Indeed, it is important that each student be equipped with the necessary technology if these students are expected to access, analyze and use data (Zardoya, 2001). Business researchers are similarly concerned with the question of whether or not the introduction of information technology leads to a better competitive advantage, better sense of judgment that leads to better decision making and a greater level of productivity (Al-Gahtani, 2003).
ICT is a term that describes both computer software and hardware, access to the internet and information and communication technology resources as he World Wide Web and CD-ROMs (Clark et al. , 2005). That is, the issue should not be whether technology works as a replacement for old, rather, it should be how we can develop and choose visions that will utilize the immense power of technology for the support and creation of new forms of learning (p. 4). Overall, CACSR provides students with the requisite environment, which is interactive, intended to keep up their interest while teaching them the application of comprehension strategies as they read expository text passages (Kim et al. ,).
Studies have shown that educational technology in which dictionary component is integrated has been successfully utilized in the promotion of literacy skills among elementary school students (Fry & Gosky, 2007). In analyzing the study, the researcher suggested that CD-ROM storybooks have a positive impact on reading comprehension. This is because they reduce decoding challenges while they allow students to obtain help as often as they need ed it without having to wait for the teacher (Fry & Gosky).
QuickSmart is a computer-assisted program designed to improve the automaticity of the basic academic skills of students who have persistent learning difficulties in their middle years of schooling (Graham & Bellert, et al. , 2007,). Based on an information-processing view of cognitive operations QuickSmart was intended to be an strong intervention focused on basic academic skills that can equip students with the requisite skills to engage more successfully with classroom instruction (Graham & Bellert, et al. ,.
Concept-mapping software, or webbing, allows students and teachers to construct concept maps using specific software programs (Marchinko, 2004,). Concept-mapping software has been used in middle school science classes to help students decipher both the similarities and differences between and animal and plant cell and in writing class to help students brainstorm and add to the concept network as ideas come from the students in the class (Marchinko,).
Teachers also use concept-mapping software to provide their students with a visual roadmap of the direction which each lesson is going (Marchinko,). The KidTools computer programs are electronic performance support systems. They directly seek out behavior and academic performance support software for children with learning difficulties. (Miller & Fitzgerald, 2007, p. 13). A cognitive-behavioral modification program, KidTools is one of several programs which have become increasingly popular during the last two decades as researchers have documented their effectiveness (Miller & Fitzgerald).
RockSim is a rocket design program for middle school science class, which takes students through the process of engineering their own rockets and performs flight simulations (Wilson, 2005,). Finally, BodyFun is a computer game can take the children through the rudiments of nutrition and other health information. (Geiger, et al. , 2002,). In a test of BodyFun in a middle school class the opinion of teachers is that the program is of very high quality and the materials of good quality.
However, they were also of the opinion that the program is suitable for the school environment. (Geiger & Petri, et al. ,). Education is feeling pressure to respond to a mandate to improve the engagement-level of classrooms, due to surveys which repeatedly find middle school students especially characterize traditional classes as boring (Taylor & Duran, 2006, p. 11). Overall, most classrooms continue to implement instructional practices that focus on memorization of facts and the reading of textbooks and other course materials.
(Taylor & Duran,). As a result, many researchers have called for the dire need to move from a didactic to a constructivist approach to teaching (Taylor & Duran, p. 11). In most classes, this entails increasing the students’ abilities of inquiry, and this can be enhanced by using appropriate technologies (Taylor & Duran, p . 11). One teacher reports that her middle school students have become experts at creating video projects and slide shows that showed what they’ve learned (Crawford, 2005, p. 2).
InFocus projectors produced a difference that was unmistakably prominent and improved class presentation and involvement (Crawford, p. 1). Studies have shown that students who use computers to write reports had better grades in the same tests as those students that did not use computers for the same purpose at all (Taylor & Duran, 2006, p. 10). One study found that teachers who made regular use of PowerPoint presentations felt more confident in their ability to produce and help students develop skills in creating multimedia presentations and products that support engaged learning (Taylor & Duran, p. 13).
Video streaming is another technology being used in some classrooms (Whitaker, 2003), while some K-12 classrooms are even experimenting with robotics activities to enhance student engagement in lessons (Williams & Ma, et al. , 2007, p. 201), although most reports on the usefulness of robotics is anecdotal in nature and evidence is still required to prove to educators that robotics activities have a positive impact on curricular goals (Williams et al. , p. 201).
Now, many believe that the convergence of literacy instruction, for instance, the internet is remodeling the face of literacy instruction. This is because teachers now seek to prepare the children for their well deserved future (Witte, 2007, p. 93). A threaded discussion group is a is a series of postings on a single topic“ (Grisham & Wolsey, p. 651). The study found that through threaded discussion, student engagement was increased. This was because they were able to establish a community through which control of conversation is achievable.
Also, there is also a degree of control over the meanings they jointly constructed and also the connections they wanted to mane to their own worlds. (Grisham & Wolsey, p. 649). Though acknowledging that one of the serious drawbacks to the Web is that students often become lost trying to navigate through a maze of hazy information (Trotter, 2004, p. 1). The MyAccess program is a web-based writing program that instantly scores essays and provides remedial instruction for students at a middle school in Georgia (Ullman, 2006, p. 76).
The program was found to not only relieve teachers of much of their paper correcting burden, but also the instant feedback gave room for more quality which led to a significant increase in quality of writing (Ullman, p. 76). Another project reported on in the literature was the creation of a website which supported middle school teachers and students in making connections between literature and science in the context of the local environment (Howes & Hamilton, 2003, p. 454). WebQuest is another powerful tool for teachers to use in improving the engagement level of students in their class (Lipscomb, 2003, p.
154). Though relatively new, educators are already encouraging its impact (Lipscomb, 2003, p. 153). The important pedagogical purpose of a WebQuest is that it provides purposeful experience for students, both with the technology and in the subject matter being explored (Lipscomb, p. 154). More recently, other schools are experimenting with the use of blogs, or web logs, to enhance learning. Witte (2007) pushed for the use of a blog discussion tool on already present school computer networks in order to further engage students in learning (p. 95).
Witte (2007) decided that blogs were an important go-between between class and students when he found out that, while some students showed minimal interest in our classroom activities and assignments, they were reported, by their parents, working on the computer, writing poems and essays away late into the night. (Witte, p. 92). A theory was devised as to why diffusion was so slow, with explanations centering on the way farmers gained information about the innovation and which channels were helpful in making them reach the decision to use the new idea (Rogers, p. 14).
Diffusion theory can help educators understand why technology is and is not adopted in classrooms (Surry, 1997). Other researchers have adopted the diffusion model to counteract the fact that lack of utilization has been the bane of the utilization of new and innovative instructional products (Minishi-Majanja & Kiplang’at, p. 4). Indeed, Al-Gahtani’s (2003) literature review revealed 75 articles in which perceived attributes were measured, with the overall result being that compatibility and relative advantage scored high when implemented in companies while complexity was a disadvantage in its adoption process (p.
59). While determinists can be either utopian or dystopian (Marx, McCluhan and Toffler versus Ellul, Orwell or Luddites), all determinists see technology as an autonomous force. They describe it as being beyond the control of humans. They also see technology as a principal cause of social change (Surry, 1997, p. 6). In education, developer-based theory results in top-down technology-based reform initiatives such as Goals 2000, which seek to implement educational change by proposing systems that are better than previously existing one (Surry, p. 7).
Overall, the instructional development process is of the basic assumption that technological superiority is enough a condition that directly leads to the adoption and diffusion of products and practices that are innovative (Surry, p. 7). Adopter-based theoreticians such as Ernest Burkman are prone to point out situations where a technologically superior innovation was rejected by users because of the strength of human, interpersonal and social factors which sometimes play a prominent role in adoption than technological superiority (Surry, p. 11).
Another by-product of adopter-based theory is the study of revenge effects, which occur when this occurs when alien structures, organisms and devices interact with human beings in ways novel ways which they previously, did not forsee (Surry, p. 11). Indeed, a prominent component of the adopter-based diffusion theories is the need to predict and account for likely revenge effects (Surry, p. 11). Large scale market forces such as sector growth, volatility and concentration of markets effect the acceptance of a particular technology (Park et al. , p. 1480). Subjective norm is another strong construct developed along this line of research.
Subjective norm is defined as an individual’s perception that people who are important to him are of the opinion that a certain action or behavior should not be performed by him and has been shown to strongly influence adoption of technology, especially if use is mandatory and not voluntary (Park & O’Brien, et al. , p. 1480). All of this feeds into instruction through the lens of constructivism, or the belief that learning happens especially agreeably in a situation where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, be it a sand castle on the beach or the theory of the universe (Williams & Ma, et al. , 2007).
In this context, technology is used in education to create a situation that enables ‘learning by making’ and ‘learning by design’ (Williams & Ma, et al. ,). Various programs along these lines include efforts to have children design computer games, and making learning easier with programmable bricks (Williams et al). Thus, from the constructivist point of view, the way computers are used is more important than the fact that they are present in a room“ (Sheumaker & Slate,).
Integration of computers is deemed successful only when students learn through computers and not about them (Sheumaker & Slate, et al. , p. 3). Finally, reinforcing this model is the ecological model of technology integration in education. According to this model, technologies are just like actors in social systems, embedded visibly or invisibly in the context of activities (Kupperman & Fishman, 2002,). Through the use of new tools we develop new literacies, and from use or non-use are active, inactive or even, semi-active members of class (Kupperman & Fishman,).
Mention of the word “actor” enlists actor-network theory into these models as well. According to this model, the social world can be describes as materially heterogeneous. It consists of a tangled web of several human and nonhuman participants who participate and negotiate among themselves. They make rules for themselves based on shifting allegiances and interactions (Samarawickrema & Stacey, 2007). In order to have their way, these various actors may use calculation, negotiation, persuasion and even violence (Samarawickrema & Stacey,).