Technology has significantly changed the world that we live in. Its continuous growth and influence has revolutionized numerous industries, in a way that it improved the system of producing products and services worldwide.
In the school education sector, the learning process is constantly being reformed to allow technology to take an active role in helping students gain knowledge and experience in their academic life.
However, the effect of technology on the learning process is still being debated in society. This The lack of an unequivocal answer is the main reason why the use of technology has not been fully accepted in the academe.
What is the meaning of student outcomes?
The term student outcomes can be described in two ways.
Firstly a student outcome is the desired objective that an institution wants their students to achieve. It describes the goal and intention of a school for a particular course or subject being taught to a student.
For example, in a flying course, the desired student outcomes of the institution is for students to learn how to takeoff, navigate and land an aircraft safely and properly. In this scenario, the question: does the use of technology in schools improve student outcomes, refers to whether the use of technology helps teachers improve the way they teach students in learning how to fly and land an aircraft.
The second case refers to student outcomes during the learning process. In this case, the question refers to whether the availability of new technology allows students to better improve their knowledge and experience about a particular subject.
For example, in an architectural class, would the use of new computer aided design software improve their competence in designing structures, or would it just distract them from learning the essentials of architectural designs, because it allows them de design structures without the students understanding the skills and processes of design.
Based on these two distinct connotations about student outcomes, we will now the review research.
Use of Tablet Technology in the Classroom
In this research conducted by the Sydney Region and NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre, the use of technology, particularly iPads and interactive whiteboards, produced an improved attitude and increased motivation towards learning from the students.
During the course of the study, students efficiently accomplished academic work and were able to effectively demonstrate understanding of the subject matter being taught in school. Furthermore, the teachers successfully increased class participation from students and were able to proficiently explain topics easily through the use of interactive devices.
On the other hand, the teachers had to make an extra effort in planning and preparing the devices, in order to align them with the curriculum being taught in their institution.
The future of higher education: How technology will shape learning
The White Paper created by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by the New Media Consortium rationalizes the importance of using technology in education.
The Paper explains that using technology in education enables multi-modal teaching which amplifies the effectivity of instructors to engage their students, through the use of various forms of teaching methodologies.
The paper also illustrates that by using technology in education, students are given access to additional reference and educational resources, which allow them to become more engaged in cognitive studies.
However faculty staff needs to spend additional time in learning new methods that can result to increase operation cost and budget. Furthermore, student’s easy access to information may result to cheating, plagiarism and even distraction from studies.
Digital Technologies: What does the research tell us about Innovative Classroom Practice and Student Outcomes?
This paper is a summary of various research and studies conducted worldwide on the importance of using technology to improve student outcomes.
The paper listed the following positive impact of using technology in education:
- Remarkable improvement on student’s test outcomes – BECTA report on the use of ICT in schools (UK)
- Technology helped student’s improve critical thinking skills – (Sheehan and Nillas)
- Use of technology in education enhanced middle school students reading performance – (Moran, Pearson, Ferdig, Blomeyer and Wardrop)
- Technology generates better interaction between students and teachers – (Falloon)
The appropriate use of technology in schools not only causes a substantial increase on student outcomes (in both cases mentioned in our definition of the term), but it also provides an opportunity to revolutionize learning and teaching in the 21st century. Moreover, the use of technology in education prepares the students to be more proficient and capable to handle the challenges that await them in the digital world.
However, when planning to integrate technology into the school learning process educators should ensure that their school’s infrastructure, curriculum, and technical resources are properly aligned to ensure positive results. Without proper planning and preparation, the use of technology in education may easily turn into a hindrance to both students and the school..