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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

Increase Literacy with the use of Technology Paula Dixon American Intercontinental University English Composition 107

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

Abstract With the ever-increasing focus on illiteracy continuing to plague developing countries, the need to examine the potential value of integrating computer-based learning within schools has become more apparent. This paper will discuss the need to provide teachers with appropriate technology training to incorporate instructional technology within lessons, and the need to equip students with technology tools to enhance learning. This paper presents an overview that computer based training is the only way to increase students literacy in developing countries.

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

The astounding problem of illiteracy which is seen in developing countries is said to exist primarily because of the high percentage of poverty stricken individuals that reside in these locations. Gulatin (2008) provides evidence of this when stating that, “In 1999, the richest 200 people in the world had a combined wealth of US@1,135 billion, whereas the total income of the poorest half billion people in all developing countries barely exceeded 10 percent of that amount.� The poor investment into creating healthy learning environments which takes advantage of the use of technology for these individuals as led to the vast arena labeled illiteracy. Implementing Instructional Technology First, the implementing of instructional technology training programs within universities to increase the use, understanding and benefits of technology within the classroom for teachers is key. The importance of educating literacy teachers in the use and benefits of technology in the classroom is crucial. Research of Mukama, & Andersson offers further insight, when Kozma 2004 is quoted as expressing the need to promote significant educational change for developing countries by combining technology with appropriate teacher training. Continuous supporting arguments are made evident in Xuereb studies performed in July 2006, expressing the need to remain focused on developing research to encourage more use of computers in teaching and learning (Xuerub, 2006). The use of instructional technology for teachers in the classroom will improve standards of teaching and strategies. An investigation conducted to establish the needs of a group of Rwandan teachers revealed an Information Communication and Technology (ICT) environment conducive for their learning would consist of teachers trained in facilitating ICT in literacy and pedagogy. Teachers felt that this exposure would not only impact the quality of their teaching,

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

but also increase their learning and job mobility (Mukama, & Andersson, 2008). Xuerub (2006) also explained that “Preliminary analysis of the interview data from the final individual interview shows that all six teachers felt that their involvement in the project had provided them with professional development.” A provision of sufficient technology teaching resources allowing creativity in its use needs to be established. According to Rwandan studies evidence identified by Kozma 2004 details the issues that seem to prevent implementation of ICT within lessons, these stem from teachers lack of time for training, and integration of ICT into the classroom plus the limited hardware and software resources (Mukama, & Andersson, 2008). Without any of these vital resources teachers cannot become creative through the use of technology. Teachers of the Rwandan school expressed their desire to be taught how to use technology more creatively, so as to develop the information originally given to them in an inspired way (Mukama, & Andersson, 2008). In some instances the presence of hardware and software resources may still not promote creativity. Gulatin (2008) argues that “despite the government efforts to supply computers to primary and secondary schools, there is significant challenges, including a shortage of teachers who know how to use the computers to teach IT skills.” Introducing Literacy using Instruction Technology Secondly, introducing literacy as part of the school timetable with the use of computerbased assisting learning tools would improve ease of learning for students. Supplying students with the tools to exhibit more creativity through the use of technology would improve literacy. Contrary to this belief Mukama & Andersson (2008) research provides a different approach stating that “information literacy training has little effect on participants’ writing abilities in

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

essays or assignments.” Xuereb (2006) literacy project research on the other hand records evidence reporting that “a teacher had concluded that the project had brought out the creativity in the students and she liked that aspect of using the literacy software.” Therefore demonstrating the effectiveness of the use of ICT. Encouraging students to practice individual learning is also a crucial entity to the success in the use of ICT. Singh and Means viewed students active use of technology as a communication media, this primary use made it easy for students to engage in their learning. Whether through online teaching, online textbooks, and broadcasts, while providing student with the choice of generating, obtaining, manipulating or viewing information (Leng, Wan Ali, Baki & Mahmud, 2008). Additional studies explored by McClean believes that in order to improve “self-directed learning, and independent study” it is essential to use interactive learning tools or applications (Mukama, & Andersson, 2008). For less fortunate students it would be necessary to provide exposure to the use of technology which otherwise would not be had, through the use of various means of delivery methods. Opening educational channels through the use of e-learning technology would assist in addressing educational equity and social exclusion problems. The need to utilize technology to assist in educating sections of the population who have not been educated, would have a dramatic impact on the cost of reaching and teaching these individuals (Gulatin, 2008). Developing the use of Instructional Technology Finally, students can develop active collaborate learning skills, where students become more engaged when learning with others increasing their confidence. Singh & Means discusses the feelings of competency when a student’s achieves through the use of computer-based

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

technology, demonstrating the importance of technology awareness needed to encourage their goals, decisions, and progression (Leng, Wan Ali, Baki, & Mahmud, 2008). This finding also supports the argument that improvement made by students in literacy through the use of computer-based learning will increase their understanding of the use and value of technology. Generally, individual interaction with technologies ever-changing structure will only influence individuals into change, this concept also applies to students learning as this will impact the relevant forms of learning in education institutions (Mukama, & Andersson, 2008). Xuereb (2006) study proposes that “the software provided the teacher with a tool to help students formulate their ideas for writing using their own pictures instead of their usual tool which involved writing in the abstract.” It demonstrates how students can achieve their best when given the opportunity to use technology to enhance learning. Xuereb (2006) concludes by stating “teachers and students can achieve when given the chance to use ICT.” The Solutions In closing, by providing a unique combination of teaching and learning with the aid of ICT. The development of educational institutions could strive to provide the best possible education for every teacher and student. To fulfill this objective Peart, & Sheffield (2001) expresses the need for a “hands-on approach” to training be developed. To address the discomfort with computers that many faculty reported, a supportive environment that includes small group of interactions, individual attention and ample time for practice is suggested.” This hands-on approach should include exceptional knowledge of the benefits of the Microsoft office tools and research methods for surfing the internet. Without these measures in place students will not gain the extensive benefit of computer based learning. Mukama, & Andersson (2008) draws on Sarason explanation that “teachers must succeed if students are to succeed, and students must

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

succeed if society is to succeed.� It has become even more apparent that the need for ICT education, and training within mainstream schools is imperative to the success of students and teachers alike in developing countries.

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RUNNING HEAD: INCREASING LITERACY WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

References Gulati, S. (2008). Technology-Enhanced Learning in Developing Nations: A review. [online version] Retrieved from A.I.U. online Library. International review of research in open and distance learning. Leng, E.Y., Wan, A.W., Roselan, B., & Rosnaini, M. (2010). Stability of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) For the Use of Malaysian Form One Students in ICT Literacy Class.[online version] Retrieved from A.I.U. online Library.

Mukama, E., & Andersson, S.B. (2008). Coping with change in ICT-based learning environments: newly qualified Rwandan teachers’ reflections. [online version] Retrieved from A.I.U. online Library. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. Sheffield, C.J., & Moses, P. Technology training for teacher education in Jamaica. Retrieved from A.I.U. online Library.

Xuereb, K. (2006). Developing Literacy through Information and Communication Technology – a Jamaican School’s Project. Retrieved from http://pcf4.dec.uwi.edu/viewpaper.php?id=152&print=1

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Using Technology to decrease student illiteracy