The Impact of Technology on Education

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A survey in the US high schools showed that about half of the public school teachers who had access to computers and Internet available in their schools used them for classroom instruction. About 61 percent of the teachers assigned students to use these technologies for word processing or creating spreadsheets most frequently, 51% used Internet research, 50% applied them in practicing drills, and 50% solved problems and analyzed data using the technologies available. Furthermore, many teachers used computers or the Internet to conduct lots of preparatory and administrative tasks such as creating instructional materials, gathering information for planning lessons, and communicative tasks (Smerdon, Cronen, Lanahan, Anderson, Iannotti, &amp. Angeles, 2001).
Generally, there are a lot of benefits the use of technology has brought in teaching-learning process. The impact can be assessed both on the learners’ and the teachers’ side. In the one hand, the National School Board Associations of the United States reported that the availability of technology often stimulates teachers to present more complex tasks and materials which could not be handled using conventional methods and processes (NSBA, 2008). Furthermore, the NSBA (2008) reported, introduction of technology will tend to support teachers in becoming coaches rather than dispensers of knowledge, increases teachers’ sense of professionalism and achievement and motivates students to attempt harder tasks and to take more care in crafting their work. There are concepts in education, particularly in the areas of science and mathematics that require complex representations, which could not be done in the conventional ways. To address the difficulties in teaching these concepts educator oftentimes uses instructional technologies like film (cited in Linn, 1998, p. 269), computer models, and other systems. Garofalo, J., Drier, H., Harper, S., Timmerman, M.A., &amp. Shockey, T. (2000) reported that a crucial component of technology application in education is enabling the teachers. Technology is useful for learning but the efficacy of the systems applied depend on the competence of those who handle them.
In the other side, the benefits of technology on the learners are vast. A 1990 University of Michigan study reported that children could gain the equivalent of three months of instruction per school year when computers are available to them. Electronic drill and practice programs make children better spellers. Intensive preparation programs raise SAT scores. So-called integrated learning systems, which deliver entire curriculums to students sitting at workstations in a learning laboratory, practically guarantee that grade-point averages will go up, at least for a time (cited in Dewitt, 1991).
Despite, however the vast promise of technology in advancing the learning process, there are cases reported when the application of technology did otherwise. Dewitt’s (1991) article reported that the entire first-grade class in a tiny Belridge school district in McKittrick, California, along with more than a third of the 64-member student body, had scored below their grade level for both reading and math.