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Technology in Post-Secondary Education

Since the turn of the twentieth century, educators have used a variety of technology aids in teaching and improving the learning of their students. For instance, the use of computer-based technology in learning institutions has dramatically increased. The technology involves the use of simulation, obtaining learning materials and other related resources from the Internet, interactivity, and visual presentation. Many students have been raised in a “high technology” environment and are conversant with the use the internet and computers for information exchange.

According to CENNAMO, students often ask their professors to prepare their lecture notes in a power point presentation, use multimedia to demonstrate key themes, and also have a course website (CENNAMO, 2014, P.45). These new technologies have emerged as major boost especially among students who cannot perform well using traditional methods such as reading textbooks and taking notes in class from textbooks.

With computer-assisted instruction, educators have managed to come up with various effective learning methods apart from traditional learning methods. For example, some students tend to possess a difficulty in their verbal and linguistic abilities or they may be lacking motivation on the subject matter. This has called for instructors to use visual cues in PowerPoint presentation to enable the learners grasp and conceptualize the information and acquire interest in the different subjects.

Instructors have also adopted the use of multimedia embedded in PowerPoint slides to enable them present learning information in a variety of formats such as images, sound clips, text, and video clips. This presentation gives the instructors an opportunity to introduce different types of information to promote varied learning styles in the classrooms (Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, P. 72). PowerPoint presentations have also been used in learning institutions to provide a structure for lessons and discussions that aid learners to generate focus and organization f course material. Studies have shown that the use of different modes f instruction helps students to process information hence comprehending the content better.

Institutional Data

Research was conducted in a class of 44 undergraduate students. Students were given options to their exposure and access to the technology provided by the Professor as well as engage in standard learning techniques as they worked towards learning the course material and get maximum points in their course. The instructor provided notes in the school’s website. The instructors also provided some lectures in a PowerPoint fashion and others in a traditional manner. In both scenarios, students were asked to prepare notes before attending lecture and also write a short summary of what they had learned.

Research was then done t find out the extent to which the learners used technology to prepare for classes and exams relative to standard preparation procedures.  Research findings indicated that a majority of the students took advantage of the technology that was provided to them by the instructor.  28 students consistently downloaded PowerPoint slides from the school website before class. Of these students, 22 used the notes to prepare notes in class. About 67% of the students usually took practice questions on the website before tests while 72% always or usually reviewed their PowerPoint slides before tests.  The study also indicated that students were less likely t review their chapters in the textbooks again before a test. Only 45% of the students always reviewed notes from textbooks. After compiling the test results, the institution noted that

the students who used the instructors’ online notes had an average mark of 74%. On the other hand, students who reviewed learning material from textbooks had an average score of 53%.

Research Questions

  1. What is the likelihood that students will take advantage of the technology provided by the Professor, that is, downloading PowerPoint slides and accessing a course Web site, to revise for exams and prepared for classes compared to standard learning?
  2. What are the chances of attending class among students who use PowerPoint slides on a course Web site?
  3. Are students who use the technology more likely to be more prepared than those that do not utilize the technology?
  4. What is the relationship between the use of technology and traditional studying methods to performance?

Discussion

From the study, it is evident that the majority of the students appear to be integrating the technology provided by the educator into their course preparation and online studies. The students download the PowerPoint presentations from the Web site prior to class and use them to produce notes in class.  Actually, they depend on the technology more when preparing for their classes than reading relevant content in their textbooks before class. Furthermore, students took advantage of the online practical questions for their exam revision, although to a lesser degree compare to the use of class notes and PowerPoint slides. This study showed that students are over reliant on their notes and PowerPoint slides (Chen & McPheeters, 2012, P.92).

Students who relied on using technology for preparing for their exams and in-class learning are not deterred from attending class compared to those who utilize traditional methods. However, it was noted that attendance and exam performance ranked highest among learners who were more reliant on either standard/traditional technology methods for class and exam preparation. Students categorized as high on both learning methods were less motivated to attend class. They sacrificed the learning that could have occurred in class discussion through multimedia presentations such as the digital video clips that enabled them to grasp concepts easily.

Students who reviewed PowerPoint slides and took practice questions before an exam were more likely to read chapters from the textbook as they discussed and reviewed them again before an exam. However, attendance was a variable that was highly correlated with performance and students’ use of a specific learning method alone was not a strong determinant of their exam performance. Learners’ exposure to multimedia information and related class discussion tend to enhance their performance (Whittingham, 2013, P. 91).

Institution Projections

The institution should learn new technologies and how they are useful to the teachers. They should invest their efforts in incorporating computer-assisted presentation in teaching, creating course Web sites and using the sites to offer learners access to lecture notes, practice questions, and PowerPoint slides.

Recommendations

It is useful for instructors to determine the extent to which the student access and utilize the technology materials in and outside classes in preparing for both their exams and lessons. It is also important for the institution to know if students’ preference for using technology to prepare for their studies is superior to traditional learning methods in maximizing their exam performance. Lastly, instructors should also observe keenly if the availability and utilization of technology outside the classrooms hinders class attendance (Keengwe, 2013, P.  102).They should also determine whether students view the use of technology as an effective alternative for attendance in class.

References

CENNAMO, K. A. T. H. E. R. I. N. E. (2014). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: a standards-based approach. BELMONT: WADSWORTH

Shelly, G. B., Gunter, G. A., & Gunter, R. E. (2012). Teachers discovering computers: Integrating technology in a connected world

Whittingham, J. (2013). Technological tools for the literacy classroom. Hershey, Pa: IGI Global (701 E. Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 17033, USA

Keengwe, J. (2013). Research perspectives and best practices in educational technology integration. Hershey PA: Information Science Reference.

Chen, I., & McPheeters, D. (2012). Cases on educational technology integration in urban schools. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference

 

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