Research Paper: E-Learning Impact of Information Technology on Education

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Elearning

The Impact of E-Learning on Education at All Levels

The traditional geographical, linguistic, cultural and spatial parameters shaping education are being altered today by patterns of technological innovation. The face of education has changed at every level due to the availability of new computing and telecommunication opportunities that are quite literally removing the boundaries of the classroom. Those conditions previously thought of as necessities through which educational instruction is to be carried out are today proving to be restraints of the past as the internet and computer mediated avenues to information, knowledge and instruction are providing a wealth of new ways to reach students. This refers to a process known as electronic learning or e-learning. For the purposes of this examination, e-learning will refer more generally to the variance of forms which computer and internet mediated education can take across different learning contexts. This means that at the pre-school and grade school levels, as well as at the higher education and professional training levels, there are both on-site and remote uses for computer, information and telecommunication technologies that can significantly enhance the flexibility and reach of an instructor or course. Therefore, the following is a general discussion on the impact which e-learning in its various forms has had on education as a whole, with changes and innovations in information technology significantly shaping the current landscape and future horizon for education.

First, it is useful to consider a concise background leading to our current point of inflection. Indeed, even outside of the educational context, computers and computer-based technologies have become a part of our everyday lives. For many Americans and for people around the world, the computer has come to be seen as a gateway to the execution of all manner of personal, professional, consumerist and social activities, whether at home, at work or even while in transit. The fact of the computer's thorough integration into our lives is reflected with increasing seamlessness across generations, with our younger generations coming of age at a time when such technology is readily available, accessible and popularly appealing. As a point of fact, those who are entering elementary school today are considerably more likely to be well-acquainted already with the recreational and constructive aspects of the computer than were those who were entering into elementary school just a decade ago. One of the reasons for this relative shift is that, with the fairly swift evolution in the technology's applicable versatility, there has also occurred an equally swift evolution in its applicability to the needs, interests and faculties of today's young learners. This evolution, which may occur to our sensibilities as a natural and inevitable process, is in fact almost ironic given the sophistication and complexity of the personal computer and its history. Its common adoption into public education and primary education, as well as into the public sector and into the mainstream of society as a whole, would at first be slow. Indeed, this level of adoption would be almost nonexistent for the first decades of the computer's existence. However, once the popular adoption of the computer for public and private purposes alike had begun in earnest by the late 20th century, its proliferation for the purposes of education -- and increasingly primary education -- would be rapid and marked by constant innovation.

By the late 1990s, such technologies as had prior been relegated to only the facilities of graduate school educational contexts, such as internet web access, interactive multi-user communicational interfaces, text-based chat frameworks and a host of graphic-based video programs, had received empirical support from educational scholars as suitable and even primarily recommended tools for teaching elementary aged children in a wide array of disciplinary contexts. Indeed, research from this time demonstrates a growing quorum of support for the introduction of computer terminals with such web and graphic applications to young learners gaining skills in basic educational disciplines such as literacy development and mathematic technique refinement. To this extent, "Computers . . . can be particularly useful tools for enhancing children's social, language, and cognitive skills. This paper (Seng, 1998) highlights the computer's effect on children's problem solving, reflective thinking, and cognitive development." (Cesarone, 1) This is to argue that it has become a distinctly more important priority in recent years, where resources are available, to ensure that young children are given access to the type of computing technology at home and at school which can help to stimulate media literacy and positive development in all the capacities above noted.

The consideration of e-learning encompasses a relatively unlimited spectrum of possibilities, including those applications for computer-based learned that are grounded in classroom or homework activities as will often occur amongst younger learners or for distance learning by way of internet channels as more frequently is now applied for university level students. To the former categories, one of the great prospects in using information technology as a way to embrace younger learners is the increasing likelihood here noted that said learners are already somewhat versed in and comfortable with these media. The permeation of computer technologies into everyday life, especially through the individual and personal uses of internet access (whether for the gathering of information, communication with acquaintances, for shopping or for participation in gaming and recreational opportunities) denotes that individuals are increasingly preparing themselves for education through this mode. The means that young learners will frequently begin school, even the preschool level, with at least a rudimentary ability to manipulate computer mediated activities as a way of discovering individual strengths and needs.

This idea of individual learning needs may direct much of our consideration for the subject, suggesting that one of the key impacts of computing to education of preschool and elementary school aged students is its ability to administer a heretofore impossibly wide variant of diagnostic modes for understanding aptitude and performance. Therefore, the computer offers a relatively novel chance to engage each student one-on-one in a mode of instruction or diagnosis, helping to mitigate an otherwise omnipresent issue of needed cultural sensitivity in our schools. Accordingly, our findings will contend consistently that "computers and other technology offer opportunities to aid learning by highlighting individual and gender differences in learning approaches." (Cesarone, 1)

Indeed, one of the core conditions to which computing technology has emerged as a response is that of diversity. Though certainly this would not be a condition to produce assumptions as to the value of computing in education, it would enter into the early discourse on how best to apply emerging technology to existing challenges. Therefore, we must consider that this is a condition reflected in our schools, where more languages, nationalities, ethnicities and cultures are represented than ever before, but where the principles of academic standardization and cultural homogeneity have rarely been more firmly instituted. Within this paradox, one prospective solution has become apparent through the parallel diversification of the informational media used to implement individual learning strategies. The computer's capacity for appealing to diversity extends beyond simple lines of culture, ethnicity or gender, and approaches learning strategies differences by virtues of the wide array of media applications which it will have at its disposal today. With the computer have reached a place of relatively high video/music/web/data integration level and having done so while approaching increasingly more accessible market prices, its capacity to provide young learners with the multimedia experience necessary to help draw out individual learning context preference is fairly unprecedented from the perspective of previously available learning instruments. As such, with today's available elementary age education softwares, "areas of learning covered include alphabet and letters, animals, colors, community helpers, counting and numbers, creativity, letter-word association, memory and concentration, music, problem solving, science and nature, and storytelling." (Cesarone, 1) The sheer array of learning approaches illustrates the unique ability of the computer to approach the student with the sensitivity of unbiased applicability.

And for the instructor, the opportunities which are presently available to him or her as a product of these technologies are diverse in nature and providing of a greater arsenal of instruments for gaining students' attention and gauging individual learning needs. This is to say that "the computer has become a virtual teaching forum of great flexibility, with ever-improving technologies allowing for avenues of student use which "include drill and practice, tutorials, study guides, games and simulations, inquiry and problem solving, graphics, and word processing and writing." (Berson, 486) This multitude of applications reflects an opportunity for a progressive teaching mode, in which these varying computing tools offer the chance to distill individual learning strengths and needs. As is indicated by above explored theoretical considerations, the integration of new technologies in a teaching strategy will help both the student and the teacher to identify individual learning styles and to direct them constructively.

The future for computing in education should, at least in this context of elementary education, reflect an interest in furthering the interlinking of in-class and homework activities through the constant of computer technology. This is to say that encouraging students to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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E-Learning Impact of Information Technology on Education.  (2009, June 30).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/e-learning-impact-information-technology/278064

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