TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

Date:

The term educational technology refers to the use of technology in educational settings, whether it be elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, corporate training sites, or independent study at home. This discussion, however, will focus on educational technology in grades.

Educational technology has both general and specialized meanings. To the lay public and to a majority of educators, the term refers to the instructional use of computers, television, and other kinds of electronic hardware and software. Specialists in educational technology, in particular, college and university faculty who conduct research and teach courses on educational technology, prefer the term instructional technology because it draws attention to the instructional use of educational technology. This term represents both a process and the particular devices that teachers employ in their classrooms. According to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, one of the principal professional associations representing educational technologists, “Instructional Technology is a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization for analyzing problems, and devising, implementing evaluating, and managing solutions to these problems, in situations in which learning is purposive and controlled. Educational technologists often employ the term instructional media to represent all of the devices that teachers and learners use to support learning. However, for many educators, the terms educational technology, instructional media, and instructional technology are used interchangeably, and they are used so here. In addition, the principal focus will be upon the most modern computational and communication devices used in schools today.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

History of Educational Technology

The history of educational technology is marked by the increasing complexity and sophistication of devices, exaggerated claims of effectiveness by technology advocates, a sporadic implementation by classroom teachers, and little evidence that the technology employed has made a difference in student learning. Although technology proponents have from time to time claimed that technology will replace teachers, this has not occurred. The typical view among educators is that technology can be used effectively to supplement instruction by providing instructional variety, by helping to make abstract concepts concrete, and by stimulating interest among students.

The terms visual education and visual instruction were used originally because many of the media available to teachers, such as three-dimensional objects, photographs, and silent films, depended upon sight. Later, when a sound was added to the film and audio recordings became popular, the terms audiovisual education, audiovisual instruction, and audiovisual devices were used to represent the variety of media employed to supplement instruction. These were the principal terms used to describe educational technology until about 1970.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

The first administrative organizations in schools to manage instructional media were school museums. The first school museum was established in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1905. Its purpose was to collect and loan portable museum exhibits, films, photographs, charts, stereographic slides, and other materials to teachers for use in their classrooms. District-wide media centres, common in school systems today, are descendants of school museums.

By the first decade of the twentieth century, silent films were being produced for instructional use. In 1910 George Kleine published the Catalogue of Educational Motion Pictures, which listed more than 1,000 titles of films that could be rented by schools. In 1913 Thomas A. Edison asserted, “Books will soon be obsolete in schools …. Our school system will be completely changed in the next ten years” (Saettler 1968, p. 98). In 1917 the Chicago public schools established a visual education department to take responsibility for the ordering and management of films, and by 1931, thirty-one state departments of education had created administrative units to take charge of films and related media. Despite these efforts, films never reached the level of influence in schools that Edison had predicted. From the evidence of film use, it appears that teachers used films only sparingly. Some of the reasons cited for infrequent use were teachers’ lack of skill in using equipment and film; the cost of films, equipment, and upkeep; inaccessibility of equipment when it was needed; and the time involved in finding the right film for each class.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Radio was the next technology to gain attention. Benjamin Darrow, founder and first director of the Ohio School of the Air, imagined that radio would provide “schools of the air” (Saettler 1990, p. 199). In 1920 the Radio Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce began to license commercial and educational stations. Soon schools, colleges, departments of education, and commercial stations were providing radio programming to schools. Haaren High School in New York City is credited with being the first to teach classes by radio, broadcasting accounting classes in 1923. Peak activity for radio use occurred during the decade between 1925 and 1935, although some radio instruction continued through the 1940s. Nevertheless, radio did not have the impact on schools its advocates had hoped. In the beginning, poor audio reception and the cost of equipment were cited as obstacles to use. When these problems were overcome in later years, the lack of fit between the broadcasts and teachers’ instructional agendas became more important factors. Ultimately, efforts to promote radio instruction in schools were abandoned when television became available.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

World War II provided a boost for audiovisual education. The federal government and American industry were faced with the challenging task of providing training for large numbers of military recruits and for new industrial workers. Ways had to be found to train people swiftly and effectively. The U.S. government alone purchased 55,000 film projectors and spent $1 billion on training films. In addition to films, the military used overhead projectors to support lectures, slide projectors to support training in ship and aircraft recognition, and audio equipment for teaching foreign languages. Experience gained from the wartime use of these media-fueled their subsequent use in schools in the decades to follow.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Instructional television was the focus of attention during the 1950s and the 1960s. This attention was stimulated by two factors. First, the 1952 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set aside 242 television channels for educational purposes led to the rapid development of educational (now called public) television stations. A portion of their mission was to provide instructional programs to school systems in their viewing area. The second factor was the substantial investment by the Ford Foundation. It has been estimated that during the 1950s and the 1960s the Ford Foundation and its related agencies invested more than $170 million in educational television. One of the most innovative efforts at this time was the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI) which employed aeroplanes to transmit televised lessons over a six-state area.

By the 1970s much of the enthusiasm for instructional television had been exhausted. Educational television stations continued to provide some programming, and school systems and state departments of education formed consortia to pool funds to provide for the cost of program development. Congress also provided funds to support instructional television via satellite transmission in an effort to help rural schools, in particular, to obtain courses that might not otherwise be available to their students. However, instructional television appeared to prosper only where there was substantial public, corporate, or commercial support. Schools found it difficult to meet the substantial costs incurred for program development and the purchase and maintenance of equipment. Moreover, despite repeated efforts, it proved nearly impossible to broadcast instruction when individual teachers needed it.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

The next technology to capture the interest of educators was the computer. Some of the earliest work on instructional applications of computing took place in the 1950s and the 1960s, but these efforts had little impact on schools. It was not until the 1980s, and the appearance of microcomputers, that many educators and public officials became enthusiastic about computers. By January 1983, computers were being used for instructional purposes in 40 per cent of all elementary schools and 75 per cent of all secondary schools in the United States. These percentages can be misleading, however. In most cases, students had only limited access to computers, often in a computer laboratory and only for an hour or so a week. In 1995 the Office of Technology Assessment estimated that the optimum ratio of computers to students was five to one, and by the year 2000, the National Center for Educational Statistics reported that there was, in fact, an average of one computer for every five students, with 97 per cent of schools having Internet connections.

Technology and Learning

A primary purpose of employing instructional technology in schools is to enhance student learning. Has technology been successful in helping students learn more effectively and efficiently? Much research has been done on this question, but the answer is far from certain. Most research on educational technology has consisted of media comparison studies. After assigning comparable students to control groups or to experimental groups, the researcher presents the experimental group of students with instruction that employs the new media, while the control group experiences the same content without the new media. The researcher then compares the achievement of the two groups.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

After reviewing hundreds of such studies, educational technologist Richard Clark concluded that “there are no learning benefits to be gained from employing any specific medium to deliver instruction,” and that “media do not influence learning under any conditions,” but are “mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition” (1983, p. 445). According to Clark, any positive results that were gained by experimental groups over the control groups were easily accounted for by differences in instructional strategy.

Clark’s findings were controversial and have been disputed by other reputable scholars. Nevertheless, Clark’s opinions are useful in clarifying technology’s role in instruction. Technology is neutral; there is nothing inherent about the media that assures learning. A poorly designed computer program is unlikely to advance learning and may even hinder it.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

This relationship between learning and technology is further complicated by disagreements over what constitutes learning. During the first half of the twentieth century, transfer-of-learning theories were popular among classroom teachers. According to these theories, the principal task of the teacher was to transfer the teacher’s knowledge and textbook content to the students’ minds and, through periodic examinations, determine if the transfer occurred. The task of instructional media was to assist in that transfer process by means of accurate and compelling presentations of content.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

During the second half of the century, educators embraced other theories of learning. At least two of these theories have influenced the development of instructional media for schools. One of these theories is behaviourism; the other is constructivism.

Although the intellectual roots of behaviourism can be traced to the beginning of the twentieth century, behaviourism did not have much impact on education until the 1960s. Drawing upon B. F. Skinner’s concepts, educators promoting behaviourism emphasized the importance of providing clear statements of what learners should be able to do the following instruction. These educators also sought to break complex units of knowledge and skills into smaller and simpler units, sequencing them in ways that would lead to mastering the more complex skills and content. Frequently, their goal was also to individualize instruction as much as possible. Thus, the focus of instruction shifted from presentation of content knowledge before a group of students to a focus on the behaviour of individual learners, an analysis of the steps needed to ensure learning, and the reinforcement of desirable behaviour when it occurred.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

The interest in behaviourism occurred at about the same time that the first computer-assisted programs (CAI) were being developed. It is not surprising that the first CAI programs were essentially computer applications of printed, programmed learning books. Computers appeared to offer a good solution. Students could be assigned to a computer to work at their own pace, and the computer would keep track of students’ work and provide a record of each student’s progress for the teacher. Such programs evolved into what was later called individualized learning systems (ILS). ILS software and hardware were installed in school computer laboratories; they provided drill and practice exercises that were judged valuable, especially for students with learning difficulties. The behavioural movement also had an impact on the educational technology profession. The belief that it was possible to design instruction so that all students could learn led to an interest in the design of learning materials and in a systems approach to instruction.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

During the last half of the twentieth century, cognitive theories of learning gained ascendancy over behaviourism among psychologists, and some of the views of cognitive psychologists, represented by the term constructivism, began to influence education. Constructivists argued that learners must construct their own understanding of whatever is being taught. According to this perspective, the teacher’s task is not primarily one of promoting knowledge transfer, nor is it one of ensuring that students perform consistently according to a predetermined description of knowledge and skills. The teacher’s role is to create an environment in which students are able to arrive at their own interpretations of knowledge while becoming ever more skilful in directing their own learning.

Many constructivists were initially critical of the use of computers in schools because they equated the use of computers with behaviourist theories of learning. Other constructivists recognized the computer as a potential ally and designed programs that took advantage of constructivist beliefs. The result has been computer-based programs that promote higher-level thinking and encourage collaborative learning.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

Current Technologies Used in Schools

Whatever learning theory a teacher may embrace, many technologies exist in schools to enhance instruction and to support student learning. While teachers vary greatly in their use of these technologies, teachers select media they believe will promote their instructional goals. Following are a few examples of computers being used to support four goals: building student capacity for research, making student inquiry more realistic, enabling students to present information in appealing forms, and offering students access to learning resources within and beyond the school.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Student research. Students once relied upon local and school libraries and their printed reference materials to research topics. Now, however, computer technologies provide access to digital versions of these references–and to libraries worldwide. Encyclopedias on CD-ROMs provide information, digital images, video, and audio, and also provide links to websites where students access tools such as live web cameras and global positioning satellites. Dictionaries and thesauruses are built into word processors. Through the Internet, students can gain access to a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, including government documents, photographs, and diaries.

Student inquiry. Educational reformers believe education needs to be real and authentic for students. Technology can engage students in real-world activities. In the sciences, electronic probes allow science students to collect precise weather or chemical reaction data and digitally trace trends and answer hypotheses. Graphing calculators, spreadsheets, and graphing software provide mathematics students with the ability to visualize difficult mathematical concepts. In the social sciences, electronic communication tools (e.g. Internet conferencing, e-mail, electronic discussion groups) allow students to communicate with their peers from many parts of the world. In the language arts, students use handheld computers and wireless networks to create joint writing exercises and read electronic books that allow them to explore related topics. Concept-mapping software provides all students with the opportunity to build the framework for a story or report and to map out linkages among complex characters, such as those in a play by Shakespeare. In the arts, students can explore images of original artwork through the Internet; with appropriate software, they can create original digital artwork or musical compositions. Physical education students can use electronic probes to learn about the relationship between the impact of physical movement and physiological changes.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Authentic student inquiry extends beyond data collection. It also implies the opportunity for students to investigate questions or issues that concern them. Communications technology allows students to contact experts such as scientists, book authors, and political leaders. Electronic communication tools support interactions and increase the probability of prompt responses. Students who want to learn more about a current event, such as an experiment on an international space station, scientific endeavours in the Antarctic, an international meeting of environmentalists, or a musher during the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska, can use the Internet to investigate the topic, participate in a virtual field trip to the event, and watch the event as it unfolds through a web camera. In this manner, instructional technology assists students who wish to investigate their own questions and concerns.

Constructing new knowledge. James Pellegrino and Janice Altman (1997) believe the penultimate use of technology occurs when students use technology to move from being knowledge consumers to being knowledge producers. Results of original student inquiry usually take the form of printed reports or oral presentations. With advanced technologies, students can present their original data or newly interpreted data by integrating digital video, audio, and text into word-processed documents, multimedia presentations, videos, or web-based documents. Local, state, national, and international media fairs provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the new knowledge representations that students are capable of creating when given the opportunity. Media fairs showcase photographs, original digital images, overheads, videos, and interactive multimedia projects from students of all ages.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

In the past, award-winning projects have included a video created by fourth-graders that demonstrates their feelings regarding acceptance, diversity, and compassion; an interactive, multimedia presentation by second graders about the water cycle; and an interactive multimedia project by a high school student depicting the history of war experienced by one family. Each of these projects illustrates student-generated knowledge that could have been demonstrated through a traditional paper or research report. However, the instructional technology tools provided students with a way to express their knowledge in a more interesting manner.

Access to learning resources. Some schools lack the resources to provide all of the courses that students may need or want. Advanced Placement and foreign language courses can be particularly expensive for a school system to offer when there is not a high level of student demand. A variety of technologies (e.g. interactive television, Internet video conferencing) provide students with the opportunity to participate in a class that is located in a different school, in a different town, and even in a different state or country. Instructional technologies can also serve the instructional needs of students who may be unable to attend classes in the school building. Students who are homebound, homeschooled, or who may be forced to drop out of school can take advantage of course-work offered over the Internet. Virtual high schools, online college credit courses, and for-profit companies all make courses available to students through the Internet. Through an online program, students can obtain their high school diplomas or GED without attending a particular school.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Instructional technologies also provide some students with important access to traditional classroom instruction. Students who have physical or learning disabilities can use a variety of assistive technologies in order to be an active member of a mainstreamed class. Braille writers and screen readers allow students with sight limitations to use a computer for work and communication. Various switches allow students with limited mobility to use a computer to speak for them and complete assignments. Switches, similar to a computer mouse, manipulate the computer through a touchpad, by the head or eye movement, or even by breath. Handheld computing devices and specialized software allow students with learning disabilities to function in traditional classrooms by helping them organize thoughts, structure writing, and manage time. Instructional technology is also used to provide alternative forms of assessment for disabled students, including digital portfolios that electronically capture the accomplishments of students who are not able to complete traditional assessments.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

Approaches to Computer Use in Schools

The function of computers in schools differs from that of other educational technologies. In the case of films, radio, instructional television, overhead projectors, and other instructional media, educational technology is used to support and enhance the teacher’s role as an instructor. Teacher support has also been one of the justifications for the introduction of computers in schools, but it has not been the only, nor the most important, justification. Computers are also promoted as an important part of the school curriculum. Learning about computers and acquiring computer skills have been accepted by educators and the lay public as a necessary curricular requirement because they give students the tools needed to function effectively in modern American society. The role and function of computers in schools can be classified according to three categories: (1) computer literacy, (2) computers as tools, and (3) computers as a catalyst for school transformation.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Computer literacy. Beginning in the 1980s it was assumed that all children should become computer literate. While the meaning of the term computer literacy has changed over time, all children are expected to graduate with knowledge about the role of computers in society and essential skills in their operation. Educators continue to debate what skills are essential and when and how they are best learned, but there is little controversy about whether students should be competent in the use of computers. No such discussion surrounds the school use of film, radio, and instructional television.

Computers as tools. With the continuing increase in computer power and the decline in cost, schools have steadily increased the numbers of computers in schools and their use by students. Rather than place computers in specialized laboratories where students have access to them for only a limited period each week, computers have increasingly been placed in libraries and in classrooms. Beginning in the 1990s the goal became to make computers ubiquitous and to integrate them across the curriculum. Computers had become something more than a curriculum topic; they had become a tool that students needed in order to perform their work. Students were expected to use the Internet to gather information and to use word processing and multimedia software to produce their reports. While other instructional media were seen as tools for teachers, computers are accepted as tools for both teachers and students.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Computers as a catalyst for school reform. Throughout the twentieth century, technology zealots have heralded one technology or another as having the capacity to transform schools, but such transformations have not occurred. Film, radio, television, and other instructional media have enriched the classroom resources available to teachers. However, rather than challenging traditional classroom practices, they were used to maintain traditional practices. The culture of schooling, with teachers in charge of instruction before a class of students, has remained relatively constant. Some proponents believe that computers have the power to transform schools because they empower learners in ways that previous technologies were unable to, because they challenge the authority of teachers to be the sole source of information, and because they encourage an active, rather than a passive, learner. Computers may eventually provide the catalyst that will result in school transformation.

Current Issues Relating to the Use of Educational Technology

The effective use of technology in schools involves more than the purchase of educational technologies and their integration into the curriculum. The existence of technology within a school can create special concerns–particularly regarding legal issues, ethical issues, media literacy, and funding–that must be addressed.

Legal issues. Software piracy (the installation of nonlicensed software) is an important legal concern. When software is purchased, generally the buyer obtains one license, which allows that software to be installed on only one computer. Schools may purchase site licenses that permit the software to be installed on multiple computer stations. While the practice of loading software without licenses onto multiple computers (piracy) may seem benign to school officials, it is a form of theft that results in billions of dollars in lost revenue to vendors, and it can result in fines to school corporations.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Technology also raises important legal issues regarding copyright and privacy. Technology allows for easy duplication of many types of media. With a videocassette recorder, a teacher can record a television program for reuse in the classroom. Artwork, photos, and articles can be scanned and reproduced digitally. The Internet provides easy access to digital images, movies, music, and written works from all over the world; these can be downloaded and used in multiple formats, raising not only questions about copyright, but also plagiarism.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

When a student or a teacher uses a piece of media that is not in the public domain (copyright-free), they must be certain that they have not violated the doctrine of Fair Use. Fair Use (Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act) considers the purpose of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount used in comparison to the entire piece, and the impact of classroom use on the work’s commercial value. Therefore, while showing videotape in a classroom to illustrate a point of history may be permissible, the downloading of images from the Internet into a calendar for the student council to sell is probably not.

The right to privacy and free speech is considered an essential American ideal. However, with computer technologies and the Internet, there is little actual privacy. All electronic communications (e-mail, web forums, etc.) pass through multiple computer sites before arriving at a destination. During that process, information is saved that can be read by anyone who has the knowledge to do so. In order to ensure the safety and security of everyone, students and teachers need to be informed that electronic communications from their school are not private and can be accessed. In 2000 Congress passed the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), which require all schools and libraries that receive federal technology funds to have an Internet safety policy to protect children from visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography, or are otherwise harmful to children. An adequate technology protection measure can be an Internet block or filtering software that prevents objectionable material from being displayed. However, blocking software and other practices to eliminate access to websites raises issues relating to rights of free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The conflict about free speech, privacy, and the obligation of schools to protect children make this issue quite controversial within some school systems.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Ethical issues. Ethical issues often relate to whether schools are providing students with equal access to technology. Gender-equity issues arise when girls are treated differently than boys in terms of the use of, and encouragement to use technology. Girls tend to enrol in fewer computer classes, spend fewer hours on the computer either at home or at school, and are less likely to choose majors in computer-related fields than do boys. For example, in 2000 only 15 per cent of the students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam were girls. There are a number of factors that contribute to this gender difference, including the limited number of female role models in computer-related fields, adults who especially encourage boys to use the computer and computer games, and software that tends to targets boys’ interests more than that of girls.

The digital divide is the division that exists between the information-rich and the information poor. Advanced technologies, and the Internet, in particular, provide easy access to vast amounts of information. Digital inequities can exist along racial, economic, academic achievement (low-achieving versus high-achieving classes), and geographic (rural, urban, and suburban) lines. A student in a rural school that lacks fast Internet connections does not have the same access to information as a student near a major city.

The digital divide also extends beyond the school. More economically advantaged children usually have access to information sources through Internet connections and microcomputers at home. Those who are more disadvantaged must rely upon limited school and public library resources. Minority students may be discouraged from accessing online content because of an absence of exposure to computers in general or because of a lack of racially and ethnically diverse information on the Internet. Finally, computers are often used as a reward for high achieving students, leaving out those students with poorer academic records, while some students are simply not encouraged to use technology to fuel their interest in academics.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Media literacy. Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, and produce information. Teachers themselves not only need to be media literate, but they must also ensure that their students are able to access the information they need, are capable of determining the relative merits of the information obtained, and are able to represent the information they have gathered in new ways using the different forms of media available to them (print, video, audio, digital). The concept of media literacy is not unique to computer technology. For decades, child advocates have expressed concern about the impact of movies and television on children and about whether children can distinguish the illusion presented to them from what is real. Media literacy has become an even greater teaching responsibility for educators, as the Internet provides access to vast quantities of information, much of which is inaccurate or represents biased views.

Adequate funding. The Office of Technology Assessment described four barriers to technology integration in instruction: inadequate teacher training, a lack of vision of technology’s potential, a lack of time to experiment, and inadequate technical support. Each of these obstacles stems in part from weak or inconsistent financial support for the technology. Much of the money used to support technology in schools has been provided through special governmental appropriations or by private funds. Technology funds have rarely become a part of the regular, operating budget of school systems. For technology to achieve its potential, funds are needed to provide adequate training for teachers, to keep equipment repaired and up-to-date, and to provide the time necessary for teachers and administrators to plan ways to use technology effectively. Only then will the schools be able to experience the advantages afforded by technology

 

There are three main components of technology in education:

1) Organization and management of some educational system (from a school to the system of education of the whole country);

2) The satisfaction of some supplementary needs of education systems and educators (e.g., information supply, communication facilities, word processing, etc.);

3) Realization of a teaching/learning process. The latter type is called educational technology. It has three aspects. First, the most obvious one is technology as a discipline for teaching and learning. The second aspect is the technology of learning, and the third one is the technology of teaching. Technologies of both latter types are called instructional, or pedagogical technologies. Contemporary understanding of technology in education is, as a rule, connected with them. However, modern education is mostly aimed not at technologies as integral systems but limited to the utilization of computers and other electronic devices.

Computers and its software are being integrated into the educational process with increasing speed. The main areas of application are

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

: computer literacy, classroom management, and direct involvement with student instruction. The first is relates to technology as a discipline. The second application area is directed at the organizational problems of teaching and has to be treated in the context of the technology of teaching. The third area refers both to teaching and learning technologies.

The computer-based technologies, which use computers as a teaching and/or learning tool, form a specific class of educational technologies. Consequently, it is more effective to consider computers as a part of an integral technology.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Now the efficiency of computer utilization in education is comparatively low with respect to the diverse facilities provided by modern computers. The reason is that there are no, as a rule, integral computer-based technologies. Only methods and instructions for learning by means of computers are developed. However, it is insufficient due to the diversity of side effects. These effects are neglected on the level of methods and instructions but are taken into account on the level of technology. That is why, it is so urgent to implement a technological approach to learning and, especially, to teaching.

Consequently, it is necessary to develop integral educational technologies and to apply them to different levels of education: from preschools to universities. It is essential that teachers possess not only the art of teaching but also the technology of teaching as a foundation for this art.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Basing on an advanced model of a general technology and creativity approach to learning and teaching, it is possible to provide a variety of new facilities in education making it more adequate to the contemporary tasks than the education we have now. Problems of elaboration and utilization of educational technologies are analyzed from methodological and theoretical points of view.

To work efficiently with educational technologies (i.e., to investigate, design, implement, and utilize them), it is necessary to understand technology as a social phenomenon.

It is possible to demonstrate that all these and the majority of other definitions are not constructive being incomplete, ambivalent, and, in some cases, even inconsistent. For example, while in the definition, technology is defined as some kind of knowledge. However, these discrepancies are not contradictions. They only demonstrate that technology is a complex phenomenon and different definitions reflect dissimilar aspects of technology. In such a way, an analysis of existing definitions and the phenomenon itself demonstrates that technology has three components: structural, mental, and material. Thus knowledge corresponds to the mental component while the application is a material projection (materialization) of this knowledge.

At the same time, further development of educational technology demands more exact and effective definition, which will provide conditions for the elaboration of new technologies and better utilization of the existing ones. To achieve this goal, new definitions have been introduced basing on the assumption that it is necessary to distinguish concrete and general technologies.

Pedagogical Technology

Deficiency in a good definition of technology has resulted in a high level of confusion in the diverse collection of definitions of instructional or pedagogical technology. While some definitions are excessively narrow, particularly those confined to devices and hardware, others are much too broad and bear little relevance to the real world of academia. There are contradictory and ambivalent definitions. Many examples of such definitions are analyzed in.

One of the best definitions was elaborated by the Commission on Instructional Technology. In it, instructional technology is treated as a systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the total process of learning and teaching in terms of specific objectives, based on research in human learning and communication, and employing a combination of human and nonhuman resources to bring about more effective instruction. Technology is considered in this definition from the structural perspective. Historical experience and definitions and from the previous part show that two conditions (of based on research and of bringing about more effective instruction) are superficial and it is necessary to delete them. Thus we obtain a constructive definition of technology providing a base for elaboration of a mathematical model.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

There are three general categories of technologies: production, service, and utilization technologies. So the question arises, what is the type of pedagogical technologies. It is not a simple question because the answer depends on the educational paradigm. If it is a student-oriented paradigm, then pedagogical technology is a service technology. If it is a teacher-oriented paradigm, then pedagogical technology is a utilization technology. If it is a society-oriented paradigm, then pedagogical technology is production technology. Consequently, each approach emphasizes specific criteria for technology evaluation influencing in such a way design, implementation, and utilization of pedagogical technologies.

Problems and Solutions

The main problem concerning pedagogical technology is its efficiency. It is caused by several objectives. The main one is that pedagogical technology exists in structural and material forms while explicit knowledge about these structures is scarce and poorly systematized. Instructions and rules provide an incomplete reflection of pedagogical processes. It is possible to conjecture that this has been one of the essential reasons for the consistent failure of technological innovations throughout the years. As it is stressed in, different technical devices met only marginally most problems that teachers define as important. Besides, the mere existence of technological tools is not sufficient to assure their adoption and use.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

Other objectives are the consequences of the main one. Thus, incomplete representation of technological knowledge results in a variety of difficulties and obstacles to the development, evaluation, and utilization of pedagogical technologies. For example, technical devices (such as computers, tape recorders, TV sets, etc.) are not, as a rule, naturally included in the pedagogical process being unable to enhance, supplement, and support school activities, instead of just filling in time and supplying student busywork. Consequently, the prospects for advancing education through information technology requirements, for their success, a great deal in the way of nontechnical developments basing on collaborative attention of technologists and educators.

TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

However, even such incomplete knowledge has not been acquired by the majority of teachers. Consequently, one more problem is connected with teaching skills and knowledge in the utilization of educational technology (or more exactly, technical means of this technology). Recently, a group of 20 business and education leaders at the CEO Forum on Education and technology examined and analyzed the utilization of computers in American schools. The study finds that although more than six million computers are in the nation’s schools, most teachers still lack the training to use them in a way that truly helps children. Simply using computers as a tool to “drill” students does not raise achievement. The CEO Forum suggests in its report that teacher training in technology should be mandatory by 2002.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

The mathematical theory of technology provides various means for eliminating these and some other shortcomings of modern pedagogical technology. For example, the model of technology elaborated in this theory contains a description of all necessary components of concrete technology and, consequently, it guides how to design integral technologies in education. This model is also aimed at the development of a framework for learning different concrete technologies, i.e., for achieving teacher technological literacy. For example, it is necessary to teach teacher not only how to use a computer but how to utilize pedagogical technology based on computer facilities. In addition to this, the mathematical theory of technology offers means for computer modelling, evaluation, and optimization of both existing and proposed pedagogical mathematical theory of technologies.

Concluding Remarks

The technological approach to education is inevitable if we want to have the majority of the population being integrated into modern culture and society with its sophisticated technical devices and complicated social structures. Recent research demonstrates the advantages of the technological approach. Consequently, we come to the necessity to apply scientific methods to design, evaluation, and utilization of educational technology. The mathematical theory of technology provides educators with such methods. It is only necessary to adapt the general structures and results of this theory to the problems of education.

[adinserter name=”Block 2″]

However, it is important to understand what place must be occupied by the pedagogical technology in the professional activity of the teacher. Now teaching is an art on the highest level, craftsmanship in a general case, fakery in the worst case. Utilization of pedagogical technology must not transform teacher into an element of an educational “assembly line” as a worker in the industry is an element of an assembly line at some plant. On the contrary, pedagogical technology is aimed at developing teacher creativity and enhancing his abilities to achieve a higher level in his professional activity. The teacher has to use pedagogical technology for developing students’ intellect, skills, and knowledge as an architect uses building blocks for the construction of many-story buildings.

 

 

58 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

US justice officials outline Trump’s ‘brazen’ takeover bid

Lawmakers investigating the attack on the US Capitol on...

Police kill bandit, recover 2 guns, motorcycle in Kaduna

Police in Kaduna State have killed one bandit and...

Bridging Nigeria’s broadband gap for economic growth

Broadband Internet is high-speed Internet access that is always...

UK court denies Ekweremadu, wife bail over child trafficking, organ harvesting

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, alongside his wife,...