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.
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