Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students

Change in Student and Teacher Roles

*When students are using technology as a tool or a support for communicating with others, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher, textbook, or broadcast. The student is actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows many more students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-led lessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress.

*The teacher's role changes as well. The teacher is no longer the center of attention as the dispenser of information, but rather plays the role of facilitator, setting project goals and providing guidelines and resources, moving from student to student or group to group, providing suggestions and support for student activity. As students work on their technology-supported products, the teacher rotates through the room, looking over shoulders, asking about the reasons for various design choices, and suggesting resources that might be used.

*Project- based work and cooperative learning approaches prompt this change in roles, whether technology is used or not. However, tool uses of technology are highly compatible with this new teacher role, since they stimulate so much active mental work on the part of students. Moreover, when the venue for work is technology, the teacher often finds him or herself joined by many peer coaches--students who are technology savvy and eager to share their knowledge with others.

*The most common--and in fact, nearly universal--teacher-reported effect on students was an increase in motivation and self- esteem. Teachers and students are sometimes surprised at the level of technology-based accomplishment displayed by students who have shown much less initiative or facility with more conventional academic tasks.

*Teachers talked about motivation from a number of different perspectives. Some mentioned motivation with respect to working in a specific subject area, for example, a greater willingness to write or to work on computational skills. Others spoke in terms of more general motivational effects--student satisfaction with the immediate feedback provided by the computer and the sense of accomplishment and power gained in working with technology.

*In many of these classes, students choose to work on their technology-based projects during recess or lunch periods. Teachers also frequently cite technology's motivational advantages in providing a venue in which a wider range of students can excel. Compared to conventional classrooms with their stress on verbal knowledge and multiple-choice test performance, technology provides a very different set of challenges and different ways in which students can demonstrate what they understand (e.g., by programming a simulation to demonstrate a concept rather than trying to explain it verbally).

*Another effect of technology cited by a great majority of teachers is an increased inclination on the part of students to work cooperatively and to provide peer tutoring. While many of the classrooms we observed assigned technology-based projects to small groups of students, as discussed above, there was also considerable tutoring going on around the use of technology itself. Collaboration is fostered for obvious reasons when students are assigned to work in pairs or small groups for work at a limited number of computers. But even when each student has a computer, teachers note an increased frequency of students helping each other. Technology-based tasks involve many subtasks (e.g., creating a button for a HyperCard stacks or making columns with word processing software), leading to situations where students need help and find their neighbor a convenient source of assistance. Students who have mastered specific computer skills generally derive pride and enjoyment from helping others.

*Experiences in developing the kinds of rich, multimedia products that can be produced with technology, particularly when the design is done collaboratively so that students experience their peers' reactions to their presentations, appear to support a greater awareness of audience needs and perspectives. Multiple media give students choices about how best to convey a given idea (e.g., through text, video, animation). In part because they have the capability to produce more professional-looking products and the tools to manipulate the way information is presented, students in many technology-using classes are reportedly spending more time on design and audience presentation issues.

**Research found online**  Click on the link at the top to read the full article.  

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