Over the years technology has been moving in high speed. Education systems are already using a vast amount of different technologies such as smart boards, computers, tablets, and clickers. All this makes you wonder where technology will have gone in three, five, and ten years time.
Although Information Communication Technology (ICT) is a module taught in the majority of schools, is there enough technology being taught to students? As we have experienced, technology has developed drastically over the last five years therefore the curriculum needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted to teach students about the latest technology and software (Boe, 2011). Some might argue that technology should be taught after the core modules such as mathematics, language, and science. However, technology is a part of everyday life now and future employers will seek candidates that have good technology skills. An employer might look for good mathematics skills however they may also require that the candidate must also know how to use mathematical equations in Excel. Therefore, to enhance technology skills further the amount that is taught needs to change.
We already know that schools teach basic skills such as how to use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, however there is much more to these programs than the education system are willing to teach. For example, Excel can do much more than create nice looking spreadsheets and graphs. Excel has numerous amounts of equations that can range from doing simple mathematics to being able to choose a range of numbers you want to view. Have you ever typed all in capitals without realising and then having to delete it and start again? Well there is an equation in Excel that would change it all for you without having to re-write the whole thing. Some might say that there is too much content to go into such detail with one program. Therefore, this issue could be resolved by teaching them in other modules as well as ICT. For example, the mathematic equations could be taught within the mathematic and engineering modules.
One study examined the use of technology by teachers in physical education classes (Bennett-Walker, 2007). There is a large range of technologies that can be used in conjunction with physical exercise, such as heart rate monitors, CD players, stopwatches etc. The study used a survey questionnaire and found that the top five types of technology used by physical education teachers were CD players, video/VCR, internet, stopwatches, and computers for preparation. There was also a list of the least five used, which included such things as heart rate monitors and computers during lessons. They also found that 50% of the participants stated that one of the main barriers to use technology was due to the lack of time. A lack of time is an issue for most schools and making school days longer is not going to happen any day soon, therefore how do teachers make lessons more effective in the time that they have? I believe that the way around this is to make technology a part of every module in schools. This way, students are having hours of exposure and learning new things that relate to their modules. A study has already found that teachers support the use of technology and they are appropriately using technology skills for instruction (Lyle, 2010). Therefore, the only thing left is for the curriculum to be adjusted for technology to be developed in the classroom.
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
Lyle, K. E. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of their technology education curricula. ProQuest Information and Learning, 70. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/849023093/1415433E2694F895D8A/10?accountid=14874
When you think of a school you think of children sat in a classroom being taught information by a teacher. When you think of university you think of students sitting in rows listening to a lecturer. However, is this the best way to learn?
Although many of us tend to learn by attending lectures, making lecture notes, researching around the subject area on the web and making some background reading, there are other ways of learning that may be more effective.
One way to learn and remember things better is to put the information you have learned into practice. For example, if you are learning a new language it is important to practice speaking this new language with another person, this way you know what you need to work on. However, it is also thought that physical practice isn’t always needed, as mental practice is just as effective. One study demonstrated this when there were two sets of participants; the first mentally practiced a five-finger sequence on a piano and the other physically practiced the same sequence on an actual piano. The results demonstrated the same neurological changes in both groups as well as the mental practice group demonstrating a reduction in mistakes (link for Dr Noa Kageyama’s blog in the reference list).
Another effective way of learning is to learn in more than one way. For example, you may have made some notes during a lecture therefore this becomes visual learning. However, if you spread the information so you are doing some auditory and verbal learning as well (for example listening to podcasts and talking over the information with a friend) you are more likely to learn as the information is cementing in your mind. According to Willis (2008), the more areas of the brain that stores information about a certain area or subject, the more the person will remember as the information is connected in more ways than one i.e. visually, verbally, and auditory. This also makes it easier to respond to a single cue as the information can be pulled up from multiple storage areas. This also means the information has been learned and not just memorised.
When revising the common thing to do is write out your lecture notes, read textbooks, and remember as much of the information as possible. However, by implementing certain methods the information may become easier to remember. One method is testing yourself. By taking a test you will be able to see what you know and what you don’t know. You can then move on from the test and concentrate on the information you didn’t know. Research also shows that students who take tests on what they have been learning have better long-term recall of the information (Chan, McDermott & Roediger 2006).
However, lecturers can also enhance student learning by implanting a few methods into their teaching techniques. They need to engage successfully with the students in order for them to stay focused and interested. Also when using examples to explain certain material they can use examples that the students can relate to. For example it could be a funny story and this will help the students to remember the information in the future.
To conclude, to enhance your learning you should practice what your learning (both physically and mentally). Also learn the information in more than one way; therefore learn using visual, auditory, and verbal methods and that way the information is cementing in your brain in more than one area. Another effective way of boosting your knowledge and to remember information better is to self-test. By testing yourself you realise what you know well and what you need to work on and more often than not you will realise that you know a lot more than you think. Finally, it is not all down to us as students, the way we are taught is very important. If lecturers are able to engage with us successfully then we are more likely to listen and stay engaged and therefore learn more.
Willis, J. (2008). Brain-based teaching strategies for improving students’ memory, learning, and test-taking success.(Review of Research). Childhood Education, 83(5), 31-316.
Chan, J.C., McDermott, K.B., & Roediger, H.L. (2006). Retrieval-induced facilitation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135(4), 553-571. doi: 10.1037/0096-34188.8.131.523
Dr Noa Kageyama’s blog – http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/does-mental-practice-work/
Exams is one of the words that students dread to hear their teacher/lecturer say. Exams have so much pressure and stress related to them, can we blame students if they dislike them so much?
To assess whether students are learning is an essential part of education however assessment methods need to be modified. The main assessment method that has been around for years are exams. They test what the students have learned and then they are graded. Some exams can be weighted a lot more than others and in my opinion this is where the stress comes from. If a student has worked hard throughout the year and their grade is based 100% on their end of term exam then it can become very stressful. A pupil can do all the preparation in the world however if they are not feeling very well on that one day that their exam is due to take place it could mean poor exam performance. That’s all the hard work over the past year gone down the drain because they were unable to perform to their full potential on the exam day. According to Visnjic, Milosavljevic, & Djordjevic (2009) the pressure students feel prior to exams has a significant effect on the development of stress. Another study found that end of year exams did not contribute to the students achievement (Shuster, 2009).
Exams are not a method of assessing what students have learned, they are a method of assessing how good their memory is. For example, having to write an essay in an exam requires students to write out several essay plans and memorise them. They may understand the content of their essays however if they do not have a very good memory to be able to memorise their essay plans they will not succeed in the exam. This is due to their essay having no structure and all the information they know about that topic thrown onto the page.
Alternative assessment methods to exams are coursework, blogs, and frequent testing. These will all demonstrate what the students have learnt without putting them under immense stress. These assessment methods could also provide them with feedback in which they can take on board and improve. Removing the stress element out of assessments and giving the opportunity for students to receive feedback and then improve their work will demonstrate a clearer image of what the students have actually learnt and not memorised. Removing the major stress element that comes with exams will also allow students to perform to the best of their ability.
Shuster, C. (2009). Re-examining exit exams: New evidence from the education longitudinal study of 2002. ProQuest Information & Learning, 70. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/psycinfo/docview/622074519/1410DCDB3CC3F41D0D/1?accountid=14874
Visnjic, A. M., Milosavljevic, N. D., & Djordjevic, G. D. (2009). Stress factors of medical students in Serbia. Journal of Public Health, 17(5), 309-313. doi:10.1007/s10389-009-0250-0
This final blog of the semester will discuss the issue of adding more participants to research or manipulating data until an effect is found. When a researcher has been working on a study for a long period of time it is very frustrating when nothing is really found. In this kind of situation it can be very tempting to just manipulate some of the factors or add some more participants until an effect is found. This is not the correct/ethical response for many reasons.
The first reason for it not being ethical/correct is the issue of having valid and reliable results. When running and experiment every researcher wants to ensure that they have reliable and valid results, however if data is being manipulated for all the wrong reasons the results will not be either reliable or valid. Adding participants will not make the results valid or reliable either because of the reason that they were not originally in the research. An example of adding participants to find an effect would be if a researcher had ran an experiment and he/she knew that by adding more males to the experiment they would find a significant difference between gender. By continuing to add males until this significant difference is found is not ethical because by the time the difference is found there will be a much bigger group of males than females which means there becomes a lot of error because the groups are not equal. The results will also have a high chance of making a Type 1 Error.
The second important reason for why adding participants and manipulating data is not good science is generalisation. Having such strongly manipulated data would mean that the results cannot really be generalised to the population and therefore they are not beneficial to anyone. Another problem is when researchers write up their report after the research and experiment is done the method section should be so detailed that by reading it the experiment should be able to be replicated by anyone. Manipulating data in such a way will result in no one being able to replicate the experiment. If the experiment cannot be replicated then how is the researcher expecting people to believe that the results are truly valid and reliable. This link explains populations and validity in a research study and states “a valid research is one that finds the truth” http://www.sahs.utmb.edu/pellinore/intro_to_research/wad/pop&samp.htm
To conclude it is definitely not good science to keep adding participants or manipulating data until an effect is found. I have stated in this blog a few out of many for why this is true. The bottom line is no matter how frustrating it is that an effect is not found at the end of an experiment it is not ethical or correct for the researcher to keep adding participants and manipulating data until an effect is found because the results will simply be unreliable and invalid.
This week’s blog topic is controversial as both applied and theoretical research could be argued to be just as important as each other. Many people will have various different arguments about why one is more important than the other, however, I believe that applied research is slightly more important than theoretical. This blog is going to discuss the reasons for why I say this.
Applied research is when a specific population is tested, for example teenagers with dyslexia or older people that are bilingual etc. When research is done on these types of populations they are aiming to improve everyday activities. Applied research could be researching into a specific illness that occurs in people aged between 20-30 for example. By conducting these types of experiments the findings are going to be valuable. If the experiment is to see if a certain medicine cure’s an illness, the results are going to be valuable either way. If they find that the medicine can cure the illness then great but if they find that the medicine has no impact on the illness then they know not to use this medicine again and they can move on to search and test other medicine that may cure the illness. People are benefiting from applied research and this is what makes it so important. Here is a link to a journal with the research findings of spinal cord injury from the last quarter century, all the research that have been done on spinal cord injury has benefited someone in some way http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/7025250/reload=0;jsessionid=iKVBHCR4KNjAQgSne615.0
Theoretical research is when the general population are tested on general things. An example would be if a participant took part in a simple reaction time task to look at how the ‘attentional spotlight’ works. This experiment could be tested using almost anyone and the findings can be generalized. Theoretical research is expanding science but people and communities aren’t really benefiting from them. This is why I believe that applied research is that little bit more important because of the fact that people benefit from these types of research findings.
To conclude, my personal opinion is that applied research findings are more important than theoretical research findings due to the fact that people benefit from the findings of applied research where as theoretical research findings is only benefiting science and helping to expand it.