Technology and Education: How do we know it is actually helping? Silvia Suchec
ENGL 101 C
April 9th, 2014
Through various research on today’s technological growth, I have come up with a few subtopics of technology in education. There is a thorough discussion about not enough research being completed on this subject; making it difficult to understand if these resources are best for our students. I also go into depth on how much money is spent on these funds to incorporate technology in classrooms. Along with spending money, there goes the issue of schools within the same districts not having the same technological advances. Finally, recent studies are showing a big change in curriculum by incorporating e-learning classes to brick-and-mortar style education.
What do you see when you go into a typical 4th grade classroom today? Typically, every student has their own iPad that they use everyday and even take home with them. Watching them throughout the day you will see that the tablets are used in every subject from history, science and even spelling. But how long are these iPads going to last in our education systems? New technology is growing—and it’s growing fast. Technology is constantly changing and changing very quickly. It is creating both opportunities and challenges for schools. The opportunities include better access to rich multimedia content, the increasing use of online courses, and expanding the role of social networking tools for learning. At the same time, the pace of change creates major challenges for schools. To begin with, schools are constantly playing technological catch up as digital improvements emerge that require upgrading schools’ technological infrastructure and building new professional development programs. Some schools have been proficient at keeping up with those changes, while many others are falling far behind; creating a digital divide based largely on the quality of educational technology, rather than just simple access to the Internet like it used to be.
The evolution of educational technologies is so fast it also makes it increasingly challenging to determine what works best. Longitudinal research that takes years to do risks being irrelevant by the time it is completed because of shifts in the technological scene. The iPad, for instance, became popular in schools soon after it was released and well before any research could be conducted about its educational effectiveness. Following is a look at some of the hottest issues and trends in educational technology and how they are creating opportunities and challenges for K-12 schools.
Research on Technology Use in the Classroom
While there is much on-going research on new technologies and their effects on teaching and learning, there is little rigorous, large-scale data that makes for solid research. The very companies and institutions that have created and promoted the technology fund the vast majority of the studies available, raising questions of the research’s validity and objectivity. In addition, the kinds of studies that produce meaningful data often take several years to complete—a timeline that lags far behind the fast pace of up-and-coming technologies. For example, it is difficult to locate empirical data to support the case for mobile learning in schools—a trend that educators have been exploring for several years now—let alone data to support even newer technologies such as tablet computers like the iPad (Ash, Feb. 2011). The studies that do look at the effects of mobile technologies on learning are often based on small samples of students involved in short-term pilots, not the kind of large-scale, ongoing samples of students that educators and policymakers would like to see (Ash, Feb. 2011). However, there are a handful of large-scale studies that do point to trends and observations in the education technology...
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