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Importance of Technology in Education: An Overview

In education, technology's value is certainly the potential to meet more students more effectively. Technology is all around us and only in its many applications continues to grow!


Technology is in education everywhere: U.S. public schools now have at least one computer every 5 students in schools. They spend over $3 billion on digital content per year. The Federal Government led the country in an ongoing campaign to ensure that even most rural and distant schools are provided with accessible high-speed internet and free online teaching services. And in 2015-2016, more state-standardized assessments will be carried out by technology for elementary and middle classes than by paper and crayon.


Observers must know-how and look to keep up with what changing (and what doesn't).


The thriving ed-technology industry is also backing up an €8 billion-plus annual hardware and software market with company titans and small startups alike. The "early adopters"—the districts, schools, and teachers who make the most ingenious and efficient use of the new instruments available—are also given a great deal of publicity.


However, a large amount of study has also shown that, amid the introduction of new technologies into their classrooms, most teachers have been slow to transform their teaching. Small evidence exists that online and technology improve learning results for most students. And both academics and parents shared their concern about digital entertainment, how unequal access to and use of technology could increase performance gaps, and more.


In recent years, state and federal lawmakers have wrestled with the fact that emerging innovations are also new challenges. For example, the emergence of 'huge data' has led to new questions about how schools can keep sensitive information safe and confidential for students.


The following provides a summary of the major developments, opportunities, and issues in classroom technology. For those who want to dig deeper, links to additional resources are included in every section.


What is Custom Learning?


Many in the e-tech field see emerging technology as important tools to help schools meet the needs of student groups that are increasingly diverse. The idea is to deliver a once-unimaginable range of options for adapting education to the strengths and limitations of each student, interests and drives, individual tastes, and optimum learning rates, to digital devices, software, and learning places.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michal and the Susan Dell Foundation, and EDUCAUSE have formed a community of organizations in recent years that have described the term "personalized learning" in four pillars:


  • Each student should follow an individualized path to learn and manage personal academic goals;

  • All students should have a "learner profile," which shows their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and objectives;

  • Students should adopt the 'competency-based progression' to show their ability to master the subject instead of seating time;

  • The learning environments of students should be versatile and designed to support their specific goals.


What supports technology for this vision?


Students are granted district computers in certain schools or permitted to carry home their own laptops. The idea is that "24-7" can be learned at the moment and place of the choosing student.


Learnings management and other software are also used to assign projects, monitor schedules, and correspondence, and track the progress of students.


Educational apps and software have become increasingly "adaptive" to assess not just what a student understands but also his learning process and his or her emotional situation, using technologies and algorithms.


However, implementation remains a major obstacle for all technical advances. Schools and educators around the country continue to struggle to reconcile teachers' shifting responsibilities, versatile, "personalized" models with their State and federal accountability criteria, and the cultural challenge of changing teacher behaviors and routines.


While many school districts make a massive investment, evidence remains scattered at best that digital personalized learning is capable of enhancing student performance or minor achievement gaps.


What Is 1-to-1 Computing?


Schools are moving gradually to give students a laptop, netbook, or digital tablet of their own. In 2013 and 2014, schools alone bought more than 23 million classroom devices. In recent years, iPads and then Chromebooks have emerged as the computers for many schools (not costly web-based laptops).


The two main factors promoting the growth in 1-to-1 student computing are recent mandates for the online conduct of national standardized testing and the general implementation of the Common Core State Standards.


In general, it is hoped that placing devices in students' hands would help to achieve some or all these objectives:


  • Allowing teachers and apps to provide students with customized material and lessons while allowing students to learn at their own speed and skills;

  • Help students become technologically skilled, informed, and therefore better equipped for modern places of work;

  • Enable students to do more complex and creative work by using digital and online tools;

  • Improving schools and classrooms administration and management by facilitating knowledge gathering about things students know and have done;

  • Improving student, instructor, and parental contact.


However, considering the potential advantages, several schools are struggling to adopt computing programs 1-to-1. Paying for devices can be a challenge, especially because long-term bonds are in question for short-term technology purchases. Many districts still have infrastructure issues (not enough bandwidth to support all students on the Internet simultaneously) and implementation (poor planning in distributing and managing thousands of devices.)


But a lack of educational vision was the most important issue for schools that tried to get 1-to-1. Experts agree that the 1 to 1 solution is always "a spray and pray" of distribution of multiple devices and the only hope without a clear understanding of the way teaching and learning are supposed to improve.


A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development also pointed to some opponents of educational technology who found countries where 15-year-old students often use computers in the classroom have the lowest scored in international reading and math exams.


What is Blended Learning?


Combined learning, in its simplest words, blends classroom lessons for teachers with technological training.


A rotation model is also seen as a good way to offer students more customized training and smaller group opportunities in many schools and districts. In certain cases, saving money is also an objective (for example, by larger class sizes). Students switch between online stations and individual stations for various parts of the day. The basic requirement is However, there are several versions: Do students go to a computer lab or remain in the classroom?


Is online instruction about core content or is it primarily intended to be remediated? Do all students do the same online or have different students different experiences with software and learning?


One significant trend in schools is to ensure that what takes place online is related to what happens when you communicate with teachers. This may include teachers' choice of software that students, for example, or a deliberate attempt to ensure that teacher knowledge that is useful as they make timely educational decisions is generated by online programs.



Another trend is to increase student Internet connectivity outside school. "anytime and anywhere" the access to learning material for students is a big obstacle in many communities. Robust mixed learning programs.


However, a lack of a strong research base could represent the biggest challenge facing educators interested in combining learning. There is no definitive proof that mixed learning works (or doesn't) at present. Although some studies have found promising results with particular programs or under certain conditions, the response remains largely unsatisfactory: "It's all dependent."


What Is the Status of Tech Infrastructure and the E-Rate?


The technical promise in the classroom depends almost entirely on stable infrastructure. However, schools still have difficulties getting affordable Internet access and/or comprehensive wireless networking in most parts of the world.


There are many elements of a traditional school district network. In 2014, some sections had connectivity goals set by the Federal Communications Commission:


  • A wider internet link is offered by an external district office provider (or another central district hub).

Purpose: 100 megabits of each second in a short term per 1,000 students, and 1 Gigabit of each second in a long term per 1,000 students.

  • A 'Wide Area Network,' providing network links to all schools, office buildings, and other facilities throughout the District Central Hub.

Purpose: Connections able to produce 10 Gigabits a second for every thousand students.

  • "Local area networks" that have school connections, including the requisite devices for Wi-Fi in classrooms.

Purpose: To evaluate a suitable measure, the FCC proposed a survey. Many proponents of school, technology is asking for 1-to-1 computing internal links.


In 1996, the FCC set up a program known as the E-rate to assist schools (and Libraries) in the construction and payment of these networks. Fees on telephone bills for customers fund the service, which since its inception has paid more than $30 billion.


In 2014, the Commission revised the e-rate, raises from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion in the program's annual budget limit, and prioritizes broadband and wireless networking support. Almost all applicants planned to receive a portion of $1.6 billion of total wireless requests after a constant decrease in the number of schools and books applying for e-rate funds. The transition has been felt since autumn 2015 and has increased for years.


The FCC has adopted a number of regulatory changes to equalize the field of play for rural and distant schools, which often confront two major problems: accessing the fiber-optic cables which experts claim are necessary if the FCC is to achieve the long-term objectives of the FCC and achieving affordable prices.


In some environments, the infrastructure can also include learning tools (i.e. responsible policy usage policies or "digital citizenship" initiatives aimed at ensuring that students, teachers, and staff use the technology in an acceptable manner to support the learning goals), and digital content, as well as policies and guidance for how schools plan to be used.




Another major part of the infrastructure – frequently ignored – is what is called interoperability. The term essentially refers to general standards and prototypes for data formatting and handling, so that software programs can exchange information. Many frameworks outline principles of data interoperability for various purposes. Many hope that universal principles will be agreed upon in the next few years.


What is the development of Online Testing?


State implementation of online assessments compatible with the Common Core State Principles has been the greatest improvement on this front. In 2014-2015, 10 countries (plus Columbia District) used exams under the Alliance for the Evaluation of College Preparedness and Occupations (PARCC), as well as 18 states were using assessments conducted mainly online from Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Most of the other countries have used online evaluations.


According to a recent report by EdTech Strategies, an educational Technology Consulting company, the 2015-16 school year is the first in which state-required summative tests in mid-and elementary schools will be conducted using technology rather than paper and pencil.


In addition to satisfying legislative requirements, the advantages perceived include savings, simple monitoring, and review, and the opportunity for complex performance practices.


But there have been major problems with on-line testing in some countries, including Florida, Minnesota, Montana, and Wi-Fi, ranging from cyber-attacks to log-in issues to technological errors. And more and more evidence is available that students who take paper and pencil tests perform better than students who take the same exams online, at least in the short term.


However, it seems probable, and not just for summary state evaluations, that online testing will continue to increase. One of the most urgent users of the U.S. Department of Education is a technologically improved formative evaluation that can be used in the near real-time to diagnose student abilities. For example, in the department's National Technology Plan for Education 2016, the department called for countries and districts to "design, build and introduce learning dashboards, response systems, and communication pathways, provide timely input on learning to students and educational practices and other stakeholders."


What kind of digital materials are used in classrooms?


Digital education material, with annual revenues of over $3 billion, is the largest slice of the K-12, the (non-hardware) education technology segment. This includes interactive algebra, English/language, and science classes, along with subjects of 'specialty' such as business and fine arts. Giant publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson also dominate the industry, which is struggling to transform their printed legacy products from print-centered to more digital products.


However, entrants with one-off goods and specialist experience in some fields have also gained enormous momentum in some applications and online services within schools.


As a result, many schools are using a combination of digital tools, benefiting from such potential benefits as greater personalization, greater commitment among students, better up-to-date content, and better interactivity and adaptability (or responsiveness to individual learners).


However, for reasons from the financial sector, such as districts that were not able to buy equipment for all students, the transition to digital educational materials is slowly taking place (districts that lack the infrastructure to support every student being online together.) About 70 percent of the sales of educational materials in the USA before K-12 still account for print.


What are open platforms in education?


Some governments and districts tend to use "open" digital education tools approved in a way that can be freely used, updated, and exchanged rather than purchases of digital educational contents. For instance, the U.S. Education Department is now officially urging local authorities to switch from textbooks to greater OER adoption. The trend seems likely to intensify.


The creation of open education tools and the promotion of their use by schools have been led by New York and Utah. The K-12 OER Collaborative is also focused on creating OER products, which involves 12 states and other non-profit organizations.


Proponents claim that OER delivers a higher degree of back wheeling while also giving students more flexibility for adapting teaching content for individual classes and students to a broader variety of interactive materials. Some claim that the use of OER facilitates teacher cooperation. Industry and others are concerned in general about the Quality of accessible materials, as well as the problems faced in selecting the right material for each lesson through large one-off tools.


How are virtual education and learning at a distance?


One technological trend that has been increasingly scrutinized involves online schools full-time, particularly Internet charters. Around 200,000 students are enrolled in around 200 online charter schools independently operated and independently-run in 26 states.


But such schools have been found in a systematic study series published by a team of research organizations in 2015, including the Education Research Center at Stanford University, to have an "overwhelmingly negative effect" on the learning of students.



This study did not include over two dozen state-run full-time online schools but did not include more than a dozen school districts. There are also individual online classes provided by thousands and thousands of students registered in traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and Virginia—need students to study online. Some states have adopted laws that encourage students to make certain choices, such as Utah.


Online and distance learning can give many students, especially in rural and remote areas, access to courses, subjects, and teachers that they would never otherwise be able to find. Advanced and highly motivated students and those with an uncommon curriculum and travel requirement will also benefit from such opportunities. This is also a valuable method for sustaining schools during snow days.


But it has been difficult to achieve positive academic results on an online basis to date and many observers have been concerned with the lack of transparency in the sector, particularly with regard to online profit managers.


 

To help their work, Newsmusk allows writers to use primary sources. White papers, government data, initial reporting, and interviews with industry experts are only a few examples. Where relevant, we also cite original research from other respected publishers.



Source- EducationWeek



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