The Impact of Education on Literacy Practices
TheImpact of Education on Literacy Practices
Technologicaladvancement is perhaps one of the revolutionary developments thatcharacterize the modern society. These changes have continuedaffecting the society in different ways, touching in all sphere ofhuman life, including education. However, the use of suchtechnologies has been accompanied by concerns about whether they aresupporting education positively or negatively. The computers areperhaps the most revolutionary technologies that are ubiquitous inthe learning environment. Indeed, with the influx of thesetechnologies and increased acquisition and possession by thelearners, this issue lends itself as a critical kind. This paperargues that computers are supporting literacy and learningcommunication in different ways, although there are a few underlyingissues that may need to be addressed.
ALook at the Benefits
Theuse of computers is an innovative technique to the sustainability ofthe education process. The computer systems are particularlybeneficial because they are instructors to integrate virtual learningtechniques into the curriculum. Asdocumented by Srichanyachon(2014),computers have the potential of breaking the learningbarriers whilecreating opportunities to enhance education. Indeed, computer useserves as a way of rising above the challenges that impede theprocess of delivering knowledge to the diverse learners, includingthose with physical impairments that constrain them from exploitingthe learning opportunities presented by the classroom contexts. Thecomputers use strategy enables the students to access richinformation at their time and place of convenience. Computers bringsome flexibility in the learning processes. For instance, it supportsvirtual learning methodologies, which make the learning experiencesappealing and tailored to student needs. In doing so, the approachavails the valuable educational resources and enhances the chancesfor a significant number of students to benefiting from differentprograms, exploiting opportunities that were traditionally limited toonly a few individuals. This view is supported by Case and Wilson(2013), whip pointsout that the incorporation of virtual learningprinciples increases the capacity of distance learning to support acontinuous learning process. The design of the learning environmentis also convenient because it provides quick links to the students toaccess useful reading material and provides online assessment toolsto support self-evaluation, in addition to providing rich learningcontent. The computermediated learning creates the allowance to enjoy the web 2.0principles that enable learners and instructors to interact, seekimmediate feedback and generate positive reinforcements to fostermastery of course content. Moreover, computers have applications thatare also useful to instructors because they provide curriculumsupport and learning and evaluation tools that would never have beenaccessible to traditional classrooms.
Thetechnology has shaped individual learning practices in various ways.The most significant achievement of computers has been the ability toallow institutions to integrate virtual learning into the learningprocess. Bejjar and Boujelbene (2014)define virtual learning as a process comprised of networks ofcomputers and technologies harnessed to enhance instructionaldelivery, information access, and student-instructor interactions. Inessence, such digitallearningspans an array of computer application and processes that mustaltogether be considered to achieve the intended goals of education.Someof the new forms of technological applications that are accessiblethrough computers are Moodle and Blackboard. These applications areplaying a crucial role in monitoring the courses and learningprocesses, benefiting the learners and the instructors.
Ifstudents lost access to these forms of technologies, the learningprocess would be certainly derailed in many ways. The increased useof computers is a motivational tool for learners. Coomaraswamy (2013)discussed that students are inherently motivated to pursue distancelearning because of its student-centered attribute and flexibility.Distance learning is flexible and responsive to the needs of thelearners in three ways. In one way, computer-mediated learningcreates an allowance for students to set the pace by which they wouldwant to pursue and complete the course, which is the case in elearning. The fact that the duration of the classes, as well as timefor the completion of the course, is defined for the classroomcontexts ideally means that many learners with diverse preferencesare excluded. Computer mediated learning approach bridges this gap bycreating an allowance for the students to decide on the pace thatbest suits them. The second form of flexibility is thatcomputer-mediated learning accords the learners the opportunity todecide when they need to study. The instructions can always beonline, and the students can choose the convenient time that theywill need to access the learning content .Computer-mediated learningaccords the students the convenience of accessing content from theirlocation of their choice, regardless of where they live. Ideally, onecan decide to access the learning material while in the office, homeor anywhere in the world.In light of this view, computer-mediatedlearningcan be seen to be flexible and inclusive to the learners’preferences because there are no timetables and physical libraries toattend. Therefore, in the absence of these technologies, learningwould cease to be appealing to learners. The students will bepresented with limited choices of making in overcome the barriersinherent to traditional learning contexts. The lack of thesetechnologies would also mean students and institutions will not beable to exploit the opportunities in the rich, evolvingcomputer-mediated learning approaches such as virtual learning andeLearning.
However,it is noteworthy that the use of computers has also been associatedwith several concerns. For instance, in virtual learning, one of theconcerns is the question of howtheassessments of students could be aligned with the non-discretelearning curve in the context of virtual learning while consideringelements of time and space, something that distance learning isinherently unable to achieve. Moreover, the processes of adopting thedistance education process tend to be complex other than justdepending on the teaching staff and faculties. For instance, thequestion of how technology can be mainstreamed in the culturaleducation context and fit different applications and culturalcontexts are significant. Indeed, according toAl-Azawei,Parslowand Lundqvist(2016),such issues make digital learning complex, implying the higherchances of failure in delivering satisfactory education outcomescompared to the classroom contexts. Although several ways in whichthe assessments of students could be aligned with the non-discretelearning curve in the context of virtual learning while consideringelements of time and space have been suggested, the viability of suchapproaches is yet to be tested.
Itseems another challenge to the use of computer technologies isresistance. For instance, although Boezerooij(2012)suggested that many faculties and instructors are embracing computeruse with openness, there is still a lot that needs to be done toenhance the capacity of this group of participants to deliverequitable education opportunities. For example, the involvement andtraining of instructors are crucial for successful implementation ofdistance learning, but has been largely overlooked in practice.Otherwise, such a scenario implies that the society is committed toembracing distance education as a solution to sustainable education,but there are some elements that the practice is getting wrong andare adversely compromising the quality outcomes. Therefore, it isimperative to think of how such loopholes can be addressed. This viewis further supported by different authors who consider the facultyand instructors’ attitudes and abilities to pivotal antecedents ofsuccessful distance learning. However, the instructors still lackadequate training and skills to support distance learning(Boezerooij,2012 Coomaraswamy, 2013).There is the need for training and engaging stakeholders tounderstand the underlying concerns and chart solutions.
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been to discuss thesignificance of computers in the learning process. The discussion hasrevealed that the computers are playing a crucial role in supportingeducation. In one way, it is breaking the barriers to learning suchas physical distance required to access the content in libraries.This content can be accessed remotely with relative ease. In thissense, it can be said that computer-mediated learning isstudent-centered. Computers are also supporting innovative learningmethodologies such as eLearning. When powered with applications suchas Moddle and Blackboard, the computer-mediated learning enables theinstitutions to manage courses, making the process efficient for boththe learners and the instructors. The challenges associated withdifferent learning methodologies such as eLearning are perhaps someof the notable challenges associated with computer applications andlearning methodologies, and which can be overcome through research.Moreover, instructors and learners should be adequately trained tomanage different challenges inherent to the computer-mediatedlearning.
Al-Azawei,A.Parslow,P.& Lundqvist, K. (2016). Barriers and Opportunities ofE-Learning Implementation in Iraq: A Case of Public Universities.InternationalReviewof Researchin Openand DistributedLearning17(5): 126-146
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Coomaraswamy,U. (2013). Open University of Sri Lanka. In I. Jung, T. M. Wong, &T. Belawati (Eds.), Qualityassurance in distance education and e-learning: Challenges andsolutions fromAsia(pp.241-257). New Delhi, India: Sage.
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