Technology And Its Influence On The Education System

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Technology and its Influence on the Education System

Technology and its Influence on the Education System

Thesis Statement

New and emerging technologies offer instructors great opportunities to be more innovative in their teaching and learning practices.


Technology has had a tremendous impact on education at all levels, K-16, and provides a plethora of opportunities for both formal and informal learning. Lectures can be delivered via podcasts or entire courses delivered virtually (McConnell, 2000). Remote learners can access information from the Outback of America, a one-room school house in Siberia, or from a rural New Mexico town where formal education must be supplemented by online learning because there are not enough qualified teachers. Access to the Internet is possible and opens up vast possibilities for learning and accessing information (Mason, 1998).

The growth of online teaching and learning at many other colleges and universities across the nation shows its acceptance by faculty and students. The convergence of the two ITs, information technology and instructional technology, has made this possible (Laurillard, 2002). A concerted effort will be required to involve the many units on a college campus that provide and support these technologies and the faculty and students who will use and benefit from them (Dede, 1996).

Technologies evolve through refinements in new versions and upgrades to products (Burge, 2000). Usually the enhancements are minor, but eventually older systems or hardware are no longer compatible or supported and soon become unusable. Leading edge software often contains bugs or is not robust when used outside the laboratory. Later releases become increasingly stable and appropriate for novice users (Baumgardner, 2000). From the first telephone call to the mobile phone, telephony has evolved in imperceptible steps punctuated by a few grand leaps. So it is with the technologies for distributed learning.

One of the acknowledged truisms of educational technology is that technology evolves much more rapidly than the willingness of teachers, learners, and educational institutions to exploit those technologies for learning. In short, there is usually a long lag time between the appearance of a new technology and its eventual widespread adoption for educational purposes (Adelsberger, Collis, Pawlowski, 2002). Educational authorities are often reluctant to invest in buying hardware and software that will be out of date before the teachers have really begun to make good use of them. A vicious cycle can develop whereby educators wait for the next evolution of the software or hardware to become available, but the next version is rapidly followed by another that may be incompatible with the previous version (Howard, Rainie, Jones, 2001).

This is particularly true with respect to the technologies underpinning distributed education, where over the last 20 years, information and communication technologies have evolved very rapidly. However on the whole, the early adopters among educators at the postcompulsory level have been quick to apply each new refinement to improve the quality of distributed learning and to increase access and enhance the online learning environment for the benefit of distributed learners.


The evolution of technologies for distributed learning is characterized by convergence: stand-alone systems ...
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