The Role of Technology in Education
Our school has an extremely low budget of approximately eighteen million dollars.Where should the money go? Should it go to the English department, or the math and science buildings? Should the money be invested in expanding our school and giving raises to hard-working teachers? Or should the money be invested in the ever so popular increasing demand of computers… Should we get linked to the increasing Information Superhighway?
In education, the issue of technology is constantly rising in debate.Should schools spend money on computers and networking which is an extremely hard field to keep updated both in software and hardware? Schools have found both the benefits and the drawbacks in investing in computers and technology.
The use of Information Technology benefits students greatly in many areas.
Information technology has encouraged the development of productivity, increased student involvement and enabled students to complete joint projects with students in other cities, states and even countries (Carey 26). Studies on students who have twenty four hour access to laptops have shown that students shown an increase in problem-solving and critical thing sills, enhanced learning in core academic subjects, produce higher quality work and have even provided more one-on one time between teachers and students (THE Journal 16).
Technology is an integral component of learning. Being that students learn at different rates, technology can individualize instruction. They can move at an appropriate pace providing a solid foundation of basic skills. Computer based technologies can administer individualized lesson sequences that branch and remediate according to student’s unique needs, quickly and automatically track progress and generate reports (Peck and Dorricot 11).
The Internet provides a communications tool, which can assist students in networking within and between schools. Internet technology permits swift student-to-student communication through relatively inexpensive e-mail. Through the Internet students are also able to find Internet pen pals and experience the world through the vision of other students (Carey 24).
The Internet can also be used in cooperation with the library. It can provide students with an enormous and readily accessible database with research materials and therefore may be used to research different topics (Carey 25).
Not only can students learn on the Internet, but they can also teach about areas in which they have knowledge and sills. Students have been able to create web pages to display to people all over the world. School newspapers and college web pages can also do the same. These pages can be read anywhere by anyone and has thus provided for greater publication (Carey 25).
Although computers and technology provide for much advancement in education, there are some basic problems. These difficulties range from psychological addiction to unethical behavior and inappropriate actions of technology producers and users.
As for addiction, some persons are so addicted to its use to the extent that they have actually flunked out of college, lost their marriage partners, become mentally sick, given up their jobs, and decreased their human contracts. Some persons avoid personal contacts by overusing the Internet so to decrease their personal communication with persons. Some have also gone into Internet seclusion, while still taking care of daily routines so failing to work and deal with people. With such addiction there provides no room for advancement in education (Eddy and Spaulding 392).
Technology can alter the content of what schoolchildren think about. Many computer experiences for students are through virtual reality and are visually appealing. Students can look at three dimensional animals, such as sharks, seals and whales on their computer screens. But what teachers don’t realize is that students get easily engaged in these instances, and only get to see what is on the computer screen and not outside. Instead of being subjected to such images, students must be able to realize that they should take the chance and look at the things outside and not just the through the technological world (Schwarz 79).
Computers are also high-maintenance supplies for schools. Unlike books, which represent generally fixed costs, technology requires a significant, continuous monetary input. The useful lifetimes of computers and their software are sometimes measurable in months, not years. Costs for potentially short-lived computer hardware and software quickly become enormous. Also, these costs may be difficult to predict with accuracy as new products are developed (Garrett 114).
Many schools have attempted to spend the money, take risks and jump onto the attractive road of technology. Among these schools are the schools in Tasmanian, the Milwaukee Public Schools and Seton Hall.
The Tasmanian government has announced that they are buying fourteen thousand computers to ensure that each government school would have at least one modern computer for every five students. The plan is due to take effect during the next three years with a total of forty-nine million dollars being spent. Under the program, every State school will have Internet access and full-time teachers will receive laptop computers. Schools will be cabled to provide high-speed local networks connecting school computers while the use of video conferencing and related technology will be extended to help remote school and professional development (Colman 11).
The Milwaukee Public School district just passed a proposal to give laptop computers to twenty-four thousand high school students in their school system. As for funding for this proposal, most money would be raised through public donations. An article in the Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee criticized this decision making some very important key points. They stated that the Milwaukee Public School system should worry about their problems basic to education before they should worry about computers. The article stated that too many students cannot read at a sufficient level, lack sufficient math skills, do not show up for class regularly and are dropping out of school. In all the article states, “Milwaukee Public Schools must first resolve its basic problems before it can even think about throwing cash around for computers that students will take with them when they graduate (Laptop Lunacy 62).”
On a similar tract, Seton Hall University has enabled a new program that provides each incoming freshman with a new laptop. This laptop then becomes their responsibility, which they should do most homework on and bring to class daily. Each dormitory and classroom is equipped with hookups for the Internet (Eddy and Spaulding 391).
In North Carolina, IBM has even had the privilege of working with educators in Charlotte and Durham on the introduction of an Internet technology that helps parents, students and teachers collaborate together. In the two years it has been in place in Charlotte, parents have found ways to volunteer such as editing the electronic newspaper, teachers have developed web sites for homework assignments and students have begun online discussions of schoolwork (Coggins 54).
Working as a computer consultant, I see the impact computers and technology have on each and every student daily. When I work, I see students e-mailing their teachers homework, preparing presentations for class and even finding research without opening a book. And most of this work not only has to be done in the library, but can be carried into the student’s dormitories if they would like to work after hours. In all, I believe that technology in education is a good thing. It provides for a greater and more extensive way to research, prepare and work altogether.