Colleges Must Upgrade Their Technology Training for Students Research Paper
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Technology in Higher Education
Why use Technology in a College Classroom?
Author Linda B. Nilson does not posit that technology suits all student needs nor does she assert that technology is helpful to all types of students. But in a survey involving 882 college students (from Texas, North Carolina, and New York State), 99% had a cell phone, 90% owned a laptop computer, and 83% owned an MP3 player (Baker, et al., 2012). Given the overwhelming number of students in this survey (41.2% were female and 58.8% were male) who use technology regularly, it can be assumed that for the most part students would be comfortable with the use of technology in a college classroom (Baker, 2012).
Nilson does explain that technology enhances students' productivity and also allows them to work at the pace they are most comfortable with. Increasingly instructors show a willingness to provide students with computer-based tutorials, and many instructors understand that by offering students technology literacy, they broaden students' employee opportunities once they graduate (Nilson, 2010). Thesis: while it is not the duty of college instructors to be up to speed on the most advanced technologies, it is vitally important that students acquire technological savvy and competencies as part of their major field of study.
Teaching 21st Century College Students to Teach Technologies
Meanwhile, college instructors should be aware that what students learn about technology through higher education impacts what they will take with them, especially if they plan to go into teaching. That is because young people in elementary, middle and high school environments must be given an opportunity to develop a core of foundational skills in information and communication technologies, it is vital that colleges and universities teach future teachers these same skills. Author Victor Wang asserts that today's children are being exposed to a tremendous amount of technology outside the classroom, and hence, when they enter a typical middle school or high school classroom they are literally walking back in time (Wang, 2014). Writing in the Handbook of Research on Education, Wang explains that there
are technological advances in today's middle school and high school classrooms, but just because technologies are on hand that doesn't assure that students are leaving classrooms with the necessary skills that can help them succeed in college and in life (Wang, 2014).
And this is where the universities that train teachers enter into the picture. Wang references a study that shows the six barriers that prevent the full integration of technology into schools and classrooms: a) resources; b) skills and knowledge; c) institutional shortcomings; d) beliefs and attitudes; e) inadequate assessments strategies; and f) subject culture (Wang, 2014). In another study recent university graduates in teacher training programs were polled on what they learned and how they feel about the future; it was revealed that these graduates felt a strong sense of self vis-a-vis the content they covered, but as to technology, the majority admitted they were not as comfortable in that realm (Wang, 2014). Hence, a call to action is necessary, Wang continues, because adequate technology training should be required in every college classroom.
Another issue to be addressed, according to Wang, is the assessment of university faculty; how competent are they to teach and model their instruction using technology during the full teaching training program? One problem with Middle Childhood Education courses for pre-service teachers is that the only time they are heavily exposed to the use of leading edge technologies is the final semester of the program (Wang, 2014). It is of little value for a pre-service teacher to use software called chalk and wire to create an online portfolio, then load that personal portfolio on a flash drive so they can show potential employers how attractively they performed when it came to their assignments (Wang, 2014). Simply learning and using technologies that may advance their career is not effective when it comes to being ready to integrate technologies into future middle and high school classrooms.
Moreover, university instructors must realize that just teaching technology theories is not even going half way to actually giving students hands-on learning opportunities. Pre-service teachers need to see the theories and applications modeled, which will in turn give those students the skill to implement them in future classrooms.
Universities are Falling Behind in Digital Learning
A global culture based…
Sources Used in Documents:
Baker, W.M., Lusk, E.J., and Neuhauser, K.L. (2012). On the Use of Cell Phones and Other
Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Evidence From a Survey of Faculty and Students. Journal of Education for Business, 87(5), 275-289.
Bertrand, W.E. (2010). Higher Education and Technology Transfer: The Effects of "Techno-
Sclerosis" on Development. Journal of International Affairs, 64(1), 101-114.
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