Modern Technologies used in Education

The emergence and use of modern technology in education have raised equal praises and criticisms. It has been argued about the benefits and numerous positive effects of using modern technology on student education. However, the negative effects of modern technology, especially among students have received the least considerations. Thus, I consider it rational to reflect on the negative effects of modern technology on student education. Although the use of modern technology in education and learning environments, such as classrooms have made learning easier, simpler, more interesting and enjoyable, it has also negatively impact the education of students. As Means asserts, the use of modern technologies in education has had numerous negative impacts on education which must be given adequate consideration and redress (47). For my part, I consider modern technology to be highly misleading and deluding the education of students today. Over the last two decades, the education sector has experienced increased use of modern technology in the classrooms. Students have been using modern technologies to learn and acquire new knowledge as well as to exchange ideas, information and experiences. Modern technologies, such as computers and the Internet have been used by students to do homework.

Some of the most common modern technologies used in education include computers, internet, cell phones and media players. However, this increased use of modern technology in education has led to numerous negative impacts, such as a distraction of attention (Dorey et al. 414), increased addiction (Ayas 635), hindrance of writing skills (McCarthy 21), increased plagiarism (Evering and Moorman, 35), elevation of exasperation (Hays 16), deterioration of attention span (Tindell and Bohlander 1), limitation of social interactions (Markoff 67) and increased violence among students (Gloria Goodale Arts and Th Christian Science Monitor 32). Thus, I would consider modern technology to be misleading the education of students today. This paper strives to elaborate on how modern technology has misled the education of students today.
It withdraws evidence from various sources to support the views presented herein.

Distracting Attention

One of the major effects of modern technology on education is the distraction of attention among students. For example, Dorey, Roberts, Meagher-Lundberg, Dixon and Mhurchu established that today children spend more time watching television or playing computer games than studying (414). This greatly distracts or diverts their attention from educational activities like finishing homework at the appropriate time or involvement in extra-curriculum activities, such as sports after school. According to Dorey, Roberts, Meagher-Lundberg, Dixon and Mhurchu, watching television is also associated with problems, such as overweight and behavioral problems which greatly impair academic performance (416). Researchers have also revealed that television viewing is a major challenge to most children and adolescents (Dorey et al. 416). Many school-going children aged between five and thirteen years were found to be highly addicted to television. They spent most of their time in front of screens while sparing little or no time for academics. As a consequence, their academic performances were greatly reduced.

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Increased Addiction

Modern technologies, such as the Internet and computer games are highly addictive. Although the Internet offers a suitable medium for accessing information easily and quickly, many students have misused it by making it the only source of information every time they conduct researches. Students often go the Internet first to search for information rather reviewing academic resources, such as books, journals and related publications piled in their school libraries. Students also spend most of their time in the Internet on social networking. Many students have stopped using the Internet and computers to access information or keep in touch with existing friends, but rather use it to make new friends and socialize. Although the Internet and computers can be very beneficial when used properly, many students have misused them. This has resulted into problems, such as addiction which has negatively impacted their performance in schools. According to Ayas, misuse and frequency of use are the key factors that contribute to negative impacts of using the Internet and computers among students (633). For instance, excessive use of the Internet and computers has negative effects, such as poor academic performance and psychological problems which result from addiction. Internet addiction refers to the inability to resist using the internet excessively (Ayas 634). Addiction to the Internet leads to poor management of time, feelings of deprival when unable to access it and deterioration of an individuals’ work, social and family life (Charlton and Danforth 605). Also, Ayas explains that excessive online communication, games or other forms of use of the Internet are the first signals of internet addiction (635). Computer games have become one of the most important entertainment tools for children (Ayas 635).

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For example, it was estimated that 74.2 percent of American people, 48.9 percent of Europeans and 35 percent of Turkish population are active internet users (Ayas 635). Addiction to the Internet is also caused by shyness. According to Ayas, people who are shy and lonely usually use the Internet frequently to overcome boredom (636). Charlton and Danforth also affirm that shy people tend to be computer addicts because of increased use of chat-rooms and news groups (608). This trend is common among shy students who prefer to use the Internet to communicate with others because of fear of rejection through face to face communication. Students also use the Internet to listen to online music, watch movies and play computer games. Although there is no direct relationship between shyness and internet usage, researchers have affirmed that shy people use the Internet more frequently and excessively than those who are not shy. Research studies have revealed that the level of addiction to the Internet and computer games among students is higher in boys than in girls (Ayas 636). This misuse of the Internet and computers is highly misleading and should be discouraged. The Internet and computer addiction reduce the level of involvement of students in classroom activities such as group discussions.

Hindrance of Writing Skills

The increased use of modern technologies, such as the Internet has also hindered the development of writing skills among students. For example, the development of Web 2.0 tools that enhance digital literacy and socially constructive online learning experiences has altered the principles and norms of traditional learning and writing among students (McCarthy 21). Today, many students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers by providing a means that allows multiple authors to write, edit and revise documents. This has led to decline in writing skills because people large depend on Web 2.0 tools.

Increased Plagiarism

In the academic world, plagiarism is a highly complex and evolving concept. Most learning institutions have integrity policies and guidelines that govern the conduct of students in relation to academic affairs. They also have well laid-down consequences of plagiarism. However, despite these policies and warnings, many students still find themselves in trouble for copying other people’s work without proper citation and/or permission. The use of the Internet for academic research purposes is a key factor that contributes to plagiarism. The use of modern technologies in education has facilitated plagiarism by making it relatively difficult to regulate the copying, distribution and usage of information and other people’s ideas without their permission. For example, authors who publish information online do not know who accesses the information hence it is nearly impossible to regulate the copying, reproduction and distribution of this information. According to Evering and Moorman, modern technologies have caused digital revolution which facilitates easy access to massive amounts of information thus making it impossible to control ownership of the information (37). Certain modern technologies also promote the idea of public commons in which the concept of ownership of ideas and knowledge is viewed as outdated and obsolete. Therefore, information is viewed as belonging simultaneously to everybody and to nobody. In short, ideas are owned by everyone and no one at the same time (Evering and Moorman 39). Modern technologies have also led to the emergence of digital technologies, such as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where people share information and ideas freely. Therefore, this has resulted in the creation of a culture in which anybody can use information any time with or without permission. Although students are usually warned against relying on information obtained from the Internet, such as blogs and websites, they still use it for large quantities for their research work. Thus, this has led to increased plagiarism. Students have lacked moral and ethical dimensions which would guide them against plagiarism. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are common among students in secondary schools, colleges and universities. Most students consider plagiarism differently than faculty do because they do not have the same perceptions of the value of intellectual property. Many students do not consider taking words or ideas from the Internet as heinous as copying something directly from the book. Moreover, plagiarism is also rampant because much of ideas and information from the Internet are free. Thus, students are able to easily download, cut, copy and paste without any charges. Modern technologies, such as the development of Web 2.0 tools that foster digital literacy and socially constructive online learning experiences have altered the principles and norms of learning and writing among students (Evering and Moorman 41). Students are encouraged to collaborate by providing the means for multiple authors to write, edit and revise documents. This makes it easy for students to plagiarize or use information without crediting its source. Moreover, the Internet does not have online ethical practices hence does not discourage plagiarism.

Elevating Exasperation

Modern technology has led to increased exasperations among people. According to Hays, modern technology has split the society into have and have-nots (16). This has led to increased frustrations of the have-nots by the haves. The have-nots feel bitter against the haves. For example, students without car phones often feel bitter when called by their friends using car phones. Such frustrations have led to reduced academic performance among students. Thus, students have become more concerned about material possessions than education. Another advancement in modern technology referred to flaming which allows people to send instant messages using computers has been abused by students. A student can send flaming messages to a thousand others. This leads to increased tension among students hence negatively affects their education.

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Deteriorating Attention Span

Modern technology has made students become less attentive in class. Many students often used cell phones and text messaging in classrooms. This deteriorates their attention during learning. For instance, a survey of 269 college students in a university reported that 95 percent of students went to classes with their cell phones every day and 92 percent of the students admitted texting during class time (Tindell and Bohlander 1). Worse still, 10 percent admitted having texted during examinations at least once. According to Tindell and Bohlander, many learning institutions today are facing the problem of increased proliferation of mobile devices, such as cell phones into academic settings especially classrooms (2). Increased use of cell phones in classrooms and during examinations has resulted into increased cases of exam cheating or academic dishonesty. However, some proponents of inclusion of cell phones in classrooms argue that they can be used in times of emergency to improve safety of students and aid learning thus cell phones have become a major distracter of attention among student in classrooms. However, Tindell and Bohlander contrast this suggestion by asserting that cell phones do not provide any reasonable security or protection during emergencies because they make students unaware of their surrounding hence increasing their vulnerability (5). Cell phones also distract the attention of other students in the classrooms hence leading to reduced participation in class activities and reduced interactivity among students during learning processes. Tindell and Bohlander emphasize that phone calls during lessons interrupt learning processes for the entire class (7). According to Tindell and Bohlander, the ringing of a cell phone during lessons not only diverts the attention of the receiver, but also diverts the attention of other students as well as of the instructor (9). This claim was supported by a research in which a group of students watching a video presentation were exposed to texting. The students who responded to two or three text messages during the presentation were neither able to focus on the presentation, nor able to comprehend its contents. Thus, it was evident that texting greatly impairs the ability of students to focus and learn. This is because of diverted attention.

Limited Social Interactions

When the Internet became extremely popular in the early 1990s, it was argued that it created a virtual community which would promote human contact. However, researchers have shown that the Internet is isolation medium (Markoff 67). Moreover, it has been proved that the more time people spend using the Internet and computers, the less they are likely to spend in face-to-face human contact. This has led to reduced interactions among people. Students who use the Internet and computers more frequently have also suffered from reduced human contact. Moreover, students who spend a lot of time watching television or playing online video games have become less involved in face-to-face interactions. As a consequence, they have limited social interactions. Researchers have also revealed that the Internet has a strong negative effect on time spent with friends and family members. At the workplace, using the Internet excessively reduces time spent with workmates. Markoff also agrees that the Internet is an isolating medium which promotes social isolation (70). In addition, Markoff conducted a research on social interaction through social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter and concluded that it does not matter the number of friends an individual has on social networking sites, but what matters is the amount of time spend with them (71). Students who use the Internet most of their time, for instance for social networking, are less interactive. Thus, they would spend less time with their fellow students. This reduces their chances of sharing ideas, information and knowledge within normal educational settings. As a consequence, their performance in school is reduced because they do not have enough time to interact with other students and learn from them.

Increased Violence Among Students

Modern technology also increases violence among students. It is for a reason that students learn from what they see on the TV, hear from radios, watch in movies, play in video games and read from the Internet. For instance, Gloria Goodale Arts and The Christian Science Monitor assert that children tend to imitate wrestling moves that they see on TV programs (32). This corrupts their minds. They start believing that they can also be like the wrestlers they see on television. According to Brown, students have accepted violence as a way of solving problems because of what they see on televisions and computers both at home and school (15). Students tend to imitate the actions they observe. This has fuelled violence among students.

Opposing Viewpoint: Modern Technology Makes Education More Stimulating

Despite the above mentioned negative effects of modern technologies on student education, it has been argued that modern technologies have made education more fascinating. For example, modern technologies, such as computers have led to increased motivation and positive attitude among students to acquire new skills. Moreover, modern technologies, such as the Internet and computers have made communication within education settings easier. This has helped in improving academic performance among students. According to Hanson-Smith, students who use modern technologies in classrooms, for example computer simulations and Instructional Learning Systems (ILS) score significantly higher than students who do not use such technologies in their classrooms (103). Recent researches have also indicated that use of modern technology in education improves performance, positive attitude towards learning and creates a meaningful learning environment for students (Hanson-Smith 107). For instance, computer simulations and interactive video games have increased problem-solving skills among students. A research by Brock also indicated that students who play complex video games are better at solving difficult problems than students who do not play such games (81). In addition, Brock argues that use of modern technologies such as computers enable students to join the workforce with greater abilities (85). Modern technologies, such as the internet which permit online communication allows students to reach the outside world and learn about other cultures hence facilitate the development of a wider perspective of the world.

The rapid advances and integration of modern technology in our society are reshaping our education systems. Although modern technology has increased the capacity of students to know, do new things and communicate and collaborate with others, it has also resulted in numerous challenges, such as a distraction of attention, increased plagiarism, reduced social interactions and increased violence among students that require proper redress. Therefore, it is important to regulate the use of modern technologies within education systems to help in ensuring that modern technology is used properly by students and without abuse. Therefore, teachers and students should control the use of modern technologies in schools while parents should verify this situation at home. For my part, educational instructors should develop and implement clear and concise plans to guide the use of modern technologies in schools in order to help in reducing negative effects of modern technology on student’s education.

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