Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning, such as media, machines and networking hardware, as well as considering underlying theoretical perspectives for their effective application. Various theories have been developed to explain the impact of educational technology. These theories are grouped into three philosophical frameworks. These frameworks are; behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism which are discussed as follows:
This framework was based on animal learning experiments. It was developed in the early 20th century. The results of this thesis have been widely used by many psychologists to develop theories of human learning. B.F. Skinner, one of the intellectuals involved in the development of this theoretical framework wrote extensively on how teaching could be improved based on his analysis on behavior and wrote The Technology of Teaching. In his script he promoted the system he had developed called Programmed Instruction. Programmed Instruction is a research-based system which helps learners work successfully. Other psychologists also developed learning systems, for example, Ogned Lindsley developed a learning system, named Celeration that was based on behavior analysis.
Cognitive science is the scientific study of the mind and its processes. It underwent significant change in the 1960s and 1970s where cognitive psychology theories were developed. However, these theories look beyond behavior to explain brain based learning by considering how human memory works to promote learning. Computer science and information technology were the key issues that had influence on cognitive science theory.
Constructivism theory is a theory of knowledge that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. This theory has a primary focus on how learners construct their own meaning from new information, as they interact with reality and with other learners who bring different perspectives. Constructivist learning environments require students to use their prior knowledge and experiences to formulate new, related, and/or adaptive concepts in learning. It suggests those well-structured learning environments are useful for novice learners while ill-structured learning environment only favor advanced learners. This theory has been crucial in the development of educational technologies such as programming
Various researches have been carried out on educational technology. Most of these researches were carried out for the purpose of determining the incorporation of technology in learning.
In his article, Khalid presents experiences of a professional mathematical educator in using a courseware that uses the CDiCL principle. The researcher uses quasi experimental study design where he uses engineering students where learners from CD group were observed to realize higher scores in their tests as compared to collaborative learning environment. This research provides a framework for teachers in using computers to teach mathematics.
In his research, Ljubojevic investigated the effectiveness of using video content in education programs. In this research, authors noted a potential of improving lesson plans and presentation of teaching if physical teaching resources were supplemented with video clips. The researchers further investigated on the impact of utilizing supplementary video in varying context of content. The effect was also evaluated and results indicated that the most effective way to utilize supplementary videos as educational resources is when these materials are integrated with educational content during the learning process. According to the study, learners were greatly motivated and influenced by the use of the technology.
Another research was carried out to study how multimedia activities and study guides influenced students confidence. The researchers noted that multimedia teaching tools had a positive influence on grades, engagement, and comprehension for the present day learners. These tools were found to make students positive and confident towards education.
Another research was developed by Nawi to identify the readiness of teachers in using mobile phones for the purpose of teaching preparation. Findings showed that mobile phone apps can facilitate lesson preparation. However the researchers warned that the teachers ought not to ignore the technical aspect of teaching. Other findings were that the age factors for the end user were equally critical considering that they determine the usage and frequency of use of mobile device in skill development. The research concluded that mobile phones could be used for educational processes in schools.
Although the study of distance education is relatively new, a number of researchers and theorists have contributed a great deal to the field. Distance education can be defined as an industrialized process of open, flexible, online or virtual learning. Various theories have been developed about distance learning which are described below.
First and foremost is the transactional distance. This is a theoretical distance between tutors and learners where time and geography separates teachers and learners. This is evident where learners are in different geographical locations with the tutors and learn online, which is distance learning.
Secondly, is the open learning model. Many facets were researched in this model including instructional design, student learning, and orientations to teaching. The model developed a theory that the positive path is dependent upon intrinsic motivation and a deep approach to the subject matter.
With the emergence of new technologies and continued innovations, different instructional technologies are similarly arising. They include the introduction of iPad and tablets- iPads and tablets have been incorporated into education and have surpassed other technologies such as televisions and even personal computers. . The iPad and other tablet devices are gradually becoming ingrained in all grade levels, all types of schools, and all academic disciplines, the flipped classroom is another emerging instructional technology. The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a. course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions. It is a clear reflection of how technology truly can be a powerful tool for educators who are inspired to do the very best by their students, the gasification of education- this refers to the use of game based models for training and teaching of students. It facilitates learning and encourages motivation through the use of game elements, mechanics and game-based thinking. The idea is to integrate game-based elements more commonly seen in video, entertainment focused or mobile games into instructional environments. This is an emerging trend in almost all schools in the globe, the use of smartphones in learning is an emerging trend in instructional process. Majority of students in high schools and colleges have smartphones. Though most of the use they are put to is not directly educational, these smart phones have very powerful capabilities as instructional materials. Many people have embraced their potential in classrooms where they are being used as remote learning content access devices for use outside of the classroom
In conclusion Educational technology has greatly enhanced classroom learning. The theories explaining educational technology have been a critical aspect in the development of researches on educational technology. This has enhanced the current development and incorporation of technology in education. This has impacted learners positively by increasing their motivation and attitude towards learning and lessons.
Bates, A.W. and Poole, G., 2003. Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education: Foundations for Success. Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley. 10475 Crosspoint Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46256.
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