Technology in a Classroom: Applications and Effects

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Technology in a Classroom

Introduction

The ethics of technology in a classroom education has evolved massively from the past and it is largely owed to advances in technology. The use of technology in classrooms, otherwise known as technology integration, is increasing every academic year. Technology is used in many ways in a classroom. To help the students learn at their own pace, teachers have the convenience of using the technology to help the students, and the help of disabled students’ technology in a classroom. A definition from edutopia, a website from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, technology integration means, “the use of technology resources — computers, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, digital cameras, social media platforms and networks, software applications, the Internet, etc. — in daily classroom practices, and in the management of a school” (What Is Successful Technology Integration). The amount of devices, programs, and assistive technology both public and private districts uses is essential to our everyday learning. Just completing any essay requires the use of technology in order to turn in and complete the assignment. We will also be talking about what kind of technology is being used in everyday classrooms, and how it is being used. From using projectors to using monitors to using artificial intelligence, technology has come a long way to help the teachers and students to learn new ways to educate themselves.

In some school districts, teachers have experience of using technology in a classroom. The Shoreline district uses smart boards instead of white boards and chalk boards. It was pretty cool because the teachers do not need to buy white board markers and erasers. Instead, the teachers need to have a stylus that would do everything just like if they were using a white board or a chalk board. Then in high school, the students were offered iPads and that was a big game changer. Many of the students did all of their assignments online and watched some of the lectures at home. Students that does not have the financial stability during their high school years had to find their own way to turn in their assignments and watch lectures. Since technology in a classroom is improving rapidly every year, there is always an advantage and disadvantage of using the improved technology.

The analysis of using technology in a classroom includes several questions by both sides. It is important to talk about how the usage of technology in a classroom, how technology improves the cognitive learning of the students, as well as the increase of student motivation, and the up-to-date on devices and technologies. While there are good things of having technology in a classroom, there are always disadvantages that comes with advantages. Issues such as teachers relying on technology with course standards, larger concerns with administration, financial or support, and problems of integrating technology in a classroom. The thought of the third world countries having the same technology and same curriculum. Having technology in general is a vital part in our everyday use, and it could be a vital source in our education. Each analytical question will be directly based on the subtopics. First, let us ask how technology has improved the success of student and teacher learning. Another question that will be asked is: what is the student’s perspective/attitude toward teacher’s using technology in the classroom. With the idea of the student’s perspective/attitude toward the teacher’s usage of technology in the classroom, the subtopics would be talking about how technology is benefiting the learning stability in classroom, and how disabled students would benefit the usage of technology in the classroom. The final question will be: since technology is rapidly growing in countries like United States, Europe, etc., how is effecting the third world countries such as Kenya.

The use of technology in a classroom goes back to the 1600’s (ourict). One of the first projector type learning was called The Magic Lantern (See Appendix A), “The magic lantern was first introduced in 1646 and was also known as the Magin Catacoprica which meant ‘magic lantern.’ Although the device was used in homes and theaters, magic lanterns were deployed in the classroom to enhance learning and student engagement. The photographic slides were inserted one at a time for viewing of specific images or subject matter” (ourict).  Now moving on to the 1800’s where slates, chalk, blackboards, and the typewriter were invented (ourict). Technology really boomed in the 1900’s; inventing technologies such as, the radio, the overhead projector, headphones, videotape, photocopier, the calculator, scantron, the internet, and the interactive white board (ourict). Even though we use a lot of technology in our education today, teachers still use to this day all of the inventions in the 1900’s. Now being in the 21st century, we have a lot of classroom technology within our fingertips. The internet has scholarly articles, informational videos, and online tutoring systems. The use of the internet is very useful, but there are times where it is not. Because of all the information that is stored in the web, there could also be false information or false news. YouTube is a great example of using technology in a classroom because YouTube is a source for online videos and tutors. Disabled students have the most beneficial use of technology in a classroom because the technology would help the disable students to interact, and understand what the teacher is saying and/or teaching. We have applications like canvas where we get real time responses by real teachers and can fix our problems.

The Usage of Technology in a Classroom

 Ethics has always been a part of creating a successful learning environment. Integrating technology in a classroom criterion has the ability to improve the student’s achievements. Having computers in a classroom makes educating students easier for the teachers because the teacher can just look up any subject and it would be on the search engine. Websites such as TedTalk and YouTube has videos that anybody can see; it also helps because students can also view the videos anytime at home. The videos can also help the students who lack concentration because the students can pause, rewind, or fast-forward to any point of the video and be with the class. Applications such as Kahn Academy helps students left and right if the student is stuck on a problem. Even though Kahn Academy doesn’t give you a direct answer to what the students are looking for, it gives an overall idea of how to execute the problem. Because the students use technology in their everyday life, it’s not that surprising that technology is a big part in education. Students that does not have a secondary language can always search for an application on their laptop or smart devices and download and use it. Software such as Google has a translator that has a text-to-speak function, which allows the computer can read out loud the printed text after the text was translated. There is also a function where if you click the microphone button (See Appendix B) and speak towards the computer, Google will have the translator do a speak-to-text function. Then the words would be translated through google and will have the text in the other box. Another example is when I was with the professor, checking my proposal/outline for this English 102 class; I was taking notes with my iPad while the professor was telling me all the things I needed to change. While I was writing down all the notes, the notes also appeared on the teacher’s side of the screen. So whatever I was writing down on my iPad, the professor can also see when I’m marking down. Which was crazy because I have never seen or done things like this before in my life.

In the article Development of a Design-Based Learning Curriculum through Design-Based Research (DBL) for a Technology-Enables Science Classroom, Paul Kim and others wrote about the development of a DBL curriculum. The definition for DBL is, “an inquiry-based pedagogy combining the merits of project-based learning and problem-solving through students’ creative designs” (Kim). Paul talked about the usage of the DBL technology and how it would improve and help the students in a fifth grade class. DBL was implemented in the curriculum in this fifth grade classed because it would make the class more appealing and applicable for the students. Mobile phones that have sensors and various applications would help the students to complete assignments, “It was reported that mobile phones provide both conceptual and procedural scaffolding, which correlates with students’ performance scores” (Kim). Especially having the use of specific applications, the features on the applications could be a very supportive part to increase the students’ imagination. Trial and error is a big part in education, and technology can improve the curriculum with trial and error. Having the internet, students can make as many errors as the students wishes, and wouldn’t take as much time setting a new trial again. Even though there are a lot of advantages of using technology in a classroom, there are always new challenging ethical use of technology in a classroom.

Technology in a classroom can be a huge ethical problem. Using technology in a classroom can also be a huge distraction. Teachers are worried that the students would be too busy checking on their social media instead of listening to the lectures. Also inevitable cheating could come into play, especially during a test. A student could have his or her cellphone out during a test and can look up a certain question and have the answer right there in front of the student. Also by having the internet, it is easy to go online and download and/or search the web for the answers. Plagiarism is also a huge ethical problem, especially with websites that makes it easy to find any information about the subject the student is trying to find. Because the availability of information in the internet can be easily searched, students could research a fake source or plagiarize. There is also a lack of interest of studying when it comes to using technology with education. Students can develop bad studying habits and lazy approaches towards education with the use of technology. Students can skip class because their professors lecture is online, so their attendance or participation grade will drop.

Technology in a 3rd World Country

Developing countries in the world are in a major education crisis. The education function has expanded in the third world countries, but the quality of education is at fault. Many countries have access to the most up-to-date technology and are able to use the World Wide Web (WWW or Web). However, there are some countries, with political, economic and social reasons, that does not have the luxury to these resources. Some undeveloped countries, such as Africa, are underfunded and poorly staffed; which causes a serious problem for the children’s education. Predominantly, the exclusive schools, libraries and professors are usually in the Europe and United States. Therefore, the undeveloped countries libraries are filled with outdated book and old technology. Few students in third world countries does not even finish primary school, “Ghana, for example, only 50 percent of children complete grade 5, and of those, less than half can comprehend a simple paragraph” (Epstein). Being a third world country, there are a lot of financial problems, even with the families. Even if tuition for school is free, the families still need to pay for school lunches, uniforms, and exam fees.

One of the most frequent problems third world countries have is the learning environment. Yomi Kazeem, a reporter at Quartz, conducted a research in African countries with the most overcrowded classroom. With Madagascar having a 250:1 student to teacher ratio (Kazeem); Madagascar has one of the most overcrowded classrooms in the world (See Appendix C). By having an overcrowded classroom, not every student will have the same opportunity to learn. Even if it is the teacher’s duty to educate every student in a classroom, 250 students to 1 teacher seems impossible. Another issue with education and the third world country is electrical power; in fact, using technology requires electrical power. “About 70% of those living in sub-Saharan Africa do not have easy access to electrical power” (Wright). When governments or agencies are funding the third world countries to have technology in their education, they also have to reflect how power is provided. One other issue with implementing technology in education is the training and professional development for the teachers; because of the lack of technology in third world countries, the teacher has no information on how to use these up-to-date devices we provide.

In 1999, Sugata Mitra, a professor from Newcastle University in England, started an experiment in India. His first experiment was so put a computer in a Rajasthan village, which is in the middle of central India. His experiment was an eight-year-old boy trying to teach a six-year-old girl how to browse the internet. Just in four hours, children started to record their own music and play it back to each other (Mitra). The children in this village has never seen or used a computer before. Which is fascinating because of the amount of young kids using electronics these days; the kids can work on electronics and figure out the problems on their own, without parental guidance.

Students/Teacher Perspectives Toward Using Technology in a Classroom

In today’s society, technology is rapidly evolving; it is also influencing our social and personal lives. There is no difference of the use of technological devices by students in a classroom and their personal life. Seeing a study in 2012 from a Pew Research Center; students that owned cell phone were at 78%, 37% owned smart phones, 80% owned a desktop or laptop computer (Wormald). Student’s motivation to work on assignments is the reason why technology integration is used in schools today. Since schools are integrating student-centered technologies, teachers have to adapt to the technology. Another study that were conducted by Malia Hoffmann, an assistant professor at California State University, and A. Y. “Fred” Ramirez, a professor at Concordia University Irvine, at a suburban high school located in Southern California with 73 students participating in this questionnaire (Hoffmann). “Student-centered technologies have not only increased student motivation and academic performance, but interactive technologies can lead to differentiated instruction through which students have again shown higher motivation” (Hoffmann) According to their research, 42.5% of the students thought that having a teacher using technology in schools is vital, 58.9% felt confident in using technology in his or her own learning, 46.6% of the students are more engaged in his or learning when the teacher allows the use of technology for assignments (See Appendix D).

Using technology in a classroom can develop new ideas regarding technology integration and instructional practices. “If those beliefs focus only on using technology for administrative tasks or to enhance traditional content delivery—rather than to support a more student-centered view of learning as an active construction of knowledge—then it should come as no surprise that technology use is limited” (Rehmat). One potential reason for the change to a strict technological biased learning could be the viewpoints of a pedagogical learning environment that the teacher holds. Just because computers are in classrooms does not mean the computers are mainly used for education. A survey by the National Snapshot shown that only 18% of K-12 public schools teachers uses computers for instructional use (Norris). Teachers could have technological problems while educating students; for example, a teacher has a lesson plan that has to do with students’ smart phones, but some of the students might not have a smart phone. Another example could be if the teacher had a lesson plan by using a source that can be only shown on a desktop or PC (personal computer), the contents of the slides (e.g. figures and pictures) must be presented clearly in most smart phones. Social issues of using technology in classrooms are a big part of today’s society between students. For instance, some students might be using the most up-to-date, modern, highly expensive smart phones, while other students might be using less expensive smart phones. Causing discomfort to those students who have to use their less expensive smart phones.

Using technology could also advance the students learning capabilities. An article by Mohanad Halaweh, a professor at Al Falah University, wrote some reflections on the students use of smartphones in classrooms. One of the cases relates to an undirected learning use of a smartphone. The teacher was presenting information about some exam materials, deadlines for submitting assignments and projects on the board (Halaweh). Due to the students use on smart phones, they take notes and pictures of what is on the board. Thus would help the student if he or she miss some important notes and material covered by the teacher, which might affect his or her learning capeabilities. Another case that Mohanad talked about is when the teacher gave his or her students an assignment, the student was using his or her smart phone (Halaweh). The student explained that he or she did not bring the textbook but had taken pictures of the instructions page of a student’s textbook next to him (Halaweh). In this case, using a smart phone that would take pictures improve the student’s learning, as it would help him finish the project. This opens the idea of the teacher’s perspective of having to scan textbooks and not buying a mass quantity of it.  

Disabled Students with Technology in a Classroom

 Technology in educating students with disabilities has widely grown in the past few decades. Students with disabilities are unique and have different ranges in which they need support. A research from the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2015-2016, students ages from 3 – 21 was 13% of all public schools; while 34% of all students in public schools had specific learning disabilities (Children and Youth With Disabilities).  What is assistive technology? Barbara Ludlow, the chair of the West Virginia University Department of Special Education, says, “Assistive technology is identified as a required service to which students with disabilities are entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (Ludlow). There are times where students with disabilities have issues when it comes to learning in a classroom environment.

An article by Carlos L. Pimentel, a member of the Japanese Society for Linguistic Science, talks about Japanese students having to face their disabilities while being in a classroom. A student named Xavier, who is congenitally blind, began to study the Japanese language without any prior knowledge. An issue with is impairment is how the lesson plan was structured with the students and his Xavier. The students understand his disability and tries to help him get the education he wanted by having the other students read off what was on the slides (Pimentel). An additional issue with Xavier was how to process the textbook information to him. His Mac computer has a VoiceOver program where the system would read off materials from Japanese websites, Microsoft Word files, and PDF files (Pimentel). Having assistive technology can also be very pricy when it comes to students with disabilities. Just by looking on Google and typing “assistive technology”, the first item called The TAPit comes to a total of $16,699.95; then multiply that by the amount of classrooms to disabled students. Also the teacher and students needs to learn how to use the technology.

An article by David L. Netherton, a lecturer in the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and Walter F. Deal, an associate professor at old Dominion University in Norfolk, talked about the use of assistive technology in a classroom. Assistive technology can help students with disabilities become mobile, communicate, and participate in learning activities (Netherton). An interview with a student named Henry, he has a case of being nonverbal. His assistive technology is automated with phrases he frequently uses and selects icons to create the sentences. He also goes around in a wheel chair and goes around with an awkward and bulky device. Stephen Hawking had a similar situation, where he could not speak and walk.

Conclusion

Technology in classrooms is helping in transforming education and it will continue its work in the coming future. Technology in classrooms will continue make students’ lives easier for disabled students, preparing for future jobs, and more knowledgeable about the world as a whole. From the Magic Lantern to having assistive technology for disabled students, we have come a long way. A successful teacher is connected to the use of technology in a classroom, where the information is communicated to the student. From teacher to student, a learning environment by characterizing student-centered, and interactions between students from around the world. Teachers, administrators, and teacher preparation programs should now be embedded in every learning environment. Every teacher should the use of technology when the administrator provides the programs. A quote from Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important”. If the teacher does not how to use the technology, the students might be lost and not get the education of what the program provides. With the help of researchers, families and institutions, they could possibly remove any ineffectiveness, and form strong partnerships to encourage technology in classrooms.

There always is the other side of having technology in classrooms. The disadvantages effects of technology in classrooms has to be surpassed to be more focused on the advantages of technology. Situations such as distractions, socially, and lack of use. If the teacher does not have the education of using the technology, it would be useless and not being used. Teachers that teaches an unorthodox method does not have the use of the technology that is applied in the classroom. Also, problems with third world countries having no electricity, so the use of technology would be useless; even though people like the government and sponsors, they have to find a way to make sure every student will have the same education and opportunity. Teachers that does not give the same opportunity to disabled students is also another issue.

In the future, I see technology being a main source of the education. An article by Matt Britland, a Director of ITC, talks about the future of education is the cloud. The idea of having a cloud could remove every barrier that technology cause. Having the cloud in our education system, the whole world can be our classroom. “With technology in education, students can learn from anywhere and teachers can teach from anywhere” (Britland). Having the internet everywhere, all of the resources that the teacher provides can be searched with the mobile technology. Applications such as Google Docs allows for more social lessons. Students can get real time comments from teachers while working on projects. Google Docs can provide an opportunity to collaborate productively. Students can either be in the same classroom or be in different countries. AI (Artificial Intelligence) will also be used and also interactive use with the concept of AI. Teachers would be in the classroom while guiding the student’s activities while students do their interactive activity. We already see the AI technology being used in medicine by have what-if scenarios, for trial and error use, also known as simulators. Simulators, or VR, might be a crucial of education in the future. Having VR already simulates real time events, but the future might have use of VR in educational purposes. It will be up to the next generations to make sure these advances of technology in classrooms will fit the needs of people and to make life easier.

Appendix

Appendix A

Picture of The Magic Lantern

Appendix B

Google translator

Appendix C

Pupil per trained teacher (Primary School)

Appendix D

73 student responses to the questions

Works Cited

  • Britland, Matt. “What Is the Future of Technology in Education?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 June 2013, www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jun/19/technology-future-education-cloud-social-learning.
  • “Children and Youth With Disabilities .” Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2001-2002, E.D. Tab, National Center for Education Statistics, Apr. 2018, nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp.
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  • Wormald, Benjamin. “Device Ownership by Teens Over Time.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 10 June 2015, www.pewinternet.org/chart/device-ownership-by-teens-over-time/.
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