Educational Technology for Students’ Learning

Introduction

Technology plays a key role in the growth and development of the economy in the contemporary world. The evolution of technology has contributed to the immense development of communication. The learning environment has also been greatly influenced by the technological revolution whereby different techniques have emerged due to the availability of improved devices that enhance the process. Different studies on education highlight the suitability of technology in enhancing learning. This paper explores three research articles on educational technology topics.

Enhancing Social Interaction in Computer-Mediated Distance Education by Brent Muirhead

Online education started in the last decade of the twentieth century, and thus some issues needed to be addressed regarding the quality and effectiveness of the involved programs. Naturally, the change raises debates as people try to understand it, and thus online education had to be scrutinized by critics before it became a generally accepted concept. This article offers a practical definition of interactivity between the learner and the tutor on an online education platform (Muirhead, 2000). The author holds that education does not require lengthy human interactions. On the contrary, the most important interaction is between the learner and the course materials, and thus other individuals are only essential in enhancing understanding of the learned contexts.

The article presents the study results and outcomes on student learning. Students find online education better than the traditional classroom version as it offers a democratic learning environment, it is available on a twenty-four-hour basis, and the involved technology offers great motivation. Hence, students have a positive attitude towards online education, which implies that there is a great level of satisfaction. However, the author indicates that online education platforms offer great challenges to both students and tutors as each is required to play certain roles effectively for meaningful learning to take place. A student must have effective learning skills, which includes listening and communicating for fruitful interaction. On the other hand, tutors are required to play an essential role in promoting the consistency of student’s attentiveness in the online learning environment.

The researcher’s greatest concern is the ability of students to learn effectively in the online education environment concerning interactivity that comes with the classroom environment. Technology is an essential tool for enhancing learning in the education sector, but it has its drawbacks. Hence, the study outcomes address the level of satisfaction that the online education environment offers to both students and faculties. Students and faculties need educational technology that offers an enabling environment for effective participation in learning.

Interestingly, the author notes that the online education environment is effective as it allows communication to take place between tutors and students. Also, a student can easily learn the educational experience of other students participating in the online education environment. However, the level of the students’ satisfaction varies according to one’s level of understanding. Online student discussions take place in the form of posting messages and students who lag find it difficult to participate effectively as the discourses take place under a narrow timeframe, which limits them from asking questions that would embarrass others.

The research methodology used is a meta-analysis of previous studies on educational technology and the online education environment. Also, the research design considers differences in locus of learner control, learning styles, motivation, and interaction that could be peer, faculty, computer-mediated, social, or psychological. These aspects form the basis of scrutinizing the reliability of online education technology in the learning process.

The research has a well-defined target audience, which is anybody interested in the learning environment. This article relies heavily on the interactivity perspective of the online education environment, and thus other perspectives of online education need to be addressed, hence further research is recommended. Based on the information in the article, research in the field has progressed due to new technological advancements such as video conferencing, which are currently used in online learning.

The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation by Steven Higgins, ZhiMin Xiao, and Maria Katsipataki

The authors found a huge knowledge gap in the technology educational research as by the year 2012, only 129 research articles on the topic had been submitted to the research section of the Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D) (Higgins, Xiao & Katsipataki, 2012). Hence, technology in education had not caught the attention of scholars, and thus a knowledge gap existed and it needed to be bridged to enhance the stakeholders’ confidence in educational technology. Also, the authors viewed their research as an effort to answer questions that have been raised about the impact and quality of educational research technology by academicians and other stakeholders.

The research presented study results and outcomes on student learning whereby it was observed that technology alone cannot make an impact on learning. On the contrary, how students use technology to learn dictates the impact. It was found that technology is a motivating factor for young people, and thus essential for improving their learning skills. Students love technology, which introduces new learning methods, hence they have good attitudes and great satisfaction towards the technological advancements in education.

However, the study results highlighted two contradicting results on the faculty. Technology is used to enhance learning skills to the students and at the same time improving the teaching methods that are used in education. Hence, some teaching methods are replaced, and this aspect has adverse effects on the faculty. Technology requires expertise in operations; hence, some teachers may lose jobs to pave way for experts or they may be required to undergo training to be in a good position to run technological teaching methods. Also, the authors argue that it is a matter of great concern for the faculty in identifying whether technology will enable students to access more learning content within a short time and whether it is capable of allowing effective communication between teachers and students.

Research findings show that educational technology allows students to carry out group discussions effectively although young children need guidance in a bid to learn effectively. Besides, the authors found that technology should not be used daily, as its persistent use is less effective at improving the students’ performance. Therefore, the authors recommend that technology should be used at most three times a week. Also, research design considers differences in locus of learner control, learning styles, motivation, and interaction, which could be peer, faculty, computer-mediated, social, or psychological in a bid to develop knowledge that is relevant for educationists.

The authors used the meta-analysis methodology by reviewing previous studies and focusing on those that had experimental or quasi-experimental research designs. The article does not have a defined target audience, but it is relevant to all educational stakeholders. Moreover, research is not exhaustive on the topic, and thus there is a need for further research that provides deeper knowledge on the issue. Besides, the research in the field has progressed based on the information and approaches conveyed in the article, which could hardly be found in articles authored in the earlier periods.

Technology in the Classroom: Helpful or Harmful by Samantha Cleaver

The author argues that technology in education can be both harmful and helpful to students and tutors (Cleaver, 2014). Technology poses great challenges to tutors whereby they are required to change the teaching method, which often lowers the time spent in teacher-student interaction. Also, teachers cannot use technology effectively without training and experience, which often makes it hard for them to integrate the education curriculum into the technological platform easily. Hence, the learning process is affected adversely during the translation period. Besides, technology offers great freedom to students, and in some cases, this aspect leads to poor performance.

The research presents study results and outcomes on student learning and the author argues that students gravitate towards technological devices and their applications. Due to the improved quality of education through technology, students are in a position to access learning materials easily, and thus technology adds value to learners. Students have a good attitude towards technology, hence a great level of satisfaction towards it.

On the other hand, the teaching community seemed reluctant to adopt technology at first due to the challenges it had in the adoption stages, but there is great satisfaction because of its great benefits in the learning environment. Also, the research design considered differences in locus of learner control, learning styles, motivation, and interaction that could be peer, faculty, computer-mediated, social, or psychological by emphasizing that students love technology, and thus they can spend most of their time learning if provided with educational technology.

The article is a blog, and thus the author relied on current affairs in educational technology as the methodology and she supported it by referring to other authors’ previous works on the topic. The target audience comprises all education stakeholders. However, in blogs, authors use personal judgments on the issue at hand, and thus further research is highly recommended on the topic. Besides, research in the field has progressed due to the information and approaches conveyed in the article, which depicts immense progress in educational technology.

Conclusion

Educational technology is essential for the improvement of the students’ learning tendencies and the tutors’ teaching methods. Educational technology has enabled students to do learning in an enabling environment. The contemporary crop of students is interested in the technological revolution that is taking place across all spheres of life including education. To this crop of students, technology offers great motivation, which enables them to learn even while out of school environments. On the other hand, the teaching community has challenges in adapting to the technological changes in the learning environment. Therefore, there is a great need to focus on the benefits that technology has on the learning environment once it is fully adopted. However, for successful adoption and optimal utilization of technology in education, all stakeholders should be involved.

References

Cleaver, S. (2014).Technology in the Classroom: Helpful or Harmful? Web.

Higgins, S., Xiao, Z., & Katsipataki, M. (2012). Interpreting the evidence from meta-analysis for the impact of digital technology on learning. Web.

Muirhead, B. (2000). Enhancing Social Interaction in Computer-Mediated Distance Education. Educational Technology & Society, 3(4), 104-115.