Ever Green Generation at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Is Technology a Deciding Factor on Learning Outcomes?

Ever Green Generation at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Is Technology a Deciding Factor on Learning Outcomes?

Joshua Michael Kuboja (University of Arusha, Tanzania)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5915-3.ch012


Technology in education is somehow misconceived by many scholars who think that it replaces conventional knowledge and its transmission. From the onset of this chapter, the author admits that technology has a lot to offer and improve teaching and learning transaction in terms of curriculum design, curriculum implementation, and curriculum evaluation in all stages. It also sets a pace as an aid to learning especially during this era of technological savviness. To answer the question whether technology is a deciding factor on learning outcomes remains a work of further research and more so educational dialogue forums on the subject matter. However, this study has underscored the significance and usability of technology to learning and that without which learning outcomes become rather wanting. It is further argued that teachers who are half baked in the use of technology can bring more harm to education than good. To be precise, technology in education requires a “handle with care” machine. Teachers must be able to use the “machines” and not to be used by them.
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Technology may be perceived in many facets. Educationists view it as a tool to aid the transfer of knowledge and indeed, there is no doubt, technology has transcended the traditional ways of transmitting knowledge from one generation to the other. The scientific community today, by and large, remains vigilant toward what technology has in store to offer. It is not a matter of choice to live by or without technology: it is a necessity one cannot live without! The advances in technology have indeed, transformed businesses and brought enormous educational linkages all around the globe. Technology-based instruction has taken root in most developed regions such as the United States of America, Asia and Western Europe. However, the use of technology in education in many parts of Africa has been impinged by many factors: unreliable power supply, unsupportive learning environment, and untrained instructors on technological advancement to mention but a few (Wozney, Venkatesh, & Abrami (2006).

The era of the 21st century observes evergreen students who are technologically savvy threatening the status quo of professors in their teaching and learning transaction. What makes it even worse is the misuse of such technologies which ultimately does not appear to be transforming or informing the curriculum in educational settings. Woodward and Cuban (2001) observe further that, “technology is particularly problematic in this regard because it is so compelling and has advanced so dramatically and has become such an essential component of modern life one cannot do without” and sometimes do it in a wrong way.” (p.13)

Currently, researchers have reported educators indicating their digital native students are providing the needed support and mini-trainings directly in class (Hammonds et al., 2013; Ritzhaupt, et al., 2012; West, 2011). Although this may appear an obvious solution, research has indicated that caution must be used in assuming digital natives to be technology experts (Li & Ranieri, 2010; West, 2011). Merely growing up with technology surrounding students does not translate to expertise (Selwyn, 2009). Researchers have noted while one would expect digital natives’ daily, self-directed, high volume technology use in nonacademic settings would translate into a self-directed high volume use within the classroom, this is not the tendency of students (Corrin, Benner, & Lockyer, 2010; Ritzhaupt et al., 2012; Selwyn, 2009). Research has indicated that without educator guidance and support, students are less likely to use technology in educational assignments in a rightful manner (Corrin et al., 2010; Ritzhaupt et al., 2012; West, 2011).

Research has further indicated educators’ confidence, competencies, and willingness to use technology directly affects students’ engagement and productivity in the classroom with technology (Uslu & Bumen, 2012; Yu, 2012). Darling-Hammond (2010) and Ritzhaupt et al. (2012) advocated that the more educators use technology in the classroom, the more productive their students become acquainted with technology. They further suggested the more apprehensive, constraining, or reserved the educator is with technology, the more stifled the students. How educators integrate technology into the classroom across the curriculum corresponds with the students’ application of technology in their learning (Al-Khatib, 2011; Anthony, 2012; Dawson, 2012; Inan & Lowther; 2010; Ritzhaupt et al., 2012).

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