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Technology in Education

Running head: A PLACE FOR TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION

A Place for Technology in Education Lauren Kamiyama Chapman University EDUC 649 Dr. Howard

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A Place for Technology in Education There have been major technological advances in our educational system over the past decade. It has gone from using computers as a primary source for research and word processing, to becoming a learning tool for students. When I was in school we used computers for research topics, making excel spreadsheets, and producing power-point presentations. The use of Microsoft Office in class was in large part due to the fact that majority of students did not have Internet or a computer at home. The students who had computers usually typed their papers at home and the students who did not were allowed to go on the computers in class. The production of power-point presentations was the best learning tool technology brought to my educational experiences. I remember students making power-point presentations on a specific subject and presenting in front of the class. This helped me understand content more effectively since I had a visual. I also remember teachers using power-point presentations to enhance their lecture. I believe power-point presentations helped teachers become more effective because students were able to use them as a guide while note taking. Decades ago, there were no online grading systems where parents or students could check their child’s grades at their own convenience nor did teachers have websites where students could check what assignments they missed. Back in the day you had to call a classmate to find out what you missed in class, and you had to keep track of your own grade. Another change, from a decade ago, is that e-mail was not the primary source of communication between parent/student and the teacher. Instead, it was by telephone. However, technology today has advanced immensely since a decade ago. We can now assume majority of the students have access to a computer and Internet in their home. When lecturing, it was slowly becoming a norm for a teacher to make a power-point presentation, but those would bore students of this


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generation. Instead there are programs like Prezi, which is more appealing because of advanced features. Prezi’s provides features that allow owners to control the path of various items versus a slideshow set-up. They allow you to embed YouTube videos directly into your presentation, add images, and text. The students of this generation no longer have to filter through pages and pages of search results when doing research; instead teachers are able to make custom search engines where students can only retrieve information from certain websites. The advancement of technology has benefited teachers as they can now create their own websites through Web 2.0 programs like coursites.com and wix.com. These are two websites in which teachers can create a personalized website for their class. On both websites teachers can put a small introduction about who they are and a class overview. They can provide an easy way to contact them through email, which would be provided through a link. The features these websites have, allow teachers to provide students a place to discuss topics through a discussion board. Students can also find recent lessons or assignments. Discussion boards made from Nabble.com can be linked into a teacher’s wix website. Nabble allows a teacher to customize the discussion board and monitor what is being posted. Another feature to the wix page is it allows parents to browse through the website and see the types of material their child is learning about. They can also find pictures of the students working on assignments or giving presentations. Coursites.com is slightly different from the wix page. Coursesites.com allows you to as list multiple courses on the same homepage, however students would need to then choose their course accordingly. This is different from a wix page because a wix is suited for an individual class. The discussion board on coursesites.com is already set-up within the website. Therefore a teacher would just have to post what the topic is. One advantage coursesites.com has over a wix


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page is there is already a grade book built within the website. Coursites.com provides a way for teachers to give students access to a current syllabus, documents, any announcements, a class calendar, and provide external links and resources. Another advantage is that a teacher can posts test or quizzes on the website and have students take online assessments. Although the programs are slightly different from each other, they are both great tools to use in a classroom setting. These are not the only two online resources that can add value to a teacher’s class; there are other resources like google docs, online study material, and custom made surveys. These resources can help engage students in class and enhance learning. Google docs can provide an opportunity for several students to work on a document at the same time. This can help in the event teachers are doing a read-around with student work. Instead of having to stop students and pass papers, the students can edit papers through google docs. Lastly, google docs can be a great way to have a class discussion. For example a teacher can put up a question on google docs and the students can reply with their own answer to the question. This can help start in class discussions. It allows those students who may be too shy to answer an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. The advancement of technology has also provided study material for teachers to help students find a more appealing way to study for tests and quizzes. One useful website that can be used in almost any class is called Cramberry.net. This is a website that provides a way for students to study through the use of flashcards. On this website, teachers may create their own words and definitions or they may use pre-made flashcards. If a teacher decides to create his or her own set, he or she can determine who is able to view them and who is allowed to alter the flash cards. This is a good way for students to study for tests and quizzes because they tend to become more engaged in learning when technology is involved.


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Another technology resource for teachers to use for class is a custom made survey. There are various custom-made survey websites that are available and free, but do have limitations. Custom-made surveys would benefit my class, as I teach 75 students a period for Physical Education. A survey site like surveymonkey.com would allow me to save time, paper and sorting through surveys for every unit. I can have the students take the survey at home, and I can see the results in real time. This would save me the time of having to pass out copies of the surveys, and students taking the surveys in class. The technological advances of today’s world are and will continue to be great for teachers as they not only serve as resources to us, but also help enhance learning and improve student engagement. Although the advancement of technology has contributed to many great things in the field of education, it also brings some cautions to the classroom and other educational settings. For example, it is safe to say that majority of middle school and high school students have smartphones, and can access anything on the Internet anytime they want. However, what about the one or two students who do not have access to the Internet or a computer at home? The natural response from a teacher is to go to the school library, but most school libraries are not open longer than 30 minutes after school. As a result, the student will have a more difficult time trying to complete the technology assignment. The advancement of smartphones has become very problematic in educational settings as of late. Since smartphones allow students to take pictures of tests and quizzes, they are now posting them to social networking sites like Facebook, instagram, twitter, and foursquare. There has recently been numerous of articles on the possibility of invalid CST test scores from various schools. In this situation, students took pictures of the CST test and posted them to various social networking sites. As a result, the test scores may become invalid for the entire school


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(Blume, 2012). The social networking sites students use not only bring up problems with cheating, but also cyber bullying. The abundance of burn blogs, and cyber bullying is now a huge concern for educators as it is become more and more frequent. Even though the bullying is not necessarily taking place at school, the bullying may carry over onto the school campus and during school hours, which is problematic. Although those are two cautions outside of the classroom setting, there are more when it comes to inside the classroom. One caution within the classroom is the use of twitter. There has been an on-going debate if twitter is a good resource to use in class. The pro twitter users say that it helps start class discussions, and it gives quiet students a voice. The students who do not get a chance to share their thoughts or ideas, now have an opportunity. However, as a teacher it is not possible to monitor exactly what each student is doing on his or her phone at a given time. They could be texting a friend, browsing the Internet, watching videos, or simply participating in the class discussion. The educators against twitter say that teachers are not helping students develop their social skills by allowing them to express their thoughts and communicate through twitter. I have found that many of my students have a hard time expressing how they feel or just speaking to others in general because they are constantly texting people. Some students find it easier to talk to someone through text or writing than it is to communicate face to face. The social communication aspect is taken away when technology like twitter is used in class. Twitter is not the only caution that has come up since the advancement of technology in an educational setting. In fact, the idea of having an entire class of students on individual computers could be problematic. I believe giving an entire class of students access to using


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computers in a classroom can bring up many cautions for a teacher. For example, monitoring the students and what websites they go on, making sure they are on task, and lastly figuring out if the computer is more of a distraction to the student than a benefit. There will always be one or two students who are not on task. However, if they are not benefiting majority of the students, then they should not be used. Another issue with the advancement of technology is students having access to a vast amount of information. Since the students have access to various information, citation and copyright problems may occur if students do not document the proper citations in papers, presentations, or videos (Ribble & Bailey, 2007). There is an abundance of information on the web, which makes it easier for students to type in the topic of their paper and retrieve a paper already written by someone else. This can create problems in class as students are then plagiarizing work instead of creating their own original work. Despite the problems the technological advances have brought to the field of education, I believe there is a place for technology to help enhance and engage students in learning. A teacher with good class management, and a positive learning environment can help eliminate the negatives technology brings to the field of education. Te positive environment will help eliminate some cyber bullying and less cases of plagiarism. Today’s generation of students need technology incorporated in the classroom because of the vast amount of technology they are exposed to. Students seem to be disengaged when technology is not incorporated. A teacher with a positive learning environment can help eliminate some cyber-bullying and the use of electronic devices as resources for cheating. If teachers inform students on the meaning of plagiarism, and teach them how to properly cite and quote text, then technology can be beneficial to students rather than becoming tool for cheating.


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There are numerous of technology tools available to students for their benefits. The creation of online flash cards for students to study, custom search engines, and discussion boards are all resources that will help students learn. Lastly, the option of having online tests and quizzes helps eliminate anxiety for those students who have test anxiety. I think technology plays a vital part in our educational system today as students are becoming more and more engaged in learning through the use of technology. The students express more excitement when the use of technology is incorporated into various assignments. I have noticed the students are able to come up with superb work when technology is involved. On the other hand, when technology is not involved they seem to care less about the final product. There is no way a teacher can be as effective when teaching content, if technology is not incorporated in some way. The students of today’s generation are exposed to so much technology outside of the classroom and outside of a school setting, that they need technology as a part of their education. After all, the main job for a teacher is to teach students and find ways to make learning meaningful to them. One-way to do this is to incorporate technology when teaching. Whether it is setting up resources for students to study with or creating Prezi’s for each unit, I believe technology plays a very important role in how effective a teacher is and how meaningful learning becomes for a student.


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References

Blume, H. (2012, April 28). Posted images of California school tests raise cheating concerns. La Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/28/local/la-me-0428-testcheating-20120428 Ribble, M., & Bailey, G. (2007). Digital citizenship in schools. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education.


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