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Digital nation

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Computers in Education The education system has changed, but for the better or the worst? We used to use pencil and paper, we used to learn by experiences and by listening to instructors. The documentary “Digital Nation” discusses the way our modern society now relies so heavily on computers and other technology. A lot of our communication is run through computers and cell phones, and people multitask consistently while listening to others, doing homework, having conversations, etc. One of the main conflicts studied upon in the video is if multitasking disrupts your level of effort output, whether it is listening, writing, talking, or doing a random activity. “Digital Nation” helped me realize how much I multitask and especially how much I learn through computers. Many of my classes in college are run through the computer on websites. Almost every paper that I have to write, reading I have to do, or project that I have to research requires the computer. Not having access to a computer, along with Internet, would defiantly be a disadvantage to a student. When assignments like homework and reading are posted on the Internet, students must frequently remember to sit at the computer and look up assignments on their own time. Some professors fail to even tell students about assignments, relying on the class website to do the work. I have missed quite a few assignments in the past because of this. In high school even essays and lab write-ups, etc., were required to be typed up on the computer. Students were required to take computer classes to teach them how to better understand the new technology and how to use it. I have never been very good at computers, and I would always try to avoid using the computer for assignments. I was, and still am very slow at typing. I use the “chicken pecking” technique and I have to look at the keyboard while typing. This puts me at a disadvantage because it is almost expected of students to know how to type correctly. I have taken typing classes and tutorials on the Internet; it is just not for me. Effects of relying on the computer for learning is examined in many articles such as the research article called “Effect of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on Secondary School Students ' Achievement in Science.” This study is relevant even though it is related to India. In this text, studies are performed to determine the outcome or effects that result from using a computer to present information to students. This information includes instructional and learning material such as drills, animations, and tutorials accessible online. An experiment was prepared to test the studies and also test if there is a difference in results between male and female students. The students that were chosen were biology students with a higher than average score in the field of study. The students were split into two groups, of which each was taught either by human instruction or by computer instruction. Overall, the computer insisted instruction was determined to be most effective. There seemed to be no significant difference between the results of the male and female students, however there was a difference in results dependent on the way of learning. “Though computer-assisted instruction as supplementary strategy was found to be equally effective for male and female students, yet the female students benefited more from computer-assisted instruction as compared to male students.” (Tabassum, Farooq) The results were determined my means “Significance of difference between the mean scores of both the groups on the variable of previous achievement was tested at .05 level by applying t-test.” (Tabassum; Farooq). This was an interesting study with surprising results. The fact that the computer instruction was shown more effective is a legitimate example for why we now use computers in the education system so frequently. Why not use a supposedly more effective method to teach students? Computers definitely do have some advantages and make certain tasks easier, but there are also disadvantages and repercussions. “Computers in Human Behavior” is an article that discusses how computers are being used in modern day life and especially in schools to learn and communicate instead of face-to-face communication. The article argues that there have been few studies on this matter. It refers to records of studies and experiments done to determine the effects that result from communicating and learning through computers. The studies/experiments involved teaching students through two different kinds of communication. The first kind called synchronous. “They speak of same time versus different (any) time systems. A system that is same time allows synchronous interaction and communication, such as chatting or videoconferencing.” (Henny Veenman, Pg 29). The other kind is called asynchronous. “Asynchronous communication in the form of discussion forums and mailing lists allows interaction to occur between learners but at different times. Learners need not be present to receive information and may thus communicate whenever they want to.” (Henny Veenman, Pg 29). So the only difference is having being present while having a discussion. The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each. Overall the face-to-face communication through the computer (synchronous) is the most effective. As this is closest to actual face-to face communications, where miscommunications occur less frequently. This gave me a good perspective on the different ways that we can communicate through the computer, and made me realize that we mostly use the less effective asynchronous communication when we communicate through technology in school. For example using email when contacting a teacher or student, and referring the class website to receive information that has been posted. The conference paper called “Narrowing the Digital Divide.” It discusses the effects of using computers and how students must have access to computers and Internet in the education system. If a student does not have easy access to a computer or does not have good computer skills, he or she could easily be left behind. It shows that the uncertainty that one may feel that is unfamiliar with computers is faced with a task involving one is directly related to that of learning a new language or trying to understand someone speaking a different language. “An inexperienced user’s contact with unfamiliar communication technology might be similar to the stresses felt when individuals experience a different culture” (Gudykunst, 1988, 1995) (Hunt, Stephen K. pg 5). The conference paper uses the term ”Digital Divide” to refer the division between those who can effectively access the useful tools and sources of a computer and those who cannot. “Minorities, low income persons, the less educated, and children of single parent households, particularly when they reside in rural areas or central cities, are among the groups that lack access to information resources”. (NTIA, 1999, p. xiii)( Hunt, Stephen K. pg 7) This is vital to understanding the situation of those who have trouble keeping up with our computer-based educational system. It can be stressful, frustrating and discouraging. It is very important in this day in age to be able to use and have access to digital tools and technology and although it is not as prominent today, there is still a digital divide. This final conference paper called “Teaching Academic Genres in Digital Contexts” supports the need to learn how to use computers and technology and to be computer savvy. It is very important in this day in age to have these skills and in some situations such as in our modern education system it is mandatory. There is a need for digital training with modern technologies. It examines the question “how can teaching academic genres in digital contexts promote digital literacy?”( Dieb, Messias). The final conclusion is that careful planning and teaching methods must be used to conduct successful education of academic genders in society during these digital times. This supports that we definitely need to be educated in digital literacy during these times. High schools require you to take a basic computer class and in college, for example, a Photoshop class for art majors.
Computers are very practical and allow us to do things easier and organize things like essays or other assignments more efficiently. It has been proven that computers are effective at teaching as much or more than without them. It is completely logical and understandable that we would transform into a digital world. There will always be people that are further behind in this technological race and possibly have a more difficult time in the education because of it. Communication must be maintained throughout the worlds education systems. A digital divide will probably always exist, but we can definitely reduce the gap to improve this communication. Digital education is necessary to help students keep up with the new technologies and feel comfortable in this ever-changing digital world. Just like learning a new language, people less computer-savvy may feel uncomfortable and insecure dealing with new technology. Teaching methods must adapt to not only help the students adapt, but to progress globally and help students feel more comfortable by easing into the digital material.
The way our world and its education system are heading will almost inevitably only rely more and more on computers. Although this will most likely cause problems… Will we rely on computers more than ourselves? Will skilled and educated teachers still be need or even valued? Will we lose our ability to survive socially and educationally outside the digital world? Will the digital divide ever diminish completely? Those of us less computer savvy must learn to adapt, but at the same time not lose ourselves to the digital world. Sources Cited de Carvalho Lima, Samuel, Araújo, Júlio César, Dieb, Messias; “Teaching Academic
Genres in Digital Contexts; E-proceedings of the International Online Language Conference (IOLC)”; 2011, Vol. 2, p46-51, 6p
Rachel Dretzen, Frontline. “Digital Nation” ch1, 2010
Rowe-Whyte, Ann Marie, O 'Sullivan, Patrick B., Hunt, Stephen K.; “Narrowing the Digital; Conference Papers -- International Communication Association”; 2003 Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, p1-45, 45p, 1 Color Photograph, 1 Black and White Photograph, 6 Charts
Tabassum, Rabia; Farooq, Rehmat Ali. “Effect of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on Secondary School Students ' Achievement in Science.” Language in India; Jun2011, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p132-144, 13p, 5 Charts van der Meijden, Henny Veenman, Simon. “Computers in Human Behavior;” Sep2005, Vol. 21 Issue 5, p831-859, 29p

Cited: de Carvalho Lima, Samuel, Araújo, Júlio César, Dieb, Messias; “Teaching Academic Genres in Digital Contexts; E-proceedings of the International Online Language Conference (IOLC)”; 2011, Vol. 2, p46-51, 6p Rachel Dretzen, Frontline. “Digital Nation” ch1, 2010 Rowe-Whyte, Ann Marie, O 'Sullivan, Patrick B., Hunt, Stephen K.; “Narrowing the Digital; Conference Papers -- International Communication Association”; 2003 Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, p1-45, 45p, 1 Color Photograph, 1 Black and White Photograph, 6 Charts Tabassum, Rabia; Farooq, Rehmat Ali. “Effect of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on Secondary School Students ' Achievement in Science.” Language in India; Jun2011, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p132-144, 13p, 5 Charts van der Meijden, Henny Veenman, Simon. “Computers in Human Behavior;” Sep2005, Vol. 21 Issue 5, p831-859, 29p

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