The 21st century is characterized by significant growth in technology—one of the technologies which have undergone significant growth in Information Communication Technology (ICT). According to Inoue (2007, p.7), the growth in ICT has revolutionized other economic sectors, such as the education sector. This research paper is aimed at evaluating the relationship between technology and education.
Technology has currently made it possible for educational opportunities to be accessible to everyone, anywhere, and at any time. Advancement in technology has made it possible to deliver education to a different student population. One such technology is the Early English Books Online (ProQuest, 2011, para. 2). The use of technology in schools is mainly utilized in higher education. Additionally, accessing education using various technologies is more advanced in developed countries such as the US, the UK, and Japan compared to the developing countries. This is since the developed countries have a well-implemented ICT network.
Katsirikou and Skiadas (2010, p.367) believe that governments within the developing countries are striving to revolutionalize their education system by integrating ICT. According to a study conducted in 2008 in the US, the ratio of student access to internet-connected instructional computers was 3.8 to 1 (Orey, Jones & Branch, 2010, p. 37). On the other hand, educators have relatively high access to technology at 94% through their personal and instructional computers (Navarro & Washington, 2008, p.153).
Over the past decade, there has been an increment in the number of state and federal initiatives developed to increase technology access in schools in the US. Examples of such initiatives include the E-Rate Discount Program and Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. Other initiatives, including National Center for Education Statistics and the Fast Response Survey Systems, were developed to evaluate the effectiveness of technology in schools (Burns, Farris, Skinner & Parsad, n.d, p.1).
Students use technology in their learning process in several ways. For example, the internet enables students to search for information necessary to complete their projects. The internet provides a wide source of academic materials such as e-books and journals. Additionally, students also use technology such as telecommunication technologies, computer-generated simulations to collaborate with different scholars (ProQuest, 2011, para. 3).
Another technology that is increasingly being used by both students and educators in distance learning is video teleconferencing (Hayes & Wynyard, 2006, p.89). Video teleconferencing is cost-effective in that it enables both instructors and students to save on travel costs. Students also use different technologies to collect data, process the data, and present the findings of their study. Technology is also used by students to solve diverse academic problems and make effective decisions (Adams & Hamm, 2006, p. 223).
On the other hand, educators use technology in different ways to teach their students. One of the technologies commonly used by educators is the internet. The internet acts as a major source of teaching resources. Teachers use the internet to search for innovative curriculums to teach their students. Also, the internet provides different creative lesson plans that teachers can use. Teachers are increasingly using computer technology in creating quizzes and worksheets.
According to MacGregor (2004, p.52), technology is also used when issuing instructions to the students. Examples of instructional technologies currently being used include personal computers, projectors, mini-boards, and smartboard technologies. The projector enables teachers to illustrate their explanations using PowerPoint presentations. On the other hand, mini boards and smart boards enable teachers to draw digital graphs and tables to illustrate a certain concept. Student can use their personal computers to research a certain concept. Assessment technologies are also used by teachers to evaluate the performance of their students.
Considering the high rate of technological innovation, especially in ICT, the future of education is bright. There is a high probability of the education sector undergoing a significant revolution. This arises from the fact that other technologies, such as emerging social communication networks, will be incorporated into the education system. The resultant effect is that the learning process will become more interactive, thus improving students’ learning potential.
The integration of technology within the education sector has several positive impacts. Technology enhances the instruction method used by instructors by making it to be more student-centered. As a result, it encourages cooperation, creativity, high-order thinking, and interaction amongst the students hence improving their performance. Other technologies, such as the internet, play a vital role by providing both the students and educators with a wide range of educational materials. This means that technology enhances the acquisition of knowledge. Technology also plays a critical role in changing student’s attitudes towards education.
Despite the positive impact of technology on education, there are several negative impacts. For example, overuse of technology may limit learning amongst some students. This is because some students acquire knowledge effectively through physical means and interacting with others. Overusing technology, such as teleconferencing, may limit the rate of interaction. Additionally, if not monitored, some students may use their personal computers to play games, which means that a lot of learning time is wasted. Using technology may also take away a significant amount of learning time in the event of a technical problem.
The analysis has illustrated that integrating technology in the education sector can significantly improve the learning process. This is because technology is beneficial to both the students and the educators. To educators, technology makes teaching to be more effective and efficient. On the other hand, the learning environment for the students is improved. However, there are negative impacts associated with incorporating technology in education.
For example, some students may use technology, such as their personal computers, to play games. This means that a lot of time is wasted. Additionally, technology may limit physical interaction amongst the students and their teachers. Therefore, it is vital for the parties involved to limit technology utilization and implement effective monitoring strategies.
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