Teaching using computers and telecommunications Essay

Teaching using computers and telecommunications            The advent of the modern information age has revolutionized the way people conduct every single aspect of their lives, from personal life to the professional life. Telecommunication has changed its definition and context from the simple telegraph, radio, and technology to include new and ever evolving technologies involving the internet. The education sector has not been left behind in utilizing these new technologies, and the use of computers has gained an overwhelming prominence in teaching. In this essay, I discuss the benefits computers and telecommunications are playing in the education sector.            Education systems from all over the world have continued to face difficult challenges, which have made the application of conventional strategies insufficient to cover the deficit (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007).

Fresh approaches are continuously needed so that the persistent problems can at least be addressed and make students get a quality education that adequately prepares them for the job market and other challenges that characterize conventional life. Today, it is almost a must that everyone has at least some knowledge of computers. Computers and telecommunications came in to fill a wide gap, and unfulfilled objectives to improve teaching and learning (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007).            Computers in teaching begin first with teaching students how to use computers and computer applications such as word processors, spread sheets and applications for making visual presentations (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007). Latter stages involve using this acquired knowledge to enhance other areas of learning (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007).

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The acquisition of computer literacy is not enough reason though to introduce computers in schools. Furthermore, computer technologies are forever constantly changing, and the teaching of computer use is now widely viewed as a personal responsibility of students and teachers. Students and teachers can as a matter of fact take advantage of the benefits of computer use if they take their own time to learn about computers on their own.            Computers have improved mathematical, logical and analytical thinking among both students and teachers by offering tools that aid in the modeling and simulation of complex functions and procedures that have been hard to understand and explain before the advent of computer technologies (Cuban, 2004). The emergence of the internet as a key tool in telecommunication has increased this advantage by networking computers from all parts of the world. Learners and teachers can now interact with each other remotely across boundaries, time zones, cultures and disciplines (Lockyer, Hoban, & Ferry, 1999). The internet has therefore served as a tool for the democratization of information and for the effective exchange of information all across the globe.

            Computers are used in an educational approach referred to as Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL); which includes Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI) and Computer-Based Training (CBT) (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007). In CAI, programmed instructions and information elements are input into a computer system and then the students, through an interface, are required to systematically respond to questions which are usually in the form of multiple choice questions or in Boolean form (that is, true or false). After a set of questions have need answered, feedback is immediately provided (Lockyer, Hoban, & Ferry, 1999).

This is the basic format of Computer Assisted Learning and is usually applied in drill practice or memorization and self assessment purposes. This interactive form of teaching is very effective and efficient in teaching mathematics, foreign languages and engineering principles.            When in more sophisticated formats, Computer-Assisted learning becomes an essential tool for strengthening logical thinking and the development of proactive problem solving capacities by guiding learners through problems whose difficulty and complexity increases progressively (Dickard & Schneider, 2010).

Computer-Assisted Learning incorporates new information and programmed methodologies and utilizes the knowledge base already existing in the learner’s mind so that the learner can learn how to grow more knowledge and solve complex problems (Cuban, 2004).            The benefits of Computer-Assisted Learning are numerous. For one, it eases learning by introducing instructiveness while being   interactive, therefore complementing the effort achieved by conventional learning in the classroom (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007).

In addition, computer assisted learning improves learning outcomes by letting students independently and accurately establish their learning speed and levels of cognitive spontaneity (Lockyer, Hoban & Ferry, 1999). As an entirely personal affair between the student and his or her computer, it eliminates nervousness associated with the traditional classroom and students experience less tension and anxiety while making and correcting their mistakes (NTIA, 2010). It can also supplement the traditional human instructor and therefore compensates in cases where teachers are inappropriately or insufficiently trained. Computer aided learning becomes even more effective if the teachers and students using particular tools are provided with the tools to produce their own leaning applications (Santally & Ramessur, 2007). This results into systems with high capacities since design is tailored to meet specific needs of both the teacher and his or her students and creates the desired levels of being interactive.

            Computers and telecommunications technologies have introduced a new chapter in learning in the name of online education. Online diploma and degree programs are becoming so popular because of the flexibility they offer in teach (Nielsen, 2006). The dream of distance learning has finally become a reality, founded on the penetration and interconnectedness of the internet that spans the entire globe. Education is no longer limited to the traditional constructs of the classroom, and physically distant and remote locations are virtually just next to each other since all one has to do to access information at one extreme of the world is just click a mouse button (Nielsen, 2006).            Computing technology has facilitated efficient storage and retrieval of information as well as its effective presentation. This, coupled with telecommunication through the internet, has made information widely available and easily accessible. This makes learning not only effective but also easy (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007).

In the classroom, instructors and professors can make PowerPoint presentations and play media files to aid learning, not necessarily from their laptop or desktop computers but also through live streaming from the internet (Cuban, 2004). Audio and visual support in learning makes lessons particularly interactive and therefore interesting; and students are more likely to derive a lot of information from such sessions.            Computer technology has enabled efficient and explainable simulation and exploration of difficult problems particularly in science, mathematics, and economics and in social sciences (NTIA, 2010). Large and complex concepts and problems in the above subjects are extremely hard to efficiently explain and demonstrate in the traditional classroom setting, but computers have eliminated this challenge. The difficulty and time required to perform complex procedures and demonstrate the same has been eased by computers, which have in-built algorithms to model and simulate even the most complex formulas through installed applications made specifically for these purposes (Cuban, 2004). Good examples are the Matrix Laboratory (MatLab) developed by Mathworks Incorporation which can model problems in almost all disciplines including engineering, mathematics, accounting, biology and statistics.            Telecommunication and computer technology has greatly impacted on research in teaching.

Living in societies rich in knowledge demands that students also have an extensive knowledge base. This can only be achieved through relevant research which teaches and introduces students to methodologies of critical question and research method formulations seeking and identifying relevant data, analyzing the same and making meaningful conclusions from the analysis (Dickard & Schneider, 2010). Becoming acquainted with these procedures requires a proactive approach to learning which then must be integrated into the normal curriculum across all academic disciplines. Even though computers are not entirely needed for this purpose, they remove or at least minimize the barriers standing in the way of research and make the research process itself much easier and less frustrating (Santally, & Ramessur, 2007). Technology lowers costs associated with research and leads to findings which are more accurate and therefore more applicable in real life situations.

            In conclusion, life without computers and the benefits of telecommunication technologies as they exist today would be imaginable for so many people both inside and outside academia. As seen from the above descriptions of how these technologies are beneficial in learning, computers and telecommunications are bound to continue finding widespread applications in learning activities. In addition, being very conversant with computer technologies creates numerous openings in the job market since the methods and procedures done in learning institutions using information technology and computers translate directly in practice at industry level (Lockyer, Hoban & Ferry, 1999). Information systems, tightly anchored on computers and telecommunications, are widely used in networking, access to data and information, data storage and information processing. It is only logical that these new technologies be introduced early in education so that products of the system can have the perfect know-how of computers. It lays the foundation for almost all competitive careers.ReferencesCuban, L.

(2004). Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://sdexter.

net/xyz/CompMeets%20Classroom.pdfDickard, N., & Schneider, D. (2010). The Digital Divide: Where We Are: Status Report on the Digital Divide. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.edutopia.org/digital-divide-where-we-are-todayLockyer, L.

, Hoban, G., & Ferry, B. (1999).

The Use of Computer-Mediated Communication to Support the Formation of a Knowledge-Building Community in Initial Teacher Education. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.ascilite.org.

au/conferences/brisbane99/papers/ferryhoban.pdfNational Telecommunication & Information Administration. (2010).

Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.ntia.

doc.gov/ntiahome/fttn99/Nielsen, J. (2006). Digital Divide: The Three Stages.

Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/digital-divide.htmlSantally, M., & Ramessur, R.

(2007). Computer Mediated Communication fir Effective Teaching-Learning of Coastal Zone Management Module. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:whKjFLUhTlcJ:ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/include/getdoc.php%3Fid%3D2202%26article%3D290%26mode%3Dpdf+teaching+using+computer+and+telecommunication&hl=en&gl=ke&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjIVzHM9mjKd98NsaOjVid1oztCe8RFZJayQY4gnqzEWyMYGCxYJsRKyW8fg093dU6InZBuAHsaCEIjIQ8EDiRoJxjiFSMw32C4tRFavyMzFV7iVjpi0WrSUP27K3rfXXsXs-uK&sig=AHIEtbS8u0V1LJL-BbQdfg7H1sMsr-holQ


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