The Impact of Technology Inventions on Academic Achievement of College Students

The widespread use of technology in education requires an analysis of its impact on students, academic institutions, instructors and other stakeholders. The advent of the internet has revolutionized the learning model used by institutions, making the technology a primary teaching aid. Additionally, learners heavily rely on online resources to complete assignments, interact with peers and learn about new trends in their work (Kriek and Coetzee 714). While proponents of technology in education advocate its use, critics suggest that technology negatively influences students’ achievements.

History and Background of Educational Technology

IBM’s development of personal computers in 1980s changed college education when institutions incorporated the device in teaching process. Initially, computers became useful in providing instruction for technology students, who required an intensive knowledge of coding, designing and animating. Later, the world of academia adopted computers as a learning tool in all fields of education. Widespread use of the internet at the beginning of the 21st century popularized technology use among students. For instance, most institutions in the United States began setting aside a technology budget annually (Selwyn 18). Rapid technological inventions in the first decade of the 21st century made many previous inventions obsolete. Therefore, academic institutions and learners replaced old technology with new devices. For example, learners replaced the old PC with laptops, which today face a stiff competition from portable devices, such as tablets.

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The advance of the internet has come with various tools, which learners use to achieve their academic goals. For instance, databases that provided online academic resources like Google Scholar, Jstor and Mendeley became vital research tools for students. Additionally, college students adopted the use of online editors and plagiarism checkers to improve the quality of their submitted assignments. Complex scientific calculators and algorithms that solved mathematical and engineering challenges became easily available to students. Finally, e-book platforms like Google books made it easy to retrieve credible online sources (Carey 7). The internet is a large database that offers learners information in the form of books, scholarly articles, video tutorials, and algorithms.

College education in the United States remains unaffordable for many families across the country. The traditional learning model requires large investments in real estate to accommodate learning activities. The internet became useful when academicians launched online learning as a cheaper alternative to traditional college education. The E-Learning model saves on costly overheads, which result from running a physical classroom. Moreover, the platform allows students access education and learning materials from any location. Institutions continue to launch online programs, which except for making profit, also making education accessible to low-income learners and students in remote geographic locations (Bowen 29). The impact of online learning on making college education accessible is a major benefit of technology in education.

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The development of the internet encouraged institutions to set up online portals for students to access educational services. For example, learners in various colleges receive support from the school virtually. Prospective students apply for college, financial aid and accommodation through the school’s website. Furthermore, once admitted, students receive learning modules and assignments through the portals. Instructors engage with learners and provide feedback online. Another important technological advancement is a widespread use of peer-to-peer platforms in education (The Positive Impact of eLearning-2012 8). Students interact with their classmates through virtual discussion groups. The context of college education shows that technology is inherent to the learning process. Nonetheless, it is essential to evaluate its impact on the quality of education offered to learners as perceived by various stakeholders.

Stakeholder Analysis

College students represent an entire generation of technologically-oriented individuals, who rely on the internet for sustenance. The majority of learners surf the internet for learning resources, informal learning and peer engagement (Carey 12). Therefore, students view technology as a paramount part of education and achievement. Nonetheless, learners notice the negative impact of technology on learning process, especially when using the wrong techniques. For instance, the proliferation of unreliable information on the internet from unaccredited sources misleads learners in the research process. Students must continually learn to exploit reliable technology tools while avoiding misleading information prevalent on the internet.

Students credit technology with better learning outcomes, due to increased motivation and engagement. Learners assert that technology integrated education captures their interest and eliminates the monotony of traditional teaching methods. For example, video streaming in classes provides students with content while entertaining them. A meta-analysis study showed that learners with online resources performed modestly better when compared to their peers without internet access.

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Another factor that makes technology popular among learners is its ability to expose them to informal learning. Research suggests that formal education is not sufficient to prepare an individual for the dynamic work market (The Positive Impact of eLearning 5). The world changes quickly and school curriculums hardly keep up. Therefore, college students require learning informal issues arising in the world to stay competitive. Students use the internet to learn new technology, follow the global trends and increase their knowledge on issues like globalization, politics, and inequality. The informal learning equips learners with social skills to work in any part of the world and interact with communities with diverse cultures (The Positive Impact of eLearning 6). In summary, college students support the use of technology in education for various reasons. Learners use technology as a tool to conduct academic research and communicate with their peers. Technology enhances the learning experience by exposing students to information beyond the school curriculum. It provides a holistic education, which develops the learner’s academic and social skills.

Learning Institutions

Colleges in the United States continue to compete and offer quality education to millions of students. Institutions use technology to improve their services and guarantee decent learning outcomes. Nonetheless, institutions struggle with the challenges, which stem from the use of technology in learning. For example, technology provides an avenue for learners to cheat during the examination process. To the management of colleges, technology has many benefits, however, it also exposes the institution to credibility risks. Therefore, institutions believe in setting up the correct technology and discouraging the use of disruptive systems that cause challenges.

Research shows that more institutions adopt technology as an education management tool. The administration uses various digital platforms to offer services to students and parents and to connect to the local community. For example, a school website remains a significant Public Relations tool that gives a school visibility all over the world. Additionally, education management becomes cheaper and more efficient when administered online. Universities serve larger populations through self-service technologies. To illustrate, thousands of students use a self-service technology platform to register for classes without the intervention of an administrator. Therefore, the institution does need to invest money into hiring employees for services that students can get online.

The high cost of running a traditional learning module makes institutions support technology in education. Expensive tuition and boarding fees make college education inaccessible to a significant population. The advent of online education reduced costs and makes college courses accessible. The popularity of online modules encourages administrators to set up E-courses to reach a wider audience and make profits for their institutions (Carey 75).

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The school management systems have noticed the cheating opportunities that arise due to the widespread use of technology in education. Online learning creates an opportunity for students to receive education services from remote locations. The lack of face-to-face contact with instructors challenges authentication processes. For example, it is hard for an instructor to confirm that their online students did their own homework without any external help. The cheating menace in online learning makes institutions skeptical about the achievements of their students. However, the management continues to search for new ways to curb the misuse of technology by learners. Managers of institutions believe that technology improves or reduces the quality of education based on its use. Therefore, the administration’s key challenge is to include the best tools and devices that benefit their institution and eliminate destructive technology.

The Community

The quality of education received by students affects the overall skills of a community. It is essential to evaluate the impact of technology-based education on communities surrounding academic institutions. The community values the benefits of technology because of the increased access to education. For example, small business owners access online courses on business management from academic organizations. Another illustration shows that a designer can access a simple design course from a prestigious university without undergoing the trouble of traditional enrollment practices. Platforms like edX and Udemy are online schools that collaborate with reputable universities to offer free or cheap courses. Users of the websites can register and access materials immediately. Such platforms benefit the society because individuals access training at no cost. Furthermore, the platforms offer personalized learning because community members are able to choose classes relevant to their professions for a short period (Higgins, Xiao and Katsipataki 27). The use of technology to provide education to community members is beneficial because it improves the overall literacy and creativity of a community. Many communities support efforts by academic institutions to enlighten the society through web-based education modules.

Employers

Employers rely on academic institutions for a constant supply of quality graduates with skills that suit the current workplace. Stakeholders discuss and criticize the inability of some college programs to prepare learners for the work environment. Therefore, every college faces the challenge of instilling skills in students that prepare them for work in a rapidly changing environment. Employers support the use of technology because it enhances the preparation of a highly skilled workforce. For example, learners that take additional online classes alongside their majors gain new skills that make them relevant. Additionally, informal education through the internet keeps students updated with new issues arising in the business environment. The internet allows students engage with their peers all over the world. The process leads to the development of a workforce with a global perspective and a clear understanding of diverse business and work environments. Employers support the use of technology in education because of its contribution to the development of quality workers. Additionally, technology allows learners gain suitable work experience while still in school through various digital platforms. Online work and volunteer programs connect students to part-time work that improves their skills and further prepares them for the job market.


Conclusion

The use of technology in the current education system is inherent, and it is impossible for institutions to reject the digitization of academics. Skeptics argue that technology does not contribute to the performance of learners. However, the analysis shows that key stakeholders in the sector trust technology to propel students’ achievements in college. Students, learning institutions, local communities, and employers see the benefits of a technology-based education. However, each stakeholder recognizes that the misuse of technology leads to poor academic outcomes among college students. The overall sentiment is that technology is efficient when it is of a right quality. Moreover, the students are required to learn to use it in a beneficial way. In fact, a student striving to gain knowledge will likely to use the technology for his/her own good, eliminating the need for cheating.

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