Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Curriculum Development/Technological Impact
Technology has proven to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. Not only does technology enhance learning practices, it also allows for many new types of learning experiences. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary technology is defined as the study, development, and application of devices, machines, and techniques used for manufacturing and productive processes (Webster 340). Without the innovations of technology teachers would have a limited domain for instructional design. However, by incorporating technology into the learning environment teachers are now able to expose students to many things that were impossible in the past.
Technologically Advanced Counties
Many studies have been performed within different countries to determine which country appears to be the most technologically advanced. In a report presented by the magazine Education Week showed that schools within the United States lag behind other nations concerning internet availability(“U.S. Schools”). According to the seventh annual report from Education Week the United States proved to have the leading number of computers per student however, most of those computers did not have active internet connections (“U.S. Schools”). This report explained that although the United States has a substantial number of computers for students, the computers are often set up to aid students without providing them access to the internet. Simply allowing the students to use the computers without internet access is similar to cheating each person out of his or her own personal learning adventure.
Technology can be implemented into curriculum in numerous ways. For example, programs like Blackboard, Digital Storytelling, Softchalk, and Breakthrough to Literacy provide students with a sense of “guided discovery” . The National Education Association Research Division reports that there is currently a national goal to help students gain higher order thinking skills (Gokhale). Today’s society faces a rapidly changing technological world where workers need to be able to think creatively to keep the United States economically competitive with other countries. Therefore, Dr. Charles E. Wales of West Virginia University has devised an initiative known as “guided discovery” (Gokhale). The idea of guided discovery is fueled by the belief that through labs and properly designed computer simulations it may be possible to revolutionize education. Research shows that students retain information more effectively when they use their problem solving skills. In other words, Dr. Wales believes that allowing students to perform more “hands-on” projects will help them better retain information.
Student Retention of Subject Matter
Subject matter that is read - 10% retained
Subject matter that is heard - 20% retained
Subject matter that is viewed & heard - 30% retained
Subject matter that is viewed w/ directions given - 50% retained
Subject matter that is hands-on or simulated - 90% retained
The use of technology to provide or support education is known as instructional technology(Abbott). Instructional technology allows teachers to introduce students to new information through guided discovery rather than lectures. Studies have shown that the attention span of children and young adults have grown shorter over the past years (Abbott). With the shorter attention spans, instructors now have a reason to incorporate as much technology as possible into a lesson to keep the students interested.
There are hundreds of software programs that are available to educators. One basic program that is commonly used is Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint allows users to create projects that involve graphics, audio files, as well as video files. In other words, PowerPoint can easily be used by novice technologists. Another program that has become popular within the last decade is titled HyperStudio. HyperStudio HyperStudio is a product that provides students and teachers with an immense range of media-creation tools (“HyperStudio”). With brainstorming tools, visual organizers, project planners, and multimedia presentation capabilities HyperStudio has the capacity to encourage project-based learning, collaborative learning, and create assessment components (“HyperStudio”). SoftChalk SoftChalk is another software program that has proven to be beneficial to both instructors and students. This program allows educators to build lessons filled with pop-up text annotations, self-assessment quizzes, and interactive learning games (“SoftChalk”). SoftChalk is simple to use and does not require learning a complex software system.
In conclusion,the world of teaching has changed a great deal within the last decade. It is safe to say that technology has had a lot to do with implementing most of those changes. Although the idea of technology in the classroom sounds exciting, society must first realize that there are many obstacles to overcome. First, educators must be certain that the technology being used is educational and not just fun to operate; second, funding for educational equipment must be met so that every student will have an equal opportunity; third, the United States is in dire need of making the internet available in all school districts and for every computer that is being utilized by a student. Once these flaws are eliminated, educational technology and software will be extremely beneficial teaching modules.
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- Abbott, Amy. “Instructional Technology.” Danville Community College, Blackboard. 10 Jan. 2006.
- Deaney, Rosemary, Sara Hennessey, and Kenneth Ruthven. “Incorporating Internet Resources Into Classroom Practice: Pedagogical Perspectives and Strategies of Secondary-School Subject Teachers.” UK: U of Cambridge. Sciencedirect.com 28 November 2003. 25 June 2007 <http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/science>
- Gokhale, Anu A. “Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking.” Journal of Industrial Teacher Education 33.4 1996: N. pag.
- HyperStudio 4.5. 2007. Sunburst Technology. 30 May 2007 <http://www.hyperstudio.com>.
- SoftChalk LLC.. 7 Mar. 2007. 30 May 2007 <http://www.softchalk.com>.
- “Technology.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. 1995.
- “U.S. Schools Lag Behind in Internet Availability and Use.” Science Activities 41.3. 2004: N. pag. Heldref Publications. 30 May 2007 <http://find.galegroup.com>.