Final Project Theme for Winter 2009 : To Give Prompt Feedback
What will be the important global social and technology issues in the next 3-5 years?
Today, most teachers and students have not only been exposed to the internet but also have access at home or at school. In fact, a large number of schools are being retrofitted to place the internet in every classroom. Even more exciting than this is the newest technologies: Wireless and Video Conferencing(1). A school can purchase a 'Portable Classroom(2)'. The technology invasion in the classrooms of the future is not far. Research is the number one reason to use the internet in education. Students have a wealth of information open to them. Often, when they are researching obscure topics, school libraries do not have the needed books and magazines. The internet helps solve this problem. Student questions and questioning become a major focus of classroom activity as teachers demonstrate and then require effective searching, prospecting, gathering and interpretation techniques while students use the tools and information to explore solutions to contemporary issues.
As more new technologies become available, more and new possibilities open up in the field of education, aimed at making learning more efficient. In the coming years one recently introduced technology will be looking to become part of the everyday lecture room throughout universities across the nation. The introduction of hand-held clickers to answer questions and provide feedback has already made a great impact in several Universities, in which professors have experimented with this new technology (A). Throughout the lectures professors ask multiple choice questions, which the students answer anonymously and also see a statistic of the results in a matter of seconds. Although this might seem like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the professor has access to how each individual answered, and is able to see in which area a student might need help, or how the whole class is doing in learning a specific topic of the lecture. This new technology also reduces the burden of being embarrassed if one was to answer a question wrong, which recent studies show is the main reason most students chose not to raise their hand in class and answer a question. Overall this new technology can make a big, positive impact on learning throughout colleges and high schools around the world.
What role will computer and internet technology play?
A project that can help integrate technology while truly getting the students excited about school is website creation. You can publish a website with your class about information the students have researched or personally created. WikiEducator, Online Community Learning and Tar Heel Student Projects are perfect examples. This is in fact a perfect way for students to give a prompt feedback to teachers. Teachers can readily use this information for cultivating and preparing "Virtual Classrooms of the Future(3)". One downside to this approach is fears of plagiarism and parental support. When students research off the web to produce a traditional research paper, it is often difficult for teachers to tell if it is plagiarized. Not only that, but students can buy papers off the web. The internet is also full of items that most parents would rather keep away from their children: pornography, foul language, and subversive information are examples. However, despite the limitations, the benefits of using internet as a research tool in schools far outweigh the cons.
It has been long said that the best way to learn, is through teaching (B), which again makes the Tar Heel Project, The Math Help Forum and similar websites a great example of how the internet is a bridge towards limitless information and learning. Through these web sites students can demonstrate that they know the material well, or further deepen their understanding of the material through providing tools for other students to learn. The Math Help Forum is only one of many forums on which students can ask school related questions and other answer. It is a completely community driven forum on which students and other individuals collaborate in helping each other. With the power of the internet, college campuses or high schools can set-up similar forums and advertise them throughout their campuses, making a similar but more local community enhance the learning of its students.
Will the impact of technology be positive or negative?
The impact of technology will be positive. Over the next 3-5 years, the social gap between students across the globe will diminish and the new technologies will make room for virtual open classrooms and global study groups. As a result, this will benefit students at the lower levels of education and will encourage researchers to reach out and communicate with students and their peers across borders.
Technology has had a positive impact on education and will continue to have a positive impact in the future. The computer and the internet have contributed greatly in making education more interactive and also have provided for the fun aspect in education (C). From audio-video presentations to interactive clicking, technology will continue to provide diversity in different learning styles for different students. The World Wide Web continues to grow everyday in all directions, one of which is knowledge access. The WWW will continue to be an essential tool for acquiring information and expanding the knowledge base of its users.
How important is Digital Divide(4) in this context?
"Digital Divide" refers to the gap between those who benefit from digital technology and those who do not. The current view is that closing the digital divide will be most effectively achieved through a two-pronged approach. The direct approach will be for governments, local school districts and businesses to work together (programs that provide hands-on training) to change the incentives that shape digital markets. The indirect approach will be for them to team up on public private partnerships (primarily computer donation programs) that extend rural health care and quality education to the poor. Through these two approaches, the poor will be able to reap many of the same benefits from digital technology now derived by the wealthy.
Can we Trust the Computers? What role does Ethics(5) play in modern computer society?
Computer failures result from many causes: Large population; common sense not part of the automated process; overconfidence and errors in data entry; lack of accountability; and information not updated or corrected in time. A new field of ethics - Computer ethics is emerging. More attention is being paid to ethics in computer use today than ever before. Society is general is paying attention primarily because of the recognition that the computer can invade an individual's right to privacy. Within the business world one of the main reasons for the attention is the way in which software piracy is eroding the revenues of software vendors to the tune of billions of dollars a year. However, the subject of computer ethics goes much deeper than the privacy and piracy issues. The computer is a powerful social tool than can help or harm society in many ways, It all depends on how it is used.
Who will benefit and how? Who will be hurt? Who is driving the use of technology around this issue?
The Internet technology would benefit future classrooms, teachers, and students. Educators and Students are the driving factors behind this movement, with a smaller component of businesses pushing their products to educators. Technology will transform the effectiveness of education and cooperation amongst students on a global level.
Problem-solving tools: In addition to information, the desktop offers tools such as spreadsheets, databases, word processors, charting programs, outlining programs and multimedia presentation software to support analysis and problem solving. Instead of spending a fortune on instructional software, we focus on free internet software tools which will support the following: Questioning, Planning, Prospecting, Collecting, Interpreting, Reporting, and Communicating.
Responsible for their own learning: Students are more engaged learners. They invest personally in the quest for knowledge and understanding, in part because the questions or issues being investigated are drawn from their own curiosity about the world. Students feel excited, intrigued and motivated to solve the puzzles, make new answers and reach insight. Their contributions become important and worthwhile.
Strategic: They make thoughtful choices from a toolkit of strategies, considering carefully which approach, which source and which technique may work best to resolve a particular information challenge.
Collaborative: They work with others in a coordinated, planful manner, splitting up the work according to a plan and sharing good ideas during the search for understanding.
Negative impact for some would be simply ignorance and fear of change from the old ways. Inability to adapt into a whole new way of thinking and sharing ideas in a virtual world! Sometimes this fosters poor behavior in people.
1. Learning Trends Archive (January 2008). "Classroom of the future - Learning trends". http://classroom2008.blogspot.com/2008/01/classroom-of-future.html
2. Storslee, Jon., Yohe, Roger., & Matte, Nancy et al (2003). "The Future of Technology in the Classroom". http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ocotillo/papers/index.php?yr=0203&id=2
3. Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2008). "Classrooms for the future". http://www.pde.state.pa.us/ed_tech/cwp/view.asp?Q=118849
4. Arrison, Sonia (2002). "Perspective: What digital divide?" http://news.cnet.com/2010-1071-858537.html
5. Bynum, Ward (2000). "The Foundation of Computer Ethics". Computers and Society, May 2000.
A. Tracking the classroom response - http://www.wickedlocal.com/littleton/news/x599195509/Tracking-the-classroom-response
B. The Best Way to Learn - http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Best-Way-to-Learn-is-to-Teach&id=560127
C. Impact of Technology on Education - http://www.buzzle.com/articles/impact-of-technology-on-education.html