Top Ten Issues Shaping Today's Technology Uses in Education
Teachers who use technology are faced with addressing the problems that arise when people try to work outside the values and rules of society in general. The most important of these issues in terms of their impact in shaping what we can and must do with technology in education are summarized below.
- Accountability and the standards movement — Educators want to know (a) how technology can help students meet required curriculum standards and (b) what role technology skills play in children's education.
- Funding for educational technology — As technology costs grow and education funds wane, policy makers ask, "How can we justify spending scarce education dollars on technology?"
- The Digital Divide — Since technology access differs between wealthier and poorer schools, people want to know if technology is deepening the economic chasm between rich and poor.
- Racial and gender equity — Science, technology, and engineering careers remain dominated by males and certain ethnic groups; educators say more student involvement in technology at earlier levels could change this picture.
- The role of distance education — Virtual schools are springing up around the country. Parents wonder: (a) Can all students succeed in online environments? and (b) Will students learn as much as in face-to-face classrooms?
- Privacy and safety — As more student data go online and students spend more time on the Internet, measures have to be put in place to limit access to personal data and to protect students from online predators.
- Viruses and hacking — The online community is seeing an unprecedented number of viruses and illegal entries into networks. Schools are forced to spend precious funds on measures to protect themselves.
- Online plagiarism — Students have easy access to papers and projects they can turn in as their own work. Teachers have to be on the alert for plagiarism and use online sources to check suspicious work.
- Anti-technology sentiments — In light of the scarcity of research on technology's impact on indicators of education quality, critics of educational technology are on the attack.
- Information literacy — Society's increasing dependence on technology to communicate information means that students must learn the skills to use information technologies effectively.
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