The latest escalation in technological advancement has in no doubt revolutionized development in various sectors. The education segment has not been spared by this technology. Teachers and students have embraced new technology, especially in the learning process, together with the developments of educative materials. Classroom settings with well-established ICT base presents rich learning environments, as it fosters learners to adopt multiple perspectives complex phenomenon, allows learners to be flexible in knowledge construction and skills acquisition. Moreover, the settings provide platforms that cater for individual differences. Despite being expensive, particularly in the infrastructural perspective, the benefits of the new technology in the field of education supersede its disadvantages.
With the aim of knowledge and skill acquisition, new technology has greatly assisted learners to develop critical and creative thinking. This has been due to the intent of this method to expose and expand the growth of education beyond the traditionally recognized boundaries. The new technology does this by creating student-centered learning platforms, which encourage students to invoke their mind in defining complex scenarios, and developing amicable solutions to them. It desists from the traditional focus of listening and cramming the content, given by the lecturers and tutors. In fact by using this technology, the lecturer stands in as a guide to aid the students in following the right path during their research work.
This generation is addicted to technology, so it is better if you guide them to use it in the right way. This method helps students to pay attention to the teacher. I believe that when students use technology, rather than lecture, it helps them to remember and keep information for a longer time period. My research seeks to point the use of technology to improve student thinking.
The following questions will help in conducting the study. The obtained answers would help in the analysis of the problem statement. How do students regularly use technology to learn? How does technology impact learning?
- What type of technology do you have access to in your classroom?
- How do students' skills change when they use technology?
- How does students' thinking processes change when they engage in the use of technology versus traditional lecture?
- Does technology increase student motivation to learn?
- Some students resist using technology in class, they want to keep it for personal use, have you had this experience?
- What are the advantages of using technology in your classroom?
- What are the disadvantages?
Technology has been one of the major forces that have shaped the world in the recent past. With advancements in technology, development of information communication systems and the use of the all-time powerful internet communications, every process in the face of earth influenced in varying degrees by this key external environment factor. Technology has had a substantial influence on education in the recent years (Czaja, Charness, Fisk, Hertzog, Nair, Rogers & Sharit, 2006). With enhanced technology advancements, the acceptance and integration of technology education processes have highly increased (Hu, Clark & Ma, 2003). Technology has risen to become an important educational support tool that has been effective in enhancing teaching and learning processes. The rise of the so-called technologies that are designed to enhance support and provide a conducive room for learning to take place can be associated with significant influence on education, such as in the use of web 2.0 based technologies, such as electronic learning (Chu, Tse & Chow, 2011) (Cheung & Vogel, 2013). On this point, it is worth giving an insight to learning platforms designed to provide additional support to students through e-teaching, provision of learning materials through online portals and proving platform for peer discussions and sharing through chat rooms.
Technology has been identified as an important tool that used to develop student thinking. According to Ping and Tay (2003), technology has been identified as an important tool used by teachers to develop and enhance student thinking. Ping and Tay point out that there are various ICT tools with specific effect on developing students' thinking capacity. According to Hwang, Sung, Hung, Yang & Huang, (2013), the use of technology in education motivates students to learn. Citing that support programs are not always effective in enhancing the development of an appropriate teaching and learning environment, the authors point out that there is a need for education support technologies to be based on knowledge management principles, so as to ensure that they trigger high level of thinking among students (Hwang, Sung, Hung, Yang & Huang, 2013). Hwang, Sung, Hung and Yang & Huang cited the use of interactive games as being an important technology intervention that identified to have the capacity to enhance student thinking and knowledge synthesis.
According to Gabdulchakov, (2015) efficient learning is achieved when there is a successful activation of students' thinking processes. Gabdulachakov specifically focused on the effect of the use of technology on the development of thinking processes of bilingual students. Basing their research study on foreign students studying in Russia who are forced to use Russian as a second language, the authors note that there exists a big thinking challenge when they process information using their native language, yet receive commands in Russian. As such, it is argued that there is a need for education support programs that bridge the language barrier, thus enhancing student's thought processes. The researchers found out that the use of appropriate education support technologies is able to enhance mental processing methods; thus, enhancing the thought processes of the bilingual students and by doing so enhancing education efficiency (Gabdulchakov, 2015). On this point, Ping & Yong. (2003) found out that the use of information and communication technologies in elementary school education has an effect of enhancing students' engagement in high-level thinking. With various information communication and technology tools, teachers and other education instructional professionals are able to trigger students to develop high order thinking that has a net positive effect in enhancing education efficiency (Hayes, 2007).
The effect of the use of information and communication technology has also been identified to enhance literacy (Zammit, 2012). On this point, it is worth highlighting that there have been advances in the description of literacy, building on what it was formerly described to as the ability to read and write to include the ability to synthesize knowledge and present it using various models (Zammit, 2012). Zammitt found out in his research study that the use of information technology educational support programs is effective in engaging students who are in their later years of schooling, in such a manner that enhances delivery of learning content and literacy levels. Hanrin, (2013) argued that the use of information technology systems to support education has an effect of enhancing cognitive synthesis of information to knowledge that, in turn, has an effect of enhancing innovation and creativity. Hanrin points out to the importance of information technology in enhancing education efficiency in university levels. The positive effect of the use of information technology is also highlighted in teaching geographical information management systems in geography professions (Madsen & Rump, 2012). Hanrin points out to the importance of technology in creating a conducive environment for research; an effect that has a positive influence of effective teaching and learning.
Critical thinking, which is considered to be a function of efficient teaching and learning, is identified to be a result of the use of information technology in enhancing critical thinking abilities of high school students (Veerachairatana & Bunterm, 2012). Critical thinking is the ability of an individual to synthesize information from various perspectives and, consequently, come up with appropriate conclusions. This level of thinking is important in learning, since it enables a student to acquire knowledge, in addition to enabling a student to solve real life problems well. Veerachairatana & Bunterm (2012) point out that critical learning is a higher order thinking skill that is achieved through the effective development of induction, assumption deduction, logical conclusion and effective evaluation of arguments. The researchers argued that the effective achievement of high order thinking ability in high school students is achieved through the use of information technology education support programs (Kilic & Sen, 2014). According to, Hunter, Pitt, Croce & Roche, critical thinking is also a combination of various skills, each of which require high level of thinking capacity to acquire and develop (Hunter, Pitt, Croce & Roche, 2014). The use of information technology education support programs enables students to acquire critical thinking skills when the systems are aligned with the educational needs of students (Pucer, Trobec & ?vanut, 2014). These arguments are upheld by Tillman in his article when he points out that e-learning frameworks provide conducive platforms that facilitate the creation of knowledge (Tillman, 2015). He points out that the use of appropriate education technology support systems has a positive influence in activating the thinking levels of students, thus leading to critical learning (Piromjitrapong & Asavabhumi, 2012). From the literature review above, it can be acknowledged that information technology has a positive effect on enhancing teaching and learning by enhancing high level thinking in students.
How It Works
Interview method of data collection is used, where I present a paper with questions to the respondents. The selected respondents are then asked to give their responses in the space provided. The sample used is selected using stratified random sampling process, where the entire target population is divided into smaller stratum, and a simple random sample is taken from each stratum. Each of the random samples is combined to form the entire sample. This method is used to ensure that each and every subgroup in the population is uniformly represented.
The interview questions used were presented above.
These questions are meant to answer our research questions. The responses given are analyzed and the appropriate conclusions made.
Analysis and Results
Most of the respondents who are interviewed are students, but also have an experience in teaching. Megan, who was once a teacher, stated that when she was a teacher a year ago, she had access to a smart board, a document camera, 30-google chrome books and a set of 25 calculators. Madihah says that she has access to Internet, smart board, and laptop. Lastly, Corrinne says that she has access to Calculators, and Smart boards (whiteboards) for interactive learning. They say that students also have their personal laptops.
The respondents agree that use of technology improves students' skills. They say that when students use the Internet to look for information, their research skills improve and get better. Some of the respondents say that some students do not benefit much from these new gadgets because they find it hard in using them. Some also use the gadgets for the wrong purposes.
From the responses given, it is clear that technology creates an interactive learning environment for students and teachers. The respondents say that technology has a different impact on students thinking capacity than the traditional methods because using technology gives student opportunity to participate and interact with the teacher effectively. Also, students are in a position to manipulate and interact with educational materials. This was contrary to the traditional methods in which teachers were the main source of information. Also, using technology inside the classroom persuade students to think and solve problems because it is away from the traditional method that is boring and does not get students' attention.
Most people who were interviewed say that students' motivation increases when new technology is introduced, though some may find it hard to use it effectively in the given learning materials and gadgets. They say that technology increases students' motivation to learn because it facilitates the communication between the teacher and students. Also, technology helps to show the students' visual images for what they learn, such as smart board, video, and show the students a virtual field trip on the Internet.
The respondents say that some students want to keep the new gadgets very personal, especially the phones and laptops. Though this is experienced, most students use the given channels for the right use and benefit from it a lot.
The respondents give several advantages of using technology to students. First, they say that technology helps students improve on accuracy, where they become more precise in doing things like calculations. They say that it helps the learning process to be faster and more efficient. Also, technology expands the recourses that are available to students. They say that a student can use, interact and get information that they cannot find in books. Lastly, they say that it facilitates the learning process for students and gives the teacher creative ways to explain the lessons.
Lastly, the disadvantages, given by the students, are not much. The most common one is the difficulty in using some gadgets and connectivity problems. The other disadvantage is that some gadgets are expensive for students to purchase and maintain.
What was your purpose? What did you hope to learn?
The purpose of the study was aimed at providing in-depth view of the possibility of technology in advancing the thinking ability of students. I intended to acquire information on the negative attributes of technology, particular in the aspects of social media that deny students' time for pleasure reading.
What did you learn?
From the research methodology, the respondents to the interview questions affirmed that, indeed, technology improves learning. The impact leads to better comprehension of facts and ideas.
If technology is used correctly, then the ability of students to think critically is enhanced.
Technology saves a lot of time that can be used to do other tasks. The technological tools have been programmed to do many tasks within a short period of time.
Some students do not find it comfortable to learn technological skills, as they claim its hard.
The use of technology can make learners be lazy in doing personal work.
Some institutions of learning do not have reliable access to internet.
What additional work would you do to answer your research questions or new questions that came up during your data analysis?
I would use more data collection tools, in order to obtain vast information. For example, I would distribute open-ended questionnaires to my respondents, so that they assist me with their opinion about the technology in learning. Moreover, I would include many respondents, both students and teachers.
What recommended changes would you suggest based on your finding. Would you implement changes, why or why not?
I would recommend to equip learning centers with technology tools and reliable internet in order for the technology to be adopted. The teachers need to guide their students well on the use of technology, so that they do not spend much of their valuable time on the social media. In addition, I would recommend the use of mobile phones in the institutions of learning that do not have adequate laptops to the students.
How are these findings potentially useful to others? Think about those that you listed in your rationale?
These findings would assist in the development of learning to the future generations. As the discussion paragraphs posits, the technology has tremendously advanced learning. Particularly, critical and creative thinking have also been improved. However, if not properly used, then the technology kills an individual's ability to comprehend facts. Consequently, this interferes with decision-making and problem solving abilities. As from the discussions, the technology can make one lazy and predisposes one to unwanted websites that have privacy issues. The intent of this would help to yield more results.
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