The Use of Technology in Education

Introduction

Technology is something that is very dynamic and is increasingly becoming an integral part of our lives. It is being applied in various aspects of live for example in education. At this juncture the question arises, how is technology used in the education sector? Technology is used in various ways in education programs for example it is used to educate students with various physical challenges such as hearing problem and sight problem. It has proved to be a very useful thing as it helps the learners to access the school curriculum thereby overcoming their physical challenges. Technology is also used in teaching English to speakers of other languages in their classrooms. Technology is also used by teachers not on people with physical challenges but just to improve their academic knowledge for example the students can communicate with their teacher for advices via the Internet. This one among many uses of technology in education and this is basically what this research paper will be all about.

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According to the constructions theorists hold that people learn in various ways and the more the diversity that there is the more understanding is acquired. Technology is as a learning tool helps students to increase their level of understanding.

The use of technology in the United Sates of America is on the increase due to the pressure from the state and the federal as well as the local Education Agency to incorporate technology in the education sector. The ubiquitous nature of the technology demanded that technology be extended from the laboratories to the classrooms. In the past the computer was a tool that was only applicable in teaching computer science but this belief has changed as today you will find computers in the classrooms.

The introduction of the modern technology in the classrooms was a response to the challenges that teachers faced in dispatching their knowledge to the students, presentation of work by both students and teachers and this took place in the first time when the first PC or personal computer hit the market. It improved the presentation of the teacher notes, it facilitated students teacher interaction and personal computers is down unlike in the past times and as such the schools and colleges are able to buy house computers to be used in classrooms. (Grabe M. 2001).

Overtime, the teaching process has been revolutionized by the venturing of computers and then it is undergoing a kind of evolution as the time demands. There is a kind of evolution as the time demands. There is a notable shift from lectures dependency and fact focusing to problem solving and to critical thinking and this is one of the greatest challenge the computer users are facing as the information that is stored in the computer let us say information that was stored in about five years ago, may be rendered absolute as the time is elapsing too fast. What is known now and what was known five years ago is not usable anymore so you must keep updating your computer for it to serve you to the maximum. (Jonassen, D H. 2000).

According to the study that was done from 1985 to 1998, five evolutionary stages that are brought by computer usage in classrooms are; entry or a stage whereby new skills or the basics of using that new technology are learnt from here we go to the next stage of adoption. This involves integrating the latest technology in our traditional usage to the classroom with a motive of boosting the students’ productivity and simplifying the learning process. Students come to learn how to use computer packages such as the word processing, graphic tools and the spread sheets and not forgetting learning how to synchronize through their computers. The forth stage that was established was the appropriation stage. This involves on integrating technology in various educational programs for example in doing academics projects and in interdisciplinary work. In this stage, the computer uses becomes well familiar with the computer such that they start thinking of how they can come up with new ways of using the computer where by ushering the fifth stage of innovation or invention. (Ringstaff Et al 1997) This involves making the computer to be more useful than it is and it involves designing of various software that help one to perform works more easily. This is what has led to the invention of spreadsheets that are used in learning algebra.

Behaviorism

It is a theory that is also referred to as the learning perspective. If focuses on observable behaviors in animal and human beings. It holds that most behaviors of human beings and animals are acquired through conditioning that happens when interaction with the environment occurs. This theory totally disregards the role of the mind in learning. There are two types of conditioning that is used in this theory, these are the classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is an associative method of learning that was developed by parlor.

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Through the use of a computer the learner is able to teach himself/herself according to skinner. A computer can appropriate some particular firms of behavior that can be set up using a particular stimuli. With the help of these machines the learner follows certain short steps that helps the student to archive the desired kind of behavior. The Skinners computer takes the role of a teacher who teaches a whole class with many students as the same program could be used by many students.In behaviorism, computer instructions softwares are used in modifying ones behaviors. They help the learner by reinforcing texts, visuals or audio and whenever they are used they give the student on instant feedback. The computer helps in awarding any positive progress made, to model, to shape and to punish for misconducts. It also helps the students to assess his or her level of performance and at the same time it keeps the student’s performance records.

Cognitivism

It is a theory that was introduced in the 1930 – 1970s. it has undergone a lot of transformation and revolutions. Though it tends to shift from the principles of behaviorism it still retains some of the behaviorism empirical work. Basically the proponents of this theory use it in understanding how the memory of a human being functions so as to enhance learning. This led to development of memory-associated theories such as the Atkinism _ Shifrin model and the working memory. (Monaham 2005).

The theorists who support this theory such as Jerome Bruner and Vygotsky have been able to apply technology in cognitive theory of learning. Thus do this by using what is referred to as the computer assisted instructions or program. Here the compute helps the learner to process to explore and synthesize the available information. With the help of the computer the instructor is able to organize data that is computer the instructor is able to organize data that is useful in solving the problem in question. This application of technology in teaching this theory helps the learners to process, retrieve, and organize the available data.

Cognitivism uses computer to process data. Here learning process is viewed as a process through which input is stored and managed in the short term part of the memory. Constructivsm. This is one of the learning theories and it emerged in the 1990s. it is a belief that scholars are capable of developing new ideas from what they have learned that is after they successfully interact and relate with their fellow students under different circumstances. In coming up with know formulation the learners must familiarize themselves with the already acquired experience and knowledge. According to this theory the role of the teacher charges and stops being that of a teacher but becomes that of a facilitator by providing the learners with the relevant guidance that they deserve. The instructors must make sure that the students have the appropriate knowledge that would help them in what they want to advance.

The Constructivism theorists also apply technology in their course of work. They use computers that are connected to the Internet because they are aware that there is a lot of information from the Internet that is of importance to them. It contains unlimited amount of information that is vital in doing one’s research. This technology helps students to relate and communicate amongst themselves and in promulgating their knowledge to the wider audience. While they are searching for information from the Internet, they get exposed to opinions of different people from different background beyond their locality something that helps them to make some locality something tht helps them to make some viable decisions. (Calvin A. 1998) It was greatly influenced programming course that is done in computer science.

Self space learning theory

This stresses on the use of set modules. Each of the modules contain a number of behavioral expectations that clearly expresses the kind of task that should be performed and they are arranged with regard to their complexity starting to the most difficult to the easier ones (Pellone 1991) through this program the students are able to learn various concepts in their own place depending on their ability to understand things.

Here the computer helps the students not to navigate through the program thus allowing the student to have control over what he/she wants to learn.

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The teachers should help the students to apply technology in their learning projects so that with time they would be able to solve the world’s real problems. They should also be shown how information can be retrieved from the web and also how they can reach the experts for example by use of emails and chats. As it is mentioned above it should to be technology for the sake of it, it should help student to develop ways of how their education goals would be made possible by the use of technology. They should be able to use some modeling software, which are very vital in understanding science and mathematical concepts. Also the use of spreadsheet helps the students to be more organized in their work. The schools should use various tools to determine the technology.

The use of technology in helping the deaf students has been witnessed in Colorado University. This helps these students to learn jut like others. When one has physical challenges such as hearing problems then you cannot compete with others equally. It is in a bid to improve the performance and to promote equality that the notion of technology in educating the deaf and others with hearing problems was developed. It was believed that the integration of the same would make these students successful in their endeavors as they were treated by others as to equal. To make this a success a latest technology is applied and this technology is known as the Computer Assisted Note taking (CAN). It was first tested and applied in Deliver Public Schools where the 6th grade students enjoyed the facility. (Wiske, M.S. 2005).

There are instructor types the instructions on a laptop that is connected to a portable projector that is highly luminous. This helps the deaf students to see and follow the instructions that are cast on the white board that is put in the classroom then these students are provided with the hard copies of the same at the end of the lesson so that they would read them later.

This technology allows these students to sit wherever they please and this is one of the notable advantages of CAN. The deaf and those experiencing listening problems can sit anywhere while at the same time they can communicate freely with one another. It is a technology that has been in use in the two districts of Colorado and is proving to be very helpful to these students with hearing difficulties. (Knapp, L.R and Glenn A.D. 1996) Through the use of this technology, the learning environment remains as natural as ever and less restrictive. This has made learning process easier for these students. They can now compete with those that are not physically challenged in class work. Some students are reportedly said that they even beat the normal ones in their class work.

Technology has also been used in schools to help the visually impaired students to learn. This is a major breakthrough in the 21st century as the blind and other students with minor visual impairments can still participate in academic process despite the fact that they experience some physical challenges. The use of this technology has come to allay the gap in the level of performance between the normal and the disadvantaged students. (O’Neil, 2002) In the United States of America use of computer-assisted programs to convert the computer writing into Braille is not something that is very new. Through the use of this technology the blind students just like the sighted one can read the script using their fingers. Those Braille are also fixed with sounds such that when for example they are keyed in, they produce a certain sound or tone which has a particular meaning.

Through this technology-assisted program, the visually impaired students are able to do some tests on the computer to test their wits without which, this would be impossible. Teaching these students demands that their instructors must also be familiar with these teaching methods. These students do not go with others in the same classroom but they have their own computer laboratories where they do their studies. Technology is also being used in teaching the blind students science by using three-dimensional biological and chemical models. The chemical molecular are put in three dimensions which allows the students to touch them so that they would know what kind of biological or a chemical molecular structure it is. All this is done in a program dubbed as accessing science to the blind students. This has made learning to take a different dimensions as in the pasts it was only used to teach grammar to the visually impaired but of late it has ventured to the world of natural science. (Ayers, W. A. 2001).

Technology has also been applied in the education sector where by different courses are offered to students who are in different parts of the world. This is what is known as E-Learning. Many universities and colleges in the United States are offering various degree courses via the Internet. This is made possible by the discovery of use of electronic means such as the rise of Internet. It has made the world to look like a global village where you can access all the information you need be it library materials or whatever else that would be of academic importance. It is also possible to consult the instructor via the Internet by using chats and emails. The use of this technology in the United States of America has been reviewed by the E-learning Service in information and technology with a motive of empowering the students, administrators and teachers in their learning processes. This technology is geared towards promoting literacy, increasing human resource capital and establishing more learning opportunities.

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Technology is also used in colleges, universities and other academic institutions to tabulate data. The use of computer programs such as spread sheets has made this possible-unlike before the computer age, paper files were very much in use something that made offices very untidy. It was hard to search the information in the library as the books might be disorderly and irretrievable but through the use of on-line libraries such as Questia library and others you only need to log in and then you access thousand copies of e-books. Therefore, it is very easy to conduct your research on line without having to look for a physical library. It saves time resources and energy and e-libraries are efficient and easily accessible. (Reidl, J. 1995).

Still another way through which technology is applied in the education sector is in teaching English to those whose English is their second language or what is commonly known as TESOL. In this program computer is used in many way for example in checking the spelling mistakes. This is how these learners come to know the correct spelling of English words because they might be able to pronounce it but cannot write it.

Integration of technology in the education sector has been of much use as it has helped the students with learning difficulties to learn properly. Technology has also made learning much simpler as it is easy to access the on line information through the Internet. This technology also proved itself to be very useful when it comes to teaching English to the foreign students whose English is their second language. Use of technology is a major break through that has revolutionized the education sector. It is even possible to teach students who are physical challenged by use of various technologies. It is possible to teach the visually impaired and the deaf by use computers and their assisted programs.

Reference

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