve the needs of learnerswith disabilities, rural inaccessibility or being home schooled have more options open to themto learn and investigate. Through internet connection students and teachers have a portal andconnection to every part of the world. Computers can open pathways that stimulate learningand help develop high order thinking skills, when technology is applied in a meaningful manner.Histories of technological developments have often shown links between innovations inindustry and communications with improvements in educational methods. The proliferationand success of web based curriculum at all levels of education is just the latest example of theimportance of technology to both students and teachers. The greater the reach of educational
  4. 4. Impact of Technology Page |4programs to a growing population of students via the internet continues to challengeeducators, not only by adapting the latest technological enhancements in the traditionalclassroom to “distance learners”, but also to discover additional ways for improving thosestudents’ educational experience overall. The computers unique ability to offer lessons inmultimedia formats, and to provide a means for real time student/teacher dialogue andexchange already enriches online instruction, but may only be the tip of the iceberg thatemerging technologies will bring to the delivery of quality education in the new century. Positive Effects on Academic Performance Academic performance is one of the traditional standards used to measure success orlack of success in our schools. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 all schoolsare required to close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those that aredisadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency (Education, 2004). In order for classrooms toachieve 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 areintegrated into the “regular classroom instruction” (Blomeyer, 2005). Taking it one stepfurther, students whose teachers were high level users of technology scored significantly betterthan did the students whose teachers were low level users of technology in the classroom. 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,
  5. 5. Impact of Technology Page |5 variety of uses of technology, and perception of influence of technology on student learning and behavior (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Finally, interactive computer programs help students increase literacy rates. This“intelligent software” is particularly evident in the success and drastic improvement inmathematical skills used in Pittsburgh. An algebra curriculum focusing on mathematicalanalysis of real-world situations and the use of computational tools is supported by anintelligent software program as part of the regular curriculum for 9 th grade algebra. Onaverage, the 470 students in the experimental classes outperformed students in comparison by15% on standardized tests and 100% on tests targeting the curriculum-focused objectives(Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Positive Effects on Meaningful Learning According to Ausubel, “meaningful learning occurs when there is personal recognition of thelinks between concepts; better understanding of concepts will result from proper negotiations ofmeanings across links that are created with relevant prior knowledge” (Keengwe, 2008). These complexideas and information are combined with students’ own experiences and prior knowledge to formpersonal and unique understandings. Learning is meaningful when the student comprehends therelationship of what is being learned to other knowledge (Wikibooks, 2008). The environments in whichstudents learn and the ways in which people work and live are constantly being transformed by existingand emerging technologies; hence computer technology needs to be integrated into the everydayschool environment. An important finding shows technology improves performance, positiveattitudes and motivation and creates meaningful learning when the students find the gamesmeaningful to their lives, learning and learning about learning takes place (Center for Applied
  6. 6. Impact of Technology Page |6Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Eighth graders performed significantly better onNAEP mathematics tests, when computer technology was employed for real-world simulationsand applications purposes, as opposed to ‘drill-and-practice’ purposes. (Center for AppliedResearch in Educational Technology, 2005) In addition to performing better on standardized tests, interactive video programs havebeen demonstrated to increase problem-solving skills as evidenced by students across ninestates that used Jasper video software (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology,2005). The video software was a centerpiece for mathematics instruction for 3 to 4 weeks werecompared with students who did not. The comparative research demonstrated that students inclassrooms that used the Jasper video programs were better at complex problem solving(Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). 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 tobe able to transmit knowledge and culture to those that are being taught. Accepting thesechallenges is great as some teachers are unwilling or even scared of the newest technology tobe used in the 21st century. For example, by getting a computer and software and setting it upin the classroom will not teach the students, just because it is in the same room does nottranslate into meaningful learning. Furthermore, integration of technology into instructiondepends greatly on key factors such as the contexts in which teachers interact, their beliefs,and their attitudes toward teaching and learning (Keengwe, 2008). Student centered learningis defined by INTIME as “students are active participants in their learning; they learn at their
  7. 7. Impact of Technology Page |7own pace and use their own strategies; they are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated;learning is more individualized than standardized” (INTIME, 2001). As teachers move towardsstudent centered learning, faculty must become facilitators and collaborators, and instructionmust move from memorization to problem solving. Therefore, to effectively teach withtechnology, teachers must shift their instructional practices from a teacher-centered approachto a more student-centered learning or constructivist approach. (Keengwe, 2008).Furthermore, true education reform should focus on developing teaching strategies thatcomplement technology use within the curriculum. Teachers need to integrate computer skillsinto the content areas and recognize that computers are not ends in themselves (Keengwe,2008). The eMINTS program, enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked TeachingStrategies, is an invaluable program that provides 200 hours of professional development,which includes coaching and technical support for teachers as they use multimedia tools topromote critical thinking and problem-solving techniques (Education, 2004). By following theeMINTS program, those scared and unwilling teachers will become better informed and morewilling to accept and integrate technology into their classrooms. Positive Effects on Learning Disabilities Assistive technology can help students who have mental retardation along withstudents who are low performers, at-risk students or have any other learning disability. Forexample, expert tutoring software presents instruction in small, sequential steps, at varyinglevels of difficulty, and students can use the software independently, working at their ownpace. Most critical for the effectiveness of the software with low performing, at-risk, orlearning handicapped students, however, is the capacity of the software to analyze
  8. 8. Impact of Technology Page |8performance and give feedback to teachers and students (Center for Applied Research inEducational Technology, 2005). Advances in technology have created new ways to help peoplewith disabilities especially those with mental retardation to overcome their limitations andlearn academic, social, and vocational and survival skills necessary to function independently insociety. According to the US Census Bureau approximately 18.7% of the 2005 US populationreported some level of disability while 12% reported a severe disability (English, 2008). Bycontinually assessing the students’ individual performance the computer assisted programs canbe adjusted to the difficulty in task and also experience level of the student . The technologicaltools that provide frequent student feedback motivate learning disabled students to remaincognitively engaged, particularly when corrective feedback is immediately provided (Center forApplied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Furthermore, at-risk students from low socioeconomic and/or minority backgrounds willimprove their educational opportunities from using on line technology in the classroom. In aLouisiana study, success was demonstrated with low income, at-risk students by using twodifferent teaching styles, a teacher who was not a certified mathematics teacher and the online teacher who was a certified mathematics teacher (Blomeyer, 2005). The study goes on tosay that achievement gains were more evident by using small groups of students in class andfrequent collaboration between the onsite teacher and the on line teacher. In contrast, thestudents from a traditional classroom showed the same or little achievement gain (Blomeyer,2005). Computer-based technology (CBT) can open doors to physically challenged learners thatmight not otherwise be available to them. It allows for student-centered learning and
  9. 9. Impact of Technology Page |9collaboration, individualized learning programs and more student independence. In a study inNew South Wales Australia, of basic reading and mathematics skills they found CBT to be aneffective tool in teaching; however, they also found that teachers were much more willing toincorporate CBT into their teaching than teachers of “non-special” students (Center for AppliedResearch in Educational Technology, 2005). Applications of Technology Presently, classroom learning is increasingly dependent on the integration of technologythus enhancing learning. The current technology uses email systems, data processing andlaptop audio/videos webinars. As we go into the 21st century we as educators need to definewhat role the computer will play in the students learning. 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 (Associates, 2005).For example productivity tools such as databases, spreadsheets, computer-assisted design,graphics programs, and multimedia authoring programs (programs for creating computer-basedpresentations or lessons) allow students to independently organize, analyze, interpret, develop,and evaluate their own work (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). In addition to fostering independent thinking, these technological processes will alsohelp students join the workforce with greater abilities. By using technology with real-life links
  10. 10. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 10to education and the workforce, technology is used to meet real world demands in careers suchas finance, hospitals, sales, and manufacturing. A report on the state of technology integrationin Minnesota documents that information technologies bring the world into the classroom byallowing students to interact with other students in their community, state, nation and world.Information technologies have the potential for being a constant and convenient electronicconnector that can join the lives and minds of students, teachers, employers and parents(Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). Not only will the students andteachers of the 21st century need to have technological skills to navigate through the schoolsystem but also for the global economy. In this age of information both groups need to acquirethe skills to collaborate and participate to meet the real world needs facing us as a global nationof interconnected economies. For example the technological tools allow students toinexpensively and instantly reach around the world, learning directly about other cultures(Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005). By choosing this technologicalmedium up-to-date real time news and events can be acquired instantly. A grand example ofhomegrown 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 anyonewith a computer and a modem. Conclusions Today the rapid advances in technology are reshaping our society, social institutions andschools. Modern technologies have vastly increased our capacity to know and do things and tocommunicate and collaborate with others. They allow us to transmit information quickly andwidely, linking distant places and diverse areas of endeavor in productive new ways. These
  11. 11. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 11advances allow us to form and sustain communities for work, play and learning in waysunimaginable just a decade ago. The students of today have a wide range of new technologyopen and available to them. This information changes the relationship between people andknowledge. As you can see when technology is applied to learner’s lives a positive outcome arises. Byadapting technology for education teachers, students and parents alike will see positiveimprovements in many different categories such as: academic performance motivation critical thinking skills Literacy attitudes real life work skillsThe No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a federal law to improve education for all children. Italso holds schools responsible for results, gives parents greater choices, and promotes teachingmethods 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 educationalsystem in the 21st century. Recommendations As schools in the state and local areas become more and more technology focused in theeducation of their students, a clear and concise plan of what software is to be used needs to bein 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.
  12. 12. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 12Only one metric; ESPRI, currently exists to measure student success with online education(Blomeyer, 2005). This appears to be promising but more research based practices need to bein place to effectively show a positive correlation. In addition to basic learning research, there isa strong consensus that Level II and III research has not kept pace, and that is where the mostimmediate need for research is to be found (Fouts, 2000). For example, critical thinking skillsare improved by online learning but yet very difficult to quantify in an assessment. 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 besuccessful in using dynamic new software technologies in education (Fouts, 2000): Does the software meet the demands of specific groups of students such as at-risk or appropriate age groups? Does the technology enhanced instruction provide the types of learning measured by the NAEP and TIMSS assessments? Does the technology enhanced instruction effect student performance on the NAEP and TIMSS assessments? Finally, teachers need to be trained in a more organized fashion. What exactly would bethe most effective means to train the teachers of tomorrow? For our students to be successfulwe as educators need to be successfully trained in technology and its uses such as softwareapplications, how to facilitate technology into the curriculum and so on. By cultivating extensiveteacher development and through administrative support and funding, technology will be evenmore successful in the classroom which translates into more effective learning from thestudents.
  13. 13. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 13ReferencesAssociates, L. P. (2005). Critical Issue: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement. Retrieved 0421, 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 ofEducation Technology Policy. Washington DC: American Institute for Research.Education, U. S. (2004). Toward a New Golden Age In American EducationHow the Internet, the Law andTodays 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.
  14. 14. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 14Stratham, 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 forMeaningful Learning:
  15. 15. I m p a c t o f T e c h n o l o g y P a g e | 151) Introduction- Overview of components of paper2) Body i) Positive effects on academic performance (a) Students (b) Teachers ii) Positive effects on meaningful learning (a) Students (b) Teachers iii) Positive effects on learning disabilities (a) Students (b) Teachers iv) Applications of Technology (a) Students (b) Teachers2) Conclusion- review contents of paper