To summarise…

In this blog I’m going to attempt to bring together the content of my last 4 blogs. The topic I have been observing is the use of modern technology in the classroom and I have concentrated on some different uses and effects that technology has had on classrooms and the pupils. In this blog I will expand on this by assessing how effective the introduction of modern technology is and whether I personally believe it is beneficial to students and pupils or whether learning should remain to focus on the traditional methods that have been used for centuries before modern technology was invented. I would firstly like to recap what I’ve previously covered (mostly for my own sake in order to remind myself of what I’ve been rambling on about for the past few months!)

In y first blog regarding this subject I considered previous research that has been conducted on this field. I discussed evidence that has been found to support the use of modern technology in education and also mentioned the studies that contradict these findings by stating that modern technology has diminished the use of traditional learning methods in schools and thus causing a major reduction in essential skills such as pupils’ ability to read and write basic words (Leising, 2003). 

I went on to investigate and discuss a more specific topic of the effects that video gaming may have on education; a controversial subject that has drawn many conflicting opinions. Again I went on to discuss the evidence that has been found by previous researchers that support and oppose the subject. However while I was conducting my research I gradually realised that although evidence that support the effects of video gaming has been vastly demonstrated, evidence against the benefit of doing so is much more obtainable.

In my next couple of blogs I have gone on to discuss the introduction of modern technology into classrooms of developing countries. As a nation we have grown and evolved with the existence of technology therefore it can be argued that having a computer in the corner of a classroom is expected if not essential in our society. However programs such as the One Laptop per Child and the Mobilink-UNESCO Programme have introduced the use of technology into classrooms of pupils who have not necessarily had access to a computer and therefore are not dependant on using them. I discovered that although these programs were not successful in each and every country they were established, this was mainly due to the programs not being exercised properly. When these programs were used carefully and correctly the results were beneficial on both teachers and pupils.

In my first post I promised that after researching the field and investigating both sides of every point that I decide to discuss in my blogs I would draw to a conclusion and state on which side of the argument of modern technology vs. traditional learning methods I would agree with…

Imagining my own experience at school and at University without access to a computer and the World Wide Web is absolutely terrifying! I could not start to imagine how I would manage to write an assignment without access to the internet. However, the thought of not being able to read and write is also just as hideous to me! I believe that in today’s society knowing how to search for something on Google is just as important as knowing how to read a road sign, both of these skills are essential. I have drawn to the conclusion that modern equipment should absolutely be introduced into classrooms and it is essential that children and adults evolve with the rapid developments that occur in technology. However I stress on the importance that this does not overrule the education of reading and writing lessons. I believe that both these skills should be taught in a coinciding accordance as neither is more important than the other. However if I were to ask my Grandmother which of these skills were most important she would undoubtedly say that having the ability to write a letter was far more vital than knowing how to look up a video on YouTube but we live in an era where this is not the reality anymore. Take this module for instance. Imagine enrolling in this module without having the ability of using a computer. It would be an utter nightmare and your degree would suffer as a consequence. Times have changed and we live in a society where modern technology is rapidly becoming more and more evident in our daily lives. Knowing how to master a search engine is just as essential as knowing how to use a dictionary or a thesaurus and therefore I conclude that modern technology should undoubtedly be introduced and used daily in our classrooms but I remain convinced that old-fashioned traditional methods of learning should not be scrapped.  

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13 thoughts on “To summarise…

  1. Great topic, the use of technology in the classroom is of particular interest to me because my 3rd year dissertation is based around the effectiveness of a new computer program called the MimioReading comprehension program which aims to improve young readers comprehension ability. This program uses several instructional practices that have been found to have learning benefits such as computer based instruction (Kulik & Kulik, 2002), Direct instruction (Stevens Slavin farnish, 1991) and behavioural techniques such as reinforcement (Boniecki and Moore , 2003). Research indeed suggest that Mimioreading is effective in raising comprehension scores in children (Leon,2011) and is just one of many new computer programs looking to take learning to the next level.

  2. Hi Ffion, great topic and I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs over the last couple of weeks on this particular topic and I agree with your overall conclusion. This is supported in a research conducted by Kuliks (1994) were a meta analysis reviewed over 500 studies that compared two groups of students, one group who used technology to learn and the other group who used traditional teaching methods. The results showed that those who learnt using technology had an average score of 64% compared to the traditional method were students averaged 50%. This shows us how using technology to help students to learn can have an academic positive effect on students. Additionally using technology can help children learn as children view it as something fun (Prensky ,2001). Therefore to conclude with the use of technology growing constantly it is important that education keeps on evolving but I agree with you that we should also use traditional learning as that is the method that has been used for century and one that we know for definite if effective.

  3. Hi Ffion, a great summary of your topic this week and I can completely see your view. As you have stated in your summary, letters nowadays are becoming less and less used in the youngsters, with more emails and facebook mails being used, and although early research did believe that computers would isolate children (Clements, 1999), children actually spend much more time talking to their peers ( Muller and Perimutter 1985) and is usually related to their work (Genishi et al. 1985). Although intergrating technology takes up a lot of time and effort and changing beliefs may be problematic, however once the intergration it is a useful tool. Especially when exporation software is used with open ended tasks, as participants become more engaged, as compared to free play (Lemerise, 1993) which usually occurs at home.

    Clements, D. H. (1999). Young children and technology. Dialogue on early childhood science, mathematics, and technology education, 92-105.
    Muller, A.A., and Perlmutter, M. (1985). Preschool children’s problem-solving interactions at computers and jigsaw puzzles. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 6:173-186.
    Genishi, C., McCollum, P., and Strand, E.B. (1985). Research currents: The interactional richness of children’s computer use. Language Arts, 62(5): 526-532
    Lemerise, T. (1993). Piaget, Vygotsky, & Logo. The Computing Teacher, 24-28

  4. I do agree that the internet is extremely important in todays society particularly in western countries where everything we do we now need access to a computer. I was actually joking with a friend yesterday that even internet companies always tell you if your internet goes down please refer to this website… which is always pointless seeing as the internet is down! The world is going internet mad. However, back on point, I would not say that the internet is essential as millions of people live without it and billions of people before us lived without the convenience of google and facebook. But teaching computer skills throughout school years should definitely be a core subject . I read an article today (http://www.publictechnology.net/sector/education/government-urged-make-ict-core-subject-schools-boost-uk-industry) that also said that the government was trying to make I.C.T lessons a compulsory subject to boost the UK industry. So maybe all schools will introduce new technology due to society changing.

  5. I agree with your concluding statement, that while technology has a deserving place in our education system other skillsets and methods of teaching (as basic as handwritten assignments, etc) should not be scrapped. However, it is important to separate the two. Schwaller (2003) outlined how technology cannot be successfully implemented in the classroom if it is used alongside traditional teaching pedagogies. Doing so makes the use of new technology redundant, merely creating more efficient ways to deliver the same teaching methods. Technology needs to be used with a motivating, creative and inspiring content structure to allow student’s to tap into higher order thinking (Schwaller) and bring out their own creativity.

    Schwaller, A. E. (2009). Instructional strategies for technology education. Essential Topics for Technology Educators, 1001, 174.

  6. Technology is an amazing thing and I have blabbed on about how good it is for a while, after looking at new studies I have actually found one that states that traditional teaching is better. A study Debevec, shih and kashyap 2006 compared students who used technology for education and separated this group into other groups (high technology users and low technology users), these groups where compared to a traditional only group. Results showed that both high technology users and low technology users achieved lower academic performance and lower overall attendance when compared to traditional learning (Debevec, Shih, & Kashyap, 2006).

    (rare study right there in the corner of traditional teaching)

    Im sure this has been mentioned in peoples blogs somewhere but I really solid produce of technology in the classroom is mimio. It’s used as a tool to advance a child’s reading skills; it uses techniques such as reinforcement with token economy (Boniecki, 2003) and year on year the program has really impressive results.

    In regards to writing quality, I do generally believe that at this point of education its really bad that children’s quality of writing has decreased (Lenhart, Smith, & MaCgill, 2008) but not particularly important in the long term with everything moving to digital software eventually (Billcliff, 2001).

    There is a big issue with the transition of technology I believe, but there fun, schools now use ipads, ipads in schools to learn maths in fun ways, the school produces high academic results year on year, also they have e-pen pals in other countries the same age to talk and to math together (Northside ISD) (it’s a really good idea)

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  8. I think you make a valid point here about the use of IT in education – this module would be impossible without use of a computer!

    Research by Freasier, Collins and Newitt (2003) found that when an IT element was introduced to the learning environment, students engagement increased. They spent more time engaging with the course material and revising, as well as taking time to take part in extra work – when a voluntary, unmarked online revision test was presented, students were far more likely to take part in them when compared to printed tests.

    It seems like IT and technology should be incorporated into schools – if something as simple as a computer can encourage engagement and promote extra revision, it should definitely be something that is available to all.

    Freasier, B., Collins, G., & Newitt, P. (2003). A web-based interactive homework quiz and tutorial package to motivate undergraduate chemistry students and improve learning. (2003). The Journal of Chemical Education, 80(11), 1344-1347.

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  11. Like many who have commented I also agree that IT has a vital place in education but that it should not replace such things like reading and writing as you discuss Leising, (2003) found that people’s ability to prell and write basic words is diminishing. When we use software such as Microsoft Word, to make our lives easier it helps with spelling and grammar. Not only does it have the red or green line underneath a word so you can correct it, if you consistently spell the same word wrong a lot, it doesn’t even ask you anymore if you want to change it, it does it for you! It makes our lives easier but what happens when a student has to hand write an application for further education, or a job? It is not beneficial in the long run. However, It is possible that in the future handwritten documents are a thing of the past and unfortunately they may be made redundant in the future.

    Take a look at this internet minute image – http://media.creativebloq.futurecdn.net/sites/creativebloq.com/files/images/2012/06/internet-minute-infographic.jpg It shows that every minute there is 2+ million search engine enquiries, 6 million Facebook views and 20 million photo views on Twitter each minute. With people using the internet and computers so often I believe education will change rapidly over the next few years and unfortunately this may be at the expense of basic reading and writing skills.

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  13. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs every week; you’ve chosen a very interesting and relevant topic! I personally believe that we would be lost without technology in the classroom today. We have gotten so used to technology that we’re slightly taking it for granted! If we had no emails coming through to our computers or phones, we would have minimum contact with students and teachers. Without blackboard, it would be much more difficult to keep on track of tasks and assignments. However, I do realise that some less developed countries do survive without these. Taking something away from us now would be more difficult than not receiving the technology at all.

    Although the use of technology is becoming more apparent in schools and universities, many still prefer the use of the traditional learning styles. Lam (2006) stated that this was due to the fact that teachers have a lack of understanding and knowledge about the technology available. However, this research was conducted in 2006 where technology was still quite new. Today, people are becoming aware of all the technology and software that is developing rapidly. A lack of understanding and training was evident in the ‘one laptop per child’ programme in Peru. This can then support Lam’s (2006) findings.

    You mention the importance of the ability to read and write which I believe is essential. There are now many computer programmes available to teach children basic reading and writing skills. Not only is this convenient in the classroom, but it can also be used at home with parents. It can enhance their knowledge and the importance of learning at home can also be enhanced. The importance of making learning fun can also be emphasised through technology too.

    You’ve also mentioned the fact that the inability to use technology can restrict you from completing certain tasks such as this module. Not only does this apply for education, but it can also affect whether you are able to qualify for a job in future. Many jobs require the ability to use computers due to technology taking over!

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