The rapid growth of technology worldwide baffles many; every sector of the society, workplace, and even schools depict the influence of technological advancements. Schools have not been left behind either; the use of computers and other technological devices incorporated into the learners’ learning experiences. With focus on the incorporation of technology in schools, it is needed to question whether the technology is indeed beneficial to learners. Technology rapidly changes the way the students of all abilities and ages learn and live. For instance, in the USA, many K-12 schools incorporate computer hardware and software in the curriculum (Saba, 2009).
In order to comprehend how technology can be used in enhancing student learning and performance in academic work, a lot needs to be done. Current research literature must be examined to provide a wide range of practices and ideas on the incorporation of technology in student learning. Current practice and policy-related reports must also be analyzed.
Technology plays a significant and ever-growing role in the lives of most students worldwide. It makes it one of the main factors influencing the quality of their education and performance in schools. It thus makes it a concern policy makers and educators should show interest in. Its importance in the lives of students makes it a topic of sociological interest. As many educational systems have incorporated technology into their learning experiences, its benefits to the earners should be assessed. Though many believe the incorporation of technology in the education system benefits the learners in terms of learning and grades, the belief should be backed by quantitative and qualitative evidence (Moelle & Reitzes, 2011).
This is a technological era; as the years go by, technology rapidly becomes common in classrooms. Various learning institutions worldwide incorporate it in classrooms and other learning experiences. According to Klopfer et al. (2009), technology is a factor that can work alongside the teaching process; it evolutionizes the teaching process into a fresh and engaging perspective. As new technologies emerge, educators are compelled to establish an understanding of the technologies. It helps in leveraging and incorporating them into the classroom experience. Throughout history, technologies such as television, typewriters, calculators and computers emerge. Students adjust to the emergence of new technologies in the world; this prompts a need to incorporate the recent changes in learning experiences, as well. A connection must exist between students’ real life experiences and the content they are taught in school. The most recent technologies incorporated in the learning experience include; simulations, digital gaming and social networking. Students are thus able to learn educational content in a fresh and interesting manner.
Moelle and Reitzes (2011), state that educational practices and principles should focus on attaining advanced student-centered learning. It should ensure all students have equal access to skills and knowledge needed in college and career readiness; these should be up to speed with the 21st century advancements. It should also focus on mastery of knowledge and skills. In public schools today, the average student to computer ratio is 4:1. Technology is widely available yet not completely integrated into the learning systems.
Technology is highly customizable and elicits an intrinsic motivation in the students; this makes it well suited in expanding and improving the learning experience. Technology has several benefits in the learning experience and improvement of grades. It helps in the diagnosis and addressing of individual learner needs. It gives teachers the tools needed in assessing students’ needs and strengths. The teacher can thus observe learners’ performance and help them in improving their areas of weakness. It will foster an improvement in the learning experience and overall grades. The use of technology also equips students with essential skills; these are relevant in school work and even career life. They develop relevant competencies such as; problem-solving, creativity, data management, collaboration and communication. They become exposed and can independently organize their learning processes.
Simmons and Markwell (2001), state that computers and other related technologies are essential in the improvement of learning experiences. Various researchers show a negative impact of technology on performance. However, it is crucial to note that technological advancements are vital tools in the improvement of classroom experiences. The 21st century is advanced and fast-evolving; the incorporation of technology in education not only improves the learning experience, but also evolutionizes it to become relevant in today’s world. It also fosters active participation of learners in the classroom through interesting and engaging content. Students can surpass cultural and distance barriers thus, learn from each other through the; internet, video conferencing, and other forums. They acquire knowledge and experiences; it is motivating and increases their interest in education.
According to Hill (2014), technology-based learning environments have drastically changed how people learn and benefit from the internet and related technologies. Students worldwide show an eagerness for the incorporation of technology into their learning experiences. They embrace it through the use of; computers, internet, video, televisions, and others. Technology improves the learning experience through the presence of synchronous and asynchronous environments; these encourage the collaboration of students in informal and formal learning settings. Online learning makes the student an active participant in the learning experiences. The role of technology should be supported and incorporated in schools. It occurs through the incorporation of; blogs, video conferencing, discussion boards, online learning, game-based technologies and virtual worlds.
According to Fadel and Lemke (2006), since the introduction of computers into the classroom setting three decades ago, the advantages of computers remain evident. Schools use technology in the improvement of leadership, teaching, decision making and student-focused purposes. All the factors contribute towards the enhancement of learner performance and grades. For instance, learners have improved through the use of high standardized scores. Students also display high engagement; they are more involved in the learning process. It also improves student learning through equipping them with skills fitting in the modern technologically-advanced world.
They have been economically viable and relevant in the 21st century workplace and other sectors; keeping up with technological changes also ensures students remain technologically literate. It also contributes towards the acquisition of skills such as; sound reasoning, critical thinking, global awareness, information and visual literacy, communication skills, productivity, scientific reasoning and creativity.
The incorporation of technology in schools has also evolutionized the learning and grades of students with disabilities (Ferraro, Fichten & Barile, 2009). There is advanced equipment that cater for the deaf, blind, dumb and other disabled children. By making learning easier, they acquire knowledge, content and experiences easily. They thus exhibit an improvement in their academic studies. Their participation in the learning experience also improves; this is because their needs are catered for and they enjoy the learning experience.
The research study will focus on determining whether technology benefits student learning and grades. The study will use a mixed method of data collection and study. It involves the collection, study, and the combination of both quantitative and qualitative data. Since neither qualitative nor quantitative methods are sufficient, a combination of both will capture the trends and details efficiently.
Quantitative research will focus on the numerical data and development of knowledge through; efficient thinking, variables, questions, hypotheses, measurements and observation. It will establish a relationship between variables through a measure of their frequency and magnitude. In qualitative research, the researcher will develop and synthesize informants’ responses in a natural setting.
The research will provide tangible evidence on the impact of technology on student learning and performance; this will occur through data collection from tutors and students. The independent variable is technology, whereas, the dependent variables are learning and student grades. The study targets three main groups; students in high school, college and their tutors. The students will provide direct information on the impact of technology on their performance. The tutors will provide information on grades improvement through personal views and student progress records. The study will occur through the selection of a representative sample of the entire population. It will help in acquiring diverse perspectives in the study.
The data collection process will involve the use of structured questionnaires and interviews. The information will be treated confidentially and analyzed for research purposes. The data will be analyzed on multivariate levels and summarized into; figures, tables and graphs. The research will focus on coherence, insight, believability and trustworthiness. I have selected the mixed method of research due to ease of implementation and sequential nature. The method will, however, require a lot of time and resources in collecting the data; this is due to the conduction of both quantitative and qualitative research.
Technology is inevitable and needs to be embraced in enhancing the quality of life in all aspects. Education, particularly, continues to benefit from the numerous technological advancements available worldwide. Students embrace and welcome the incorporation of technology in their learning experiences. Educators should take advantage of the willingness and use technology in transmitting content to learners. The technology creates engaging and interesting learning experiences for students. It improves the process of knowledge and skill acquisition; this occurs through the existence of a new and fresh perspective in content coverage. Students can access a wide range of knowledge and learn from each other through internet forums. Technology breaks barriers in education such as distance and cultural differences. The incorporation of technology in the learning experience for students ensures an improvement in learning and grades.
Fadel, C. and Lemko, C. (2006). Technology in Schools: What research says, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/TechnologyinSchoolsReport.pdf
Ferraro, V., Fichten, C. and Barile, M. (2009). Computer Use by Students with Disabilities: Perceived advantages, problems and solutions. Pedagogie Colegiale, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.aqpc.qc.ca/UserFiles/File/pedagogie_collegiale/Ferraro.pdf
Hill, L. (2014). Advantages of Technology Based Online Learning in Education. University of North Texas, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.lorrihill.com/school- projects/documents/Hill-final%20paper.pdf
Klopfer, E, Osterweil, S., Groff, J. and Haas, J. (2009). Using the Technology of Today in the Classroom Today: The instructional power of digital games, simulations and social networking, and how teachers can leverage them. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The Educational Arcade. Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocNets_EdArcade.pdf
Moelle, B. and Reitzes, T. (2011). Integrating Technology with Student-centered Learning. Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.nmefoundtion.org/getmedia/befa9751-d8ad-47e9-949d- bd649f7c0044/integrating
Saba, A. (2009). Benefits of Technology Integration in Education. Boise State University, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.edtech2.boisestate.edu/sabsaa/502/Saba_Synthesis_Paper.pdf
Simmons, E. and Markwell, R. (2001). Advantages of Educational Technology. Sacramento: California State University, Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://www.nau.edu/uploadedFiles/Academic/COE/About/Projects/Advantages%20of%2 0Educational%20Technology.pdf