Integration of technology in teaching improves results
|Issued by: Boston City Campus|
[Johannesburg, 9 April 2014]
The use of technology in the education environment is rapidly gaining popularity. According to research, when integrated effectively, technology training produces improved achievements and results from students.
According to a study by Tiene & Luft, which was quoted in a Harvard publication: "The Integration of Instructional Technology into Public Education: Promises and Challenge", working in an appropriately designed technology-rich environment has the potential of producing a variety of positive outcomes, including improved patterns of social interaction, changes in teaching styles, more effective teaching, increased student motivation, and enhanced student learning.
The study, however, noted that achieving this potential was the challenge, and that it required the correct vision of technology and its integration.
This alludes to the fact that technology should not be introduced and utilised merely because it is available. It needs to be in a supervised environment where student progress is monitored.
According to Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus & Business College, it is not just about the hardware and what it can do. What is valuable is the content and how it is delivered, and the impact this ultimately has on the learning experience of the student. "Our students today are immersed in technology, no matter what their background. We need to ‘reach them on their turf', so to speak," adds Rabson.
"Technology is a channel to deliver academic content and encourage interactive participation, which will hopefully result in successful education. Its focus must be on curriculum and learning. Integration is therefore defined not by how much technology is used, but by how and why it is used," she says.
This is precisely why Boston's technology-based training (TBT) is in support of other vital course and study material, as well as student support services.
What holds institutions back from moving to a technologically-based platform? Curtis Bonk, PhD, Professor at Indiana University, has an enthusiasm for new technologies and their possible applications in the classroom. Bonk admits, however, that the reluctance of many educators to use technology is a reasonable one: it's simply overwhelming to learn about these new technologies. Though many five-year-olds today can operate an iPhone with ease, it may not be so easy for the 50-year-old professor who is accustomed to interacting with the students in the standard lecture format.
"Our technology-based training, which boasts state-of-the-art technology, is offered in addition to various methods of support. The additional support and assistance ranges from hands-on training advisors, who monitor the students using the technology-based training, and make themselves available to handle queries, to qualified lecturers who are available to assist outside of class hours. Some programmes also make use of online tutors and clips. All these methods have proved hugely successful. Some students work independently, others need interaction and reassurance. An institution must cater to them all," says Rabson.
Boston is the leader in the field of technology-based training. In addition to lectures, students who either want to reinforce their knowledge of certain topics or enhance their understanding of their module or subject can sit undisturbed and study these topics in their own time and at their own pace with the electronic material.
Rabson continues, saying for all academic institutions, the technology-based training must be seen as part of the instructional design process and that it is not just about placement of hardware in classrooms. The technology needs to allow for greater instructional and learning experiences not possible during a normal lecture. It needs to promote deeper understanding of ideas, as well as increasing student interaction with subject matter. "The fact that technology-based training allows the learner to self-pace his or her studies is also a huge benefit," comments Rabson.
Technology-based training has been created for numerous subjects offered by Boston and new subjects are constantly being added.
"One of the keys to successful integration of technology as a study medium is to ensure that the content remains fresh and constant and it is offered in the areas most needed," says Rabson.