Technology in Education: Educational, Historical, and Social Foundations Suzanne Sallee ETC 567 September 29, 2008

-2Abstract The use of technology in education has truly had a long and varied presence, even though we tend to only think of technology as the use of computers. Due to the globalization of our world, it is imperative that we focus on integrating technology into our classrooms to ensure that students are prepared to enter the global workforce. Students need to learn not just how the technology works but also how to use it to learn and communicate. There are many tools available that help students learn and develop the 21st century skills they need such as communication, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking. Educators need to find ways to incorporate the tools students are using in their neighborhood communities, such as social networks, into the educational community. We also need to evaluate the tools we are using to ensure they meet the educational needs of students and provide the much needed professional development for our educators. Historically, the implementation of technology in schools and education has been ever-changing as it reflects of the needs and ideals of society and the workplace. The Merriam/Webster Dictionary defines technology as “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” When it applies to educational technology the definition changes slightly: “the specialized aspects of a particular field of endeavor.” In education, the use of technologies such as pencils, paper, chalk, textbook, and computers have impacted the ways students learn and teachers teach. The focus of education and educators has not changed: “to transmit the culture, values, and lessons of the past to the current generation and prepare our children for the world in which they will live” (Molnar, 1997).

-3Educational, Historical, and Social Foundations Many advances in technologies have occurred over the centuries from writing in sand with a stick, to quill pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and digital pens. Math technologies have progressed from the abacus to the slide rule to the calculator to the graphing calculator and online simulations. School structures have gone from outdoor Socratic seminars to indoor oneroom schoolhouses to multi-roomed expansive school buildings. Advances in the printing press and its abilities to produce millions of pages per day impacted the materials used in schools during the late 1800’s and early to mid 1900’s. The textbooks produced during this time reflected the “politics of industry, liberty, morality, piety, and socialization” (Petrina, 2002, p. 91) of the mainstream culture. The McGuffey Reader was published in 1836 and used in schools through the 1930’s. The lessons in this series of readers “rationalized capitalist and middle-class virtues” (Petrina, 2002, p. 92) as well as Christian beliefs which were also part of the mainstream culture of the day. During this time many textbook publishing companies were coming into being during this time. In 1930, the Dick and Jane series published by Scott-Foresman and Company came into being. The books focused on sight words and texts that were semantically, lexically, and syntactically controlled. However, they also reflected the “notions of liberty and morality” (Petrina, 2002, p. 95) of the time period. During the first -half of the 20th century, the advent of media technologies entered our schools. Edison had invented the motion picture camera and educators thought this new technology would push education forward as it brought the world to the classroom (Withrow, 1997). Educational film, radio, television, and images were being produced for use in classrooms. They included mental hygiene and social guidance themes, such as “fitting in” and

-4“bloody highways” (Petrina, 2002, p. 97). These ventures were funded mostly by private corporations but were controlled to ensure they addressed the moral, politics, and ideologies of mainstream society. During the late 1920’s, Sydney Pressey developed a machine often called the Automatic Teacher. The machine automated several classroom tasks such as testing and drill and practice. It addressed many of the ideologies that fit in with the Behaviorist learning theory. Thought the Automated Teacher was a failure, Pressey is often thought to have influenced the beginnings of other educational technologies, such as programmed learning and computer assisted instruction (CAI). During the World War II era, computers were mainly used as number crunching machines with the Mark I in 1944 and ENIAC in 1946 used in universities. They were being used primarily in math, science, and engineering as a replacement for the slide rule. The launching of the Soviet satellite, Sputnik, in 1957 brought about a desire for reform and rejuvenation in education. With the further development of radio, television, and computers we were becoming an information rich society and education needed to keep up. In 1963, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz developed a programming language called BASIC that would allow for easier creation of computer based instruction models. This aided in the development of computer-assisted instruction or CAI. CAI allowed for tutorials and drill and kill practice of skills. CAI provides students with problems often in multiple choice format and immediate feedback on their answers. Many CAI type programs art still in use today but educators are also realizing that students also need to utilize higher level thinking skills when using computers. In the 1970’s, as researchers developed new ideas CAI transformed into Intelligent CAI (ICAI) which could tutor students in algebra, geometry, and even teach

-5programming languages (Molner, 1997). In the late 70’s and early 80’s, with the development satellite technologies, educational programs began to emerge with cable programming being found in places such as The Learning Channel. As our need for information grew, online, graduate classes began to evolve. Paul Levinson, one of the creators of Connected Education, noted that the online class was a place where students could connect at anytime since class is always in-session (Withrow, 1997). The inception of National Geographic Kids Net by Robert Tinker and the staff at TERC meant students could perform experiments, gather data, analyze trends, and communicate with scientists using electronic mail (e-mail). In the 1960’s, computers were considered a subject in and of themselves. Computer or technology literacy actually meant, “learning how computers worked” (Ansary, 2008). The advent of the Graphical User Interface or GUI meant computer users could operate their computers simply by clicking on icons rather than typing code. Our computer education began to transform into learning “how you work computers” (Ansary, 2008). But the real change came in the 1990’s with the Internet, World Wide Web, and multimedia phase. Our focus again changed from how does the computer work to what cool things can we do with computers. We have now moved into the 21st Century. Our homes are filled with technological advances, including modern TVs, computers, MP3 players, digital cameras, and more. Students are living in a digital world where they are engaged and communicating with the world. The look of many classrooms has also changed. Entering a 21st century classroom you will see computers with Internet access, digital projectors, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards. Students have access to a variety of educational based software programs either installed on their computers or accessible from the Internet. Textbook publishers are including online resources to accompany their printed textbooks. The new textbooks are filled with high

-6quality full color pictures and graphics reflective of our technological advances. The messages in new textbooks are also reflective of our changing culture. They less political and religious in nature and represent the many differing cultures and nationalities in our world. Students can watch virtual labs online or from a CD through the teacher’s computer and digital projector. They can collaborate through E-mail, blogs, wikis, discussion boards, and other Web 2.0 tools. All of these tools are helping them learn and develop the 21st Century skills they will need to enter the workforce: Life and Career, Learning and Innovation, Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes, and Information, Media, and Technology Skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2008). We are experiencing a digital divide and not all schools and districts are currently able to provide equal access to technology. Studies have shown that we are improving. In 1998, the ratio of students to computers with Internet was 12.1:1 in public schools. A 2005 study showed that the ratio had improved to 3.8:1 (Mouza, 2008). There are many ways to address these skills in the classroom. Some schools are experimenting with laptops programs where each student in a classroom or the entire school has a laptop. The laptops are sometimes used only during the school day but some are sent home with the students to complete homework or projects after the school day. One study done with 3rd and 4th graders at a lower SES school implementing a laptop program indicated that the integration of laptops increase motivation and engagement (students often went above and beyond what was required for the assignment), improved classroom interactions, and helped students to feel empowered (Mouza, 2008). The laptop program also developed student responsibility, competence, and independence with technology and learning which also helped to create a more supportive school environment. Not only did students gain skills and knowledge, but teachers did also as they designed computer based lessons that addressed content, standards,

-7and technology skills. They focused on meaningful learning activities and project based lessons rather than drill and practice computer activities. One teacher from the program stated, “I no longer think of 45 minute lessons; I now plan sustained projects that involve students working collaboratively around an important issue” (Mouza, 2008). The students enjoyed using software such as PowerPoint, Inspiration, and Timeliner. One student, Diego, said, “My favorite activity on the laptop is using Timeliner because you can create timelines with all things you did in the past and all things you will do in the future.” Jen says, “I like using laptops to create slideshows and multimedia presentations. You can use the Internet to download pictures and insert them in your presentation.” During this project teachers noted that students traded skills with each other, shared tips they had learned, and acted as peer tutors. They also helped their teachers learn! Teachers reported large gains in writing and mathematics skills. Technology Integration is not only helping elementary students achieve and understand the world but also higher education students. Let’s visit the town of Kelsey. Kelsey has 53,00 residents, most of whom work at Riordan Manufacturing. Kelsey has a modern hospital, historic downtown area with a fabulous gourmet grocery, and a new high school. Never heard of Kelsey? That’s because it is an online virtual city designed by University of Phoenix students using software designed by U of P to simulate the experiences of living and working in a corporation, school, or government agency. Students can log into the virtual city and experience this world through simulated scenarios they might encounter in the workplace. As we look at the integration of technology in our educational institutions, we must ensure that the technologies are a good fit through an evaluation process. One way is through a 3-step process: “identifying principles of the learning task to be supported by the technology, evaluating the affordances and constraints of specific technologies against these principles, and

-8assessing technology implementation” ((Friedhoff, 2008). In step one we must think about the ways technology will impact our learning outcomes – is drill and practice or developing critical thinking and problem solving skills the motivation for the lesson, will it be best for students to work alone or in collaborative groups, and so on. Step 2 involved evaluating the technologies themselves. Which technologies have the strongest qualities to reached the intended goals and which have the greatest limitations to negatively affect the outcomes. As an example, at the university level Content Management Systems, such as Blackboard, are technologies with many affordances and few constraints for educators. CMS’s have the ability to take attendance, do online grades, e-mail, have content folders and drop boxes, discussion boards, and so on. There are some constraints also, however, such as cost, control by the instructor, and lack of continuity of writing across each thread (Friedhoff, 2008). Most universities though feel that the affordances outweigh the constraints. The final step is evaluating the technologies to see if the intended goals were met. This assessment process can take many forms depending upon the technology being evaluated: surveys, reflective journals, formal assessments, and so on. The integration of technology should: • • • • • Provide new and richer contexts for students Provide experiences they could not achieve without the technology Provide seamless integration so that students and teachers do not agonize over the technology Modeling technology usage should be provided for both teachers and learners Must be integrated in meaningful ways. (Swain, 2008) Social Networking As we have moved into the 21st Century many changes have occurred in the ways we communicate and socialize with each other. We have the ability to communicate and collaborate with others all across the globe in a variety of ways including E-mail, online chats, discussion

-9boards, or instant messaging. The move into the 20th century also brought about a change in the World Wide Web. As progressed from a web that we could use to access information for learning to a web to which we could also add information – Web 2.0, the read/write web. A web where you can go to a page and see an “Edit This Page” and add your own ideas and comments. Along with this new web has come a way to share your thoughts, ideas, activities, photos, and videos of your life with other online – social networking. Social networks are web based services that allow users to develop online profiles, create a list of other user to share information with, and contribute information with using shared a connection. The first social network actually began in 1997 and was called SixDegrees.com. It allowed users to develop a profile, list their online friends, and eventually look up those friends and send messages. The system was not as well developed as today’s social networks. Members could not do much and there were not a lot of “friends” online at the time. The originators felt they had been a little before their time. A number of other sites such as Classmates.com and Live Journal began popping up allowing users to find others on the web or develop journals that could we shared with other users. In 2002, Friendster was launched as an online dating site but also suffered from growing pains and poor planning. In 2003, social networking sites were popping up everywhere across the globe. So many so, that when MySpace came onto the scene, no one really noticed. The popularity of MySpace came from bands creating online profiles for their fans and the ability of those fans to keep on top of what their favorite bands were doing. MySpace also included many new features for users, such as the ability to personalize their pages. The social network explosion had truly begun as still more and more social networks sites were being created globally with newer and better features for customization and collaboration.

- 10 Many sites have a broad appeal for all users, while some appeal to certain niches. Facebook.com began in 2004 only for Harvard students and you needed to have a Harvard e-mail address to join. It eventually however began to include other college networks and today to all audiences. Although, I have heard it said even now that MySpace is really for the teen crowd and Facebook is for the college/young adult group. Many educators are skeptical about the uses of social networking sites for education although there are a few that lend themselves well to educational applications. One is Digication Campus and Spotlight (digication.com). Digication is designed to create e-portfolios and file sharing to share work between students and educators as well as social networking elements in a secure and private community. The social networking site Ning also has and education area (education.ning.com). This site is geared towards educators sharing information and ideas. Ning is unique as a social networking site in that it is also a platform. You can create your own groups and add many of your own features to develop many different variations and possibilities. At the current time, Ning is authorizing its tools for use with grades 7-12 and is working on implementing an ad free area for education. There are both positive and negative impacts to students using social networking tools both at home and at school. Social networking does help build the collaboration and communication skills that students need today both for their interpersonal relationships and to bring with them as they enter the workforce. However, utilizing social networks can also have negative consequences such as the proliferation of online cyberbullying and the infiltration of sexual predators on these sites. Student needs to be informed of these potential hazards and instructed in ways to ensure their safety online.

- 11 Conclusion Many changes have occurred in the field of technology over the centuries that have impacted our everyday lives. We are seeing more and more countries and people across the globe communicating and collaborating using the technology tools of this century. Unfortunately, schools in the United States suffer from inequality of spending, curriculum offerings, quality teachers, and curriculum outcomes (Mouza, 2008). It is time we work on bridging the digital divide our students are encountering in order to equip our students with the 21st century knowledge and skills they need to progress in school and enter the workforce. It is also imperative that we provide teachers with high-quality, ongoing professional development that addresses their needs. In addition, we need to instruct our students to be wise consumers of the knowledge that is available to them online in a safe, effective, and appropriate manner. As the internationally known educational technologist, Will Richardson, recently wrote in his Weblogg-ed blog: “The only way we’re going to get students, or teachers, to master the Web is to let them use it.”

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