technological explosion of the past few decades has taken mankind to heights never before imagined. Today, with the click of a mouse, one can purchase travel tickets, manage stocks, shop, and chat with people around the world. The changes that technology have made possible are almost limitless. In addition to the changes in daily life, advances in technology have had a significant impact on the field of education. The field of education has been impacted in many ways by technology, including the method of delivery for education. The delivery of lessons in the field of education used to be handled with one method. Students came into a classroom and a teacher provided the lessons, and the feedback. For younger students, parents were given a 15 minute conference once a year to hear about their student progress. The delivery of education was a single method and it was used for more than one hundred years. Today, with the technology available there have been many new methods of delivery developed in the field of education. These methods include, Email, Internet Courses, Distance Learning, Chat Rooms and Faxes. Each method has positive and negative aspects to it. This paper addresses those methods and evaluates their effectiveness.
The use of technology for the purpose of educational delivery is a relatively new trend. With millions of homes having computers, and most classrooms having them as well, it was only a matter of time until the field of education expanded to the point of using it as a method of delivery.
Using email, chatrooms, internet courses, distance learning or faxes for the purpose of education has had very little research thus far because it is so new, but there have been some studies and articles written about its use. Education is an all encompassing venture. It includes the smallest child who wants to learn to read, to senior citizens interested in learning again. Education can include the basic courses, such as reading, writing, science, and math, or it can expand to include elective courses, advanced courses and interactive courses. Using technology to deliver education creates many advantages. Some of those advantages include:
Not having to provide classroom space with some methods
Being able to reach a wider range of students
Students with life interference can participate
No need for transportation to a classroom
Different method of interaction
With those positive aspects there are also negative aspects of educational delivery through the use of technology. Five more common methods include email, chat rooms, internet courses, distance learning and faxes. Each of these methods provides an opportunity for education to be disseminated and delivered. Each method has similarities and differences and each method provides the world with one more way for people to learn. Whether they are better or worse than a traditional classroom is open to debate, but many believe they are the answer to problems in education that have dated back to the beginning of the nation.
Searching out information on this topic included the use of the computer and the Internet as well as researching periodicals and other print avenues. The search used various keywords and they were entered into a data base or a search engine. Once the search engine was given a keyword and articles were brought forth, the articles were read and reviewed to see if they met the criteria for becoming a tool to write this research paper.
One method of searching included the use of Electric Library. E-Library provides full text copies of thousands of already published articles that are able to be read online or printed out for later reading. The keywords that were used in the search included:
Email AND classrooms
Faxes AND classrooms
Internet AND Courses
"Chat Rooms" and teaching
Using the AND as well as the quotation marks allowed the search to be narrowed, therefore brining forth articles that were based in the topic requested. To use a wider search method would have the potential to bring up many articles that would be of little use to this research. Internet search engines such as Yahoo, Dogpile and Google were not used to search out information for this research. Internet sites are not regulated and there is no way of knowing how accurate, or many times how old the information is that one retrieves. Using only published articles of reputable publications, helped to insure that the information being put into the research would be accurate and timely.
Email is a commonly used tool for the purpose of delivering educational material. The use of email in the field of education goes both ways. It can be used by the educational institution for the purpose of sending instructions, lessons, links or other needed materials that the students use for their class. It can also be used to send attached files to the teachers or schools for the purpose of turning in work.
Often times teachers will assign something to the students and ask that the assignment be turned into the teacher through an email attachment. This method allows the teacher to accept assignments 24 hours a day around the clock thereby eliminating any excuses by the students that they could not get to the class, or they showed up and the teacher had already left. It allows a complete freedom on the part of the student and the teacher to get the assignment turned in without having to have a trip to the school.
Another positive aspect of having the educational material sent via email is the ability of the teacher to change the fonts once it is received which makes it easier for the teacher to read.
The students also have reasons to support and enjoy the use of email in the educational setting. When one sends an email the email is date and time stamped, which provides proof that the student did indeed send the email. This is proof that the assignment was indeed sent in because the student can save it and it will still have the file attached. This provides proof that the actual assignment was turned in.
The email solution allows students from far away to send their work into the teacher for evaluation and grading (Essays, 1999).
The negative aspects of email include isolation and technical problems. If the student is only communicating with their teacher or their classmates through email they can become isolated. In addition they can become less motivated to do the work. Another potential problem with the use of email as an educational delivery tool is that the attachment can fail to upload, or once uploaded it can fail to open.
The final concern with the use of email as an educational delivery is the potential for a virus. Opening an email attachment can place a virus on one's computer and each time one receives an attachment they run the risk of getting a virus if they open it.
As with other methods of education and technology there have already been attempts to use email to cheat. Students in Tokyo, Japan were caught at a prestigious university using email functions on their cell phones to cheat on their e-commerce exam (Exam, 2002).
"Professors became suspicious when identical answers, mistakes and all, showed up repeatedly on the final, taken by roughly 500 students in July, said Hitotsubashi University Vice President Takehiko Sugiyama. He said one student is believed to have left the classroom during the exam and e-mailed answers to his classmates using his cell phone (Exam, 2002). Twenty-six students later admitted to cheating after performing poorly on a makeup exam, Sugiyama said. The university decided not to suspended the 26, but they were failed on the test, Sugiyama said (Exam, 2002). "
While the potential is there for cheating, viruses and failed uploads there are still many benefits to using email to deliver and disseminate educational materials.
Another technological tool that is currently being used for the purpose of delivering educational materials is the Internet course. Internet courses are courses that do not require a classroom and they are offered to anyone who has the ability to get online. Internet courses have several advantages. One of the most important reasons to offer educational delivery through an internet course is the fact that it does not require classroom space. The use of an internet course allows the student to work from home or anywhere else that he or she has access to a computer and an internet service. The instructor can place the materials on the site and is not tied to a classroom or waiting for students to arrive to begin teaching the material. Students are able to check in and see the material and get the assignments within their personal time frame. Some students study best first thing in the morning while other students do better if they wait until evening. This is an important aspect of using an internet course instead of a traditional classroom.…