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From the age of the one-room schoolhouse to modern day, the field education has undergone countless reforms and changes. The technological progression from the time of the historical one-room schoolhouse may seem unfathomable. From a slate chalkboard to magnetic chalkboards to white boards, the aspects of a typical classroom have morphed greatly from what it once was. Now educators, teachers, and students alike need to look upon to what is new and upcoming in society. Technological advances such as the cell phone, the LCD projector, the computer, the Internet, and the interactive whiteboard (IWB) all leave their own separate impact upon the way education works. There are advantages and disadvantages of all the media previously listed when it come to being used in an educational setting. Teachers must learn to adapt to these new technologies and any others that arise. The constant changes in technology clearly affect the way teachers go about with their pedagogy. Technological changes do not only occur within the United States, but all countries including Great Britain. The rise of technology brings to light advantages as well as disadvantages, but it is integral that pedagogy remains current and update with the newest advancements as they touch the curriculum and the teaching styles of educators both in the United States and Great Britain.
Technology of the Day and the Ethical Issues That Accompany It
As technology tends to advance to a new level at a rapid pace, one may see how certain technologies serve to replace what precedes them. The original purposes of such technologies change over time as society demands. Technology is very versatile; therefore, there may be various uses of each technology invented both for teacher and student.
A.P. Testing and Combating Cheating
Being that cell phones are used as a source of communication, students are not permitted to have cell phones during tests like the Advanced Placement (A.P.) test. The College Board attempts to combat the cheating that may ensue because cell phones provide students with the ability to calling friends who live in different time zones during scheduled breaks, texting one another answers within the class, looking up answers on the mobile web, etc. Graphing calculators are only allowed during certain sections of certain A.P. tests because students have the ability to store notes and other information on the calculator; thereby, supplying the opportunity to sneak in the information that others do not have access to. The College Board explicitly states within their Exam Security Policies and Procedures that "You should not, under any circumstances, take multiple choice questions from the room, give them to anyone else, or discuss them with anyone else (including your AP teacher) through any means, including, but not limited to, e-mail, text massages, and the Internet…You may not bring cell phones, MP3 players, pagers, or PDAs into the testing room…You may not consult textbooks, teachers, other students, any electronic device (including wireless e-mail devices or cell phones), or any other resource during the breaks between Section I or II of the exam, or during any other unscheduled breaks" (College Board, 2008, p. 1). The testing programs run by the College Board as well as other programs like Educational Testing Services (ETS), professors at colleges, and teachers in the public and private school systems now must try to figure out how to combat cheating as the classroom becomes even more technologically advanced.
The Internet in today’s society acts as a portal in which anyone is able to access information almost instantly. The Internet serves as a tool of research, communication, and networking. Teachers and students may both reap the benefits of the Internet as it may have valuable information that can be interacted with and improve learning. The Internet may be used as a means of communication and networking as people can join social networks like MySpace or Facebook, post upon blogs like Xanga, Livejournal and England’s Bebo, send e-mails, using technology like Wikia to display information that can be worked on and edited by multiple people, and lots more.
AIM and Cyber-bullying
The Internet also may be used as a connection to programs like American Online Instant Messenger (AIM). AIM provides a quick way to communicating with others while not being in person or speaking to them over the phone; therefore, one of its advantages may be that people may talk online as well as multi-task by doing other work at a computer. In the school setting, firewalls are set up so that students are not permitted to use AIM as it may cause a distraction from class. Out of school, AIM is a way for friends to communicate and may also be used as a way to bully people. Cyber-bullying has begun to crop up as a problem not only through AIM, but through texts, mean comments on MySpace and Facebook, etc. Stalking others online, sexual solicitations, and harassment have also become a problem with using such technologies. According to Bill Belsey, a nationally recognized educator from Alberta, Canada, defines cyber-bullying as "the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phones and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others" (Keith, Susan & Martin, Michelle E., 2005, p. 2). By having students virtually attacked, schools must decide what sites their firewalls block, and how to deal with this new type of bullying for the sheer fact that “parents and kids relate to technology very differently…adults approach computers as practical tools, while for kids the Internet is a lifeline to their peer group” (Keith, Susan & Martin, Michelle E., 2005, p. 5). Such manipulations of technologies bring up questions to what and why they should be used. The advantages to the using of technology are that it may help and enhance student learning as well as making the material learned more applicable to student life; some of the disadvantages include the effectiveness or lack of, students becoming distracted, cheating, etc. Besides the manipulations that occur, knowing how technology affects students is integral for teachers as they think about outside influences like parents, extracurricular activities, and social and cultural characteristics of their students in order to properly assess how to deal with them and plan their lesson plans (Danielson, 2007).
Technology and Teachers
Technology can be helpful within the classroom. Although there may be disadvantages to incorporating technology, it can be positive in the classroom because it “enhance[s] learning and student achievement” (Hall, Quinn, & Gollnick, 2008, p. 384). Now that technology is being integrated into education, it is important that “aspiring teachers have access to a range of software that can enhance teaching in an array of subjects” (Honawar, 2008, p. 29). Not only do teachers need to be kept up to date on what technologies are out there, but they need to also be able to integrate it into their lesson. Another advantage of a teacher using PowerPoint presentations, video clips, and LCD projectors in their classes is that it may help the visual learners of the class. By using technology, teachers may get their content across to the students better as they are using approaches that the students can relate to and connect with. By using outside resources to spice up a lesson, students may become more enthusiastic to learn, engage in their learning, and pay attention (Danielson, 2007). According to James Hartley (2007), a teacher and writer for the British Journal of Educational Technology, he believes that “new technology is used to teach and enhance the teaching of specific topics” (p. 4). According to Hargreaves (2004) and Knapper and Cropley (2000), as cited by James Hartley (2007), they believe that “new technologies can contribute to lifelong learning by the very fact that they typically enhance the motivation to learn” (p. 9). Therefore the integration of technology like computers, the Internet, televisions and DVDs, LCD projectors, and IWB all serve as a means to engage and motivate students in learning.
Technology and Students
Clearly from what had be previously stated, students also are affected heavily by technology. It can even be said that “we cannot travel, communicate, teach or learn without [technology]” (Hartley, 2007, p.1). The world around the youth of today consists of mp3 players, cell phones, individual laptops and computers, cameras, TV, DVD, and much more. As discussed above, some technologies may be taken advantage of by the students. On the other hand, technology can be very useful in enhancing students learning. Through things like the Internet, students are now able to collect “data that once took days to collect [that] now takes a few seconds” (Honawar, 2008, p.29). The Internet provides students with a resource where that are given an opportunity to explore matters that interest them more in depth.
Students may utilize technological resources and the internet while researching and further their own knowledge with credible information (Danielson, 2007). Students must be able to learn how to differentiate what sites on the Internet are credible and which ones are not if they are referencing such sources in any projects because it is commonly known that anyone can create their own website and put up information, whether it is accurate or not. Many students rely to Wikipedia for their information and research, but students should not blindly trust the information given by Wikipedia as it is able to be edited by anyone at any given time. While students become more acquainted with research and credible sources, they learn valuable knowledge that may be utilized in their lives in their future. Hence, students are surrounded by technology as it serves multiple services to them such as a means of communication, information, and a provider of lifelong lessons.
Technology in Education
The United States
Moving the Internet into the Classroom
The advancements on technology have taken different routes and impacts in different countries. In the United States of America, it can be seen that technology is being rapidly integrated into school systems. According to an article in Education Week entitled Tracking U.S. Trends, "In 1994, just over a third of U.S. public schools—35 percent—had access to the Internet. By 2005, the Internet had penetrated into virtually all elementary and secondary schools, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics" (Bausell, 2008, p. 39). Bausell continues to rattle off U.S. statistics such as “only 3 percent [of classrooms] had Internet access in 1994. But by 2005, students in 94 percent of the nation’s classrooms were able to go online” (p.39).
Interactive Whiteboards in the American Classroom
The United States is not only integrating the Internet into the classroom, but some schools are also trying to incorporate other technologies, like interactive whiteboards (IWB) into their classrooms. Before IWB is widely used across the country, the experts in the field of education must figure out “what teachers need to know and do in order to work effectively with this device” (Hartley, 2007, p. 7). Some studies, like an American study done by Clemens, Moore and Nelson (2001), have shown positive results to utilizing the IWB. According to the study, children who were aided by an IWB in the study supposedly showed “considerable gains from pretest to posttest” and the students using the IWB seemed to have “[responded] enthusiastically to the new method” (Hartley, 2007, p. 7).
NCATE and National Standards
With the onset of having technology being used throughout the classroom, it has been seen that “more…schools and colleges of education desire to integrate technology in the methodology portion and coursework” (Honawar, 2008, p. 29). Technology is even being integrated into the United States’ national standards with help from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE, which “accredits more than half of the 1,200 teacher-preparation programs in the nation,” has been working with the “International Society for Technology in Education to come up with a set of standards that colleges seeking its imprimatur have to meet” (Honawar, 2008, p. 30). The standards set by NCATE “require teacher-candidates to exhibit knowledge, skills, and dispositions that equip them to teach technology applications…to show they can use technology to support student learning of content” (Honawar, 2008, p. 30).
Other Associations and State Incorporation of Technology
Other associations, such as the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education, are "[working to] release a handbook on using technology to enhance learning…[by the title] Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge…[including] chapters on how colleges and districts can integrate technology into specific content areas, as well as professional development of teachers" (Honawar, 2008, p. 30). The states are also attempting to incorporate the use of technology by integrating technology into the learning of the disciplines of science and mathematics, introducing the idea of online coursetaking, and attempting to ensure “the technology competence of their educators” (Bausell, 2008, p. 42). The most action that the states have taken is found within the “efforts to write technology standards for educators” (Bausell, 2008, p. 42).
The Problem of Funding
Clearly the United States has been attempting to integrate technology as it continues to evolve. The biggest problem that the United States has run into the issue in which “teacher colleges…being cash-strapped…a major hurdle for some colleges has been funding” (Honawar, 2008, p. 31). Although the United States has signed the implementation of a few federal grant programs like the 1999 program entitled Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3), it is clearly not enough to transform all schools found within the country. But as technology grows, teachers will have to learn how to use it in order to have the students connect with it and become engaged in learning. Educators must also understand the idea that by using technology in their lessons, “we [teachers] are giving the children ownership of their own education…they are moving from memorizing facts to knowing how to find information and research it themselves” (Honawar, 2008, p. 31).
General Information About Technology Use in Great Britain
Great Britain is also attempting to figure out how to incorporate technology into everyday life and in the classroom. It has been said that in the United Kingdom (UK) “over 60% of children have access to home computers” (Hartley, 2007, p. 7). The results of a national survey showed that “84% of 9-19-year-olds…used the Internet at least one a week and that, for 72% of them, email was the most popular form of communication” (Hartley, 2007, p. 7). Although there was not too much information about Great Britain specifically incorporating the Internet into the classroom, it seems that Great Britain is making strides in other technological areas.
Great Britain and Teaching From Afar
Like colleges and cyber-schools that are found within the United States, Great Britain is experimenting with linking different schools together in a type of shared learning experience. A project described by Ho (2000) “[links] up (via email) two primary schools, one in the UK and one in Singapore, with officers on board a British warship on route from UK to Hong Kong via Singapore” (Hartley, 2007, p. 8). According to Ho’s study, the “children involved were highly motivated, that they had a positive attitude towards writing and that there were cognitive gains over time” (Hartley, 2007, p. 8). Hence, technology is a helpful tool that aids students to grow cognitively and should be integrated into education.
Great Britain and the Interactive Whiteboard
One of the technologies that England seems to be gravitating towards is the technology of the interactive whiteboard (IWB). According to a statistics found within a case study report on IWBs, "In January 2004, Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education in England, announced that, in addition to the £25 million previously made available to school in September 2003; a further £25 million would be released for the purchase of IWBs" (Wood & Ashfield, 2008, p. 85). By investing the government’s money in IWBs, clearly Great Britain thinks that incorporating technology into the classroom is important. An advantage of using an IWB seems to be the teacher’s ability to “interact with software at the front of a class rather than from the computer…selecting, activating and interacting with the programs” (Wood & Ashfield, 2008, p. 85). According to Wood & Ashefield (2008), the “use of IWBs engages the pupils and sessions are generally faster in their pace of delivery” (p. 86-87). The ability to teach and engage the class as well as speeding up delivery time may provide teachers with the time to cover more information and cover them in a more in depth manner. Another way that IWBs affects education in Britain, as well as in the United States, is that it “provide[s] teachers with opportunities to teach creatively, and…may encourage and support pupils to develop ‘modes of creativity’” ((Jeffery & Craft, 2004) as cited by Wood & Ashfield, 2008, p. 88). According to Jeffery & Craft (2004), as discussed by Wood & Ashfield (2008), using technology makes “content relevant to children and by allowing them to have ownership and control over the learning experience, it is possible to encourage innovation” (p. 88). The lively lessons that take place with the use of IWBs clearly seem to be beneficial to students and therefore the government in Great Britain has supported the use IWBs through providing the funds to purchase said technology.
As the world continues to move forward technologically, teachers and students are affected immensely. Teachers must determine whether they should incorporate technology into their lesson plans and they need to figure out how to use this technology in the most effective way. Students need to take advantage of the cognitive growth they may receive from interacting with technology as well as not to manipulate technology to harm others or take advantage of certain testing situations. It is clear that the governments in both the United States and Great Britain agree that technology should be integrated into the classroom. The major issue that arises is the funding as well as how ethical technology can be when coupled with pedagogy. Nonetheless, the field of education must remain up to date with the technological innovations of the world as educators need to be able to engage and teach their students to the best of their ability.
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