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Technology in Education

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This chapter will delve into the phenomenon that is the technology era.  This chapter will discuss the problems that are impeding the efforts to bring technology into the classrooms in all levels.  Even with all the apprehension towards implementing a full blown transition towards a technological classroom, there are many studies to show the positivity of the proposed switch.  Every subject being taught in every level of education can reap the benefits of the technology boom.  There is software which makes teaching that much easier and software to create assessments for the students.  F.H. Chen (2010) states that furthermore, for technology to become an integral component or tool for learning in the subject, teachers must also develop ‘an overarching conception of their subject matter with respect to technology and what it means to teach with technology pedagogical content knowledge.  There is no feasible way that technology alone can be the end all be all for education.  Simply because there is an easier way to do something, does not mean all dependence should be directed towards it.  Technology must be correlated to the domains and the procedures that have always been a part of the daily lesson plans.  If a teacher, for example, teaches Math, he or she is recognized as an expert in her field.  Her expertise in her core area should be coupled with the new advances that have been developed.  It is much like the scenario that states that robot workers will take the place of human workers in assembly lines.  There is no way that computers alone can teach the classes.  Teachers must work in harmony with the software, and use it simply as an aid to the lesson.  

According to Toru Iiyoshi (2008):

 The recent history of technology in education always tells us that however good it is, it achieves little without the complementary human and organizational changes needed, and these are always more difficult. Using technology to improve education is not rocket science. It’s much, much harder than that. (p. 320)    

Research has shown dramatic increases in not only grades in the classroom, but grades in standardized tests which have come from implementing new software and computers in general in the classroom.  Even though there is still apprehension to implement it, the teachers understand it is the way of the future.  Some teachers and districts as a whole are only delaying the inevitable.  Software developers saw the potential the school districts showed when the educational system was stagnated.  Microsoft and Apple, the two software giants, capitalized on the necessity.  Microsoft, partnered with Google, has even begun offering free support with their email services they provide to schools, and have implemented their databases for schools to use.  Technology is not only big in the classroom setting, but the main offices are reaping the benefits of the technology transition.  Software such as Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Access have allowed office staff to be networked and be free to exchange information from across campus with ease.  The ability to network allows teachers to be able to exchange lesson plans and other necessary items, such as handouts and assessments.      

Will Using Computers improve Students Desire to Learn

Students love the idea of using computers to assist their learning.  Children nowadays cannot perform a menial task without a computer, or a handheld device to aid their enjoyment.  Video games have been formatted for educational mediums.  Devices such as the Leap Pads and VSmiles are tailor made for young children.  They give the impression to the students that they are actively engaged in a video game, when they are in actuality being educated.  Children love video games.  Many of today’s youth are more interested in playing with their handheld video games than going outside and playing like the children of yesteryear.  Their lives are filled with trying to pass to the next level, trying to beat the high scores, rather than doing any activities the older generation used to partake in.  These games are very addicting, and educators must take advantage of this competitive nature and love for technology, which seems to be instilled in them at birth, by implementing the technology they so crave into their everyday learning.   Educators are realizing that computers and educational tools are ushering in a new age of knowledge.   At the same time they are making learning more user friendly and enhancing social interaction between students.  Carol Twigg (2000) identifies a number of readiness criteria for success. She states, “First, an institution must want to increase academic productivity. An institution must use technology strategically for specific academic goals instead of as a general resource equally available to everyone” (p. 48).

New educational technology can provide vast instructional techniques never thought of in the past, but educators will need to adapt current lessons to include this new standard into all classrooms.   According to Abdulkafi Albirini (2007), “The ubiquity of computers and telecommunication devices in many areas of human activity and the increasingly important role of information as the main driving force of the post-industrial era have created a new mode of production and, to many, a new age” (p. 227).  Of course not all schools will be ready for the so called new age, or will be eager to accept it.  Many if not all companies or schools who are presented with change and the implementation of new technology will be capable of jumping right in to the technology boom right away.  Many will be delayed by a weak and outdated technology based curriculum and, in order to compete, many schools and companies will have to do a better job of incorporate technology.  Kelly and Kellam (2009) state that many pundits “Believed that technology education should equip the learner with necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities in the context of technology, and to live, function, and work in today’s technological society” (p. 39).

Is implementing technology a good idea, and what are some of the barriers to its implementation?

Computers have made an essential change in most schools today, providing an advantage that has come to be essential to stay competitive.  It seems as if a school district does not have the latest technological machines, they have no chance of rivaling those that do.  Competition between school districts has been relegated to who has the better equipment. However, no matter how much the institution wants to implement change, patience is a virtue that is coveted by many leaders.  At the present time, it is almost impossible to find a classroom without at least one computer.  There are many different types of devices that cater to the technologically savvy, and this leads to better results in the classroom.  However, there has yet to be the breakthrough to allow all teachers and school districts to make the jump to an all computer based setup.  



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