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In the 21 century, technology is everywhere. Especially the new generation is growing up with technology and gets familiar with it. Computer technologies have dramatically changed the way people reach information, do research and communicate with people all around the world. Because of this reason, schools and teachers need to be aware of improving their technological tools and skills to be able to catch the students` attentions and interests. Using technology in classrooms also makes the lesson more efficient.
The presence of technology in education became a must in order to match with the development of other areas such as engineering, medicine, defense and aerospace, agriculture and science of modern times. The field of education has witnessed a great boom in the late twentieth century, but he tends to take us a broad dimensions at the beginning of this century. The governmental and private educational institutions raced towards this direction to find and provide effective means to help the student to learn easily and provide them with the ability to innovate effectively in the study and in their future work.
Before we talk about the importance of technology in education, we have to know what is meant by " educational technology in education". " Educational technology" is defined as a means or an integrated process involving theories of education, ideas, and applications through which you try to enter the means of modern technology to match the learning objectives of developing and facilitating education, and to find viable solutions to the problems and learning difficulties faced by the teacher and student. When the means of technology like computers and internet interact in enriching education then the educational process becomes simple and easy in a way that allow those working in the field of education to overcome the problems facing education easily.
We can define the role that technology plays in the field of education as follows:
1 - The technology plays the role of the guide , which helps the teacher in guiding the scientific material for students, and replaces the traditional method of education in explaining the lesson and providing information. The technology, by all its means of development, can simply do a major change in the private educational level of the teacher and his ability in introducing the approach to the student in a way that gives the opportunity to greater and easier chance in understanding the lessons. This will reflect the student's ability to develop his mental and intellectual learning, and refine his creative talents and capabilities in his school activities.
2 - A modern and educational tool like computer could focus the attention of students for using it in the field of education. Taking it as a guide or electronic assistant will guide them, by its various programs and functions, in the field of learning and discovering new talent and the development of mental abilities in various subjects and education. As well as the Internet opens a new door that helps students per semester to participate in educational activities in the field of research and exchange of information through these activities.
3 - Technology provides an abundant source of information that both the teacher and student need it. Internet has become a broad sea and has a wealth of information such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps and other information sources that are difficult to obtain through traditional research. In the time where it takes the teacher or professor days to search for information in a particular subject, going online and surf the internet will not take more than hours (or preferably minutes) to get that information easily without any stress.
4 - Technology, as a source of communication, has opened wide branches where the teacher and student stay in a continuous contact by interacting over the internet. While the teacher is sitting in front of his computer, the student can communicate with his/her mentor at home via the Internet , in this case they have found a new way to communicate, and open the door to communicate and discuss matters related to the student in his study. Students can also communicate between each other regarding their homework or their research process. Also the internet became a communication tool between the teacher and the school via emails. Modern schools interact with their teachers via emails not by paper reports.
Due to the prior knowledge that I have mentioned , I decided to focus , during my observations, on integration technology in the teaching process. " Does the teacher integrate the technology in his/her instructional time ?
2. Literature of review:
Technology of education plays a major role in the educational process and this importance is reflected in raising the level of education and learning and the development of thinking, by:
â€¢ Raising the learner's attention: It is working to raise the learner to watch a film or television program or transparent segments on a particular topic.
â€¢ Increase the experience of the learner: the learning techniques provide new subjects in which the classroom teacher can not provide it, thereby expanding the expertise areas of the learner.
â€¢ Work on building and configuring the true trends and concepts of the learner by providing a lot of skills and ideas.
â€¢ Make the learning experience more effective and more lasting impact and less likely to forget. These techniques work on the installation of information for the learners, especially when they see things, where it is difficult to forget because of viewing the content of the picture presented.
â€¢ Working on the diversification of teaching methods: it can be a diversity in the methods used in education via variety of learning techniques, as they can provide a variety of topics in various ways that differ from those techniques used in the traditional education methods, through the transparent slides or television or cinema or the computer or other diverse educational devices.
Mabel CPO Okojie, Anthony A. Olinzock, and Tinukwa C. Okojie.Boulder ( 2011. P. 66 ) indicate that "Technology used for teaching and learning should be considered an integral part of instruction and not as an object exclusive to itself. Viewing technology integration from a wide perspective will provide teachers with the necessary foundation to implement technology into the classroom more successfully".
The role of technology in teaching English :
Lang (2005 ) declares that "there are many advantages to the integration of technology in the classroom for students, particularly English as a foreign language. To be able to improve their language skills, such as writing and reading and listening to speak and learn the English language and the use of computers and software to make sure of its work and correct itself, and improve their language skills, and the use of Internet and e-mail to search for information, and to accede to the threats, and the dissemination of their work, and reading texts technology, and communicating between each other even".
The reasons that yields for learning languages by the help of the computer:
1 - Development of experiential learning in the field of the educational process.
2 - Increase the motivation of the students for education.
3 - To improving the academic achievement of students.
4 - To increase the interaction between the student and the computer.
5 - Individual learning through self-learning and make the student self-reliant in learning.
6 - To organize the systematic creative thinking of the learner.
7 - To save time and reduce the effort on the teacher and the learner.
8 - Multiple sources of knowledge for the variety of programs that can be provided by the device to one student or several students to education by conclusion.
Advantages of Computer Assisted Language Learning CALL:
1 - Motivation:
Use technology outside or inside the classrooms usually raise the students' interest, where the student interacts with scientific material whether with the help of a mentor or from others, and also the student can deal with parts of the scientific material and the immediate transition from partial to another through multimedia (such as images and video .... .)
2 - Adapting learning to the student:
Computer has an important role in the process of new learning and teaching, and without the use of computers in the educational process it is difficult for the students to achieve academic progress.
Adaptation of the student with computers and software means the speed of learning and also the student will be able to choose what to learn, which makes the student more efficient.
Students tend to learn in the form of stories and educational games or solve puzzles and this could be through the computer, more than the traditional direct teaching.
3 - Individuality:
These programs and educational tools correspond with the needs of each learner, and meet the desires and also in line with the scientific level, which allows the student to quickly learn and rely on himself to learn any educational material.
4 - Cosmic:
It can be accessed anywhere, at any time through these tools without barriers through multimedia, that can be used to introduce the educational material.
The role of technology in teaching mathematics :
Due to the enormous technical progress that we are witnessing in our time, calculators exist and become accessible to everyone, and moving away from using it in the school curriculum would negatively impact on the attitudes of students towards the study of mathematics, and thus generate a trend towards the introduction of a calculator in the mathematics curriculum, although there was disagreement about the inclusion in the curricula of primary school.
The project of the British Schools Council showed that the use of a calculator is effective in the teaching of mathematics in high school, it helps students with less abilities to deal with more mathematical applications instead of spending time in the calculations of the mechanism. And also the results of many studies showed the feasibility of introducing calculators in the mathematics curriculum in high school , for example:
1. Using a calculator helps to change the method of teaching some topics where it is possible to deal with numerical data and perform operations easily while saving time and effort.
2. Using a calculator provides greater opportunities to study the attitudes and realistic dealing with numerical sequences, geometric, and exponential functions, infinite sequences.
3. Using a calculator to give rounding to irrational real numbers.
4. Using a calculator to find rounding for the root of the real roots of an equation of the third degree.
We should not stop on the use of calculators only, but it should be extended to include the computer, which can serve largely the process of teaching and learning of mathematics.
The computer is the most technical challenge to educators because of its impact on mathematics, and methods of teaching.
Many different programs appeared that resulted in a wide range of mathematical functions in addition to the increasing of opportunities for teaching and learning of mathematics through the use of computers as an educational tool.
The International Committee for the teaching of mathematics felt sorry about the doubt that still hovers on the introduction of computers to the school curriculum in the nineties, and there were many trends that support the introduction of the PC to the high school approach, whether through the study of computers and training to use it, or through the use of pre designed software or software prepared by the learners themselves.
The computer is usually introduced to the curriculum under two distinct segments:
1. Studying the computer and training how to use it.
2. the use of programs to study the mathematical relationships and solving problems.
The second goal diverted into two directions:
1. The learners should write their own programs.
2. Learners should use ready programs.
Examples of projects that relied on the learners do their own programs (SMP) in the United Kingdom, and (CAMP) and (SOLO) in the United States of America
The computer gains an educational feature it became the key that can be used as an educational tool, it can be used as :
1. Electronic board used by the teacher.
2. A mentor that facilitates the learning process of the learner.
3. A means to evaluate the performance of the learner.
4. Individual education where the programs include exercises, training, and self-evaluation.
5. A tool to perform calculations and the representation of functions, operations, ...
6. A tool to encourage experimentation and research, which are the components in the process of learning and teaching mathematics.
It should be noted that the emergence of computer science has increased the importance of teaching mathematics-related to sequences such as counting, matrices and probability, statistics, and requests the introduction of a unit or units for a small computer programming.
The major problem that students are facing in math is dealing with real world problems.
Rodney X. Sturdivant, Penelope Dunham, and Richard Jardine ( 2009, p.171 ) declare that
"Teaching problem solving to students in a twenty-first century mathematics program simply should use available technology. Advances in recent years have led to exciting opportunities that allow students in the average mathematics class to work on problems that are much richer and more ''real'' than ever before. With these advances comes a need to develop and implement faculty development programs for technology-based instruction in mathematics departments. Integrating a technology-supported focus on problem solving into a mathematics program is, however, an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one. The implementation involves gradual changes over time in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. Similarly, faculty development to support such a technology-based curriculum is best done incrementally.
Used properly, technology enhances instruction and makes the class- room more exciting than ever".
3. Methodology :
I used classroom observation in analyzing integrating technology during instructional time. I decided to observe an English class and a math class, twice each, for ninths graders at a high school under the name of applied technology.
According to my schedule and the other teachers' schedule we arranged for four observations. The first two was on Sunday during the 7th and 8th period and it was a math class, while the third and the fourth observations were on Sunday the 7th period and Monday the 2nd period respectively and it was an English class.
Before start answering this question, I would like to explain some other circumstances that were going on during these periods.
I used a form that divided the lesson into 3 parts :
Body of the lesson.
These criteria of each part are illustrated in this form:
The criteria that I mentioned above helps to have a good educational atmosphere during the class and to implement any strategy or method that should be used during the instructional time.
In the English class the 2 periods were about reading and writing . The teacher was using a program called " Edmodo" for doing activities and involve the students more in the class. She uses the projector and the internet to show the students some videos related to their topic. During the writing period the teacher divided the students into groups , and each group was asked to write an essay by typing it on the laptop and send it to the other groups in order to read them and send their feedback to each other.
Edmodo is an online-based interactive tool that is designed for educational purposes. It has both Learning Management System (LMS) features as well as Social Media (SM) and Twitter features/interface. The sheer fact that it looks like FaceBook (FB) makes it easier for students to learn how to use it due to their familiarity with FB.
Online discussions: the teacher post a message that opens the door to an online threaded discussion. The teacher set the minimum word limit for a response. This allows students who are not of high level to take their time before posting their responses as they tend to read the ones posted by their peers first, which is acceptable in an ESL class environment, as long as they don't plagiarize.
Sharing Platform: for example, students share two links to online articles on local news. Students are asked to paraphrase the headline and write a preview of 50 words on the article to motivate their peers to read it. Within the same context, students are encouraged to share reviews of books, websites, musical albums, TV shows and even movies.
Voting Pallet/ Poll:
The voting function in Edmodo allows the teacher to check Students comprehension at the end of a lesson. When students receive a question as a Poll, they don't get to see what others have chosen until they post their response, which makes this function a true simultaneous reflection of students' understanding.
Another use for this function is to check Students background on a topic before class, which helps the teacher in planning.
Finally, it's an easy and immediate way to receive Students feedback.
Sharing files: teacher and students can share almost any file types. This facilitates the exchange of files in the class as Students can download the files before coming to class or preview them within the platform. In addition, the students can publish their weekly audio journals on Edmodo. MP3 files can be played automatically without having to download, which allows for immediate interaction with audio material published on the group wall.
Embedding: Edmodo allows the teacher to embed any presentation, video or multimedia that comes with an embedding code, which has reduced the need to visit other platforms. The teacher embed flashcards from www.quizlet.com, video tutorials from www.screencast.com as well as Google presentations to share material with the students.
During the math class the teacher was explaining how to solve absolute value equations.
He was not using the traditional way, like solving on the board. He was using the smart board and the projector, while the students were using their laptops. He designed a software to solve such equations by using animations , different colors and different shapes so the students can understand and be familiar with the subject in an easier way.
This program was sent to the students via email that was created by the school. This is a nice interactive way between the teacher and the students so they can communicate between each other not necessary during the school but at anytime outside the school.
The teacher also used the math blog that was designed by the school to upload materials related to the subject. The student in this case can go to this blog at anytime to check and download this material that helps to understand the material.
Also the teacher was using the smart and wireless pad. This pad was used by the teacher during passing between the students so he can access the board by writing on the board while explaining or moving from slide to another without the need of going back to the board and computer. This tool helps to be closer to the students specially the weak ones and this makes the interaction between the teacher and the student more effective.
Due to the rapid development of information technology and technology of education, it was not feasible to keep the teacher away from the technical scene, which has become an irreversible reality, so be the only option is to move to the era of technology itself, so that it can meet the challenges posed by the intelligence of the student, and his knowledge in every new in the world of technology, and his use of modern complicated means of communication.
The supporters of technology in education are keen to emphasize that the use of modern technology does not eliminate the role of the teacher, but on the contrary, will continue his role forever, but it will become more difficult because the teacher is the essence of the educational process, and should be up to date for every new, and flexible to be creative and innovate, and can manage the work ably. So the career of teaching became a combination of the tasks of the leader, and critic and the router in order to be able to face the age requirements and its challenges and what is called globalization with its cultural, social and economic challenges.
The success of the teacher is related to the best use of technology by transforming the classroom from place where the information is transmitted in one direction, from teacher to student, to a learning environment characterized by dynamic, and student-centered, where students can interact between each others as groups and with another classes from around the world via internet, and follow the teaching skills that take into account the needs and expectations of diverse and disparate recipients, and to develop a practical understanding of technology education with the continuous focus on the educational role of his personal.