The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom and propose new ways to implement it. A group of 70 middle school students participated in a 4-week technology research study that was designed to investigate the effectiveness of technology in the middle-school classroom. Results suggest that for students to be successful in the future workplace, technology should be integrated into the curriculum.
Keywords: middle school, technology, case study
Middle School and Technology Usage: A Case Study
Technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives (United States Department of Education, 2010). It is in our living rooms, pockets, automobiles, and it is in our schools. The Kaiser Family Foundation (Rideout, Vandewater, Wartella, &Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2003) conducted a study on children and teen technology usage, finding that children and teens spent 2.75 hours per week using home computers. Seventy percent of 4-6 year-olds have used a computer. In any given day, 68% of children under 2 years of age will use a screen media, for an average of just over 2 hours. Young people have been and will continue to be born into a digital world where creating, changing, and sharing information with each other is a constant. Teachers may need to adopt a new framework for educating this and the next generation of students.
Students have many opportunities to learn on their own at school, especially with the increased availability of computers and Internet connections. The Internet provides access to unlimited resources and instant information. There are more than 91 million searches performed on Google each day (Searches performed on Google each day, 2011). Students are now able to type a topic into an Internet search engine and instantly watch streaming video, listen to podcasts, read Wikipedia explanations, and respond to blog entries. To understand current education, the history of technology in education will be discussed. Then, current trends and future possibilities of technology usage will be explored. Finally, strategies teachers can use to implement and incorporate technology into their classrooms will be discussed.
History of Technology in Education
Everett Murdock, Professor Emeritus at California State University, Long Beach, has written extensively on instructional technology and its history. He explained that one of the earliest forms of technology in education took place in 1780, when public schools adopted the teacher/manager model in which teachers were the primary manger of classroom instruction and assessment (Murdock, 2011). In response to the sending of Russia’s Sputnik space vehicle into space, President Eisenhower passed the National Defense Education Act in 1958, which brought new money and new technology into schools. Mainframes and minicomputers were in wide use in business and a few software companies began to develop mainframe and minicomputer-based instructional programs (Murdock, 2011). Apple Computers, Inc. attempted to promote educational use of computers in 1975 by donating many Apple 1s. In 1979, an estimated fifteen million personal computers (PCs) were being used worldwide with PC-based spreadsheets accompanying them. In 1986, 25% of high schools were using PCs for college and career guidance (Murdock, 2011). By 1990, just before the technology boom, multimedia PCs were being used in many classrooms across the country. Simulations, educational databases, and other types of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) programs were being delivered on CD-ROM disks. In 1994, digital video, virtual reality, and 3-D systems captured the attention of many young people. Most classrooms incorporated at least one PC, but not all teachers had access to a computer for instructional use. In 1995, the Internet and the World Wide Web began to catch on as businesses, schools, and individuals created web pages. The Internet was widely discussed in education as new graphics and multimedia tools were developed for the delivery of information and instruction using the Internet. Many schools were rewiring for Internet access, while a few schools installed web servers and provided faculty with a way to create instructional web pages. From 1997 until present, the use of the Internet has grown. It has become one of the world’s largest databases of information, graphics, and streaming videos. Larger computer storage capacity and the growing prevalence of CD-ROM and DVD drives in PCs have made it easier for educators to store large graphic, video, and sound files for educational applications (Murdock, 2011).