Archive | November 2013

Synthesis

Over the past four weeks the topic of my blogs have been on technology and how it is used within education, and the advantages and disadvantages it has brought as it has developed over the past few years. As we all know technology has developed to a level that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago, if you would have asked someone then what a tablet was they would have said that it was something you got off a doctor when you were not well in comparison to nowadays when it is also known as a type of technology device. We now have touch screen mobile phones, laptops, and tablets as well as highly developed software on computers such as photo and movie editing. Therefore, how has technology been inputted into education and developed the way schools, universities, and institutes teach students.

To begin with technology has brought many advantages into education in a way where students can enhance their learning. Students are now able to access information online whether it be lecture slides or podcasts that a lecturer/teacher has provided or information discovered through search engines. The information on the internet is endless and whatever topic or subject a student needs to research into there will be information about it somewhere on the internet. They are also able to view information in several different formats from books, blogs, videos, and internet forums and from several different view points for example the views of other students, other teachers, and professionals in the field. These aspects of technology enhance learning and can be brought into the classroom to get students motivated to learn.

Another advantage of technology within education is the resources available to students. There are now online tests available from the syllabus taught in schools (e.g. BBC Bitesize). These types of resources allow students to revise what they need too and then take the test and receive instant feedback. This is enhances learning as research has found that learning achievements and the learning attitudes of students, are significantly promoted when students are provided with real-time feedback (Wu et al., 2012).

Although introducing technology into education has brought both teachers and students advantages, it has also brought along quite a powerful disadvantage. By teaching students about technology and how to use a variety of different devices, they are introduced to such things as texting, social media sites, and email. When they are able to use these methods of communication they are able to part-take in cyber bullying. This type of bullying can be achieved through any type of mobile phone or the internet via email, text messages, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc. By bullying through technology the bully is unseen by peers, parents and teachers, unlike if they violently attacked someone on the school playground. It has been suggested that around “81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with then bullying in person” (“11 Facts About Cyber Bullying”, n.d.). However, it is just as powerful behind closed doors as it is face to face. Research conducted by Kozlosky (2009) discovered through self-reported questionnaires that 40% of students reported having experienced cyber bullying in the past few months and 22% of other students feared being cyber bullied. These statistics are worryingly high and without technology there would be no cyber bullying what so ever.

Bullying is an on going problem in schools and programs such as KiVa, an evidence based anti-bullying program, are attempting to reduce and prevent bullying from happening (http://www.kivaprogram.net). KiVa is a program that was developed in a university in Finland and targets bullying in schools from as early as Key Stage 1. If children are taught from as early on as age five about bullying and the consequences it brings hopefully they will not go on to become a bully, or if they are bullied themselves they feel strong enough to tell someone to make it stop. Also by tackling it from such a young age, when they grow up and are given a mobile phone and have access to the internet and social media websites they will not engage in cyber bullying.

Although cyber bullying is a big disadvantage that comes with technology, there is one more great advantage I would like to mention and that is the use of technology with students who have special needs. Schools have recently begun to provide students who have special needs with technology that are thought to enhance their learning. An example of how technology may be used in this way is presented in research conducted by Neely et al. (2013). They recruited two students who had autism spectrum disorder and provided them with an iPad. The researchers wanted to see the difference in their behaviour and engagement when they received academic instruction from the iPad in comparison to academic instruction through traditional materials. They discovered that when the two participants received academic instruction through the iPad they displayed higher levels of academic engagement and lower levels of challenging behaviour. These findings suggest that the participants experienced reduced escape-maintained behaviour when the iPad was in use. These results demonstrate how much difference could be made to the learning experience of students with special needs when technology is in use.

By gathering both advantages and disadvantages of using technology within education, the education system can go forward and adjust and improve their teaching strategies. As we know, technology is developing within the majority of work places, and employers are now seeking candidates that are computer literate. Therefore, although information communication technology (ICT) is a module taught in the majority of schools, is there enough being taught to meet the demands of employers. Students need to be taught how to use the latest technologies, software, and programs, and therefore in order for schools to do this, the curriculum needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted (Boe, 2011). One of the major problems with being able to effectively teach students ICT is that the teachers are not fully trained themselves, however teachers also point out that a lack of time is a huge barrier for getting the most out of technology (Bennett-Walker, 2007). Therefore, the answer to this problem is to intergrade technology into as many lessons as possible. For example, programs such as Excel could be taught along side mathematics, and English lessons could use Word and teach students how to write an effective letter. There is an endless amount of ways teachers could implement some technology into their lessons as long as they themselves were trained properly with the software and programs.

To conclude, technology needs to be taught a lot more in schools than it is at the moment. The world of technology is still developing and students need to know about software and programs for when they go out and seek employment. Although cyber bullying is a major disadvantage within technology, with programs such as KiVa being developed hopefully students will understand the consequences of bullying and will not engage in it. As I mentioned, research is already showing how children with special needs can benefit from assistive technology, therefore funding should be made available for each and every child with special needs to take advantage of this. All in all technology is improving and enhancing students learning in numerous ways and schools should take note of this and use it effectively within education.            

 

References

Bennett-Walker, S. Technology use among physical education teachers in Georgia public schools. ProQuest Information and Learning, 68. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/622022060/1415419B66933DF2622/3?accountid=14874

Boe, J. A. (2011). Strategies for science, technology, engineering and math in technology education. ProQuest Information and Learning, 71. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/861791408/14153F3128D15CAE668/4?accountid=14874 

Kozlosky, R. (2009). Electronic bullying among adolescents. ProQuest Information and Learning, 69. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/622063848/14169DD41C73E1283C3/3?accountid=14874

Neely, L., Rispoli, M., Camargo, S., Davis, H., & Boles, M. (2013). The effect of instructional use of an iPad on challenging behavior and academic engagement for two students with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7(4), 509-516. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2012.12.004

Wu, P., Hwang, G., Milrad, M., Ke, H., & Huang, Y. (2012). An innovative concept map approach for improving students’ learning performance with an instant feedback mechanism. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(2), 217-232. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01167.x

11 Facts About Cyber Bullying (n.d.). In Do Something. Retrived November 27, 2013, from http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying

Using Technology Within Special Needs Schools/ Students with Special Needs

Within a classroom the academic ability of pupils vary quite significantly therefore the teacher must adapt their teaching skills in order for every pupil to learn. The material of the class may be very difficult for some pupils and for others they may be able to do it in their sleep. The teacher must take this into consideration and adapt the material and classroom setup in order for each and every pupil to benefit and learn. However, when a pupil requires additional help they may be allocated to a one-to-one teaching assistant. This is true for the majority of pupils who have special needs within a regular classroom. If the pupil is in a regular classroom it demonstrates that they are able to learn and are able to attend school and be involved with other pupils who may not have special needs, they may just need additional support in which a one-to-one teaching assistant could provide. However, they may not be able to grasp the classroom material as well as the other pupils therefore what can be done to promote their education?

Schools are now providing pupils with special needs with technology to attempt to assist their learning. Such technologies can range from complex speech recognition systems and educational software to having just a simple spellchecker (Maor, Currie, & Drewry, 2011). One research article found that computer technology has been able to assist students with sever disabilities to overcome several limitations that obstruct their participation within the classroom – from hearing and speech impairments to blindness and sever physical disabilities (Hasselbring, 2000). Another study (Khek, Lim, & Zhong, 2006) has gone as far as to say that through the use of assistive learning technologies pupils with special needs can perform their everyday learning tasks on par with their peers.

A more recent study analysed the use of an Apple iOS mobile device in special education classes (Campigotto, McEwen, & Epp, 2013). They used an application called ‘My Voice’ that allowed the students to input words and link words to pictures using a touch-based interaction. The results found that the pupils were highly supportive of using mobile devices to enhance their classroom experiences which therefore resulted in the pupils being more motivated and seeing the mobile device as appealing. Another finding that they discovered was that by successfully integrating technologies (software and/or devices) into classrooms the needs of students that perform at different levels are met. This is an important finding and is a successful outcome from using technologies with pupils who have special needs. Another significant finding was made by Neely et al. (2013). They discovered that the two students with autism spectrum disorder, who participated in the study, demonstrated lower levels of challenging behaviour and higher levels of academic engagement when academic instructions were given with an iPad in comparison to academic instruction through traditional materials. These findings suggest that escape-maintained behaviour may reduce for some children with autism when academic instructions are delivered through the use of an iPad. This finding along with the others mentioned in this blog can only further promote technologies to be used with pupils who have special needs. Maor, Currie, and Drewry (2011) discovered that assistive technology consistently improved spelling, reading, and writing after analysing just 15 research articles.

 

References

Campigotto, R., McEwen, R., & Epp, C. D. (2013). Especially social: Exploring the use of an iOS application in special needs classrooms. Computers and Education, 60(1), 74-86. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.08.002

Hasselbring, T. S. (2000). Use of computer technology to help students with special needs. The Future of Children, 10(2), 102-122. doi:10.2307/1602691

Khek, C., Lim, J., & Zhong, Y. (2006). Facilitating students with special needs in mainstream schools: An exploratory study of assistive learning technologies (ALT). International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 1(3), 56-74. doi:10.4018/jwltt.2006070104

Maor, D., Currie, J., & Drewry, R. (2011). The effectiveness of assistive technologies for children with special needs: A review of research-based studies. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26(3), 283-298. doi:10.1080/08856257.2011.593821

Neely, L., Rispoli, M., Camargo, S., Davis, H., & Boles, M. (2013). The effect of instructional use of an iPad on challenging behavior and academic engagement for two students with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7(4), 509-516. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2012.12.004

Advantages of Using Technology in Education

Last week I talked about a disadvantage that technology has brought to education, which was cyber bullying. Without technologies such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets, cyber bullying would not be possible. Although cyber bullying is just another form of bullying, this form of bullying has given bullies the opportunity to bully and confront their victims in an anonymous way. However, although this may seem like a big disadvantage in technology, there are also big advantages for using technology in education.  

One of the main advantages of using technology within education is the way students are now able to access information. By using the internet they are able to access a vast amount of information covering an infinite number of subjects. Students are now able to research much more than what the teacher teaches them and what they read in textbooks. It is not only information about subjects that students are now able to access, they are also able to access online libraries and journal articles whereas years ago students had to rely on textbooks and library books to gather their information. One study found that solving scientific problems through computer simulation is beneficial when learning about science (Ryoo, 2010). However, teachers must be careful not to assume that every student has access to the internet at home when setting homework. They need to make sure that each child is able to complete their homework with or without the use of the internet.  

Another advantage is that students are now able to take online tests. They are able to test their knowledge on a certain subject and receive a grade back instantly. According to research, when students receive real-time assessment and feedback, significant benefits are seen in learning achievements and the learning attitudes of students (Wu et al., 2012). There is a BBC website that schools in Britain promote called Bitesize. They have material from Key Stage 1 through to GCSEs in which students can revise their knowledge and then take the tests (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/). At the end of the tests the students are told which answers they got correct or incorrect and then also the correct answer if their answer was incorrect. Students then know what they know well and what they need to work on and concentrate their revision on.

From the above points it is clear that there are definite advantages that come from using technology within education. Anything that enhances learning in students can only be a good thing in education. Children nowadays are growing up with technology and therefore they are becoming more and more computer literate as the years go by. There is also a lot more to technology in education than what can be mentioned in this blog such as educational games, creating powerpoints, posters, leaflets etc. If technology is only going to develop further over the next few years then it is a good thing that education is already implementing a lot of technology use into their classrooms. 

 

References

Ryoo, K. (2010). Learning science, talking science: The impact of a technology-enhanced curriculum on students’ science learning in linguistically diverse mainstream classrooms. ProQuest Information and Learning, 70. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/622205280/141B6ED8054E61F49F/2?accountid=14874

Wu, P., Hwang, G., Milrad, M., K, H., & Huang, Y. (2012). An innovative concept map approach for improving students’ learning performance with an instant feedback mechanism. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(2), 217-232. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01167.x 

Cyber Bullying

As I have decided to write my weekly blogs on technology in education from last week onwards, this week I will discuss what pitfalls have come with technology. I mentioned last week how much more there is to technology than what the education system actually teach. However, by teaching students more about technology we are allowing them to explore new ways of doing things, for example bullying.

Bullying is a form of violence towards another person. Bullying is often repeated with the intent to hurt the other person in some shape or form. There are different types of bullying such as physical attack, name-calling, making threats, teasing, and cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a form of bullying by using mobile phones or the internet (by email, social networking sites, and instant messaging). As technology has developed so has cyber bullying with some reports stating that over half of adolescents have been victims of online bullying and it is also about the same that have been engaged in cyber bullying (Bullying Statistics). The reason could be because the bullies may believe that by doing it behind closed doors no one will find out, they are not misbehaving and causing fights in school therefore who will ever find out. The internet has given the bully an additional form of bullying (Kozlosky, 2009).

A study that was conducted by Kozlosky (2009) collected anonymous self-report questionnaires about traditional and electronic bullying off 2,337 students in grades 6 to 12. They found that 40% of the students reported that they had experienced some form of electronic bullying over the past few months. They also found that the most common form of cyber bullying was through instant messaging. The survey also discovered that 22% of the sample feared being bullied electronically. These statistics are alarming and schools need to prevent and tackle bullying from an early age.

In Finland there is a program called KiVa, which is an anti-bullying evidence based program that tackles and prevents bullying. Previous research has shown that teachers and students do not share the same definition of bullying (Maunder et al., 2010). In a KiVa school the definition is clearly stated to both students and teachers and everyone is made aware that a KiVa school is an anti-bullying school. The program began in 2009 and after the first year both bullying and victimisation had significantly reduced (Kärnä et al., 2011). KiVa has also significantly reduced both peer- and self-reported bullying (Kärnä et al., 2011). The program has been so successful in targeting and reducing bullying it is now being used in 90% of schools in Finland. This is great news as bullying can cause so many problems such as anxiety, social exclusion, and low academic motivation. Funding has now been provided to run the program in 22 schools across Wales, a pilot study was run last year which included thirteen Welsh and four Cheshire schools. This program will hopefully have the same success as it has had in Finland and will hopefully reduce and prevent bullying in Wales.

 

References 

Bullying Statistics (n.d.). Cyber bullying statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html

Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Alanen, E., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). Going to Scale: A nonrandomized nationwide trial of the KiVa antibullying program for comprehensive schools. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(6), 796-805.

Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Poskiparta, E., Kaljonen, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). A large-scale evaluation of the KiVa anti-bullying program; Grades 4-6. Child Development, 82, 311-330.

Kozlosky, R. (2009). Electronic bullying among adolescents. ProQuest Information and Learning, 69. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/622063848/14169DD41C73E1283C3/3?accountid=14874

Maunder, R. E., Harrop, A., & Tattersall, A. J. (2010). Pupil and staff perceptions of bullying in secondary schools: Comparing behavioural deinitions and their perceived seriousness. Educational Research, 52(3), 263-282. doi:10.1080/00131881.2010.504062