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Eng 60 - the Effects of Technology in Education

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Cheng Chang

Burgess Olivia

ENG 60

26 July 2012

The Effects of Technology in Education

Modern technology has penetrated every aspect of our lives and made great impacts on our daily activities, especially in the area of education. The continuous infusion of technology in education has become an unchangeable tendency. Given the increased use of technology in education, much research has been done on the value of technology in education. However, none of the studies have answered all of the questions that are essential to determining whether continuous infusion of new technologies in education can improve the quality of education. Since a clear answer to this question is vital to help educational organizations to make decisions on how much technology should be used in education and in what ways technology use is appropriate (Valdez 5), it is important to explore a possible answer to this question. Currently, there are many experts with discordant views on the subject of the use of technology in education. After analyzing these views it becomes clear that, even though technology has constantly improved our way of learning, educators need to be aware of the negative impacts of advanced technologies and know how to improve the effectiveness of technology in education.

The benefits of technology in education are familiar to most people, and many articles are full of praise for it. Needless to say, some of the most obvious positive effects need to be emphasized, which include the following: internet technology grants students instant access to an endless array of knowledge; it enables greater independent learning with the help of internet resources and communication technologies; it allows for different learning styles and makes students with special learning needs become more motivated to learn (Valdez 12); it enables sharing of instructional resources by teachers in different regions so it helps in closing the gap of student achievement between regions (Hasan, Delialioglu, Dennis A, & Duffy 301); it also makes distance-learning possible which disperses education to rural areas and under-developed countries. Therefore, investment of some funds in educational technology should be continued, but determining the level of investment calls for further examination of the effects of technology in education.

Many educational experts have agreed that, though technology has brought many positive impacts on education, it has also brought some unwanted negative effects, which educators should be made aware of. It is obvious that technology reduces face-to-face interactions between students and teachers in the classroom, which leads to less opportunities for teachers to teach hands-on skills, core values and morals because this type of education requires interpersonal interactions between students and teachers. Moreover, lively and interesting classes taught by teachers can not only attract students' attention, but can also motivate students in learning more knowledge which cannot be gained from technology alone. Though technology can instantly bring a variety of information to the classroom, it cannot replace teachers' knowledge, skills, personal touch and inspiration to students.

Technology cannot replace traditional instruction; it actually distracts teachers due to the need to spend time preparing and getting the technologies to work during class time. As shown by the authors Kyei-Blankson, Keengwe and Blankson in the article "Faculty Use and Integration of Technology in Higher Education," teachers are often not proficient in the technology they are using in the classroom (210). Struggling with technology sometimes takes longer than it would take for a teacher to explain the concepts to students without the technology (210). It not only wastes class time, but also adds a distraction which keeps students from learning (210). Teachers' lack of clear understanding of the role of technology in education also impairs the effectiveness of technology in education (Schacter 10). The reason is that lack of solid instructional design can cause negative effects in teaching, but if teachers understood how to integrate technology in learning and conquer the limitations of technology, the advantages of technology would outweigh the drawbacks.

One of the drawbacks mentioned in the article "Technology: A Catalyst for Teaching and Learning in the Classroom," is that technology is very expensive, requires ongoing support and constant upgrades, and is not as cost effective as other investments in education (Valdez 21). Some critics think technology is a waste of scarce resources in education (Valdez 22), because overspending in technology can leave inadequate funds for other pressing needs in education. The funds invested in new technologies can instead be invested in other ways such as arts, science laboratories and shops that allow for more hands-on learning (Valdez 21). Well balanced funding for all essential elements in education is an important strategy to follow in the reality of scarce resources in education.

As stated by the author Sue Ferguson in the article "How Computers Make Our Kids Stupid," computers and the internet distract students from real learning, which is evident by the poor academic achievement associated with excessive and improper use of computers and internet (Ferguson 2). This view is supported by a massive study conducted by University of Munich economists Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Woessmann in November, 2004, with a subject pool of 174,000 15 year-olds in reading, 97,000 each in math and science from 31 countries, in which the results confirm that teens' access to computers at home and school has a negative effect on their test scores (Ferguson 2). This fact is strong indication that students' indulgence in computers and the internet seriously affects their academic performance.

Improper use of technology can contribute to students' behavior problems. Communicating via computers undermines interpersonal skills and encourages superficial thinking (Ferguson 2-3). Many students rely on new communication technologies such as texting, emails, Twitter and Facebook, etc. exclusively. They have less time to socialize with peers in person and also have difficulty when communicating with people face-to-face. There is another major concern that the exposure to the adult and violent content on the internet makes it more difficult for students to develop character traits which are essential for them to become moral citizens (Valdez 22). Too many children become addicted to the internet because they do not have strong self-control and restraint. It's also widely believed that students who play violent



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