The Use Of Technology In The Classroom


Introduction. Technology incorporation in the classroom is the theory, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning. Technology is a broad term that often describes a discipline devoted to techniques or ways to make learning more efficient (Earle, R. S. 2000 ). It is the responsibility of each educator to provide an educational program that appropriately supports each child's learning development and learning goals. In a technology based society, children must understand and prepare to be productive, independent, creative, and knowledgeable individuals. Having proper access to technology and being able to use technology is essential and will be one of the many skills necessary for future use in the workplace. Technology is a crucial tool that children use to productively carry out ideas, acquire knowledge skills, and solve problems. Technology is both customizable and intrinsically motivating to children; it is compatible to expanding the learning experience. Research on the effectiveness of technology has focused on higher education, but research also suggests that uses of specific technology can improve students of all grades learning capabilities as well.
Technology has many benefits. Technology has many benefits; it allows student easy access to information, it offers a variety of solutions to problems and it has been used to improve students' grades. Integrating technology in the classroom is beneficial and allows students to be integrated into society as well as providing children with limitless possibilities. However, many educators believe that introducing children to technology is harmful. They believe that technology encourages laziness, can be expensive, and that it interferes with children interacting with teachers and their classmates. In order for technology to be properly used in the classroom, educators must invest time and be interested in getting the proper training required to be able to effective in integrating technology and not hindering children from properly learning. Although using technology in the classroom has been debated, globally, incorporating technology in the classroom has been beneficial.

Technology helps to address individual needs. Students need the opportunities to independently explore complex problems and to grow, to learn from their peers, to reflect of their experiences, and to become responsible leaders in their own learning. Technology equips teachers and educators to assess and be able to focus on each individual's student strengths and weaknesses. Lee (2002) suggested two approaches that help educators to assess the children's ability to use technology and its benefits on each student. First is a mastery learning approach that leads to the accountability systems, which helps teachers to set standards for each student as they progress through the school curriculum. Second, Lee (2002) suggested that teachers must develop an approach which helps assess the child's thinking abilities. Both approaches aid to set a baseline from which educators serve as guides and focus on the mastering skills and knowledge students need to meet requirements set forth by the educators to meet circular requirements.
Technology integration in the classroom. The corporation for public broadcasting (2011) indicates that technology integration in the classrooms occurs continuously over time and follows a concise pattern. Initially, teachers incorporate new pieces of technology into the traditional classroom, eventually over time, they observe changes in the student's engagement among their peers, their behavior, and teachers then begin to experiment with incorporating the use of technology in new and more appropriate ways. But, in order for this process to be successful, it can take approximately four years or more from the initial exposure of technology to changes begin to observe (corporation for public broadcasting, 2011). However, across different rates, teachers' technology uses in the classrooms may fluctuate depending on their own beliefs about technology and the student's overall mastery of certain skills. For example, if teachers have support from both students and the board of education, then teachers will feel more competent and secure to integrate technology. Overall support and positive expectations from the community and the administration will also have an impact on teachers' beliefs and their willingness to integrate technology. Technology in the classroom and its integration is an evolutionary process that requires practice. Technology skills must build upon each other and it must co-evolve as technology is introduced and assimilated in the school culture.
Technology and assessment scores. Lee (2009) examined a classroom that employed extensive use of technology to determine the differences on standardized assessment scores among students who used computers extensively versus those who had limited computer use. Lee (2009) study found through the practice of instructional methods: 53% of teachers used computers as alternative to worksheets/workbooks, where as 53% of teachers use computers for activities such as reviews, drills and practices, while 33% used computers to promote collaborative learning(van Braak, Tondeur, &ump; Valcke, 2004; Lee, 2009). However, computer instructional methods changed the pedagogy of learning. The study also found students' technology use into their daily routines in most classes was low despite the alternatives used. Another instructional method introduced in Lee's (2009) study is project-based learning. Further, he explained that project based learning enable learners to learn while performing a task or activity.
Challenges of incorporating technology in education. Research by Clark (1992) has shown that incorporating technology in the classroom often has many disadvantages. First, it has shown that the education system has become centralized, exam driven, joyless, impersonal, and irrelevant to the demanding constantly changing world of the children. The centralization deprives teachers of the freedom to organize teaching learning and meaningfully participate in the preparation of syllabi or textbooks. Also, this dispossesses the teachers to independently organize learning according to each child's individual learning styles and needs. Lidstone and Stoltman (2006) documented that the lack of well-equipped instructors serves as a barrier to advanced learning in more than one school. According to them, educators and policy makers want to achieve harmony among goals set forth by the teachers of the classroom and the curriculum set forth by the school, but in order to achieve such a delicate balance, they must place the necessary tools in effect. Technology cannot replace the teaching methods established by the schools. Witt (2004) conducted research about the impact of technology on teachers' and students' expectations of learning and found that introducing technology hinders teachers' attitude to be able to properly teach. In order to solve such a dilemma, teachers must learn how to use technology in an effective manner and must educate their students on how to properly use technology so that students benefit from it rather than be hindered by it.
Technology and its Effectiveness. The issues involved in evaluating the efficacy of technology in edification are intricate. Yet technology, utilized as a primary inculcated implement, must enhance teaching, learning, and achievement. Education leaders and policymakers are faced with questions and decisions regarding the utilization of technology. One of the key goals of the No Child Left Behind Act is to enhance education through technology, with a specific focus on what works I technological applications (U.S. Department of Education, 2002a). Relatedly, the revised National Technology Plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2000) specifically calls for empirical studies to be conducted in schools and classrooms that are designed to determine which uses of technology are most effective'under which conditions and with which students.
Responsibility of Teachers Administrators and teachers should receive adequate, tailored, and continuing education about how to best integrate technology into their schools and courses and should be evaluated on their proficiency in doing so. Administrators and teachers are key technological interfaces in the schools: one is responsible for bringing technology into the district or building, the other for bringing it into the classroom. They are also major technology stakeholders. Successful technological implementations will largely depend upon the motivation, knowledge, and skill of administrators and teachers to implement and utilize technology in effective ways to enhance learning for all students. It is imperative that these educators be fully supported in this regard through adequate pre-service preparation, ongoing and state-of-the-art in-service activities, and links to local colleges and other resources for additional support and learning. In return, administrators and teachers must be held accountable for the effectiveness of their uses of technology to support an enhanced learning environment for the educational community, as well as for subject matter learning for the range of students found in their classrooms. In other workplace environments, as new tools are incorporated into the work cycle workers are evaluated on their proficiency in utilizing them. Similarly, as educators are taught how to utilize technology to support teaching and learning, they should be held accountable for their ability to do so effectively.

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