The world today is experiencing what could be referred to as the information revolution. Although other technologies have contributed to this condition, computer technology is the main contributor. Computer use has penetrated almost all parts of life; both economic and social. As with any other new technology, information technology has been received with mixed reactions. Some people have received with both hands appreciating its effect in simplifying information processing and communication. On the other hand, some people criticize it for eroding society and taking away of reality of life. Education is one of the sectors that have been influenced very much by information technology. Revolution experienced in this technology has led to the reorganization of education programs to allow the use of information technology. Despite the positive effects of the use of computer technology, there is a risk of overreliance on the technology. Over-reliance on information technology may lead humans to be slaves of technology where lack or failure in technology completely affects day-to-day events.
In this era, being computer illiterate can be considered a tragedy. The benefit of being computer literate is enormous; one is able to work with computers to input and process data and communicate with other people (Leslie 7). Computer use has developed to be a necessity that one may not live without. Typing a document, sending and receiving emails are daily chores that one has to live with. The presentation of most information today is by computer technology. For example, the most institution presents their information through their websites which are accessible through the internet. Traditional ways of accessing information and communication are slowly being phased out by the use of computer technology. For example, the use of mails has been replaced by electronic mail to an extent that physical mails are only used informal communication.
Computer use in society is more than driven by necessity. However, information technology has led to cultural change in society. The traditional ways of doing things and communicating have been forced to change in order to conform to the new technology. The main motivation in innovation in information technology has been to ease work and execute routine duties (Uschi 89). Thus, each new innovation in information technology leads simplification of work done by human beings. For example, the use of mobile telephony is today more than necessary but cultural. At the same time, most families in our society have access to a computer and a considerable percentage has constant access to the internet connection. This trend has led to a complete change in the way of life of the majority of people. Services such as communication, data processing, socialization are accessed right within the confinement of a room.
Although the influence of technology is felt by all groups of society, its influence on youths is enormous. Across all parts of the world, there is a higher percentage of youths using information technology than other groups of people. To most youths, information technology is a technology that they can not live without. Some of the youths were introduced to technology early in their lives and have been brought up with the technology. Thus, some of the youth cannot understand life without technology as technology is part of their lives.
Information Technology in Education
Computer use in education can be considered to be one of the most successful areas. Computer use has led to various benefits in education (Haag 3). The most successful area in the use of computers in education has been in the area of learning materials. Traditionally learning materials were presented in form of paper books. Volumes of books were needed to offer a certain course in colleges. Accessibility to learning materials was not easy. For example, a large number of students in a certain course had to share a few copies of books in the college library. With information technology, learning materials can be easily accessed in digital forms (Thurlow, Zimmerman, and Mckay 186). Learning materials in form of CDs and other digital forms are cheap and easy to carry. Besides, learning materials information technology is being used communication between educators and students. Assignment and other course work are being processed and presented using this technology (Leslie 4). Internet technology has also been adopted in education. Online learning is now a trend in education where learning institutions are offering their learning courses through the internet. This technology has been very useful in the provision of distance learning modes of education. The main motivation to use online and distance learning is their ability to save costs and offer a more flexible form of education.
Although computer technology is praised for its efficiency, it is not immune to failure. Failure of computer system leads to a lot of inconveniencies or even great loss of important document or data. Almost everyone has witnessed failure in computer systems (Thurlow, Zimmerman, and Mckay 191). For example, one would be in dire need of money only to meet Automatic teller machine has failed. There are also reports of data loss to companies or government institutions dues to system failure. Even at a personal level, we are met with anxious moments when our computer systems crash leading to the loss of very important information and documents. Similar experiences are also experienced in learning institutions where computer systems of the network crash leading to a lot of inconveniences.
Although the use of computer technology in learning institutions is huge, most institutions are not prepared for events of failure in the technology. However, it is expected that the technology would fail at some times leading to anxiety for both students and educators. For example, a computer used by a lecturer may fail while conducting a lesson. Such an event may lead to the lecturer failing to access teaching materials and other material prepared for a lesson. Such an eventuality may be of great embarrassment to the lecturer especially when unable to continue with a lecture (Uschi 87). To a student, the computer system may fail while they are working on their assignments, term papers or research projects. For example, consider a case where a student has worked on a project for more than two-thirds of a semester only for his computer system failure on the eve of presentation. Such an event can lead to a lot of anxiety and distress especially when there is no backup. In an online course, a computer network used in assigning exams may fail in the event of an exam (Haag 2). Such an occurrence may lead to a lot of anxiety and also lead to a dilemma on the way to deals with the issue.
Considering technology dependence and the possibility of failure, one wonders who is in control: technology or man (Thurlow, Zimmerman, and Mckay 189). Living without information technology seems to be something that can not be conceived. Typing, storing documents with computers, use of email for communication, surfing, and web blogging is today part of life. Instead of meeting friends in traditional meeting places, today a person can chat using computer chatting programs. Socials networks such as Facebook and Twitter are inseparable from daily lives.
In other areas of life, computer technology is very important. It is almost impossible to imagine an economy without computers. The ability of computers to process a large amount of data at a high speed has led to its reliance on industrial, administration and financial sectors. Doing without computers world requires a lot workforce who can not measure computers inefficiency.
As a major benefit of computer technology, education could be severely affected by the lack of computer technology (Leslie 6). The huge learning materials needed for education are very expensive but computer technology has made electronic books and other learning materials to be easily accessible to all. The huge number of students in colleges cannot be accommodated colleges, making online and distance learning to be a necessity.
Computer technology is a reality that we cannot live without. Revolution brought by information technology has totally changed our lives. Computer technology simplified data processing, routine jobs and information storage. Internet technology has made communication fast and cheap. In some ways, computers are indispensable; the best we can do is to work on mitigations to negative effects. In education, the best thing is to offer more training to both students and educators information technology, invest in more efficient network and computer systems and develop policies to provide guidelines in case of failure.
Haag, Sharon. Computer in Education. 2002. Web.
Leslie, Hitch. “Being prepared for technology snow days”, North Eastern University 2002.24 (2002): 1-10.
Thurlow, Crispin, Zimmerman, Heather and Mckay, Susan. Wired whizzes or techno-slaves: Young people and their emergent communication technologies. 2005. Web.
Uschi, Felix. e-learning pedagogy in the third millennium: the need to combining socials and cognitive constructivist approaches. ReCALL 17.1(2005).