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How Technology Can Influence Students Abilities

How Technology Can Influence Students Abilities, Solving Problems Skills, and Confidential Levels?

Introduction

The mode of study for the current generation of students and the way they learn, process information, as well as face and solve problems is highly affected by the developing technology and media. Numerous discussions have focused on the impending negative effects of various technologies on the students learning process. Therefore, there is a need to study the influence of technologies on students learning. Technology has played a key role in improving the students abilities and problem-solving skills as well as their confidence level. With the help of technology, students have shown improved abilities in expressing themselves, interacting and associating with others, as well as improved problem-solving skills, coupled with the higher level of confidence.

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Exploration of Developing Theory

Today, students are exposed to technology at a very tender age. Most students nowadays have an access to the Internet through various technological devices. Students of this generation, known as millennials, are living in a digital age, where the world is becoming a global village through technology. Entertainment, work, education, and even social connectivity, can all be accessed through the web. Nowadays, technology is an integral part of students learning from the millennial era in academic and even social lives. Students are quick and early adopters of technology in their lives. Classrooms have been invaded by numerous forms of technology. Modern classrooms include cell phones, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, and laptops. The new developing theory has sparkled considerable discussions in the recent past, leading to some studies being conducted about technology learning and students.

Connections to Relevant Literature

Numerous technological devices such as smartphones, and laptops can be used to attract many students. It is the general expectation that the use of such technological devices by students will improve their abilities and skills. It is important to mention that the use of such devices has influenced the students abilities both in classrooms and outside of the classrooms. For example, according to Attia, Baig, Marzouk, & Khan (2017), the use of devices both in and out of the classrooms has impaired the students ability to concentrate in class and remember some of the content learned in class. Laptops and smartphones are said to be distractive in class. When phones are ringing in class, they take away the attention of both lecturers and students (Attia et al., 2017). Students who frequently use their technological devices during the lectures are prone to forget much of the contents of their lecture (Attia et al., 2017). This, in turn, has affected their level of performance and affected their grades. The frequent usage of laptops and smartphones to send messages make students prone to making errors and affect their ability to rely on self-intuitions and to avoid errors.

Technology has significantly influenced the students ability to interact and socialize with others on their campuses. Not all students have an access to technology before joining the campuses; therefore, as most of the varsities strive to integrate technology into the classroom, they have to appreciate the fact that there exist deviations among students in terms of an access to technology (BrckaLorenz, Haeger, Nailos, & Rabourn, 2013). For example, students who had an access to computers and other technological devices like tablets and smartphones at an early age have higher ability to interact and socialize with their peers on campus as compared to their fellows who had no access to such devices (BrckaLorenz et al., 2013). Those who had an access to technology have higher abilities and are more comfortable when using the Internet and other technological devices as compared to their counterparts who had no access to technological devices (BrckaLorenz et al., 2013). Therefore, the age at which one is exposed to technological devices is a factor in the extent to which a student can be influenced by the technology.

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Consequently, technology has improved students ability to think critically. Students are involved in activities that trigger their minds to think critically. For example, according to (Mansbach, 2015), students are engaged in reflective activities, where they are triggered to reflect and focus on their progress over the semester. Students engage in some activities, such as memory challenge, where they ask one other to refer to and quote some of the materials that they have used during the term of study. Students are also engaged in peer review activities where they interact with each other and demonstrate their communication abilities and skills (Mansbach, 2015). They analyze other students work, present their views and offer alternatives where necessary. Peer review activities trigger students to use various thinking styles and, at the same time, improve their ability to think critically. Such activities are carried out in different forums, where students can exchange ideas through technology. Mansbach (2015) observes that students are also engaged in discussions that make them show both levels of critical thinking (high-level and lower-level critical thinking) and allow students to communicate with their fellow students. Such discussion forums are posted in features that make the use of technology such as canvas (Mansbach, 2015). Similar to this are small group activities which make the students collaborate, analyze, synthesis and solve a certain problem or express their ideas about a given topic. They use some online tools to post their comments and presentations (Mansbach, 2015). Therefore, technology, in the process of developing students ability to think critically, also influences other abilities like ability to express their opinions.

Problem-solving skill is one of the most significant abilities that students should build. The skill is not only relevant in the school context but, most importantly, in life. Problem-solving skills are relevant in schools as they help students to solve academic problems, while outside-the-school contexts can be used to solve other social problems (Price & Kirkwood, 2014). Some factors play a role in influencing this skill. Technology has significantly influenced the students ability to solve problems and has become an integral part of their learning to solve problems (Price & Kirkwood, 2014). Technology has influenced students by helping them have a better understanding of the course materials, as well as demonstrate their level of understanding. Active students collaborations have played a key role in helping to solve academic problems among the involved students.

Through technology, students problem-solving skills are affected. According to Mahalingam and Morlino (2013), by using technology, it is possible to convert data into information, and, consequently, the information can be converted to knowledge. Interactive video programs have been developed and have significantly proven possible to improve the problem-solving skills. Today, students can use video software as a cornerstone to solve academic problems in some subjects, such as mathematics and other science subjects (Mahalingam & Morlino, 2013). Such video software as Jasper video software is used in enhancing problem-solving skills in mathematics. The student who has used this software has shown improved ability and skills in problem-solving which involved a complex task.

Another example of the technologically enhanced tool in learning which has positively influenced the students problem-solving skills is the intelligent-tutor software program. The program has been used in Pennsylvania and has been considered as an integral part of their academic curriculum in algebra course (Mahalingam & Morlino, 2013). The program is designed to help students make a mathematical analysis which involves real-world situations. The software program makes use of the computational tools to come up with a solution. Students who made use of the software have been proven to have better problem-solving skills as compared to the students who did not use the program during their study (Gikas & Grant, 2013). It is, therefore, evident that using technology in learning has helped students to enhance their problem-solving skills.

Technology plays a major role in boosting the confidence levels of students. For example, students who got an access to technological education tools, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones have a higher level of confidence when compared to those students who did not have access to technological education tools at a tender age from their homes. Those who had access to technology have higher confidence levels when they go to high school, colleges or even at the campuses (Mahalingam & Morlino, 2013). As a result, the students who had access to such technological tools build confidence in associating with their peers and interacting with them.

Confidence is also influenced by the form and the frequency of technology that is used. Technology also influences the confidence of students that they have in the ability to perform and or to engage in some activities. For example, according to Goodman et al. (2013), male students have more confidence and end up using online platforms more, as compared to their female counterparts who feel less confident in using online platforms. On the contrary, female students instead choose to express themselves and make use of emails and social media platforms in information gathering (Proctor, 2014). As a result, females are confident in using interpersonal, communicative and educational platforms; on the contrary, male students use the Internet and other online platforms for entertainment and task-related assignments. Even though the form of technology used by either gender influences their level of confidence, it is constant that both males and females make use of technology for various tasks and purposes.

Connections to Teaching Practice

Technology can be used in teaching to influence the students ability by engaging them in digital storytelling activities and in group discussions. Through such activities, their ability to use various forms of presenting ideas is improved. This is the case because, during their presentation, they are required to present their ideas using some media, such as videos, images, and audios (Mansbach, 2015). By creating a digital story, students can make use of their ability to reflect and evaluate, as well as analyze the contents of the questions subject. It is a strong technological tool for enhancing students ability to use multimedia during their presentations. The stories are presented through technological tools, such as Google documents, PowerPoint, Great Big Canvas, etc. (Mansbach, 2015). Therefore, using multiple tools also helps the students to think critically and enhance their ability to deliberate beyond and show creativeness. Students ability to develop is of great importance. Through such activities, it even becomes easier for instructors to teach about various concepts and skills.

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During teaching, teachers encourage the use of simulation and presentation. Students use simulation and presentation software where they come up with a visual program to make exhibitions that do use visual concrete thinking even without making the use of sound conceptual thinking skills (Gikas & Grant, 2013). As such, students develop an attitude towards developing software that offers solution to most of the existing problems. The aspect of technological problem-solving is one of the basic components incorporated in almost every curriculum over the years (Mahalingam & Morlino, 2013). Technological design is based on how knowledge is generated and solves a problem, and helps to come up with ways to solve the problem.

Use of technology at homes by other parties, apart from the student, also affects the level of students confidence either directly or indirectly. For example, when parents use computers at home not only for the work-related task but also for other general tasks, like entertainment, students from such families tend to develop a higher level of confidence. Students who come from homes where their parents and guardians never use computers at home or in the workplace have the least confidence (Goodman et al., 2013). This is in line with the observation made when students confidence was studied when they convey computer related knowledge (Proctor, 2014). On the one hand, for students from homes where their parents or guardians are not frequent computer users tend to have low confidence in conveying knowledge related to the computer, as a form of technology (Goodman et al., 2013). On the other hand, students whose parents and guardians rarely use a computer are weak in passing such computer-related knowledge. They are so weak that they cannot even make it to teaching their fellow students on how to make use of software related to computers.

Implications for Ongoing Inquiry

Technology has influenced students behavior to a great extent. Most of the post-secondary institutions are determined to integrate technology into their curriculum. However, even as educational institutions are integrating technology into their curriculum and encouraging students to embrace technology in their learning, there is a need to recognize the fact that not all students are technology-oriented before they join college. Such students will feel disoriented and disadvantaged. There is, thus, the need to have a classroom practice that will help such students to have some background knowledge of technology through offering basic technological skills in class.

Conclusion

The influence of technology can be positive or negative. However, technology seems to have more positive effects. Technology has been integrated into most of the curriculum around the world. Institutions are focusing on the need to prioritize on technology. Instructors and lecturers in most institutions around the globe are opting for technology-related modes of teaching, where they use emails, discussion forums, and online discussions among others to give notes and provides with an avenue for students to express their views and ideas. This method of teaching is considered more effective, as it offers an equal opportunity to all kinds of students, including those that are not confident enough in class so that they can utilize such platforms and take part in discussions as opposed to when the discussions are held from the class.

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