Technology has become a critical component in the present world due to its extensive application in different fields of human operation (Cleaver, 2014). Whereas technology has been applied vastly, the education sector has been influenced greatly (Higgins, Xiao & Katsipataki, 2012). Importantly, online education and computer-based learning have taken a critical position in the sector. As such, it is evident that education stakeholders, including teachers, students, and policymakers, must consider technology-based education (Marinkovic, 2011). The important concern relates to the effectiveness of technology-based education when it comes to imparting skills. Also, the ability of teachers to adopt the new method of teaching is of great concern due to the adoption of technological change. Indeed, the current teaching staffs are not effectively equipped with technological efficiency. As such, the ability to adopt technology and applying it in education is questionable. Also, the ease of students using technology is education evokes critical interest too. This is based on the fact that the application of technology in education might not receive great enthusiasm as opposed to general technological communication (Muirhead, 2000). Lastly, the environment created by technological education must be interrogated deeply to understand its benefits in the education system.
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The introduction of technology in the education sector has led to a critical development in the education sector. However, some important issues have not been addressed satisfactorily. One of those issues relates to the embracement of technology by the teaching staff. In most cases, the current teachers and lecturers are either of average or old age. As such, these ages are not as conversant with technology as the young generations. This implies that teachers and lecturers have deficient skills when it comes to the use of technology. In addition to the deficiency of skills, the staffs have a low willingness to adopt the technology due to conservatism. Conservatism mentality makes the staff stick to the traditional methods of teaching (Ray & Coulter, 2010). As such, the question of whether the staffs are capable and willing to adopt technology becomes of critical importance. Also, even if the upcoming staffs are not above the average age of technology, the ease of using traditional methods still evokes similar concerns. For example, lecturers find it effective to distribute handouts through the class monitor rather than send emails without the guarantee of delivery.
The second point of concern is the degree to which the students, although young when it comes to age, are prepared to use technology in education. As such, it is understandable that the use of technology in communication is different from the application of the same methods in learning (Reynolds, 2009). In this case, students embrace technology easily when it comes to communication and other general application. However, it does not imply that the students are willing to use technology readily when it comes to education. Importantly, this becomes of great importance when it comes to the use of mobile technology. Indeed, the extent to which a student wishes to receive, tackle, and send assignments is questionable. The use of mobile technology evokes a critical concern when it comes to students’ attentiveness and uptake. In this case, if students are allowed to use mobile technology to access learning materials during class sessions, their concentration reduces significantly to affect the skills uptake.
Educational Technology (online and computer-based technology)
The purpose of this research from the context of educational technology will focus on online and computer-based technology. In this case, online education uses mobile and computer-based technology to facilitate the different functions of education. These functions include accessing the learning materials and assessing skills’ proficiency. In that regard, therefore, the problems that have been identified in the problem statement will be studied from the perspective of online education and the computer-based view.
Academic Discipline and the Content Field
Whereas the application of online education and computer-based technology can be applied in many disciplines, this research will be concerned with the education sector. Indeed, teachers and lecturers provide vital services in the economy because they are the facilitators of education. Also, the educational staff is expected to disseminate the ideology of educational technology after qualification. As such, it becomes important to identify some of the benefits of using technology to impart skills to educational specialists. Also, it is critical to identify some of how the use of computer-based education can help educational professionals to create a good environment for learning in the technological context.
In the case of the target audience, this research will focus on the students who have already attained the college level. Indeed, the college level students have already determined their areas of specialization. In particular, it will target college-level students who have specialized in education. The education students are the relevant specimen in this research because it seeks to determine how technology-based learning can be promoted by involving its stakeholders. Importantly, teachers and lecturers are some of the most crucial stakeholders in this venture. Secondly, it will target teachers and lecturers whose age is above 50 years and another set of respondents below that age. This will facilitate the study of the age-based attitude difference which exists towards technological education.
Significance to the Field
The significance of this study should be viewed from two different and crucial perspectives. First, the significance of the study relates to the use of technology in academic institutions. The world is experiencing a paradigmatic shift from an analog-centered economy to a digital globe. The world has been interconnected by technology because people have adopted it as a means of communication. As such, the education sector cannot be ignored because it has to change by this shift (Walker et al., 2013). It is, therefore, important to determine how technical education can be designed to create an appropriate learning environment. Indeed, this becomes important because the introduction of technology should not reduce the quality of education offered. In any case, it should make it easy to access and improve the quality of the skills.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
Theory of Change
In this research, it is evident that the world has shifted from an analog globe to a digital system. As such, people have become used to technology in their daily communication and transactions. As such, the educational sector will be forced to change how it imparts skills. As such, since this aspect warrants change in the sector, the Theory of Change serves a critical role in this research. In principle, the theory of change focuses on how human behavior changes with time (Whitney, 2009). Also, it focuses on the outcomes of the process of change regardless of whether it has been induced naturally or artificially. Importantly, the theory revolves around showing the clear difference between the prevalent and the intended outcome of change. This is very important in this research because it will help to analyze the intended plan and the actual result of the computer-based technology in the education sector. Secondly, it seeks to address the issue of how stakeholders should set their intended results to determine how they will participate in the process of change. This factor will help to identify the stakeholders that should be involved in the implementation of computer-based education, how they should set their goals and the strategies which should be used to achieve those objectives.
By the problem statement, three research questions will be considered in this study.
- To what extent are the college students pursuing the education specialty prepared to use technology for educational purposes?
- What are the difficulties incurred by the old-aged instructors when using technology to impart skills and how can those deficiencies be eliminated?
- If any, how can the stakeholders eliminate the possible deterrents and inhibitors of technology-based education?
Participants and Availability
The research participants will include the stakeholders of the education sector in the country. As such, the participants will be divided into three segments including the lectures, students and the policymakers. The lecturers are expected to provide information concerning the difficulties they incur when using technology to teach. On the other hand, the students pursuing education at the college level will be required to answer the question of whether they are prepared to adopt technology to learn. Lastly, the administrator/policymakers will provide information that relates to the objectives of computer-based education as well as the strategies used to achieve the goals.
Research Method and Design
First, the research will use a deductive approach when it comes to the research design. A deductive approach provides a research question, makes a hypothesis, and then proceeds to collect data to either accept or reject the hypothesis. Also, the research will incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research design because the research questions involve both aspects. In particular, the fist and the third research questions are qualitative because they seek to determine the difficulties incurred by the old-aged instructors and the solutions to the deterrent factors. The second question is quantitative because it seeks to determine the extent to which the students are willing to use technology to learn. Importantly, the research data will be collected by administering questionnaires using an online survey. The online survey is meant to ensure that the data collection is timely. Also, the sampling will be conducted using the random purposeful sampling which included two different sampling techniques. Random sampling is meant to ensure that the results are naturalistic while purposeful sampling ensures that the respondents provide relevant data.
Measurement of Students’ Outcomes
Regarding the measurement of the students’ outcomes, there will be two different and critical measurement parameters. First, the students will be assessed from the perspective of whether the students are capable of using technology effectively in education. The second parameter will seek to measure the willingness of students to use technology to learn.
Additional Expected Outcomes
In addition to the students’ outcomes, the effectiveness of instructors and the policymakers will be evaluated. In this case, the assessment will be based on whether their objectives are achieved within the stipulated period. As such, their assessment will be tied to the performance of students taking online courses and their effectiveness when it comes to the application of the learned skills in the field.
One of the instruments that will be used is a questionnaire that will be administered using an online survey. Also, the research will require the use of sound recorders in case the respondents are required to make an audio presentation through Skype and phone calls. As such, the recorder responses will be meant to ensure that all the information is available in its authentic form. The phones will also be required to call the respondents in case clarification and follow-ups are needed after the questionnaires are received.
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The research will start with a pilot study which will be meant to determine the practicability of the research methods and design. The pilot study will incorporate all the aspects of the research including experimental sampling, data collection, and analysis. After the pilot study, the identified flaws will be corrected and the actual research conducted from the sampling to analysis.
Although the research is essentially significant, it is necessary to state that there are a few limitations. One of the critical limitations revolves around the use of online surveys rather than the physical interviews. Indeed, the online survey will eliminate the opportunity to detect some of the emotional and nonverbal cues which are very important in qualitative analysis.
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Reynolds, M. (2009). Wild Frontiers Reflections on Experiential Learning. Management Learning, 9(6), 387-392.
Walker, K., Curren, M., Kiesler, T., Lammers, H., & Goldenson, J. (2013). Scholarly Networking Among Business Students: Structured Discussion Board Activity and Academic Outcomes. Journal of Education for Business, 88(5), 249-252.
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