Technology in the PK-16
The use of
technology in education has seen an increase since the eighteenth
century. With the inception of President George W. Bush's "No
Child Left Behind" Act, technology will continue to be the focus
of lawmakers and educators. From the early uses of Blackboards to
textbooks and the Internet, technology has been an integral part
of classroom instruction. Theories such as "Constructionism",
"Constructivism" and "Cognitivism" argue that learning is based
on internal versus external factors. Many of these factors can be
modeled through the use of technology. This paper explores the
foundations of technology in education and how its increased use
affects instruction and society as a whole.
learning have been around for many years. Many schools of thought
have been argued. These theories strived to explain how people
acquired and constructed learning. Among the most highly
recognized theories are Behaviorism, Constructivism,
Constructionism, and Social and Cognitive Learning
is a learning theory that stated that learning can be molded by
external factors through positive and negative reinforcement or
by repetitive tasks. Theorist like John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov,
B.F. Skinner argued that learning is therefore defined as a
change in behavior in the learner.
Constructivism is rooted in the thought that the learner is the
constructor of information. The information constructed is linked
to the learner's prior knowledge on a given subject or
experience. As Karen Shaw (2005) reported in,"A Constructivist Model for
Thinking About Learning Online," all learning is therefore
intimately tied to experience and the contexts of experience, no
matter how or where that learning takes place."
Constructionism, like Constructivism, based learning on the
analysis of the learner prior knowledge. Through this analysis
knowledge is constructed and reconstructed. Knowledge
construction toke place when the learner was actively engaged in
meaningful activities that allowed for concept building.
Constructionism particularly applies to learning with digital
technology. "If you can use technology to make things you can
make a lot more interesting things. And you can learn a lot more
by making them"(Stager, 2005).
learning theories stated that people learned from each other. In
other words, learning is acquired in social environments. These
theories also stated that learning occurred through observation
and modeling. "Learning is essentially a social activity, that
meaning is constructed through communication, collaborative
activity, and interactions with others" (Shaw, 2005). Theorist,
such as Albert Bandura, contested that learning may occur without
a noticeable change in behavior.
beginning of the eighteenth century to today, educators have
searched for innovations that improved the facilitation of
instruction in their classrooms. One of the first innovations
educators developed was the blackboard. "Early blackboards were
made from pine lumber and covered with a mixture of egg white and
carbon from charred potatoes. Teachers and students wrote with
chunks of chalk and erased with cloth rags"(Roundtable, Inc.,
2001). The use of blackboards was a very important part of the
classroom. Blackboards were used to visually display the lessons
and curriculum for the whole class to see. Today, classroom walls
are lined with "whiteboards," and teachers us dry erase markers.
The whiteboards, like blackboards, are still a integral part of
the classroom and are being used by teachers to illustrate
lessons, while students use them to demonstrate essential
technological innovation was the abacus. "This early calculator
was made of a wood frame with parallel wire rods, each with
wooden disks that glided on the rods" (Roundtable, Inc., 2001).
This early innovation was used to facilitate mathematic
computations during classroom instruction. This device was quite
large and limited in their, use creating the need for smaller
more accurate versions. Today, many classrooms are equipped with
calculators to assist students with lengthy mathematic
computations. Some of these calculators are even equipped with
are another technological staple of the classroom that has
evolved since the eighteen century. Books have allowed educators
the flexibility to instruct students on multiple levels. From
literacy instruction to mathematical activities, textbooks are a
essential part of any classrooms curriculum. Early textbooks were
hard bound copies filled with passages to read and activities for
students to copy and complete. Today, textbooks have gone digital
and are found in CD-ROM form and in many cases with online
establishment of the digital age came computers.
awaited the promise of technology's power to guide them and to
lead improvements in the educational system" (Hamza and Alhalabi,
1999). Few computers were used in the classroom to facilitate
instruction. In fact "in 1981, only 18 percent of U. S. public
schools had one computer for instructional use"( Hamza and
Alhalabi, 1999). During this time, computer were primarily used
by educators to store instructional information and by students
to produce classroom assignments. By the 1994-95 school year
37 percent of schools had computers with CD-ROM drives(Hamza and
Alhalabi, 1999). CD-ROMs allowed educators to install and use
educational software programs to facilitate and reinforce
As the use
of computers in the classroom increased so did the use of the
Internet. "With the aid of technology, many teachers take
students beyond traditional classroom limits, creating virtual
environments to experiment and explore"(Hamza and Alhalabi,
1999). The Internet has allowed educators to use video streaming
as a resource to give students a virtual view of the content they
are learning. The Internet has enabled students to collaborate
with other students in classrooms across the country and around
increased use of the Internet in the classroom, "the National
Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report on the
impact of technology in education" (Cambre & Hawkes, 2004,
p.41). As Cambre and Hawkes (2004)have reported in "Toys, Tools
& Teachers," the NCES has reported that "the Internet has not
made dramatic differences in how teachers teach or how students
learn." Cambre and Hawkes (2004) also have stated that in 2001
President George W. Bush, possibly because of the NCES report,
signed a bill allocating a billion dollars to educational
technology programs. Along with President Bush's "No Child Left
Behind Act," the allocated fund will continue to make technology
in education a priority for lawmakers and educators alike.
theories have provided a firm foundation for how people acquire
and construct learning. Behaviorism showed how positive and
negative reinforcement causes learning with a change in behavior.
Constructionism and Constructivism proved that the learners prior
knowledge is a key factor in the construction of new knowledge.
And social learning theories allowed many to see that social
activities are important to the learning process. All of these
theories helped the evolution and expansion of the technology in
innovation classroom keystones such as the blackboards and chalk
have been replaced with whiteboards and dry erase markers. The
bulky abacus evolved into the small, yet efficient calculator.
Through technological innovation, the ultimate teaching tool also
known as the textbook had become accessible on CD-ROM and online
in many cases. During the early eighties, computers not very
visible in classrooms across the country. By the mid-nineties
more computer made their way into classrooms. The Internet has
allowed educators to bring video streaming and increase
collaboration into the classroom. Finally, President George W.
Bush signed a bill allocating a substantial amount of money for
educational technology programs.
increases on technology in education, educators must because
educated in its best uses in the classroom and in educational
settings. New technologies are creating ways to increase student
motivation, engagement and achievement. School districts are
requiring increased technology use among students and teachers as
a direct result of the "No Child Left Behind Act." There will be
even more increased focus on technology in the classroom as the
United States struggles to compete with countries like
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