Article Analysis: Use of technology in education
The use of technology is identified, in this article, as the most popular way in which learning and performance is enhanced in learning institutions. The article focuses on the use of technology at post- secondary level. Different teaching and learning methods have been explored with respect to technology. They include the use of lectures supplemented by slide shows, virtual learning, and traditional lectures that may not rely on technology per se. The article therefore, aims to explore the exact effect that technology has on learning within the post secondary context. In an attempt to elicit the exact effect technology has, the researchers compare the results from traditional teaching methods, and teaching methods in which technology was used. Essentially, the study was aimed at providing a clear way forward when it comes to the use of technology in education, with positive findings meant to encourage the incorporation of technology, while negative findings implying a need to rethink the use of technology in post-secondary education.
The study involved a group of 154 participants, 76 men and 78 women mainly undergraduates from Midwestern University’s Psychology department. The study design was mainly a randomized control trial, as the participants were assigned to each individual group in a random manner. 47 to the traditional lecture (TL) group, 56 to the slide-show supplemented lecture (SSL) and 51 to the virtual learning environment group (VLE). Prior to training under the conditions described above, the students were all subjected to academic pretests and posttests also being administered following training. In addition, the researchers also explored the levels of frustration amongst the students using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index (NASA TLX). Following the determination of the results, the researchers opted to use one way ANOVA for statistical analysis, employing it in the analysis of the levels of frustration and academic test results, reporting findings of the F-test = 4.65 (Variance between treatments/variance within treatments), the medium effect and the probability. In order to control for type I errors, the researchers proceeded to use Fisher’s LSD test across the three comparisons. The researchers also used linear regression when analyzing the findings of the academic tests.
The findings indicated significantly high levels of frustration amongst participants of the VLE group, with a mean of 38.38 and a standard error of 4.26. For Traditional learning, the mean was 23.62 with a standard error of 5.00, with the frustration findings for the SSL group being similar to those for the traditional learning group. For the academic tests, the researchers found significant differences between both VLE and SSL, when compared to the findings of the TL group: For TL M= -.79, while for VLE M= .34, SSL M= .36. This led to the conclusion that indeed learning through the SSL and the VLE formats significantly improved learning compared to the TL format.
The article is not only helpful as it addresses to an extent the use of certain forms of technology within the classroom and without, but it also highlights the potential that exists for research in the application of technology to learning. Potential areas of research include areas such as the effect of the internet on learning and student participation. Another perhaps related area of exploration could be the effect that computers have on the quality and experience of learning. Generally, the research by Hove ad Corcoran (2008) open up the topic of technology in education for research; and considering how wide the topic itself is, there are numerous opportunities for further research.
Perhaps the biggest threat to validity, more so when it comes to the issue of frustration with technology, is the lack of adequate preparation, more so when it comes to the VLE group. The researchers in order to eliminate the possibility of ignorance leading to the high levels of frustration, should have trained the students on how to use the VLE platform efficiently. Secondly, the sample is not representative enough, as it is mostly made up of students from one faculty or department (Psychology), this lack of a more representative sample threatens the applicability of the findings within other settings. However, the findings serve to highlight both the good and the bad of technology use in education. The study reaffirms the belief that use of technology does improve student performance, while at the same time, improper implementation and use may result in significant frustration. Educators must therefore, tread with caution when opting to use technology as it can be a double edged sword if not managed properly.
This implies that the implementation or use of technology in education must be very keenly thought out in order to proper success to be realized. The implementation and incorporation of training programs on how to use the new technology adopted, would go a very long way towards ensuring that any frustrations that might arise due to inability to use the deployed technology is eliminated or dealt with accordingly. At the same time, the research findings also highlight the need for educators to embrace the use of technology in their teaching.
Hove, M. & Corcoran, K. (2008). Educational Technologies: Impact on Learning and Frustration. Teaching of Psychology, 35, 121–125.