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The idea of information society has taken a very strong hold in the circle of higher education. This point has been explained by to Robins and Webster (2002; p.205) It is not at all surprising to see that many are seeking to put the net into educational purpose to serve the society. As a result of the fact that digital domains now operate as a primary scene of society, they are now essential for the economy. Technology is constantly changing and new technological developments have a profound effect on education, as in the case of the World Wide Web. Bell (1999) explains that we are now in the information age. An industrial society based on machine technologies and this is evident in the teaching and learning methods in the higher education level. Education is now based on the collection of data and the circulation of information. This essay shall help improve the understanding of what universities have become and emphasis will be laid on how universities have adapted to the Avatars of the world. The implications of this shall be discussed as well as whether or not new technology has changed education.
Webster (2004: p.1) explains what the image of information society is. He argues that "information society has a new type of human society which is completely different from the present industrial society. Also, the development pattern of industry society is the societal model from which we can predict the overall composition of the information society". This explains that in information societies people do not have to move from one place to another to acquire knowledge. They can do it from their homes. In the society we live in, it is now possible to have motive revolution which subsequently facilitates innovation. For example, the innovation of E -learning; people now have different ways in which they can learn. With the use of technology, knowledge is acquired through various forms such as, E-texts, wikis, mobile learning, E-tivites and podcasts-audio-hyperlink can now represent the presence of professors to an extent .The implication of that could have a good outcome because it reduces excessive human movement but can have a bad outcome students will not be able to concentrate fully.
The digital domain is fast becoming a vital new value venue for the conduct of everyday life. Another implication of the growing use of technology in higher education; according to Robins and Webster 2002 is the fact that print discourses and paper documents are being displaced by digital discourse and electronic document. Today's higher educations can leverage network technologies to create a method of learning which is a good thing but when online learning becomes a substitute in higher education, it becomes a problem. The reason behind this is cited by Robins and Webster (2002; p.551), "when technology is combined with education is becomes culturally unstable, economically demanding and politically threatening. Many regard the technologically teaching envision as unconventionalities." If modernity were to come into full existence to make the society better it will be a good idea, but a problem will be created if it intends to wipe out the traditional norms.
New technologies are changing the way education is taught and as a result there are many ways people are taught. Examples are distance learning, flexible learning, distance open learning and E- learning. E-learning which is online learning is becoming a real alternative to traditional classroom learning. This is a good implication but it causes lack of face-to-face contact and socialization is reduced.
Institutions of higher education have increasingly embraced online education. Recently the number of students in colleges and universities enrolling in distance programs is rapidly rising and this is as a result of the growing use of technology in our society. Distance open learning, flexible learning and distance educations are all implications for student and teachers in higher education. Our higher education system brings people together from diverse place and classes and gives them a common interest and activity. O'Donnell (1998) also reiterates that claim but he identifies the downsides. He explains that the distant learning processes makes coming together almost impossible. Human beings sometimes work together to make new links of strong groups and learning is made somewhat easier but with learning through the web, links are not created. The aim of bringing student and teachers together is becoming impossible as a result of the growing use of technology and as a result, university communities are now becoming virtual communities, and that has brought a decline in togetherness.
Bates (2005), explains in details open learning, distance and flexible learning as follows, Open-learning: with open learning, based on Bates (2005;40) point it is argued that " there is no prior qualification to study and for studies with disabilities, a determined effort to provide education in a appropriate form that overcomes the disability (for example audio tapes for student who are visually impaired". However open learning has a particular implication for the use of technology because some people are denied access because a particular kind of technology is not available to everyone, which could affect learning and it would cause prevent rapid progress in education. Distance-education: distance education on the other hand is more recent and flexible method of leaning in higher education. Students can study in their own time both as home, work or learning centres and without face to face contact of the teacher but this could cause a very serious implication because the intuitions may not know the real person's face who is taking the course it could be someone else with a different identity and that is not acceptable. While Flexible-learning: this is a position of learning in flexible manner, rather than those of educational institutions .flexible learning may include distance education but may include delivering training in the workplace or summer schools.
Bates (2005;p,40) state that "Distance education has grown and evolved over the last couple of years, the web in particular has transformed not only the pedagogy of distance education but also its organizational structures. Distance education has a crucial role in serving those who have difficulties for personal, social or economic reason in accessing conventional campus based education". With distance education people who do not have the opportunity to acquire the face to face interaction when learning is and we can't gain the same knowledge that those going to class gain. Even with the introduction of second life it becomes interactive but you are meeting people's avatars and not the real people.
It has been argued by (Kaufman, 1989,Nipper 1989cited in Bates explains2005) that they are three generations of distance education, The first generation is characterized by the predominate use of technology but however the lack of direct interaction student have with teachers are high. Second generation can serve very large number of students. It is a distance education characterized with by multiple media `print and broadcasting approach with learning materials that are designed for distance study while the Third generation is based on a two ways communication media like the internet or video conferencing which enables interaction between the teacher and the student. The three generations are described by Kaufman1989 "as a progressive increase in learner control, opportunities for dialogue and emphasis on thinking skills rather than on mere comprehension". Which is a good implication as a result of new technology .but terrible implication to teachers are that they will not have an opportunity to have direct contact with their fellow student as much as if the students come to class and have face to face interaction with the teacher.
Apart from distance education and open learning which are ways of learning as a result of new technology to student and teachers especially in higher education. Digital discourses, online classes, electronic document have helped in developing higher education and this is all as a result of growing technologies. they are used in E-learning, they are the developing new universities techno cultures .have spoken about how technologies has been able to make us learn through different process now I will emphasis more on different kind of materials that have been used in higher education as a result of new technologies ,a particular example will be `black board ` which is what many universities use these days. And use the work of timothy w. Luke cited in Kevin robins and frank Webster (2002) to explain this point further.
Online learning in co- operate different from of learning that we have in our information society has a result of the growing use of technology examples are black board which is what most universities use black board is a site where result, lecture note and other announcement are put up for student .discussion boards, media zoo and podcasts. However Bates, A.W. (2005;251) states that when "technology is combined with education, it can become even more culturally unstable, economically and politically threatening". but on the other hand it enhances teaching and scientific practice .
Podcasting has various technological aspects that support learning although the negative implication of podcast is that it is expensive even if it is a developing conventional audio and video material for learning and teaching purpose it demands the booking of expensive sound and video recording studios and it relies on the expertise of a range of technicians. Salmon G ,et al(2008;p 8 )"Although the finished product of such a process is typically professional and of 'broadcast' quality, the cost, the time and other resources involved means that most academics are not able to make optimum use of such technology for their educational programme". Which is not so much of a good thing to an extent because it is not available to many people. But however capturing and recording content for podcast is a much simpler process and can be learned quickly by anyone. Salmon G ,et al(2008) states how the simplicity of the technology of podcast was an evident in IMPALA project.
In IMPALA workshop, academics who never used recorded sounds and video for teaching were now able to learn the basic technology of recording content and also publishing podcast. Many participants in IMPALA project made their own podcast or provided small amount of support and training which could help their student create their own location away from the university. This is helpful because students do not have to be in the university when is not conducive enough for them, they can be outside the university and receive education. Podcasting offers potentials for student to access easy-to-use academic content and support from many locations. For instance we can have access to academic information when you're away from the campus but in relevant locations for learning such as on the dig or at work, while travelling and while carrying out everyday activities.
Bates (2005;32)"Online and distance learning can be found in the growing of number of higher educations and the main reason for virtual schools is to enable student in small or specialist schools to have access to specialist subject teachers from outside their community" that is one good implication for student and also teachers .although Distance learning does not offer immediate feedback. In a traditional classroom setting, a student's performance can be immediately assessed through questions and informal testing. With distance learning, a student has to wait for feedback until the instructor has reviewed their work and responded to it. Distance learning may not be acknowledged by all employers. Although most employers do acknowledge distance learning, certain employers do not. Students who want to work for a specific employer upon graduation should be sure of that employer's perspective about online education.( distance learning guide.com)distance education and e leaning have big in terms of higher education when it comes to the interaction of student and employers so however specials aspects needs to be considered.
According to O'Donnell (1998; p169), "Teaching loads (one measure of productivity) have been reduced over the years, and the characteristics reaction to prosperity is to reduce productivity further". This quote states that the use of technology in higher education have reduce the amount of work that teachers have to do which is a very good implication for teachers however can also be a very bad implication for student because why teachers teach is for student to have more knowledge about what they are learning because the teachers are said to be expertise in the flied of providing knowledge so if they productivity is low then the student for student to gain knowledge will be low.
These different kinds of technologies are beginning to make the teachers lose sight with the student and the world. However "student go to universities to learn and to suit themselves for a career, but they also want to go to schools because it will be fun(and when they think of fun, nothing that a professor does to, with or for them comes ready to mind)"O'Donnell (1998;p,173).
For universities to be fun, they have adapted (avatars of the world) that is like a second life with students and the teachers outside the real world, they look totally different from how they look normally. Second Life is an internet based application that uses three-dimensional graphics to represent an online environment. The Internet and multimedia technologies are reshaping the way knowledge is delivered. And the new ways of delivering this knowledge is more fun than just sitting in a class room listening to the teachers. For knowledge to be transmitted effectively the need for interaction has to be high in order to pursue educational knowledge so must people who might not be comfortable in a class room can feel better learning through second life
Student who have the traditional means of education, which is studying in the class room and going through full time education have a higher chance in getting a job. This is so because graduate and get a certificate as a full time student from the university and a company will rather give a job to a full time graduate than someone who went through home school. But according to O'Donnell (1998; p.182) "professors are being encouraged to increase the number of certificate giving to online student in other to encourage part time student, the self taught student and commercially-taught student to continue to rely on professors for what they will see has an essential part of their education: which is proof of having to meet certain standards" .so education can be offered and student can come to them for certificate.
If the use of new technology tools has changed education or will change education in the later future is one question that many researchers have tried to answer .O'Donnell's (1998) argues that to use technological tools to change education ,we must know what we are trying to do and what the purpose of education is. The traditional classroom is a place for rehearsing behaviour of the use of later life .like the laboratory, seminar and discussion section. in all these places where education will be more personal its create a space for student to behave like adult and be more responsible, this is a very good quality of traditional education so for that to be removed from the picture it is either impossible or will take a lot of effort .because the focus of such work is to make student active, is to draw the student out of passivity into activity are all these are what online education might not be able to produce .in the class room is encourages student to begin to think and write. Student are more likely to perform well .O'Donnell's proves that by talking about when student are called out in the class room to answer a question most times if they can't they find it embarrassing to as a result of that student are more likely to perform well. However, electronic media can help innovation. The student who is unable to perform in the class room might be able to perform better in a virtually community. However it can be argued that "the future belongs to the institution that both recognize and create a market for a new boundaryless, fearless pedagogy, clearly distinct from the process of evaluating and giving credentials". O'Donnell's (1998;p.189).
However, Buckingham, ( 2007), Argues that most academic explain and clam that technological impact in the educational sector will be very positive. They is a general assumption that teaching will be made more interesting ,student will learn faster and they will be introduction of new learning method and technique .although this seems to be correct it is arguable that this views are somewhat flawed .there is insufficient factual evident that technology improvement have made the teaching and learning process more successful .for example a lot of student find it difficult to draw a line between the use of internet to study and for entertainment
In my opinion, Education will always be education as long has you are receiving knowledge ,it will just come in different means .it cannot really be said that the use of technology will change education totally because the oldest and most established institution will always move the slowest and the traditional form of education has always been there so is not so easy for it to just leave the picture because that's what most people are used to.
Based on what O'Donnell, Salmon G ,et al and other theories have argued, technology is simple enough to put quickly and easily into the hands of most university teachers and students
With the way knowledge is now gained to the public, it is now a mixture of face to face interaction and learning virtually for example is the second life. It has changed the role of teachers.The information society, knowledge has become based on economy sector and at a result of that We worry most times that machines will take over the traditional method of teaching.Bates (2005;p,40) state that "Distance educations has grown and evolve over the last couple of years, the web in particular has transformed not only the pedagogy of distance education but also its organizational structures". Distance education has a crucial role in serving those who have difficulties for personal, social or economic reason in accessing conventional campus based education