Educational Technology Review
The education system has improved greatly because of the development in modern technologies. Education takes a new form with the emergence of various technological innovations like the computers and the boom of the information technology. It has enhanced the way children learn, understand and master skills, concepts and facts.
Educational technologies are in different forms just like the World Wide Web or the internet access, educational software and games and also educational technology infrastructure and multimedia devices that can provide virtual learning environment.
According to Jones, Valdez, Nowakowski, and Rasmussen (1995), implementation decisions should be guided by four access indicators: connectivity (access to networks within and outside the school, including the Internet), ubiquity (quick and convenient access to computers, printers, and other technology), interconnectivity (access that allows students and teachers to collaborate in various ways), and equity (access to extensive resources for all students). (NCREL, 1997)
Samples of popular educational websites for children’s classroom being used include the following: Terra Clues for School, Gabcast, Starfall, Imbee.Com, Netsmartz, and What2learn.Com. For educational software programs for children there are the Microsoft Encarta 2005 Reference Library Premium, Elementary Advantage 2007, Oregon Trail, Reader Rabbit and Where in the USA Is Carmen San Diego? In terms of educational multimedia device there are the Apple’s iTouch, laptops or notebooks, networking infrastructures and DVD-ROMS.
The three educational technologies to be reviewed and can be used in the classroom include the educational website What2learn.Com, Microsoft Encarta 2005 Reference Library Premium software program and the Apple’s iTouch.
Usefulness in the classroom
The main feature of What2Learn.com is it serves as a free interactive website which offers educational games and free printable. For the Encarta Reference Library 2005 it contains the Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, Interactive World Atlas, World English Dictionary, Thesaurus, Book of Quotations, Encarta Africana, the new Encarta Kids, and a set of excellent research and learning tools and games. Lastly, Apple’s iTouch can be use in the classroom with these three applications: the Digital Assertion, iHomework and VocabWiz SAT Vocabulary Lite.
Ease of use
What2learn.com is a free website that teachers and students can access and register accounts for free, anytime and even at home. Encarta Reference Library on the other hand is very user-friendly and is appealing to users. Apple iTouch is handy and provides highly personalized computer application.
What2learn.Com is free of charge which means that what is just needed is a high speed internet connection. The Encarta Reference Library cost about $74.95 while an Apple’s iTouch unit cost around $256.
What2learn.Com is a reliable technology since online activities are available for young students and there are also hundreds of educational games about different subjects. Encarta Reference Library is very useful and has an excellent multimedia features. It is an electronic encyclopedia and reference suite that has super navigation features. Apple’s iPod Touch may be a new technology but if used properly it can help students improve in their study skills.
All of these three technologies are highly available and can be access, purchased or installed right away if necessary.
Teaching or learning outcomes
All of these three technologies are observed to enhance teaching and learning outcomes. It is expected that children will be greatly assisted in the learning process and made significant improvements in their grades and classroom performance.
Then how can these three pieces of technology can be integrated in the classroom? Most of the technologies were designed for young learners and for the K-12 curriculum. At an early age children must exposed themselves to the capability of computers and other technologies. They must take advantage of the latest discoveries and innovations brought by technology. For the interactive website the teacher can make sure there are accessible computer and internet connection and printer for children to have the copies of printable activity sheets. There are also online games designed for subjects like Math, Science and English literacy. Teachers can help the students master their lessons or subjects and at the same time learn to use the computer.
The Encarta Reference Library is a valuable tool in the classroom because it is feature- rich and is multi-functional. Setting up the school’s computer station, children can learn to do their research projects and other assignments by exploring this computer software.
At first Apple’s iTouch may seem to be difficult to be integrated for classroom use but if it will be utilized properly it can be used effectively to aid the students. One of the most important skills it can develop is study and organizational skills. Students can prepare digital note cards which can be used in pre-reading activity or as a drill to help them to be familiarized with the vocabulary words. They can use it to remind themselves of important school works and have them store up important words or facts they need to remember.
“Critical Issue: Ensuring Equitable Use of Educational Technology.” (1997) North Central
Regional Educational Laboratory Retrieved July 11, 2009 from http://www.ncrel.org/
“Learning Software: Technology for Teachers!” (2009) Ed Tech Review. Retrieved July 11, 2009 from http://www.edtechreview.net/