Technology: The Impact on Education

Introduction

Introduction

It is without doubt that technology plays a pivotal role in our lives today. While its importance is not debatable in our lives, the influence or impact of technology in education has been controversial. This is because it is difficult to not only separate the effects of technological implementations from other changes (like changes to administrative policies, teaching methods, etc.) but also difficult to assess the impact (Surry, 2008). This leads to continuous debate on whether the impact of technology in education is positive or negative. This research is also on understanding the impact of technology; however the focus is to find if the impact is still perceived to be positive and whether it is perceived that the negative impacts can be overcome.

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Context of the Research

Defining Technology and Impact

Both the terms technology and impact can be defined taking a narrow view or a broad one. Technology can refer to the tool or artifact itself, the systems in which the tool or artifact exists or the broad view that includes the knowledge required to design, build and use the tool or artifact (Surry, 2008). Similarly, impact could be tangible, directly observable or measurable attributes such as improved test score, indirect influence such as improved behavior, or the broad view that encompasses the influence on entire school or society (Surry, 2008).

Tangible Impacts of technology

If the outcome is measurable, it is known as tangible impact. Student achievement is the most common impact that has been used in many researches and is considered as the bottom line of measuring the success of technology (Wenglinsky, 2006).

Many large-scale studies have been conducted to understand the impact on student achievement. Schacter (1999) provided a review of the findings of such studies conducted prior to 1999 that were largely positive. The review of the findings of the six studies is provided below (Schacter, 1999):

  1. Kulik’s meta-analysis study: Better scores, more learning in less time, and improvement in student attitude were some of the positive benefits of this study.
  2. Sivin-Kachala’s literature review: Achievements were positively influenced by technology rich environments. This applied to all levels of students including those who had special needs. Change in attitude also showed significant improvements.
  3. The Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) evaluation: Better reasoning and problem solving skills were developed. Student attitude changed and so did the teaching practices of teachers that now involved interaction instead of only lecturing.
  4. West Virginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) Program: Again, increased test scores was an outcome. The cost effectiveness of this program in improving achievements was also another advantage over other methods of achieving the same.
  5. National Study of Impact of Technology on Mathematics Achievement: Student scores in mathematics improved with use of sophisticated software. Student scores also improved if their teachers had received formal training on computers. Training and high levels of use of computers improved the student scores.
  6. Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environment (CSILE) studies: CSILE students show considerable improvement in understanding, thinking, reading, language and vocabulary skills.

To summarize, improved achievements in all subjects and even for students requiring special attention as well as rise in test scores were the chief outcome of these studies (Schacter, 1999).

Research has also shown the positive impact of technology on student achievement in mathematics (Rother, 2005; Wenglinsky, 2006), history (Wenglinsky, 2006), and language arts (Rother, 2005). Improvement in learning of all types of students (regular, gifted and those with special needs) has also been observed (Svedkauskite, 2004; Rother, 2005).

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Even if the student achievement does not show much difference, technology can indirectly impact it by increasing motivation and self-esteem of students (WestEd, 2002). A research by Vogel et al (2006) proved this in case technology is well implemented and specifically if educational games are used. Students taking up online courses also are more motivated than those taking up traditional classes.

Reduced cost, increased opportunities for learning and increased access to the same, and better communication and administrative processes are some other positive impacts (Surry, 2008).

While there are many positive impacts, research has shown that there are negative findings as well. Schacter (1999) also discussed negative findings in his review which included low or negative impact of technology on student achievement on certain subject areas and negative or no difference in standardized test scores. This is due to unclear objectives on learning and technology use (Schacter, 1999).

Based on the research, It can be concluded that well-planned technology applications with clear learning and technology use objectives focusing on a particular audience can work well (Joy et al, 2000; Surry, 2008).

Intangible Impacts of technology

When the outcome cannot be measured, such an impact is known as intangible impact. It is more of a philosophical view of the impact of technology in education. There are two types of philosophical views – determinism and instrumentalism. Researchers who believe in the determinism view believe that education reforms can be achieved by developing and using better systems (Surry et al, 1997). On the other hand, those who believe in instrumentalism believe that the best way to have greatest impact is by using technology in combination with teachers who can understand and cater to individual needs (Surry et al, 1997). Lai et al (2006) explain various advantages and disadvantages of using technology in learning a language. One of the disadvantages is that computer-assisted language learning cannot judge the correctness and appropriateness to a large extent supporting the instrumentalism view.

Extreme views of Impacts of technology

There are two extreme views regarding the impact of technology in education. One of the extreme views is the optimist view that believes that technology will make the world a better place to live (Surry, 2008). These researchers believe that more availability and use of technology will lead to improved learning (Cuban, 2001).

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The other extreme view is the opposite wherein it is believed that technology is making the world worse than ever before (Surry, 2008). Some of the negative impact of technology in education is increased estrangement, neo-colonialism, and education limited to practical skills creating closed or narrow minds rather than holistic ones that lead to creative, open-minded students (Lauzon, 1999). Another major issue is the “digital divide” that increases the gap between students based on access to technology (Allan et al, 2003). This applies more to those students who have economical, cultural, physical or mental disadvantages (Wiburg, 2003; Norris et al, 2003).

Teachers Perspective

Teachers are very positive about the impact of technology on students according to an early study on education reforms by Means et al (1997). However, a later study by Russell et al (2003) has shown that new teachers with less than six years of experience are more confident about using computers than those who are more experienced; however, in spite of being technically sound, they are also the ones to believe that it could have more negative effects on students than those who are more experienced.

Mobile Technology

Mobile technologies in the form of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones have been in great demand. These mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous and college students are increasingly using one. Apart from this, portability, small size, less storage space and cost effectiveness are other advantages of utilizing mobile phones over other mobile or non-mobile devices. Fraction Factory is an example of an iPhone application that teaches fractions.

Mobile Technologies and different types of learning activities

A literature review by NESTA futurelab (2004) provides extensive details regarding mobile technologies especially with respect to learning. The summary of the review is that mobile technology can provide effective support for all kinds of learning activities and increased use of mobile devices will lead to them being used as tools for education.

NESTA futurelab (2004) also discusses six different types of activities based on theory:

  1. Behaviorist: These types of activities promote learning through change in the behavior of the student. The usual process is that the system presents a problem and the student provides a response. Feedback from the system is used to reinforce the learning of the student. Examples of real-world behaviorist mobile learning systems are Classtalk and Qwizdom. (NESTA futurelab, 2004)
  2. Constructivist: These types of activities promote the generation of new ideas based on current and past understanding. In this case, the student plays a key role in a simulated environment. Some good examples of real-world constructivist mobile learning systems are Virus Game and Savannah. (NESTA futurelab, 2004)
  3. Situated: These types of activities are based on the fact that enhancement of education can be achieved if it takes place within an accurate and genuine context. Context-aware applications can be particularly well executed in mobile devices. Some good examples of real-world situated mobile learning systems are Ambient Wood and MOBIlearn. (NESTA futurelab, 2004)
  4. Collaborative: A student can learn a lot through social interaction as well. Collaborative activities are based on this fact. Mobile collaborative activities form another way for social interaction.
  5. Informal and lifelong: These are activities that provide learning intentionally through projects or unintentionally through TV or newspaper for example. Mobile technologies can definitely support this more due to the fact that it is always with the student inside or outside the institute. An example cited in NESTA futurelab (2004) is the use of mobile technologies to allow breast cancer patients to interact with each other.
  6. Learning and teaching support: Mobile technologies can support teachers in their administrative, reporting and other tasks. It can support students by providing course material, timetable, assignment details, due dates, etc. Mobile learning organizers was implemented and showed promising results in the University of Birmingham (Corlett et al, 2004).
Impact on Medical Education

In an article by Rege et al (2009), the authors highlight the impact of mobile technologies on medical education and cite several examples of real-world application. One such example is of Harvard Medical School which utilized the MyCoursesTM mobile solution. This provided students with access to “a rich array of applications for class schedules, hospital case log notes, rotation details, lecture notes, anatomy illustrations with flash technology, course evaluations, exam calendars and more—all on their PDAs” (Rege et al, 2009). The institution was not only able to recover the cost but also able to realize 50% of the ROI within six months.

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Another real-world example is SUNY Medical Center which SUNY implemented a PDA based “Portable Resource for Integrated Medical Education” or PRIME application. This mobile application allows providing immediate feedback and based on feedback, appropriate resources for improving skills or knowledge get on the PDA of the student automatically. Apart from this, the application is also used to provide information on courses, schedules, rotations, etc. (Rege et al, 2009)

The Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), FSU College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, and University at Buffalo School of Medicine and BioMedical Sciences have all benefited from the positive impacts on education for implementing mobile solutions in their institutions. (Rege et al, 2009)

Motivation for the Research

The researcher was unable to find literature on student perception regarding the impact of technology. Also, the literature on teacher’s perception regarding the impact of technology was old (last in 2003). Hence, this research will seek to understand the teachers’ and students’ perception of the impact of technology in education, especially negative impacts, if at all and whether it is perceived that the negative impacts can be overcome.

Methodology

Survey and structured interviews were chosen as the methods for this study. Surveys are economical, convenient, can be conducted on a large sample population, shorter execution time, easily creatable, lower resource requirements, less time required by respondents, and flexibility are the advantages of using surveys in a research. However, surveys provide only limited information. To overcome this limitation, interviews will be conducted as they can provide a researcher to follow-up on the survey responses and getting more in-depth answers that would otherwise not be possible in a survey.

Sample Population Selection

Target Population

The target population for this research is represented by teachers and students who use technology in some form or the other in order to improve the level of education.

Sampling method

The sampling method utilized will be a mix of random sampling, convenience sampling and snowballing technique. Using random sampling and convenience sampling method, the researcher will use personal contacts to approach teachers and students for help with the survey/interview. Then using the snowballing technique, the researcher will consult these people to obtain further references of students and teachers who might be willing to participate (Salganik et al, 2004; Heckathorn, 1997, 2002).

With random sampling, all participants in the process got an equal opportunity. Convenience sampling was adopted due to time and budgetary constraints. Further snowballing technique approach provided two benefits: one was that the researcher only had to find the initial sample and the second was that the initial sample usually provided a reference and brief to the ones they referred to.

Mode of communication

Emails will be used as the mode of communication for seeking approval and sending across questionnaire for survey as well as interview as emails are quick and easy to use. Where possible, interviews will be conducted face-to-face otherwise again emails will be used.

Data Collection Method

Emails will be used to collect the survey responses and interviews. Where the interviews are conducted face-to-face, a recorder and hand-made notes will be used for collecting data. This data will be collated and compiled using Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Questionnaire Design

Since the interview conducted is a structured type of interview, questions were prepared for it along with the questionnaire for survey. For both interview and survey, there were two separate questionnaires – one for teachers and the other for students. This was essential to focus the questions and options on teaching v/s learning.

In case of the interviews, the teachers and students were asked five questions related to the objectives of the research – their use of technology in teaching/studying, their perceived advantages and disadvantages of technology in education, their perception on whether the disadvantages can be overcome and finally their views on mobile technology.

In case of survey, questions 1 to 7 were asked to understand the use of technology and attitude of teachers/students towards the user of technology in education. Questions 8 to 10 focused on positive and negative impacts and use of mobile technology. The remaining questions focused on the respondent’s knowledge of computer and experience.

The questionnaire design by Alexiou-Ray et al (2003) was used to provide the base questions for the questionnaire, modifying some of them to suit the objectives of the research and to make the questions current and adding new questions relevant to the current research study.

Data analysis methods

The responses from the survey will be analyzed by using descriptive statistical analysis (frequency and cumulative frequency). Microsoft Excel will again be used to collate, analyze, and combine the results obtained and to create charts and graphs easily for providing a visual aid to the results.

Ethical Issues

As mentioned earlier, each teacher and student would be first approached for permission to participate in the interview/survey. This will be done by email or other methods if contact details are available. The researcher will ensure that the purpose of the research is explained to each participant and their permission is obtained before the survey/interview begins. The participants will be informed about the inclusion of their names in the research assignment and permission will be obtained for the same as well.

Limitations of the study

The surveys have limited questions which also limits the information obtained. This limitation is compensated by using interviews. With regards to survey and interview, it is not possible to evaluate the quality of the responses provided. Surveys usually get a very low response rate and hence the researcher will approach a triple the amount of people as required for the participation. Wherever emails are used, there is a possibility of misunderstanding. Care will be taken by the researcher to ensure that clear, unambiguous questions are asked.

In either of the approaches, it is not possible to deny the subjectivity of the researcher not only when selecting the sample but also when reporting the results. This may further add to the limitations of the research results.

Interview Questions

For Teachers

  1. How do you use technology in your classroom?
  2. Explain the advantages of the use of technology in education.
  3. Explain how technology in education can negatively impact students.
  4. Can these negative impacts be overcome?
  5. Comment on impact of mobile technology in education.

For Students

  1. How do you use technology for your studies?
  2. What are the advantages of the use of technology in education?
  3. What are the disadvantages of technology according to you?
  4. Can these disadvantages be overcome?
  5. What do you think about the use of mobile technology for your education?

Survey Questionnaire

For Teachers

How frequently do you use technology in your classroom?

  • Never
  • Occasionally
  • Often

“What forms of technology do you use in your classroom?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Digital Cameras
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Email
  • Internet
  • SmartBoard
  • Web Sites
  • Online Discussion Forums/Blogs

Do you feel that technology makes teaching interesting?

  • Yes
  • Not much
  • No

“What do you like best about using technology?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Fun to use
  • Quick and easy
  • Access to wide range of information
  • Availability
  • Increased student response/achievement

“What do you like least about using technology?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Need to learn changing technology
  • Availability issues
  • Complex and difficult to learn
  • Difficult to keep up with its demands

“Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Teaching material
  • Assigning Homework
  • Blogging
  • Sending emails
  • Discussing a subject
  • Tracking student work
  • Creating activities

Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?

  • Yes
  • Maybe a little
  • No

Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?

  • Improved student achievement
  • Increased test scores
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased attendance rates
  • More practical skills can be taught
  • Reduced Costs
  • Improved creativity
  • Increased learning opportunities
  • Increased access to learning
  • Better communication
  • Better administrative processes

Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?

  • Increases the digital divide
  • Lacks personal touch
  • Limits creativity
  • Creates closed-minded students
  • Reduced research skills
  • Dependency on technology
  • Possibilities of misuse (e.g. plagiarism)

Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?

  • Yes
  • No, but certainly in the near future
  • No

“Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003).

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

“Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Less than 1
  • 2 to 5
  • 6 to 12
  • More than 12

“Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Less than 1
  • 2 to 5
  • 6 to 12
  • More than 12

What are your total years of experience in teaching?

  • Less than 2 years
  • 2 to 6 years
  • 7 to 12 years
  • More than 12 years

For Students

How frequently is technology used in your classroom?

  • Never
  • Occasionally
  • Often

What forms of technology is used in your classroom?

  • Digital Cameras
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Email
  • Internet
  • SmartBoard
  • Web Sites
  • Others
  • Online Discussion Forums/Blogs

Do you feel that technology makes learning interesting?

  • Yes
  • Not much
  • No

“What do you like best about using technology?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Fun to use
  • Quick and easy
  • Access to wide range of information
  • Availability
  • Improves scores

“What do you like least about using technology?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Need to learn changing technology
  • Availability
  • Missing personal touch
  • Not well-executed
  • Total dependency on technology

“Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Writing Papers
  • Research
  • Checking assignments
  • Sending emails
  • Discussing a subject
  • Blogging
  • Tracking Homework and Tasks
  • Reading/listening to books, webcasts, podcasts

Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?

  • Yes
  • Maybe a little
  • No

Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?

  • Improved student achievement
  • Increased test scores
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased attendance rates
  • More practical skills can be taught
  • Improved creativity
  • Increased learning opportunities
  • Increased access to learning
  • Better communication
  • Better administrative processes

Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?

  • Increases the digital divide
  • Lacks personal touch
  • Limits creativity
  • Creates closed-minded students
  • Reduced research skills
  • Dependency on technology
  • Possibilities of misuse (e.g. plagiarism)

Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?

  • Yes
  • No, but certainly in the near future
  • No

“Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003).

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

“Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Less than 1
  • 2 to 5
  • 6 to 12
  • More than 12

“Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?” (Alexiou-Ray, 2003)

  • Less than 1
  • 2 to 5
  • 6 to 12
  • More than 12

Interviews

Teacher – Interviewee 1

How do you use technology in your classroom?

“I use it mainly to assist with my teaching. I create PowerPoint slides for my lectures, have my own web site with discussion forums and blogs for accessing lecture presentations, assigning homework, discussing on a topic, and I also provide latest updates on the subject through my blog”.

Explain the advantages of the use of technology in education.

“Technology makes it very easy to put down your thoughts, your teaching material in the best possible way. You can add pictures, audio or video clips, or all that multimedia that make teaching so interesting. I try to imbibe practical examples and emphasize on using more visuals than words to enhance their learning which would be practically impossible without the help of technology. I have seen increase in scores and my students just love to attend my lectures. I always find my students enthusiastic to study and eager to know more as a result.”

Explain how technology in education can negatively impact students.

“I don’t think that technology can negatively impact students. I have only seen positive impacts. Plagiarism was once an issue but tools are now available that make it easy to catch plagiarism and so that is no longer a problem.”

Can these negative impacts be overcome?

“I gave the plagiarism example. Yes, I believe that negative impacts can be overcome, but to an extent only. However, if the teachers take the initiative to provide guidance to students and help them understand the right and wrong way of using technology and how it can affect them, I think most students would understand.”

Comment on impact of mobile technology in education.

“Students have been increasingly using mobile phones, BlackBerries and iPhones. I think that sooner or later mobile learning will be ubiquitous. I have seen some of the students download webcasts and podcasts from the internet and store it on their mobile device. They listen to them while traveling or working out or when they are waiting for a bus or train. That way they are able to utilize time which would otherwise go waste.”

Teacher – Interviewee 2

How do you use technology in your classroom?

“For everything, right from using presentations for my lectures to creating activities for students. I encourage students to use technology and I do the same. I have recently created a video of my lecture on one of the interesting and complex topics and provided it to the students. Most of my students used their mobile devices to listen to my lecture and brush up their knowledge.”

Explain the advantages of the use of technology in education.

“Increased attendance, scores, motivation levels, and most of all, the smile on my faces of my students when I use technology to present it in creative manner”

Explain how technology in education can negatively impact students.

“Technology should be used to assist you; I have seen a student get handicapped when his computer was not working when he wanted to do his research work. I got a sense of helplessness as if he could do nothing without the computer. It just didn’t occur to him that he could actually use the college library. I suggested. But this over dependency on technology is what I consider as the negative impact on students.”

Can these negative impacts be overcome?

“Students need constant guidance as to what is right and what is wrong use of technology. If teachers guide them, then negative impacts can be overcome. The student I mentioned before – when I saw the situation, I realized that he needed guidance. I explained and he seemed to have understood quite well.”

Comment on impact of mobile technology in education.

“Definitely the next big wave as far as education is concerned. I look forward to using it in my teaching and I am sure that my students would love to use mobile technology to enhance their learning.”

Teacher – Interviewee 3

How do you use technology in your classroom?

“I use technology only when it is absolutely essential. I appreciate the influence of technology on students but I find that it can get distracting at times. The more advanced technologies I use, the more the students focus on the technology than on learning the subject. Instead of discussing the subject, there is more discussion on how the technology was used. That’s why I do not encourage the use of too much technology.”

Explain the advantages of the use of technology in education.

“It allows teaching in creative ways. I use it especially for complex or difficult to understand topics. This helps me grab students’ attention while still maintaining their focus on the subject. Students have started scoring better after I have started using technology in my lectures. However, this has only happened after I started restricting the use of technology to limited topics.”

Explain how technology in education can negatively impact students.

“I already mentioned one of them. Others include becoming over dependent on computers, using it for plagiarism, etc.”

Can these negative impacts be overcome?

“Limit the use of technology to only when required. At other times, traditional methods work better.”

Comment on impact of mobile technology in education.

“I feel again that focus should be on teaching the subject, not on the technology. I have the same reservations with mobile technology. However, I do think that mobile technology if used in the correct way and in the right amount can help enhance the teaching as well as learning experience of teachers and students. ”

Student – Interviewee 1

How do you use technology for your studies?

“I use technology for research work, writing papers, sending emails, keeping in touch with friends and seniors, and that’s it.”

What are the advantages of the use of technology in education?

“I don’t have to write anymore, I can type in faster than I can write. My score has also improved in some subjects.”

What are the disadvantages of technology according to you?

“Lack of personal touch but that’s only when the teacher depends completely on technology.”

Can these disadvantages be overcome?

“Teachers can influence the students a lot through their teaching. Technology can only teach what it is fed.”

What do you think about the use of mobile technology for your education?

“I would love to learn on mobile. I can learn while traveling or listen to lectures when I am working out. It would be fantastic.”

Student – Interviewee 2

How do you use technology for your studies?

“For research, writing papers, keeping a track of to do list, sending emails to classmates and teachers, creating presentations, just about everything possible.’

What are the advantages of the use of technology in education?

“Easy communication is the main advantage. You don’t even have to move out of your room and you can chat with, discuss on a topic not only with classmates but with experts all over the world or exchange term papers with a classmate. More than anything else, I feel very motivated ever since technology has become part of my education.”

What are the disadvantages of technology according to you?

“At least I am very dependent on technology and if my laptop is down for even an hour, it makes me feel helpless.”

Can these disadvantages be overcome?

“Dependency on technology – I guess I would say take backup. So yeah, it can be overcome.”

What do you think about the use of mobile technology for your education?

“I am game for it. I am waiting for when I could use mobile technology for all my learning. I will be able to study anywhere, anytime then and won’t have to carry my bulky laptop around for that.”

Results and Discussion

Findings on Teacher’s Survey and Interview

The teacher’s survey got 5 participants in all. One of the teachers was a beginner in the computers, another at an intermediate level while three of them were at advanced level.

Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use
Figure 1: “Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” 

Table 1: Survey – Data table for Question “Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Beginner 20 % 1
Intermediate 20 % 1
Advanced 60 % 3

Except for the teacher who was a beginner, all others spent more than 12 hours a week on their computers.

Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?
Figure 2: “Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?”

Table 2: Survey – Data table for Question “Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
less than 1 0 % 0
2 to 5 0 % 0
6 to 12 20 % 1
more than 12 80 % 4

Of the amount of time that these teachers spent on computers, almost all of their time was used up for school related work.

Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?
Figure 3: “Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?”

Table 3: Survey – Data table for Question “Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
less than 1 0 % 0
2 to 5 0 % 0
6 to 12 20 % 1
more than 12 80 % 4

One of the teachers had less than 2 years of experience while another had 2 to 6 years of experience. Another two had 7 to 12 years of experience. Of these two teachers, one was a beginner at computers. There was one teacher with more than 12 years of experience and was an intermediate at computers.

What are your total years of experience in teaching?
Figure 4: What are your total years of experience in teaching?

Table 4: Survey – Data table for Question ‘What are your total years of experience in teaching?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Less than 2 years 20 % 1
2 to 6 years 20 % 1
7 to 12 years 40 % 2
More than 12 years 20 % 1

80% or 4 teachers often used technology in their classroom.

All the teachers interviewed used technology in their classrooms very often except for one who used technology only for difficult to understand or complex topics.

How frequently do you use technology in your classroom?
Figure 5: How frequently do you use technology in your classroom?

Table 5: Survey – Data table for Question ‘How frequently do you use technology in your classroom?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Never 0 % 0
Occasionally 20 % 1
Often 80 % 4

All the teachers used Microsoft PowerPoint and email in their classroom. 80% of the teachers used internet followed by use of web sites and SmartBoard (60% each). However, online discussion forums and blogs were used by 2 teachers only.

Microsoft PowerPoint was also the favourite technology of teachers interviewed. While two of them used technology for almost every purpose, one of the interviewees used it only when necessary.

What forms of technology do you use in your classroom?
Figure 6: “What forms of technology do you use in your classroom?” 

Table 6: Survey – Data table for Question “What forms of technology do you use in your classroom?”

Options % Responses Total Responses
Digital Cameras 20 % 1
Microsoft PowerPoint 100 % 5
Email 100 % 5
Internet 80 % 4
SmartBoard 60 % 3
Web Sites 60 % 3
Online Discussion Forums/Blogs 40 % 2

80% of the teachers agreed that technology makes teaching interesting while 20% felt that it did not make that much of a difference. However, none of them felt that technology did not make teaching interesting.

Do you feel that technology makes teaching interesting?
Figure 7: Do you feel that technology makes teaching interesting?

Table 7: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you feel that technology makes teaching interesting?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 80 % 4
Not much 20 % 1
No 0 % 0

All teachers found technology fun to use and liked that there was an increase in student response and achievement with the use of technology. Technology also provided them access to wide variety of information. However, only 80% teachers agreed that it was quick and easy.

What do you like best about using technology?
Figure 8: “What do you like best about using technology?”

Table 8: Survey – Data table for Question “What do you like best about using technology?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Fun to use 100 % 5
Quick and easy 80 % 4
Access to wide range of information 100 % 5
Increased student response/achievement 100 % 5

Availability issues was the least liked thing about using technology (100%), followed by need to keep adapting to changing technology (80%). Three of the teachers also found new technology complex and difficult to learn (60%).

What do you like least about using technology?
Figure 9: “What do you like least about using technology?” 

Table 9: Survey – Data table for Question “What do you like least about using technology?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Need to learn changing technology 80 % 4
Availability issues 100 % 5
Complex and difficult to learn 60 % 3
Difficult to keep up with its demands 20 % 1

All teachers used technology for preparing teaching material, assigning homework, and tracking student work. This was followed by 80% of teachers using it for creating activities and sending emails.

Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology
Figure 10: “Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” 

Table 10: Survey – Data table for Question “Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Teaching material 100 % 5
Assigning Homework 100 % 5
Blogging 40 % 2
Sending emails 80 % 4
Discussing a subject 40 % 2
Tracking student work 100 % 5
Creating activities 80 % 4

There was a unanimous response that all teachers found technology as essential for their success.

Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?
Figure 11: Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?

Table 11: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 100 % 5
Maybe a little 0 % 0
No 0 % 0

All teachers found improved student achievement and increased test scores, motivation, self-esteem and attendance rates as the most positive impacts of technology in education. This was followed by improved creativity, increased learning opportunities and access to learning each getting 80% response. This shows that the teachers consider that technology has a very positive impact in education.

The three teachers who were interviewed agreed that students paid more attention in class and obtained higher test scores with the use of technology.

Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?
Figure 12: Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?

Table 12: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Improved student achievement 100 % 5
Increased test scores 100 % 5
Increased motivation 100 % 5
Increased self-esteem 100 % 5
Increased attendance rates 100 % 5
More practical skills can be taught 100 % 5
Reduced Costs 60 % 3
Improved creativity 80 % 4
Increased learning opportunities 80 % 4
Increased access to learning 80 % 4
Better communication 80 % 4
Better administrative processes 60 % 3

All teachers agree that there are possibilities of misuse of the technology. 80% of the teachers also agreed that there is a high level of dependency on technology. Three teachers also thought that creativity was limited by the use of technology. This was surprising since at least two of these teachers agreed that there was an improvement in creativity of students.

Of the three teachers interviewed, one was very optimistic about technology and felt that the negative impacts could be overcome easily. Another teacher felt dependency on technology was a major negative impact of technology while the third teacher felt that overuse of technology should be avoided.

Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?
Figure 13: Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?

Table 13: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Increases the digital divide 40 % 2
Lacks personal touch 20 % 1
Limits creativity 60 % 3
Creates closed-minded students 20 % 1
Reduced research skills 40 % 2
Dependency on technology 80 % 4
Possibilities of misuse (e.g. plagiarism) 100 % 5

Two of the teachers were already using mobile technology while another two intended to use the same. Only one teacher did not use or intend to use in the near future. This shows enthusiasm to use mobile technology.

All three teachers were enthusiastic about using mobile technology except that one of the teachers wanted limited use of mobile technology.

Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?
Figure 14: Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?

Table 14: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 40 % 2
No, but certainly in the near future 40 % 2
No 20 % 1

Findings on Student’s Survey and Interview

In all seven students responded to the survey. One of the students was a beginner at computers, another at intermediate level while the remaining had advanced knowledge of computers.

Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use
Figure 15: “Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” 

Table 15: Survey – Data table for Question “Please indicate one of the following to describe your knowledge of computer use” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Beginner 14 % 1
Intermediate 14 % 1
Advanced 71 % 5

All students spent more than 6 hours a week on computers. Majority of the students (86%) spent more than 12 hours each week. This shows that students spend a considerable time on the computers.

Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?
Figure 16: “Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?” 

Table 16: Survey – Data table for Question “Approximately how many hours a week do you spend on the computer?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
less than 1 0 % 0
2 to 5 0 % 0
6 to 12 14 % 1
more than 12 86 % 6

Students spent time on computers for school related work in the same range as they spend time on computers overall.

Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?
Figure 17: “Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?” 

Table 17: Survey – Data table for Question “Of the time you spend on the computer, approximately how much is for school to related work?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
less than 1 0 % 0
2 to 5 0 % 0
6 to 12 14 % 1
more than 12 86 % 6

All students agreed that technology was used in their classroom with a majority of the students (71%) agreed that technology was often used in the classroom.

How frequently is technology used in your classroom?
Figure 18: How frequently is technology used in your classroom?

Table 18: Survey – Data table for Question ‘How frequently is technology used in your classroom?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Never 0 % 0
Occasionally 29 % 2
Often 71 % 5

Microsoft PowerPoint was used in classrooms of all respondents. This was followed by equal number of respondents voting for Email, Internet and SmartBoard. Online discussion forums and blogs were also used by a good number of respondents (71%). So not only the basic technology like Microsoft PowerPoint was being used but also advanced technology like online discussion forums and blogs were being used in these classrooms.

What forms of technology are used in your classroom?
Figure 19: What forms of technology are used in your classroom?

Table 19: Survey – Data table for Question ‘What forms of technology are used in your classroom?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Digital Cameras 43 % 3
Microsoft PowerPoint 100 % 7
Email 86 % 6
Internet 86 % 6
SmartBoard 86 % 6
Web Sites 43 % 3
Online Discussion Forums/Blogs 71 % 5

Not surprisingly, everyone felt that technology did make learning interesting. However, one student who is a beginner at computers felt that it was not that much interesting.

Do you feel that technology makes learning interesting?
Figure 20: Do you feel that technology makes learning interesting?

Table 20: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you feel that technology makes learning interesting?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 86 % 6
Not much 14 % 1
No 0 % 0

Fun to use, accessibility to wide range of information, and increased achievement are the top three things that students like best about using technology. 71% of the students felt that technology was quick and easy to use. Of the two students who did not find technology quick and easy, one of them was a beginner at computers.

What do you like best about using technology?
Figure 21: “What do you like best about using technology?” 

Table 21: Survey – Data table for Question “What do you like best about using technology?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Fun to use 86 % 6
Quick and easy 71 % 5
Access to wide range of information 86 % 6
Availability 43 % 3
Increased student achievement 86 % 6

Availability issues and technology that is not well-executed are two least liked things about technology. Surprisingly, only 2 students felt that the personal touch was missing but the rest of the students did not feel that. Also, less than half the students were affected by the need to constantly update themselves.

What do you like least about using technology?
Figure 22: “What do you like least about using technology?” 

Table 22: Survey – Data table for Question “What do you like least about using technology?” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Need to learn changing technology 43 % 3
Availability issues 71 % 5
Missing personal touch 29 % 2
When not well-executed 71 % 5

Research was the number one school-related activity performed by all the students. This was followed by 6 students each using emails and tracking their tasks. Writing papers and checking assignments were two other activities that were done by 5 students using technology.

The two students who were interviewed used technology for almost everything possible but mainly for research work, writing papers and emails.

Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology
Figure 23: “Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” 

Table 23: Survey – Data table for Question “Please list all school-related activities for which you use technology.” 

Options % Responses Total Responses
Writing Papers 71 % 5
Research 100 % 7
Checking assignments 71 % 5
Sending emails 86 % 6
Discussing a subject 57 % 4
Blogging 43 % 3
Tracking Homework and Tasks 86 % 6
Reading/listening to books, webcasts, podcasts 29 % 2

86% of the students believed that technology was essential for their success while one of the students felt that it was but not very essential.

Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?
Figure 24: Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?

Table 24: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you believe that technology is essential for your success?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 86 % 6
Maybe a little 14 % 1
No 0 % 0

All students agreed that technology helped increase scores as well as provided an increased access to learning. Increased achievements, motivation, self-esteem, learning opportunities and practical skills training were the next highest voted positive impacts of technology according to 6 students each. 71% students also believed that their creativity improved as a result of technology.

Both the students agreed that their scores improved with the use of technology; however, one student said that the scores got better in only some subjects and not all. Easy communication and increased motivation levels were two other advantages according to one of the students.

Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?
Figure 25: Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?

Table 25: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Which of the following do you think are positive impacts of technology in education?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Improved student achievement 86 % 6
Increased test scores 100 % 7
Increased motivation 86 % 6
Increased self-esteem 86 % 6
Increased attendance rates 29 % 2
More practical skills can be taught 86 % 6
Improved creativity 71 % 5
Increased learning opportunities 86 % 6
Increased access to learning 100 % 7
Better communication 57 % 4
Better administrative processes 43 % 3

More than half the students felt that the dependency on technology was one of the negative impacts of technology, followed by 43% students who felt that the increase in digital divide was the negative impact. Surprisingly, only two students felt that there was possibility of misuse of technology while none of them thought that it could reduce research skills of students.

One of the students interviewed felt that teachers should not solely depend on technology and the teacher should influence their students by interacting with them. The other student felt that over dependency on technology is a negative impact. However, both felt that the negative impacts could be overcome.

Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?
Figure 26: Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?

Table 26: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Which of the following do you think are negative impacts of technology in education?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Increases the digital divide 43 % 3
Lacks personal touch 29 % 2
Limits creativity 14 % 1
Creates closed-minded students 14 % 1
Reduced research skills 0 % 0
Dependency on technology 57 % 4
Possibilities of misuse (e.g. plagiarism) 29 % 2

All of the students were either using mobile technology for learning or intended to use in the near future. This shows the enthusiasm of students in using mobile technology for learning.

Both students who were interviewed were also excited about using mobile technology for learning.

Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?
Figure 27: Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?

Table 27: Survey – Data table for Question ‘Do you currently use or intend to use mobile technology for learning?’

Options % Responses Total Responses
Yes 57 % 4
No, but certainly in the near future 43 % 3
No 0 % 0

Conclusions

Students are more enthusiastic about using technology although teachers are not far behind. Beginners were less enthusiastic about technology than intermediate or advanced users of technology.

The teachers and students agreed on the advantages of using technology – improved achievements, increased scores, increased motivation and self-esteem, increased opportunities to learn, increased access to learning, and improved creativity. While most teachers felt that the attendance rates improved, not many students felt the same. Both students and teachers agreed that more practical skills can be taught using technology.

While teachers considered the possibility of misuse of technology as one of the negative impacts, students did not feel the same. However, all of them agreed that negative impacts could be overcome although each one had its own suggestions. Dependency on technology was another negative impact that was agreed upon by most teachers and students. Digital divide, however, was not considered as a negative impact by many teachers and students.

Based on the research, it can be concluded that the impact of technology is mainly considered to be positive by most teachers as well as students. There are negative impacts also but it is perceived that the negative impacts can be overcome.

Future Research

The knowledge of computers or technology seems to be influencing the use of technology. There has been less enthusiasm about technology by beginners in case of teachers as well as students. However, there have not been enough beginners in the sample population to come up with this conclusion. More research is required to reach any conclusion.

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