Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Curriculum Development/Technological Impact

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How has technology impacted instructional design?

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[edit]

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.

Guided Discovery[edit]

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

Instructional Technology[edit]

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.

Software Programs[edit]

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.

Multiple Choice Questions[edit]

Click to reveal the answer.

Which country lags behind others in Internet availability in its schools?
C.United States

C.United States

The use of technology to provide or support education is known as:
A.Educational technology
B.Support technology
C.Application technology
D.Instructional technology

D.Instructional technology

According to studies, Instructional Technology is more beneficial for students with:
A. Long attention spans
B. Handicaps
C. Short attention spans
D. Birth Defects

C. Short attention spans

Dr. Charles E. Wales of West Virginia University has devised a learning initiative known as:
A.Guided discovery
B.Information processing
C.Interactive learning
D.Lectured learning

A.Guided discovery

Studies have proven that students retain what percentage of hands-on and simulated material.
A. 50%
B. 60%
C. 90%
D. 100%

C. 90%

Which of the three choices below might produce the greatest barrier for technology integration?
A. Student unwillingness to use the technology.
B. Teacher unwillingness to receive training on the proper usage of the technology.
C. Frequent system or service interruptions because the facility is not configured to support the use of the technology.
D. None of the above.

C. Frequent system or service interruptions because the facility is not configured to support the use of the technology.

You schedule individualized instruction from a specified computer module. An assessment you perform reveals only 60% of the class have attained proficiency in this computer module. Which retention elements could have improved your class over all assessment results?
A. Subject matter needed to be heard.
B. Subject matter needed to be read.
C. Subject matter needed to be viewed with directions.
D. Subject matter needed to allow guided hands on delivery or stimulation.

. Subject matter needed to allow guided hands on delivery or stimulation.

In response to question #7 which technological tool might be used to improve retention?
A. Microphone
B. Electric stimuli
C. Electronic whiteboard
D. Both A and C

D. Both A and C

Essay Question[edit]

Click to reveal a sample response.

In your opinion, what is the greatest problem concerning American schools?

In my opinion, the greatest problem concerning American schools are the student faculty ratios. I feel that the student faculty ratio has become a significant problem because more students in a class results in less attention from the teacher. When classrooms are overcrowded teachers spend more time on classroom management and assisting weaker students than giving each student equal attention.

One possible solution to this problem is to split school districts evenly. School boards across America should even out the number of students per classroom to about twelve students per teacher. With fewer students per classroom teachers will be able to give attention to each individual student instead of only giving attention to students with greater need.

In conclusion, American schools could use a close evaluation to enhance their performance. Many of the problems that American schools face can be fixed without much thought. The problem is however, that no one is “thinking” or devising a plan to fix such problems. Hopefully, in the near future there will be a positive change adopted so that all students will be able to achieve his or her dreams.


  • 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. 28 November 2003. 25 June 2007 <>
  • 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 <>.
  • SoftChalk LLC.. 7 Mar. 2007. 30 May 2007 <>.
  • “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 <>.