Integrating Instructional Technology The use of technology in the classroom is not a new phenomenon. From writing on stone tablets to writing on computer tablets man has tried from the beginning of time to incorporate the technology at hand into the teaching and learning environment…
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Teachers are required therefore to adopt a new paradigm about the use of technology and impart this enthusiasm to their charges. On the completion of a technology training program Bartak as cited in Yorbalinda (2009) observed, ‘The technology has changed my teaching forever,… There is definitely more interaction and every student volunteers to answer questions.’ Notwithstanding that technology use in the classroom is touted as the new genie of the 21st century learning, there are a variety of pros and cons for its use in the classroom. Firstly, students are exposed to the computer and the Internet on a daily basis. Therefore, the student enters the classroom with an advanced previous knowledge about the use of the technology for social purposes. The teacher then simply needs to build on this foundation. Students love to communicate using the technology therefore their mindset would be positive when it comes to utilizing technology in the classroom for different content areas. Secondly, technology is used in every area of today’s society. It is used to interact with loved ones, business associates, even with Heads of government. After all it is through the use of technology that Barack Obama was able to obtain a tremendous amount of campaign funding. Thus, technology is all around us. It is therefore necessary that students be au courant with technology as a means of learning. For example, students can read as well as create their own e-books in order to enhance their learning. Another example of the excitement with which technology adds to the classroom is the use of the SMART Board as highlighted by Dekunder (2010). Students with the SMART Board are able to manipulate and engage with the material in a way that was never possible before. Burnett (2010) observed that one of the major issues for university students in a Virtual learning Environment is connectedness. Burnett (2011) posited that students in such an environment felt more connected than in a face to face class setting. One student noted that the virtual environment ‘makes you feel part of something’ (246). Thus, the use of technology in the classroom may cause students to achieve one of Maslow’s hierarchy of motivation, that of belongingness. Using blogs and wikis to enhance learning therefore may not only create connectedness within the classroom but stakeholders outside of the classroom (parents, siblings, and peers in other classes) may also feel a part of the learning and a part of the members of the class. Nonetheless, Burnett (2011) observed that while the students claimed they felt a sense of connectedness they also spoke to the idea of ‘autonomy and dependence’. One student noted in the virtual environment ‘you feel you can’t ask’ (246). Thus, a disadvantage to the use of technology is that students may be unwilling to appear unknowledgeable about certain concepts. In light of this ‘student identity’ many unanswered questions and misconceptions of the student may remain unanswered. The onus is on the teacher to strike a balance in the use of technology where students may feel free to ask for clarification and continue their exploration of this knowledge in the virtual learning environment. Further, some teachers may use technology just for technology sake and its use may not necessarily augment the learning process. Such a situation could cause great
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The author states that in the faculty of nursing/healthcare, programs are divided into three main parts i.e. management, theory and practice. The theoretical part can be tutored through online functions like online blackboard in the Monash University. Students take lecture notes and assignments from the online blackboard.
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A democratic approach is one whereby learners are provided with an interactive environment where they can express their views, opinions, suggestions and have an opportunity to support their arguments. It is involves both the teacher and the learner where the teacher comes up with the topic to be discussed which is open to any form of criticisms or additions to the main point.
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