You are on page 1of 9

The Impact of

Running Head: IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON TEACHING AND LEARNING

The Impact of Technology on Teaching and Learning Anna-Marie Robertson Boise State University - Boise, Idaho

The Impact of

Abstract This paper is a synthesis of several studies conducted for the purpose of reviewing the impact of technology in education on both teachers and students. These studies range in time from 20 years ago to the present day. For the purposes of this paper, we will refer to technology as the modernday tools used to enhance communication such as the Internet, the computer, software, etc.

The Impact of

The Impact of Technology on Teaching and Learning In our current school system, it would be a difficult challenge to find a classroom that doesnt have some form of technology in it somewhere. Technology has infiltrated our very lives, theres no going back. Try to imagine a classroom with no technology in it. The students sit behind desks that are sometimes too small, they open a book that has been used many times before, and they listen to a teacher drone on about some fractal or prepositional phrase. There is no sound. There is no color. There is no engagement. This is not learning. When a teacher introduces some form of technology into the classroom, he or she brings in sound, color, and movement. This addition of technology into the pedagogy invites engagement and participation. When students are engaged in, and are actively participating with the material, they are learning. In the following pages we will explore how technology impacts the teacher and teaching methodologies, as well as the impact it has on the student and his or her learning. Through all of this, well see how the use of technology will turn the classroom from boring into engaging. In the aforementioned example, we see a teacher who is standing in front of a class and delivering a lesson through lecture. There is very little interaction between the teacher and the students. The students job is to listen and memorize; the teachers job seems to be to stand and deliver. According to D. H. Jonassen, as cited in (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008, p. 82), learning must be student-centered. For this to happen, teachers must shift from a lecture-only approach to being more of a facilitator and collaborator. This transition is made much more smoothly with the introduction of technology. The use of technology affectively replaces the lecture mode with a more discovery based approach. We can change our view of this model classroom based on what Jonassen is telling us needs to happen for learning to occur. We can imagine that room instead with a teacher that is moving among the students, giving

The Impact of

direction as needed to students who are using some form of technology such as computers, cell phones, laptops, etc. These students are now engaged and are actively participating in their own learning. The important difference here is not the technology itself; it is the shift in the teachers pedagogy. H. J. Becker, as cited in (Stratham & Torrell, 1996), makes this distinction clear when he says that technology alone does not make the difference. He contends that technology must be combined with the attitudes, skills, and enthusiasm of teachers to lead students to embrace this new pedagogy. This means that educators will need to experience a paradigm shift in their vision of education and in their own beliefs about learning processes (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008). For many teachers this may mean a complete overhaul in the way lessons are prepared, delivered, and assessed. Jonassen, as cited in (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008, p. 84), makes this point in his study when he says that technology should not drive instruction, but instruction should drive the technology used. However, teachers dont always know and understand how to integrate technology into their lessons. They may need to invest considerable time and energy in learning new methods and new technologies. For the most part, teachers are people who have not grown up using technology. For these educators, it is truly a total shift in the way they think about teaching and learning. T. W. Kent and R. F. McNergney, as cited in (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008, p. 84), advocate for teachers who want to use technologies in the classroom in their report. They feel that teachers possess the key to the successful use of computers and technology but that they must first have adequate training and support to use these technologies. Technology is a tool just as any tool that is used by a professional in the carrying out of their daily duties. For a tool to be effective in its use, the professional wielding the tool must learn how and when to use the tool

The Impact of

properly. When instructors use technology as one of the many tools in the educational realm, and only when appropriate for the tasks at hand, students are less likely to become bored and more likely to be engaged in learning. (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008, p. 82). Technology, then, is a tool a teacher must learn to use to encourage students to engage in and participate with their own learning. Teaching and learning is a two-way street. Students are impacted by technology in the way they learn and participate in the classroom. Many of the studies researched found a clear correlation between technology use and student achievement. Wenglinsky, 1998 (as cited in CARET) found that 8th grade students preformed signigicantly better on NAEP mathematics tests when computer technology was employed for real-world simulations and applications purposes, as opposed to drill-and-practice purposes. In another study performed by Seawel, Smaidino, Steel, and Lewis, as cited by (Stratham & Torrell, 1996, pp. 11-12), a group of third grade students were split into two groups. One group used the word processor for writing and the other group used their own hand-writing ability. They found that the students who were allowed to use the word processor used more words, edited more often, and made more revisions than their hand-writing counterparts. They concluded that using the word processor improved both the performance and the attitude of the students. Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, as cited in (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008, p. 81) reported positive and significant gains for students who were engaged in technology-rich environments in their study related to technology and student achievment. It seems that when students are engaged and actively participate in their own learning, achievment increases. But student achievement is not the only thing found that is impacted by the use of technology in the classroom.

The Impact of

At the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology website (CARET Topic: Student Learning, 2005) it was stated that student motivation, interest, and attitude were also improved when technology was used to produce, demonstrate, and share student work with others. There are many ways a student can produce, demonstrate, and share their work. The CARET website discusses three ways this can be done: collaborative research, simulations, and multimedia projects. They state that collaborative research includes online communication with peers and experts in other states and countries, evaluation of evidence and sharing information, and the use of standards based curricula that are integrated with scientific visualization tools. In a study conducted by D. W. Johnson and R. T. Johnson as cited in (Bracewell, Breuleux, Laferriere, Benoit, & Abdous, 1998) concerning the use of technology to support collaborative learning environments, they found a higher quantity as well as quality of daily achievement, a greater mastery of factual information as well as the ability to apply this factual information, and a greater ability coupled with a higher success for answering problem-solving questions using factual information. They concluded that these achievements led to greater motivation, selfconcept and interest on the part of the student. CARET tells us that collaboration can also be enhanced by the use of real-world simulations. Real-world simulations were found to be highly motivating for students, increase student productivity, and promote the acquisition of advanced skills and knowledge in a review conducted by Barbara Means, John Blando, Kerry Olson, Teresa Middleton, Catherine Cobb Morocco, Arlene R. Renz, and Judith Zorfass (1993). They found other impacts on student motivation from these simulations that include providing external meaning and context for learning activities, and fostering student-centered learning environments. Real world simulations include the use of multimedia in their construction, and this is the third area that

The Impact of

CARET (CARET Topic: Student Learning, 2005) said can encourage students to produce, demonstrate and share their work. In a report produced by J. Cradler and R. Cradler, as cited in (CARET Topic: Student Learning, 2005), which was produced for the US Office of Education, they stated that when multimedia projects were integrated into the curriculum, there was a positive change in student motivation for class assignments reported by both students and teachers. This motivation was the most frequently cited change by all the teachers that participated in the study. As any teacher can tell you, when a student is motivated, learning occurs. Lets take one more look at that example classroom we discussed in the beginning. When technology was introduced, the teacher became the facilitator and shifted the focus to a studentcentered environment. But, as we have seen, it takes much more than just introducing the technology to make this impact. Teachers must change the way they think about planning, preparation, and assessment. They must also invest time and energy to learn to use these new tools before they can implement this total paradigm shift. Many educators find themselves in an ongoing process to keep up with the ever-changing technologies continually being introduced. As the world changes and continues to become more globalized, teachers must be ready to bring the world into their classrooms. This is an area requiring further research. Information about preparing students for an increasingly more global education can be found in the report entitled A systhesis of new research on k-12 online learning prepared by Rosina Smith, Tom Clark, and Robert L. Blomeyer (Smith, Clark, & Blomeyer, 2005). CARET (CARET Topic: Student Learning, 2005) also provides an entire section dedicated to research evidence that supports the fact that information technologies have the potential for being a constant and convenient electronic connector that can join students, teachers, employers, and parents. Educators must

The Impact of

weigh the changes to their beliefs about teaching and learning against the impact to students in their achievment and motivation. Based on the studies used in this report, the beneficial impact of technology integration to students and their learning far outweighs the investments made on their behalf by dedicated teachers.

The Impact of

References
Bracewell, R., Breuleux, A., Laferriere, T., Benoit, J., & Abdous, M. (1998). The emerging conribution of online resources and tools to classroom learning and teaching. McGill University and Laval Universite. TeleLearning Network, Inc. CARET Topic: Student Learning. (2005). Retrieved July 15, 2010, from Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology: http://caret.iste.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=evidence&answerID=14 Keengwe, J., Onchwari, G., & Wachira, P. (2008). The use of computer tools to support meaningful learning. AACE Journal , 16 (1), 77-92. Means, B., Blando, J., Olson, K., Middleton, T., Morocco, C. C., Renz, A. R., et al. (1993, September). Using technology to support education reform. Retrieved July 22, 2010, from ed.gov: http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/TechReforms/title.html Stratham, D. S., & Torrell, C. R. (1996). Computers in the classroom: The impact of technology on student learning. Boise, ID: Army Research Institute.