Technology and Academic Success
Higher education across the world and the lure of new information technologies has remained uncertain as it is unsettling. While few people doubt information technology has great potential of enhancing teaching and learning there is a wide and general agreement on how technology can and should be used to boost academic productivity or whether this type of increase is on its own a valid goal if its enhancement means that the substitution of technology to take the place of the more traditional and labor intensive forms of higher education. It is not that there is lack of technology in micro scale but there are many examples of new technology applications that abound. Most of the institutions have invested majorly in new technologies, distributing the capacity of computing across most of the campuses creating a link between the faculty and the students as well as with the other students and in general providing the necessary IT infrastructure which is a precondition to the involvement to the faculty (Reichstetter, 2007). College students complete several tasks using these devices such as checking their grades, the use of course management software as well as buying textbooks. Another primary function students use technology for is communication; tablets, phones and computers make it possible to carry out multiple tasks which make it easier for students to reach each other and also their professors.
The demand for IT-based learning and teaching programs has grown substantially or even exponentially and the trend will continue in the years to come. In an economy where there is an increase knowledge — based new information technologies, it gives an economic means through which continuous education is provided hence there is now a requirement of a readily accessible form of post secondary education as well as credentialing. Technology will definitely bring a lot of changes to learning and teaching in a big way no matter the response got from traditional higher education. Technology represents a very big and fundamental change in basic technology of learning and teaching. This transformation will take a long time, long enough for the critics to hold their claims that perhaps higher education can do well without necessarily making any changes in response to new technologies. If the traditional universities and colleges do not use and exploit the new technologies definitely other nontraditional providers of education will definitely embrace the new technologies (Massy, & Zemsky,2009).
We have seen that technology has a great potential in the education sector, however in order for these institutions to reap from the benefits they have to make sure they transform themselves in a very fundamental way. We therefore have to understand these changes in operational and practical terms. This involves exploiting the advantages of using technologies in teaching and learning and thus how technology impacts success in education.
The use of devices such as tablets, laptops and smart phones has become pervasive. According to recent research it has been established that about 86% of college students now own and use laptops while the ownership of smartphones has gone up to about 60%. Clearly this shows how the need for these devices is increasing among students and this has led to colleges providing the infrastructure in order to make them as useful as possible. Technology offers economies of scale in the education institutions in that after a period front end investment the cost of using this technologies by students is expected to be low. Moreover there will be access to large amounts of information for the students for very low incremental costs. This means that there will be a departure from the traditional handicraft models of education whereby the faculty curves of learning when it comes to production of learning are shallow and the available capital only offers very little leverage beyond the traditional physical plant. Secondly technology offers mass customization meaning that the faculty will be able to accommodate the existing individual differences in the goals of students, the styles of learning and abilities when it comes to providing improved convenience between the faculty and students on the basis of any time and any place reachability.
The most widely known potential technology offers is through learning tools such as the internet and online databases and the access to enormous information quantities. As the systems continue being sophisticated, technology will pave way for navigation among the sources of information at very low costs. In future students will be in a position of accessing online libraries, holding discussions online and also be able to view paintings found in museums anywhere in the world. This will create an opportunity for students to access a lot of information and thus improve their academic success. An important thing about technology is the fact that it transcends the limits of space and time for education activities among students. A state that has extensive distance learning programs for students report that faculties have made discoveries and that good communication between the students and teachers is quite important but direct physical contact is not as important. Technology will make it possible for the students to be brought together with the best lecturers through multimedia anytime and anywhere they could be. This type of access is particularly important since it increases the numbers of nontraditional students that are in higher education like those that often have jobs or even family responsibilities that limit their school hours. Technology has also paved way for self-paced learning whereby there is sensitivity to different learning styles and programs continuous assessment tests for the progress of students. The areas that benefit most from technology are the subjects that have high volumes of students, standardized curriculums and whereby the content faculty are not very much possessive (Junco, 2010).
Perfect examples of good target subjects include basic math and remedial, general courses in education and composition courses. Technology makes it possible for students to work with their own pace when carrying out continuous assessments which is different from the traditional post secondary education methods which can be described a using batch processing mode with episodic assessment. These continuous assessments make it possible for teachers to point out areas where their students falter and in some cases of multimedia programs, those areas normally trigger further practice automatically in order for students to receive more instructions in time when they require it most. Due to its capacity of focusing on individual assessment, technology makes teaching and learning more outcomes oriented a kind of change which has important implications for the productivity of learning. As a matter of fact areas which have made most inroads when it comes to technology are subjects such as math, foreign language and writing whose outcomes can be easily delineated. Continuous assessment tests make it possible to map out relations between the benefits and cost hence opening ways for innovation and experimenting (Brown, 2011).
Therefore we can say that technology has a very great potential for increasing the productivity in learning in different areas. Technology supplements human instructors whenever possible hence human intervention should be used mainly towards making advantages of technology accessible to all learners.
Reichstetter, R.(2007). Literature Review: Technology Use and Its Relevance to Academic Achievement. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://www.wcpss.net/results/reports/2002/0246_tech_use_achievement_lit_review.pdf
Massy, W. & Zemsky, R.(2009). Using Information Technology to Enhance Academic Productivity . Retrieved March 25, 2014 from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/html/nli0004.html
Junco R.(2010). Using Emerging Technologies to Engage Students and Enhance Their Success Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Using-Emerging-Technologies-to-Engage-Students-and-Enhance-Their-Success.aspx
Brown J., (2011). Does the use of Technology in the Classroom Increase Students’ Overall Academic Performance? Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://web02.gonzaga.edu/comltheses/proquestftp/Brown_gonzaga_0736M_10115.pdf
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