Technology has had advantages and disadvantages in an equal measure. The rate of technological growth cannot be stopped. Even governments are appalled with the effect of technology, which has posed a huge challenge to power. The education sector has not been left behind as far as the effects of technology are concerned. This research aims at the determining the effects of technology on the learning process. The negativities have gone out of proportion in terms of diluting the quality of education. However, students have reaped much from new technology. Time and money are saved thereby defeating the notion that education is expensive.
Data for this research will be gathered from scholarly articles in place and obtained from reliable databases. This topic has gained much attention especially from the education sector. Universities and institutions of higher learning are quickly integrating technology into their learning systems. A number of considerations are made before taking such a step. So far, some schools have been reluctant at integrating technology into the learning system due to the cost and uncertainties, but a majority of schools shave realized the potential of technology as part of the education system (Jones et al., 2005). Among the marvelous impacts of technology is the facilitation distant learning, which has decongested schools in the light of growing student numbers. Students can now learn from their homes.
Klopfer et al. (2009) support the fact that the integration of technology into the learning environment boosts the learning process. However, they acknowledge that most learning institutions and students know very little about this potential. Technology has flooded the paths of students that it cannot be ignored easily. From home to the classroom, students encounter the power of technology. The student experience with technology outside the classroom is a sufficient ground to integrate technology in the learning environment. The fact that students experience technology equally outside the classroom proves that all students have the same technological experience.
Wong et al. (2008) have documented the challenges crippling education in this era of rapid growth in information and communication technology (ICT). Reforms in education sectors all over the world are considering technology as an integral component. However, the authors express some doubts about the enthusiasm with technology in the learning environment. This doubt specifically leans towards learning outcomes. The authors sampled and reviewed technology implementation in Denmark, the Netherlands, the United States, Finland, Spain, Japan, and Portugal. They found out that a number of inconsistencies exist in the integration of technology in the learning environment.
Technology is useful in the learning environment and should be encouraged at all costs. Students find more convenience in a classroom equipped with technology than traditional classrooms. The use of iPads, online learning, and the Internet are powerful forces in the ICT sector with numerous benefits to education that learning institutions should not let go.
Advantages of technology
Statistics from across the globe reveal that students who are involved with technology in their learning process are more motivated (Motamedi, 2012). Moreover, the advancements in technology and technological tools in the curricula is associated with a direct increase in motivation and self-esteem in the users. Students with low concentration, less initiative, low participation and lack of interest have also shown great improvement by getting involved with the introduction of technological tools. Tutors who introduced technology into their curricula reported that poor students were more willing to work on computation skills regardless of the subject. According to Richtel (2012), this sudden and consistent growth in interest is attributed to the wide variety of options and set of opportunities that technology offers to students to effectively demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a wide range of areas and subjects.
Rather than continuing with the traditional system of learning where the student is expected to stay silent and receive information from the tutor unless allowed to ask question, the use of technology gives an opportunity for learners to engage their concentration through more participation (Motamedi 2012). Technology offers support tools for efficient communication both with the teachers and peers during the process of learning. It is extremely important for a learner to participate and play a key and active role in the process because they generate interest in the subject and easily memorize whatever knowledge they were involved in creating (Gertner, 2011).
Through active participation, the learners are subjected to exposure of the problems, their meanings, practicability and applicability in real life in a more exciting and attractive way through advanced technological tools. According to Motamedi (2012), Teachers, on the other hand, play the role of facilitators rather than the ultimate sources of information in the direct-learning system. Ultimately, the learners build the knowledge collaboratively and can associate and relate more with the knowledge because they feel part of the process and responsible for the outcome and results of their participation. Basic activities include; researching and retrieving information from online resources that helps to expose them to experts and a wide range of researchers and scholars necessary to avail information that is relevant, acceptable, and applicable worldwide (Singh & Means, 2000)
Enhanced collaboration with fellow students
In situations where technology was introduced and the same teachers observed the changes in the behavior of the students. Most teachers reported an inclination towards increased cooperation among the students. They organized peer tutorials among them more willingly and barely with help or direction from the tutors. Almost immediately technology was introduced to a group of students, they formed small groups or pairs first to share computers and then to advance uniformly in the learning process. They seem to enjoy and find pride in sharing new skills they obtain in operating the computers with their peers without any form of reluctance. According to Motamedi, The learning process is ultimately enhanced through the sharing of information as soon as one student masters the concept. The tutors are no longer under pressure to ensure every student understands a concept before they can proceed with the syllabus. They resort to ensuring only a few of the students have mastered the concept and rely on them to share the information in a manner more understandable to the rest of the class and that the peers can quickly associate with and grasp (Motamedi, 2012).
According to Gemmill and Peterson (2010), utilizing technological tools has evidently offered a platform for explicit study by the vast number of academic resources. Most students identified sources on their own and utilized outside sources to incorporate new information into their curricula. Since they are also accessible to a variety of gadgets such as laptops, smart phones and tablet computers, the students make the learning continuous even in their absence from school. Such sources include; satellite broadcasts, telecommunications and fax machines (Gemmill and Peterson, 2010 and Meinz & Hambrick, 2010).
Although reliance to exciting and attractive multi-media forms of communication make the young people lazy and reluctant to accommodate the traditional methods, it offers and represents the current world trends in trade and the future of communication. For instance, presenting assignments to their peers on either power-point slides or through video, gives vivid impressions of the speaker’s motives (Franklin, 2009). Animation and motion pictures create the attention in the audience necessary to help them get the issues that the speaker is raising. Since the world marketing trends have shifted their focus from manufacturer’s defined products to consumers oriented where the consumers define what they want, the students are learning using a relevant method that will be helpful in their careers.
The positive outcomes
School Libraries are full of outdated material in most institutions. This is caused by the high expense, time and activity involved printing and availing new books for research. Not only are they old but also pose a challenge in searching and finding the information from the shelves. It is also difficult and engaging in searching the content of the books. Moreover, there are never enough books for the students who need the information.
Online resources are a complete replacement for the books as they give solutions for all the problems in traditional manual searches. For example, the online resources have updated digital encyclopedias that are available to an unlimited number of students at ago. It is also easy to find information on the resources with efficient search engines on the websites. A school computer library and Internet connection for remote users is sufficient to serve the entire school simultaneously by providing unlimited sources of a wide range of origins and times (Franklin, 2009).
Through the communication and linking between schools in states, country or continents through the Internet, they are exposed to diverse cultures and knowledge. According to McCoy (2014), the exposure makes them more independent and useful in a wide variety of fields of study and helpful in other parts of the world and regions that need their expertise. This connection enhances the 21st century limitless trend of globalization. The students can for example, attend lectures through video conferencing on Skype and benefit from information from around the globe.
People’s reaction to the integration of technology
Advanced technology offers a variety tools for every interested person that are reputable. For instance, educational games for children, research engines for students of higher learning, it offers communication for the lectures that need to supply material directly to foreigners and students living away from the institution among other numerous advantages. These advantages address the problems and issues of students of all kinds (from student doctors pursuing Medicine to political scientists and Information Technology experts) (McCoy, 2014 and Yousef & Dahmani, 2010).
While the young people accept and accommodate the changes rapidly and happily, the old generation is reluctant in giving their support towards the new system of learning. The main reason for older people rejecting the simplification of technology in issues considered complex is the fact that Technology reduces that zeal and diligence in students making them lazy. Since it helps one to be independent as they study and work alone in private, the older people fear that the system is not giving students the crucial social skills that are practical and applicable in real life situations. Moreover, it is very difficult to impart a code of ethics and moral standards acceptable and desired within a particular society besides the laws of country through dependence on technology. Instead, the students are exposed to a wide and liberal combination of laws and human rights that are not specific to their origin. They older generation feel that technology is rapidly and consistently eliminating and eroding their culture that makes them unique and valuable to the world (Gemmill and Peterson, 2010).
The Success of Technology
The success of replacing the traditional system of learning with constantly advancing technology lies in the opportunities and improvements that it offers in making learning easier and exciting to the young people. While traditional methods were teacher-centered where the sole source of information was the teacher (regardless of their competency and efficiency), advanced technology offers a wide variety of options for participation and relating with topics to collaboratively build knowledge and skills. Advanced technology also focuses on the practicability and applicability of the concepts in real life situations with special emphasis on the modern society rather than notions and beliefs to maintain good morals. Some of the opportunities are;
Improving cost of learning
Online learning is today a very popular system of efficient education through saving costs and time out often spared for the learning process. Initially, distant learning involved enrollment in a local institution to pursue courses of another institution (often bigger College). The students of distant learning would attend classes away from the main campuses and official premises of their Colleges of choice. They would receive mails of their course material including unit descriptions and assignments and would mail back their assignments to their tutors at the main education center. Although helpful at the time, online courses have advantages that surpass that system by a large extent. Today, continuing education does not require mailing or direct communication from a lecturer in person. There is also no need for hard-copy documents of assignments and course outlines as all the information is processed via the Internet efficiently for the convenience of the record keepers. The risk of replication and loss of data witnessed in the traditional systems is eliminated with the effective use of databases through collecting information from communication of the student via the College website (McCoy, 2014).
The importance of globalization is tremendous in improving the economies of countries across the world. By connecting schools in various regions such as different states, countries, or continents through the Internet, they are exposed to diverse cultures and knowledge making them more independent and useful in a wide variety of fields of study and helpful in other parts of the world and regions that need their expertise (Gertner, 2011). This link of communication supports the strategy of globalization. The students can for example, attend lectures through video conferencing on Skype and benefit from information from around the globe (Bartti et al., 2009).
The disadvantages of integrating advanced technology in schools
To date, funding the integration of complete and functional systems that sufficient and effective has proved a challenge in most schools in both developed and third world countries. In India, for instance, the government faces a great challenge in its ability to fund the school digitization process. The barrier to the establishment of the system has proven challenging due to the priorities of the budgets especially in poor areas. Despite the rapidly depreciating costs of Internet installation, most schools have not been able to access the Internet as they nurse other more prioritized aspects of their lives in the society.
While access to the Internet is the greatest challenge to most schools especially in developing countries, the lack of access to hardware components makes 67% of these schools. A further meager 16% cite software access a problem (Motamedi 2012).
Training the staff to ensure their efficiency in delivering the digitized system of education is also part of the high costs limiting the governments from realizing the computerization of all schools in their countries (Blair, 2012).
In most countries around the world, the old and unexposed generation of teachers is reluctant to increase their education by learning and training in computer systems and utility. Most of the experienced tutors are, therefore, incompetent regarding the use of computers in learning. While they prefer the old traditional system of imparting the learner with knowledge directly, these tutors limit the students from an efficient and exciting learning process that is also enjoyable and fun (Motamedi, 2012). Only a few of the tutors are experts and willing to increase their knowledge and skills in using technology to enhance their teaching and the process of memorizing information through participation in learning using advanced technology.
The survival of this new system
The modern society is today accustomed to technological gadgets to an extent of addiction, the older generation has completely failed in their bid to minimize and control the use of smart phones for instance and unlimited access to the Internet. As they fade away, technology continues to take the central part of the lives of most of the young people as their careers, entertainment and education depends fully on advanced technology and information processing. The constant innovation rapidly engaged every often to solve the arising problems and offer even more effective and easier solution makes technology more reliable, dependable and consequently a relevant part of the future (Meinz and Hambrick, 2010).
The governments across the world have proceeded to enact laws that require the public workers to be computer literate in both developing and developed countries. These laws indicate the sustainability of technology in the coming years proving that technology is here to stay. Motamedi writes;
“For many years computer literacy, if not expertise, has been a requirement for a number of office and managerial positions. It is only in recent years that the same expectation has been voiced for those in the teaching profession. Many groups and individuals have sought funding for and the donation of computers for school libraries and classrooms as well as the educational software to ensure students obtain the best education possible.” (Motamedi, 2012).
The role of technology and impact on the lives of learners and the economy in general can neither be stopped nor limited. It is therefore, only wise for the government seeking to improve education systems in the countries to adopt and strive to regulate the rapidly advancing technological systems to ensure manageable growth.
This research sought to determine the effects of technology on the learning process and the development of the economies of countries in general. Despite the negative effects such as erosion of moral standards through lack of social skills and exposure to pornographic material, for example, there are unequaled advantages of technology that have created massive improvements in the world economy and enhanced globalization and free trade. In turn, globalization has availed trade transactions, availed goods, and services and increased employment opportunities in many areas across the globe. This paper has shown how the advantages of technology in the learning process surpass the costs of installation and adoption of computerized systems as well as the few demerits.
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