Technology to Deliver Curriculum Technology Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

" (p.1) It is reported that a study was conducted in what was a "…small pilot study…at a large research university, the initial facilitation team reviewed several synchronous software products available on the market to determine if each met general. After eliminating from further analysis those that did not meet the criteria, the remaining products were reviewed from an administrative perspective." (p.1) Stated as being particularly important were "…compatibility with existing infrastructure for proper support and integration." (Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron, 2007, p.1) Two systems which were evaluated "for usability and ability to enhance online teaching" were those of Elluminate Live and HorizonLive." (Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron, 2007, p.1) The study was reported to have been conducted through interviews and focus groups. Primary goals that were expressed by faculty included those of: (1) providing clearer instruction on difficult concepts, (2) allowing students time to practice these concepts while the instructor was immediately available for feedback, (3) pushing content from websites for immediate discussion and problem solving, (4) allowing small groups to interact in real time to solve problems and work on projects, (5) focusing students on the content and guiding them through it in an efficient manner, (6) growing a learning community, (7) encouraging debate and discussion in a natural manner with voice rather than reading text, and (8) assessing the status of students' content knowledge and understanding through questions and inflection of voice. (Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron, 2007, p.1)

Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron (2007) relate that following having obtained instructional goals from the faculty members who participated in the study "a list of desired features was generated" and included three primary categories: (1) communication channels; (2) content presentation and interaction; and (3) logistics. (p.1) Stated as questions that served to guide the examination of data in this study were the questions as follows: (1) How easy was the system to use? (Usability); (2) How well did the system meet the students' and instructors' needs technically? (Technical needs for instruction); (3) How did the system help instructors and students meet the educational goals they wanted/needed to accomplish in the live sessions? (Instructional needs); and (4) How would the system integrate into an existing infrastructure? (Compatibility)" (Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron, 2007, p.1) The following table lists the product features and functionality of the Macromedia Breeze and Elluminate Live V.

Figure 1 - Comparison rubric for synchronous systems -- desired features

Y = The product has this feature.

N = This feature is not available in this product.

Desired Features & Functionality

Systems Considered

Macromedia Breeze V 5

Elluminate Live V 6.5

Communication Channels

Voice Chat (VOIP)

Y

Y

Text Chat

Y

Y

Video (two-way)

Y

Y

Content Presentation and Interaction

Guided Web Browsing

Y

Y

Interactive Whiteboard

Y

Y

PowerPoint Presentation

Y

Y

Polling and Quizzing

Y

Y

Multimedia Presentation (i.e. Flash)

Y

Y

Application Sharing

Y

Y

Hand Raising/Simple Feedback

Y

Y

Logistics

Breakout Rooms

N

Y

Record and Playback (voice, text, and screen)

Y

Y

Password Secured

Y

Y

Plugins Required

Breeze

Java

Cross Platform (Windows and Mac)

Windows/Mac

Windows/Mac/Linux

Source: (Schullo, Hilbelink, Venable, and Barron, 2007, p.1)

The work of Hutchens (nd) entitled: "Effective Uses of Technology-Assisted Instruction: An Investigation of Student Performance, Attendance and Satisfaction" states that the "usability of technology has put a new spin on education, redefining the role of educators and reshaping classroom learning experiences." (p.1) The result is the creation of "multimedia classroom presentations, web-enhanced courses, online courses and distance learning." (Hutchens, nd, p.1) Research that investigates the effectiveness of technology-assisted instruction "has resulted in mixed findings." (Hutchens, nd, p.1)

The work of Ali and Elfessi (2004) entitled: "Examining Students Performance and Attitudes Towards the Use of Information Technology in a Virtual and Conventional Setting" states that there has been "widespread application of the Internet as an instructional tool and medium of communication because of its potential to facilitate and improve learning." (p.1) Hoffman (2002) states findings that "web-based learning courses enable students to more effectively understand course content." (in Ali and Elfessi, 2004, p.1) Hoffman is stated to have attributed "the significance of Web-based learning to better collaborative learning environment provided by the Web, increased learning resources, and convenience." (in Ali and Elfessi, 2004, p.1) The work of Bento and Bento (2000) relates that the Internet's potential for the facilitation of communication and research has provided encouragement to educators for utilization of the Internet in the creation of new learning environments. Additionally, the work of Mioduser, Nachmias, Lahav and Oven (2000) hold that the communication tools of the Internet including email, conferencing and Internet Relay Chat has enabled communication between teachers and students to be easily accomplished in real and delayed time and that the Internet's "unique capabilities of information generation, transmission and publishing make it an important instructional tool." (in Ali and Elfessi, 2004, p.2) The work of Vrasidas and McIssac (2000) relates that learning online has great variation in regards to audience, content, goals and pedagogical practices. In order that online learning be effective with this variation considered it is necessary that online learning be "available on demand, supportive of self-paced learning, be in combination with high-quality tutor support in the distance learning environment, facilitate collaboration and interaction and be instead of teacher-directed learning be learner-centered. (Michau et al., 2001, in Ali and Elfessi, 2004, p.3)

III. EXAMINATION OF THE USE OF MS POWERPOINT IN CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

The use of Microsoft PowerPoint in the classroom is examined as well in this report and it is found that MS PowerPoint can be used in the classroom in the creation of "interactive presentations containing text, art, animation, and audio and video elements." (Starr, 2000, p.1) In fact, Microsoft PowerPoint works well in the classroom in the following ways: (1) presentation of information or instruction to an entire class; (2) Creation of graphically enhanced information and instructions for the learning centers; (3) Creation of tutorials, reviews, or quizzes for individual students; and (4) Displays student work and curriculum materials or accompany teacher presentations at parents open houses or technology fairs. (Starr, 2000, p.1) It is possible to set the PowerPoint presentation to run automatically during open house or technology fairs and other such events to provide a slide show of activities or events that have occurred in the classroom for the benefit of parents.

The work of Keefe and Willett (2004) entitled: "Points-of-View: PowerPoint in the Classroom, A Case for PowerPoint as a Faculty Authoring System" states "The three most compelling arguments for the use of PowerPoint in the classroom are its suitability as a powerful and easily learned authoring system for course material; its ubiquitous availability to students, courtesy of the free Microsoft PowerPoint viewer; and its capability of coexisting with an overall course management environment." (p.1) Additionally stated is "PowerPoint also provides a means of mapping and directing the course of a classroom discussion on a topic, rather than just a means of presenting the materials." (Keefe, and Willett, 2004, p.1) Keefe and Willett also stated of PowerPoint: "PowerPoint has evolved over the past 10 years to the point where it has many desirable features as a course-authoring system. PowerPoint was the second most popular tool for creating computer-based training applications, cited by 48% of 3,500 training professionals in a 2003 study conducted by Bersin & Associates." (2004, p.1) The work of Tomei and Balmert states that an interactive lesson is characterized by the following: (1) Is a visually-based, behavior-oriented teaching strategy appropriate for learners of all ages who benefit from the concrete learning experiences that graphic presentations offer; (2) Contains self-paced instructional content appropriate for students who learn best when instructed at their own pace, or who need the benefits provided by remedial instruction outside the classroom; (3) Offers specific, logical, systematic lessons that foster individualized instruction and sequential learning; and (4) Is student-initiated and student-controlled learning that places a good deal of the responsibility for mastering the material directly in the hands of the learner; and (5) Embraces all phases of the Mastery Learning instructional technique. It suggests alternatives for presenting the initial mastery objectives, corrective instruction, and enrichment activities. (2000, p.1)

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

This work has reviewed the use of technology for instruction and the use of Microsoft PowerPoint in the classroom. Technology use for instruction is unavoidable in today's world where online instruction is gaining increasing importance as many students prefer this form of instruction and this form of instruction allows individuals to further their education from home. The use of Microsoft PowerPoint in the classroom has many uses and is user-friendly and after being tested by many teachers has been found to be a great source for the provision of classroom instruction as well as having other various uses.

BIBILIOGRAPHY

Barnett, D. And Aagaard, L. (2005) Online Vs. Face-to-Face Instruction: Similarities, Differences and…

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