Differences between educational and instructional technology
Educational and instructional technologies may look like interchangeable because both of them imply the necessity to combine an educating process and technologies. However, there are certain differences that should be considered. First, education technology aims at teaching about technology as a concept, and instructional technology means an educational process with the help of technology as a tool. ET addresses educational needs and problems, and IT addresses particular learning and teaching applications. Hlynka and Jacobsen (2009) admit that educational technology touches upon the educative dimension. Instructional technology is a tool with the help of which it is possible to learn something. The best examples of ET are websites and other social media that can be used by students. The examples of IT are calculators, digital cameras, and computer laboratories with the help of which students can study.
21st Century Skills and their importance for learners and teachers
21st century skills are the skills, knowledge, and habits that are necessary for a person to succeed in the current world and workplaces. Among a variety of abilities that are crucial for a modern person, it is necessary to focus on such skills like critical thinking, creativity, oral and written communication, leadership, self-discipline, innovation, global awareness, etc. In fact, many skills can be mentioned because almost every human ability is the required skills for effective learners and teachers. The current technological progress expands human possibilities considerably. 21st century skills help people understand what solutions should be done and how people can use them to succeed in a chosen activity. Environmental, financial, and health literacy plays an important role in the implementation of the above-mentioned skills (Pacific Policy Research Center, 2010).
Impact of technology on personal views about teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are the two spheres that have already undergone a considerable impact of technology. The current technological achievements help to communicate distantly and share information in a short period. It becomes possible to study online and use the required material from different parts of the world. In my opinion, there are both, positive and negative, aspects of technology in regards to teaching and learning. On the one hand, technology can help students and teachers save their time and analyze different sources at the same time. Students can find interesting information from different countries. It is educative. Such opportunities to expand knowledge with the help of technology should be appreciated. On the other hand, I think that technologies make students and teachers lazy. People do not find it necessary to remember many things and be generally educated. They can use Google to find various answers to the questions or solutions to the problems.
Peculiarities of integrating technology into classrooms
The process of integration of technology into classrooms is not only about some basic computer skills or about software knowledge. It requires an understanding of why students need technologies and what they can do with technology. To succeed in implementing, it is necessary to identify educational needs and problems and think about the most appropriate technological implementations (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). As soon as students and tutors are ready for implementation and eager to participate in a new process, they can benefit with the opportunities. Integration of technology provides teachers with a chance to change the ways of teaching and offers new effective ways of how the material should be comprehended and learnt. Technologies change the relations between students and teachers, as well as the roles teachers should perform in regards to their students (they may become advisors, coaches, experts, etc.).
The process of technology integration: TIP model
TIP (Technology Integration Planning) model is created for students to provide them with the required guides on how to understand the changes caused by technology integration. Roblyer and Doering (2014) admit that this kind of model is helpful for teachers because it explains how to integrate technology into classrooms and for students because it provides them with the necessary explanations. There are three main phases in the model: the analysis of learning and teaching needs, plan of integration, and post-instruction analysis with revision. The analysis of needs helps to clarify the advantages that can be achieved after the process of integration and understand what technological pedagogical content knowledge (Tech-PACK) are present or have to be developed soon. The planning stage should touch upon the obstacles and assessment of the conditions, development of integrating strategies, and preparing the required instructional environment. The final phase aims at analysis the results that have been achieved during the integration process. It is necessary to evaluate all outcomes and start revising.
The goals of technology integration
There are several goals of technology integration into classrooms that should be considered:
- Since technology is a kind of engine for teaching and learning today, its integration helps teachers and students learn more about different aspects of technological processes;
- It is possible to access to modern primary sources;
- It helps to choose different methods of collaboration between students and teachers;
- It promotes learning and training;
- It offers new opportunities for students and teachers;
- It facilitates a learning process;
- It improves the relations between teachers and students;
- It helps to make educational processes more fun.
All these goals prove that educational technology and integration of technology into classrooms are crucial nowadays and cannot be neglected. Students learn how to enjoy a learning process, and teachers find new interesting ways to involve students in work in classrooms.
How technology facilitates learning
Technology is a good chance to change an educational process and make students get involved in everything that happens in classrooms. There are several important points about how technology can facilitate learning and involve more students in an educational process:
- Students are able to present what they know or want to know but not only follow the instructions given by teachers;
- Various sources of information are available for students and teacher in a short period;
- Technologies can be used by students not only to learn from but also to learn with;
- Technology does not teach students but helps them to understand better the peculiarities of teaching.
The alternative conceptions of meaningful technology use
Some organizations aim at developing various conceptions and ideas for meaningful learning with technology. Howland, Jonassen, and Marra (2011) offer three captivating alternatives: the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards, 21st Century Skills Partnership, and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). ISTE standards help students and teachers clarify the skills that are important for technology integration and explain the worth of collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge construction. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills introduces a set of life and career skills that can be used to understand the effects of innovation and the exchange of information. It is necessary to interpret the skills in regards to personal needs and interests. Finally, TPACK explains to teachers what they should know about integrating technology. Content knowledge, as well as pedagogic knowledge, is crucial for the process of integration because teachers should understand what they are talking about and explaining to their students.
Communication with technologies
Nowadays, the way of how people communicate differs considerably from the way that was observed several years ago. People visit cafes and restaurants and spend much time looking at their smartphones and computers instead of talking directly to each other. Even communication between family members is usually organized by means of technology. It is necessary to remember that the quality of such communication is weak, emotions are absent, and strong relationships cannot be developed (Johnson, 2014). At the same time, technology is a tool with the help of people communication between people from different parts of the world can be used. For example, if a person needs to conduct research and talk to people from another continent to learn their cultures and traditions, technology can be used to connect different people in a short period. That is why communication can be improved considerably with the help of technology. People have to find a balance between online and real communicate and realize that true emotions cannot be transmitted via technology.
Community building with technologies
Community building may be organized online and offline. As a rule, the main goal of any community is to promote communication between different people. Students are free to share their opinions, post messages, create various materials, and help each other understand new information. As soon as students identify their goals and needs, they are welcome to join a community and share their experience. Nowadays, social networks serve as powerful platforms to build communities that attract the attention of many students, teachers, and other groups of people. Besides, communities help students cope with educational challenges. Connectivism is the way students can use to learn new material, improve language practices, and exchange information (Arditto, 2013). Technology is a good change to provide students and teachers with opportunities regarding the current possibilities.
Writing with technologies
Writing is one of the main elements of standardized exams. Students have to know how to write and try to improve their skills day by day. Nowadays, it is ordinary to use technology to support writing instructions. Using technology is the method to support struggling writers. Students are able to rely on different supportive software programs to succeed in writing, setting goals, planning, organizing ideas, and text editing. There are many spell-checkers that can be found online and specially developed word-programs with the help of which students can improve the quality of writing touching upon style, grammar, or punctuation aspects. With the help of technology, students can understand what they can do to improve their writing. It happens that students create powerful projects but fails to get their A’s because of some grammar or spelling mistakes. Technology is a chance to detect various “mechanical” unintentional mistakes and correct them independently. Technology can also help to create some forms of writing.
Modeling with technologies
One of the tasks that students and teachers should perform on a high level is to develop models of different types. They usually include various databases, maps, spreadsheets, concept maps, etc. Models help students to organize their knowledge and conceptual understanding. Still, students should realize that there are a number of challenges when they start modeling something using technologies. That is why teachers spend some time to explain how to improve their modeling work with the help of technology. For example, concept maps’ modeling is a change to gather various facts and information and introduce it on one map. The main challenge is to realize that concept maps should not be about one particular topic. Concept maps are used to relate various ideas in one group. CMap is one of the programs that can be used by students to succeed in modeling concept maps. Google Spreadsheets is a good website to rely on when it is necessary to model a spreadsheet. A person does not spend much time on completing this kind of work and does not bother with the details of the work but focuses on the content of a spreadsheet.
Visualizing with technologies
One of the evident benefits of technology is the possibility to visualize information and make it clearer to ordinary people. The creation of various images, diagrams, or even captivating animation turns out to be possible nowadays. In the sphere of educations, students and teachers get a chance to introduce new information, develop their project, and learn the material based on special presentations, images, or animations. Students can combine visual and audio memory, and teachers may underline the main concepts, as well as abstract ideas of their speeches. Technology is a chance to improve the process of visualization in classrooms that cannot be neglected. Multimedia and hypermedia are the main methods of visualization of information.
Benefits and challenges of using the Internet for teaching and learning
The technological progress is a crucial point in an educational process. Students want to believe that the Internet is a chance to find the required information quickly and exchange the information with different people at the same time. Teachers find it easier to give instructions and provide students with explanations with the help of the Internet. However, it may happen that the Internet is a challenge for some people. Therefore, it is necessary to comprehend the main benefits and challenges of the Internet in teaching and learning.
- Students and the majority of teachers like technology and the Internet in particular;
- Many skills can be developed with the help of the activities on the Internet;
- People from different parts of the world can have the same portion of education;
- Schedules can be chosen in regards to students’ and teachers’ time and needs;
- Learning materials can be chosen by students individually.
- Some adult learners may need additional help with teaching or learning via the Internet;
- Inability to control the access to the Internet;
- Costs and training needs can be high in comparison with an ordinary learning process;
- Isolation may decrease the level of motivation for students.
The role of microworlds in education
Nowadays, microworlds play an important role in education as one of the possible kind of educational technology that can be used to develop new strategies, learning skills, and teaching strategies. Microworlds are all those computer-based simulations and tools with the help of which students and teachers can solve their problems and develop critical thinking on the necessary level. As a rule, microworlds are small and dynamic on the basis of which it is possible for teachers to introduce real world environments. The role of microworlds cannot be neglected because they help to improve students’ individual knowledge, identify learning contexts, and explain how to succeed in discovery. The manipulation of objects is a good chance for students’ to use their already gained knowledge and for teachers to enlarge students’ motivation for learning.
Benefits and challenges of gaming in teaching and learning
The role and impact of gaming in teaching and learning have been considerably changed during the last few years. Today, education is viewed by teachers and students in a fundamentally new way. The main benefit of educational games is that students do not define themselves as ordinary users of technology and the performers of teachers’ orders and instructions. They are designers, who are able to use technology and games as the tools to rely on. Gaming in teaching and learning is a good chance to understand what can be expected in a real world. Students are provided with a chance to use simulation and experience different situations in the spheres of nursing, military, medicine, etc. They can make mistakes, take risks, choose different options, and analyze the outcomes of their decisions without a threat of hurting someone. At the same time, it is a challenge for students and teachers to realize that all these are just simulations. In a real world, more material can be necessary to complete a work and more people should be used to succeed in an activity.
Clark- Kozma Argument and the ways technology change the way people think
The Clark-Kozma argument is one of the well-known debates about the role of technology (media) in an educational process. Clark seems to be an evident conservative, who believes that learning, as a process, cannot be predetermined by media or different media attributes. He explains that media itself may influence speed or cost of learning. However, the main issue of a learning process remains to be the adequate instructional methods. Media (as well as technology) is just a tool to be used in a learning process. Kozma introduces another way of relations between media, educational content, and learners. He underlines the potential effect of technology and media on a learning process and the way of how students understand the instructions, perform tasks, and use the material they learn.
In fact, technology and people’s readiness to use it define the way of how people can learn and think. The Internet is the main achievement that helps students to learn as much as they want. They can get access to the information that has not been available to many professors in a short period.
Technology and inquiry-based learning
An inquiry is a process that helps to enlarge knowledge, resolve questions, solve problems, and choose options (Howland, Jonassen, & Marra, 2011). Inquiry-based learning requires students to be prepared for any kind of work mentally and physically. Technology is one of the frequently used ways to get answers and consider the options available. As inquiry-based learning aims at answering questions and using students’ experience, the connection between technology and inquiry-based learning is evident. When students have the questions that cannot be properly explained by teachers, they are welcome to address the Internet and find the required portion of information soon. They do not need to spend time visiting libraries and reading many-paged books. All they need is just to put the required word or words in a search engine and get the results. To succeed from this connection, teachers have to pay more attention to the skills that help students understand new technologies and technological worth not just to use them blindly.
Technology as a cognitive tool
A cognitive tool is any kind of technologies that can improve human cognitive powers in the process of thinking and learning. It also helps to define and solve problems. Nowadays, it is correct to define technology as a cognitive tool because various software applications, simulations, and programs help students succeed in learning. The best examples of cognitive tools are all those databases, spreadsheets, microworlds, programming languages, and networks available to students. The main point is that such cognitive tools are not used by specialists only. They are offered to students in their educational environment and make learning more interesting and clearer. Students, as learners, do not have to follow the instructions only. They are welcome to become designers, who choose their preferable ways to understand a new item. In general, technology, as a cognitive tool, helps students develop their critical, creative, and thinking skills and learn more during a process that they have to complete.
Cognitive advantages of using hypertext for learning
Hypertexts and hypermedia turn out to be a kind of instructional theory that is offered to students. With the help of hypertexts, learners are provided with a rich environment and a number of details to choose from. Students are free to ask questions, create hypotheses, and choose the solutions that are more appropriate for them. Hypertext is a kind of text with several links to other texts. Students do not waste their time to search the necessary explanation. They can use hypertext and be redirected to the required source. It is easy, quick, and credible.
Advantages and disadvantages of web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis for teaching and learning
Technology provides students with new sources of information such as the Internet, wikis, blogs, and different searching engines. Today, web 2.0 technologies are available to share and edit information among students and teachers. The combination of media (images, video, sound, etc.), students’ collaboration, and teachers’ instructions is the main advantage of web 2.0 technologies. Another important advantage is that usually all these technologies are free for students. Students succeed in using web 2.0 technologies because they can create articles and other kinds of works and discuss them from different parts of the world. It is also possible to get fast responses and avoid using old material. Still, there are also several threats that should be considered. For example, students should know that they could get wrong or prejudiced information. Some viruses or spam may bother students and teachers. Finally, the necessity to share some personal information may become a challenge for some students.
Difference between student-centered and teacher-centered use of computers technology
The debate between teacher-centered and student-centered learning has been taken for a while. With technology being used in classrooms, teachers and students should think about new approaches to succeed in teaching and learning. Teachers want to introduce the most beneficial methods for their students, and students want to be motivated and involved in an educational process. In teacher-centered education, students have to pay all their attention to teachers. Students have to work alone after they have listened to the teachers’ instructions. Independent learning and order are the benefits of this kind of learning. Inability to develop personal skills and express themselves may disappoint students. Student-centered learning is about the possibility to share focus between a teacher and students in a classroom. Interaction is equal. The development of communicative skills and abilities to discuss are the pluses. The minuses of such learning are the necessity to work in a noisy environment and the possibility to miss some important instructions and hints.
Technology as the best support for learning of a second language
During the last years, technology has been used to improve second language learning considerably. Students from different parts of the world are welcome to learn a second language with native speakers using the Internet and such program as Skype. Teachers are able to differentiate instructions and choose the activities that are more important for students and correspond with their abilities and intentions. Electronic communication is a form of language learning. Forum discussions serve as a possibility to share different approaches and experience. Blogs and wikis are the sources of different dialects and peculiarities of language. The abilities to watch films and clips on an original language with subtitles are also a chance to succeed in second language education.
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Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Essex, England: Person New International Edition.