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Technology and Literacy Learning Through the Eyes of Students

The age of modern day learning has arrived. It is no longer a matter of whether we want to integrate technology and education; it is a necessity. The reality poses an immense problem and threat to the longstanding educational institutions that have for the most part remained unchanged for nearly a century. Who would have imagined that the alphabet’s letter “E” would forever transform the face of education to E-Ducation?

Technology in education has progressed from basic tools such as the abacus, pencil, ruler, paper and calculator to computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, software and apps. The technological advancements alone are forcing the manner in which teachers teach, how students learn, the ways schools are structured and breaking the barriers between home and school life. At its core, technology is impacting the very essence of the future of humanity.

Digital Natives: A Generation Dedicated to Learning with Technology

The prominence and rise of technology in the world applies to all aspects of life including how we learn. It appears that the days of “open your textbook, read the following pages and answer the questions” will be for the most part a thing of the past.

As educational institutions resist and make attempts to adapt, it is crucial to keep in mind the learning needs of today’s digital natives. The digital natives are those that were born during or thereafter the inception and introduction of digital technology.

This generation is not only accustomed to technological advancements and devices they expect it. As such, drastic measures will have to be implemented to meet the student’s expectations for learning. The key will be to adapt to an uncertain, modern, changing and dynamic global world.

Pivotal Technologies and Learning Portals

Technological advancements will allow education to be universally accessible, customized, individualized and highly adaptive. In essence, learning with technology is propelling independent learning to the forefront.

Now more than ever, students will have the opportunity to individualize and navigate the knowledge portals through pivotal technologies such as the Internet, Open Sources, Virtual Learning Environments and Mobile Learning Devices. Open Sources includes MOOCs and Web 2.0.

Massive Open Online Courses will allow students the autonomy and flexibility to choose what they want to learn independently. The Web 2.0 is simply the way new web pages are designed and used. Students will have a multitude of options by virtue of using Open Sources through a variety of Mobile Learning Devices.

Virtual Learning Environments will only enhance the learning experience by making it fun and interactive. Students will have a wide selection of learning mediums to complete assignments and receive feedback. Hence, the learning would be more interactive and engaging.

Individualized Learning and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The role of the teacher would alter to monitor and provide feedback at an unparalleled level. Technology would of course also help the teacher with the many independent learning assignments, projects, presentations etc. of the student’s through the use of Learning Analytics. Learning Analytics is the accumulated of created data to continually evaluate and precisely guide student learning.

The digital natives are choosing their own devices to learn in a world that has cloud computing and the Internet. They are living in a digital information literacy online world. Their reality encompasses learning through educational games and virtual learning platforms. They are living in a world where the physical and virtual have amalgamated.

Learning with Technology from Students’ Perspectives

As such, what do kids think about technology and learning? How often do we really ask for their thoughts and opinions? Do we really take into consideration how and what they want to learn? Should what they have to say really matter how we as educators make decisions? Personally, I do believe that they do bring value to the decision-making table.

My sister in law is an eighth grade social studies teacher at a middle school. In a conversation with her, she mentioned to me the various ways she integrates technology in the learning. What I found especially of import was her comment on how the students use technology as easily as breathing.

She explained to me that now only do students expect it but that they demand it. She further informed me that it is a necessity and it brings lots of fun to the learning. As an educator, I firmly believe that learning should be continuous, fun, engaging, inquisitive, and ongoing.

Students are Right at Home with Technology

Humanity should be learning something new each and every day. It should be viewed from a window looking out into the horizon of each new day. It seems logical to catch a glimpse of learning through the eyes of children.

I often reflect on how my 7 year old niece sees the world and how through her eyes I learn something new every day. As Digital Natives do, she carries an iPad with her and frequently shares videos, cartoons, games, songs, etc. with me. I can literally say that I am learning things that a 7 year old child is learning.

Wow, the whole idea seems to put me in awe. What she has learned through the use of technology can be only termed as amazing. The ease, comfort and curiosity that impel her to learn independently without her parents or teachers imposing “because you have to” are truly remarkable.

Learning with Technology: A Necessity

Never in the history of our world has the trajectory of technology education been a certainty to create a better global society where one and all will have the opportunity and accessibility to be literate.

A view from a student’s perspective about learning with technology as mentioned above is a 6 part series that will include technology and students, learning with technology, student’s and iPads, learning with games and virtual learning. Stay tuned to next week’s blog article on students learning with technology.

Technology and Literacy Learning Through the Eyes of Students

The age of modern day learning has arrived. It is no longer a matter of whether we want to integrate technology and education; it is a necessity. The reality poses an immense problem and threat to the longstanding educational institutions that have for the most part remained unchanged for nearly a century. Who would have imagined that the alphabet’s letter “E” would forever transform the face of education to E-Ducation?

Technology in education has progressed from basic tools such as the abacus, pencil, ruler, paper and calculator to computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, software and apps. The technological advancements alone are forcing the manner in which teachers teach, how students learn, the ways schools are structured and breaking the barriers between home and school life. At its core, technology is impacting the very essence of the future of humanity.

Digital Natives: A Generation Dedicated to Learning with Technology

The prominence and rise of technology in the world applies to all aspects of life including how we learn. It appears that the days of “open your textbook, read the following pages and answer the questions” will be for the most part a thing of the past.

As educational institutions resist and make attempts to adapt, it is crucial to keep in mind the learning needs of today’s digital natives. The digital natives are those that were born during or thereafter the inception and introduction of digital technology.

This generation is not only accustomed to technological advancements and devices they expect it. As such, drastic measures will have to be implemented to meet the student’s expectations for learning. The key will be to adapt to an uncertain, modern, changing and dynamic global world.

Pivotal Technologies and Learning Portals

Technological advancements will allow education to be universally accessible, customized, individualized and highly adaptive. In essence, learning with technology is propelling independent learning to the forefront.

Now more than ever, students will have the opportunity to individualize and navigate the knowledge portals through pivotal technologies such as the Internet, Open Sources, Virtual Learning Environments and Mobile Learning Devices. Open Sources includes MOOCs and Web 2.0.

Massive Open Online Courses will allow students the autonomy and flexibility to choose what they want to learn independently. The Web 2.0 is simply the way new web pages are designed and used. Students will have a multitude of options by virtue of using Open Sources through a variety of Mobile Learning Devices.

Virtual Learning Environments will only enhance the learning experience by making it fun and interactive. Students will have a wide selection of learning mediums to complete assignments and receive feedback. Hence, the learning would be more interactive and engaging.

Individualized Learning and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The role of the teacher would alter to monitor and provide feedback at an unparalleled level. Technology would of course also help the teacher with the many independent learning assignments, projects, presentations etc. of the student’s through the use of Learning Analytics. Learning Analytics is the accumulated of created data to continually evaluate and precisely guide student learning.

The digital natives are choosing their own devices to learn in a world that has cloud computing and the Internet. They are living in a digital information literacy online world. Their reality encompasses learning through educational games and virtual learning platforms. They are living in a world where the physical and virtual have amalgamated.

Learning with Technology from Students’ Perspectives

As such, what do kids think about technology and learning? How often do we really ask for their thoughts and opinions? Do we really take into consideration how and what they want to learn? Should what they have to say really matter how we as educators make decisions? Personally, I do believe that they do bring value to the decision-making table.

My sister in law is an eighth grade social studies teacher at a middle school. In a conversation with her, she mentioned to me the various ways she integrates technology in the learning. What I found especially of import was her comment on how the students use technology as easily as breathing.

She explained to me that now only do students expect it but that they demand it. She further informed me that it is a necessity and it brings lots of fun to the learning. As an educator, I firmly believe that learning should be continuous, fun, engaging, inquisitive, and ongoing.

Students are Right at Home with Technology

Humanity should be learning something new each and every day. It should be viewed from a window looking out into the horizon of each new day. It seems logical to catch a glimpse of learning through the eyes of children.

I often reflect on how my 7 year old niece sees the world and how through her eyes I learn something new every day. As Digital Natives do, she carries an iPad with her and frequently shares videos, cartoons, games, songs, etc. with me. I can literally say that I am learning things that a 7 year old child is learning.

Wow, the whole idea seems to put me in awe. What she has learned through the use of technology can be only termed as amazing. The ease, comfort and curiosity that impel her to learn independently without her parents or teachers imposing “because you have to” are truly remarkable.

Learning with Technology: A Necessity

Never in the history of our world has the trajectory of technology education been a certainty to create a better global society where one and all will have the opportunity and accessibility to be literate.

A view from a student’s perspective about learning with technology as mentioned above is a 6 part series that will include technology and students, learning with technology, student’s and iPads, learning with games and virtual learning. Stay tuned to next week’s blog article on students learning with technology.

Technology and Education

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is struggling to get her son to read. It got me thinking. The truth is that hardly anyone, adults or children, has time to sit down and read these days. Of course people do MAKE time to watch American Idol, or Lost or CSI or whatever other empty TV show. Yes, sorry, I mean this. These are 3 examples but there are many more. I am talking about TV programs that either show the worst possible side of human beings or that give people a completely distorted version of reality. If I watched the local news, I would never come out of the house. People overseas have called me to ask if I was OK after hearing some news on their local TV… Across an ocean, thousands of miles away. What is the point of that?

So yes, it is a shame that people don’t read much because I do believe that there are a lot less mediocre books than mediocre TV shows. But here we are, that’s the reality and there is no doubt that children respond a lot better to TV and iPods than a good old bunch of pages. Note that it might have to do with the fact that most parents who want peace and quiet at home have a tendency to just sit their kids in front of the box from a very early age… You can’t blame the little darlings.

So let’s make the most of this situation. Ultimately, why do we want kids to read? Just for the skill or for the content of what they read? Past a certain age, it has to be for the content. The actual skill should be drilled early on and if you have teenagers who can’t read, that’s another problem and not the topic of this article.

A couple of years ago, I was given an iPod. I had never wanted one because I don’t listen to music much and I couldn’t imagine myself walking around with my earphones jamming to my songs. But then I was introduced around the same time to audio books. Wow! What a discovery! My iPod follows me everywhere. I hardly ever watch TV and whenever I am doing something that doesn’t require a high level of concentration, like cooking, ironing, cleaning the house, sorting out mail, etc, I just put the iPod on and I just “read”. I mean I am listening really, but as I am not prepared to make the time to actually sit and read. I just kill two birds with one stone. I have “read” dozens of books in the last couple of years and have learnt so much! It has been the best education of my life. I have grown in ways I didn’t think were possible.

Now I am sure that your kids have an MP3 player of some description. Have you thought about looking into audio books for them. Or simply some audio files that they can have in their iPod and that they would listen to. Have a mix of some music and some educational stuff. Do the same yourself: when you are driving somewhere, let the whole family listen to your favorite audio books, have a discussion about what is said. Get your kids into it from an early age.

The same applies to TV. Yes, there are a lot of useless programs on TV in my opinion, but there are also good ones, that actually bring knowledge. Some kids’ programs are very educational and then you have the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, etc. Instead of quietening your kids with mindless cartoons, try a Discovery program on sea life. Don’t get me wrong, I love cartoons too, every now and then. Some are better than others. But there has to be variety. Children, like all people, respond to what they are given. If you feed them violence from an early age, they’ll enjoy it because it will have become the norm for them and they will want more. If you feed them knowledge, instruction, education from an early age, they will want more of that.

Games consoles are the same. They have games that require some thinking and others that consist of shooting, or racing or pretending you are playing sport. If the weather is good enough to go outside and you like soccer or football or baseball, go and play it, do the real thing. If it is too cold or rainy and you are stuck inside, pick a game that will teach you something, about finances for instance or managing your future, or building a business. There are games like that.

Computer use also needs to be taught to kids early. Mastering Microsoft office is a must. Get them to write their journal on the computer for instance, get them to play around with PowerPoint when they have school projects, show them Publisher, etc. All these are essential skills. The Internet is also a great source of good or bad and you have to pick and choose. There are a lot of interactive sites for kids that can be great. All the communities are good too if they are used for a reasonable amount of time per day. It is very easy to get carried away on the net and spend hours literally wasting time. But there are also a lot of things to be learned. even just the technical aspects of using a computer. Teach your kids to be wise on the net: for instance, make sure they select what pictures they put in their profile and teach them about the kind of image they want to project. They can also learn about advertising themselves or an event on one of those communities. It can teach them about marketing at an early age.

Technology is full of riches. It has to be used wisely and kids have to be shown – ASAP – the positive, educational ways they can use it so that they will ask for more. Don’t blame violent TV or games, worthless TV shows etc for children’s lack of interest in school. Take your part of responsibility: you are the ones to decide what your kids do or don’t. Then work with what you have got and use this great tool that we call technology to your advantage.

Video Conferencing Technology and Education

This is the first in a series of articles focusing on video conferencing and education. Part 1: The Teaching Predicament primarily focuses on the dilemma that educational institutes around the world have been facing in terms of teaching.

Over the recent years, visual communication as an effective tool to enhance delivery of education has gained a lot of traction. Educational institutes are constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining consistency and quality of teaching over geographically dispersed branches. For instance, will a student enrolled in an undergraduate business studies program at a top tier American university experience the same teaching quality in the Middle East or Europe? The answer to this question will most likely be ‘not quite’. Although there are a number of variables at play here but the most fundamental challenge is access to the same quality of instructors across geographical regions. Geographical regions can typify different branches in the same city, across cities, countries and continents. Maintaining teaching standards across continents is even a bigger challenge given the social, cultural and ethnic divides.

A traditional approach to somewhat alleviate the problem is to fly in faculty periodically to conduct workshops. However, this can prove to be very costly and cumbersome. Technology has an answer for this common and age-old problem. Although video conferencing solutions have been around since the 1980s, they’ve never been so affordable and accessible as they are today. Visual communication technology has advanced leaps and bounds making it highly immersive and interactive. More importantly, the bandwidth and the infrastructure that is required to support a truly interactive video conference is ever more affordable and ubiquitous now. This makes videoconferencing a viable and practical learning tool for the classroom. Truly interactive visual communication can add a level of teaching consistency across multiple institutes.

Full HD 1080p video, 360-degree audio combined with interactive whiteboards and multiple cameras provide the next best thing to being physically present in a classroom. Video conferencing technology has truly reinvented how teachers and students interaction. From sharing lecture notes and feedback to carrying out assignments and group work, a video conference setup in a classroom knows no geographical boundaries. The selection of video conferencing equipment however may appear to be daunting initially with the sheer amount of options available. I personally prefer Panasonic Video Conferencing.

Panasonic is a manufacturer of state-of-the-art Video Conferencing equipment. Their Visual Communication technology combines full 1080i video coupled with advanced compression algorithms connecting you with colleagues and experts around the world on standard broadband connections. 360° HD Full Duplex Audio with echo cancellation technology combined with stunning video provides a truly immersive and collaborative video conference.

Technology and Education – How Schooling Has Been Affected by New Technology

Education has been changing as quickly technology is advancing. The educational systems all over the world are going through transformation due to the advancing world in order to meet the needs of the economic and development improvement.

Technology has affected the way students are taught and schools are managed. This has been affected by invention of the printing press, radio, and television. The common and most used technology in the learning and management of schools and education systems is obviously the computer. This has given students unbound access to information that is transformed into knowledge. They are capable of doing research and learn about wide fields in their curriculum without having to rely on the teachers for the brain work.

In addition to this, technologies can be used in classrooms to perpetuate the old models of learning. They can also be used by the teachers to have a variety of teaching aids through the formulation of colorful and mind stimulating approaches. This increases the student concentration and appreciation of learning and knowledge. The computers can also be used to stimulate and encourage the students to learn and develop writing and research skills that make them develop better education approaches.

Their has also improved the socialization of students and sharing of information across schools and among students from other parts of the globe. It also helps in making the solution of complex kind of problems easy. For example the computer and calculators make sit easy for the students to find solutions to the mathematical, scientific and research queries that they might have otherwise found difficult to solve.

The use of computers in schools provide the students with self paced learning process that helps the students get the best from the personal knowledge they acquire from the assistance of technology. The use of advanced technology requires the integration of the computers and other types of technologies to suit the curriculum. This means the teachers should also monitor the students knowledge acquisition to ensure they are at the recommended pace. This is because the students still need guidance and when this lacks there are possibilities of having the negative impacts of technology setting in.

You can outsource the needs of your school for the adoption of new technology to large private sectors that are available in the market in order to get cost effective services. The management of the schools has also been affected by the technology through the record keeping and distribution of information in schools and outside. The teachers should be well equipped with the best skills and keep at par with the technology to match the needs of the students.