Technology has become an integral part of life for educators and their students. Regardless of whether the task is writing a short story, exploring information resources, examining cultural diversity, tracking a chemistry experiment, testing a mathematical concept, developing new instructional materials, or tracking grades, technology plays an increasingly important role in the teaching/learning process.
The purpose of education is to promote learning. The integration of technology into the teaching/learning environment is essential in preparing students for life in the 21st Century. Educators and students together can activate their learning environment through the effective use of technology (Lamb, 2006, Building Treehouses for Learning).
Technology is much more than computers in the classroom. According to AECT (Association of Educational Communications and Technology), instructional technology is “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for learning ... resources are sources of support for learning, including support systems and instructional materials and environments ... The purpose of instructional technology is to affect and effect learning” (Seels & Richey, 1993, 1-9).
Technology involves all kinds of hardware including computers, CD-ROM, laserdiscs, scanners, video, and even overhead projectors. Technology includes a variety of software from word processing and databases to multimedia and virtual reality. Most important, educational technology deals with issues of selection, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of all kinds of teaching/learning environments. According to Seels and Richey (1993, 24-43), “Design refers to the process of specifying conditions for learning. ... Development refers to the process of translating the design specifications into physical form. ... Utilization refers to the use of processes and resources for learning. ... Management refers to process for controlling instructional technology. ... Evaluation is the process for determining the adequacy of instruction.”
Explore Hamlet Remixed by Joyce Valenza's class. Think about how technology was used to motivate and enhance learning.
Learning with Technology
Over the past two decades, technology has become a popular classroom tool. In the 1980s, the computer was often viewed as an object of instruction. Courses in word processing, programming, and desktop publishing become common. However in recent years, the focus has shifted to viewing technology as an integrated tool to promote information access, critical thinking and communication.
Complete the Why the Net? An Interactive Tool for the Classroom free, online workshop from Educational Broadcasting Corporation.
The Effectiveness of Technology in Education
To become productive adults in this technology-rich world, our students and teachers must be effective users of information and technology (Allen, 2001; Davidson, et.al., 2000; Dwyer, 1994; NECS, 2002; McNabb, Hawkes, & Rouk, 1999; Nevens, et.al., 2001; U.S. Department of Education Study, 2003). Life-long and self-paced learning is the key to the effectiveness of implementation in schools (Davidson, Burr, Eberlein, Fuchs, Saucedo, and Steffen, 2000).
It’s easy to identify the physical impact of technology on classrooms. For example, classroom Internet access has increased from three percent in 1994 to eighty-seven percent in 2001 (NECS, 2002).
The impact of technology on teaching and learning outcomes is more difficult to gauge. According to Allen (2001), the rapid growth of technology has exceeded our current understanding of how to effectively use technology in classrooms. Many studies have identified the positive effects of educational technology on student achievement. However, content and instructional strategy are often found to be a more important determinate of learning than the medium being used. The key to effectiveness lies in the combination of effective technology with quality content and instructional design.
Meta-analysis methods have been used to study the effectiveness of technology on student outcomes. Many of these studies have found positive effects of educational technology on student learning (Blok, etal, 2002; Kulik & Kulik, 1991; Riel, 1993; Schacter, 2001; Sivin-Kachala, 1998; Waxman, etal, 2002; Wenglinsky, 1998).
These statements are reinforced by an up-to-date quantitative synthesis of recent research on the effects of teaching and learning with technology on student outcomes conducted by Waxman, Connell, and Gray (2002). This meta-analysis examined the data from 20 studies involving approximately 4,400 students. They found that teaching and learning with technology has a small, positive, significant effect on student outcomes compared to traditional instruction (p. 1).
According to a U.S. Department of Education Study (2003), the most common teacher-reported effect on students was an increase in motivation. Research shows that students who use technology on a regular basis are more likely to use time such as recess or lunch periods to work on assignments than students who do not have the benefit of technology. McNabb, Hawkes, and Rouk (1999) identified a shift in schools' focus on technology from building technology infrastructure to evaluating the effectiveness of technology. They found seven critical issues related to technology effectiveness including (1) The effectiveness of technology is embedded in the effectiveness of other school improvement efforts; (2) Current practices for evaluating the impact of technology in education need broadening; (3) Standardized test scores offer limited formative information with which to drive the development of a school's technology program--most schools are looking for additional means for collecting useful data for this purpose; (4) Schools must document and report their evaluation findings in ways that satisfy diverse stakeholders' need to know; (5) In order for evaluation efforts to provide stakeholders with answers to their questions about the effectiveness of technology in education, everyone must agree on a common language and standards of practice for measuring how schools achieve that end; (6) The role of teachers is crucial in evaluating the effectiveness of technology in schools, but the burden of proof is not solely theirs; and (7) Implementing an innovation in schools can result in practice running before policy.
According to Riel (1993), technology in the classroom can help develop a broad, deep and creative understanding of community, culture, economics and international politics, past and present, and acquire the social skills to work across differences and distances. By providing a variety of tools for acquiring information, thinking, and expression, children have more ways to successfully enter the learning enterprise and ultimately live productive lives in the global, digital, information-world (Dwyer, 1994).
Read We've Done Internet, Now What? by Jamie McKenzie in (From Now On, 12(11), Summer 2003).
Read Key Word: Technology in THE BLUE BOOK by Callison and Preddy, 556-562.
Allen, R. (2001, Fall). Technology and learning: How schools map routes to technology's promised land. ASCD Curriculum Update, 1-3, 6-8.
Barnette, E. (April 2003). The role of technology teachers in ensuring standards- based programs. The Technology Teacher, 62, 32-35.
Blok, H., Oostdam, R., Otter, M. E., & Overmaat, M. (2002). Computer-assisted instruction in support of beginning reading instruction: A review. Review of Educational Research, 72, 101-130.
Conyers, J., & Kappel, T., & Rooney, J (February 1999). How technology can transform a school. Educational Leadership.
Cradler, J. (April 2003). Technology’s impact on teaching and learning. Learning and Leading with Technology, 30, 54-57.
Davison, L. J., Burr, D., Eberlein, J., Fuchs, D. J., Saucedo, L., Steffen, B. H. (May 2000). Building a technology foundation for future teachers, TechTrends, 44 (4).
Dwyer, D. (1994). Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow: What we’ve learned. Educational Leadership, Vol. 51.
Education with New Technologies from Harvard.
Jonassen, David H. Technology as Cognitive Tools: Learners as Designers
Kulik, C., & Kulik, J. A. (1991). Effectiveness of computer-based instruction: An updated analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 75-94.
McKenzie, Jamie (Summer 2003). We've Done Internet, Now What? From Now On, 12(11).
Riel, M., (1994) Educational change in a technology-rich environment. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, Vol. 26.
Schacter, J. (2001). The impact of education technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology.
Sivin-Kachala, J. (1998). Report on the effectiveness of technology in schools, 1990-1997. Washington, DC: Software Publisher's Association.
Task Force on Technology and Teacher Education (1997). Technology and the new professional teacher: Preparing for the 21st century classroom. NCATE Archive.
Technology’s effectiveness in education (2003) Available online: http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/teie.html
Technology’s impact on education practices (2003). Available online: http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/tioep.html
Waxman, H.C., Connell, & J. Gray (December 2002). Meta-analysis: effects of educational technology on student outcomes. North Central Regional Education Laboratory.
Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it compute? The relationship between educational technology and student achievement in mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service Policy Information Center.