The rapid expansions and development in technology create new prospects for training and learning. Teachers have an obligation of preparing students by teaching them how to use the available technology. Most teachers believe that presence of computers and internet access improves the quality of education. The technologies frequently used in schools include laptops, Internet, handheld and desktop computers (Hew & Brush, 2007). Thus, the many issues of technology should be assessed to guarantee the achievement of the goals of technology integration in education.
According to Griffin, technology integration is the use of instructional technology for the growth and delivery of the curriculum (2003). Technology integration is the amalgamation of technology-oriented approaches such as communication and online-based research into the management of schools (Ogle, Branch, Canada, Christmas, Clement, Fillion, et al., 2002). Technology integration is a slow process which requires changes in teaching and setting personal goals. According to Cuban (1986), unless the instructors change their teaching practices, technology will not bring a significant impact on the leaners.
Technology is a tool that enables teachers to meet the expectations of learners. Thus, it serves as a key ingredient in ensuring that schools address the issues that are faced by students. Technology integration in schools enable organization and structuring of materials for students, assist and facilitate prioritizing and verification of materials available on the internet (Waxman, Lin, & Michko, 2003). This essay evaluates the impacts of technology integration on learning and teaching. The evaluation is based on a study that assesses the impacts of implementation of technology in training and learning in schools.
Discussion of Evaluation Options Found
The Level of Teaching Innovation (LoTI)
This is a framework and questionnaire that was created in 1995 for measuring the level of technology implementation to guide teachers in rearranging their programs to include qualitative assessments, process-based instructions, and proper uses of technology (Griffins, 2003). LoTI focuses on attitudes and behaviors that affect learning and teaching practices in schools.
In the LoTI framework, teachers progress from instructor-centered low-level to learner-centered high-level use of technology integration. This evaluation tool assesses eight phases of technology integration. They include; awareness, exploration, infusion, mechanical integration, routine integration, expansion, and refinement (Moses, 2006). Additionally, the tools measure seven discrete levels of implementation used by instructors. A sequence of variations to the instructional program is detected whenever a teacher moves from one level to the other. Similarly, LoTI measures dimensions that affect the way technology is used in class. The three scopes include Level of Teaching Innovation, LoTI (40 items), Personal Computer Use, PCU (5 items), and the Current Instructional Practices, CIP (5 items). The CIP profile regulates preferences given concerning the instructional practices of certain student-based program policy. The CPU dimension is for shaping the respondent's competence and comfort while using computers (Moersch, 1995).
The LoTI questionnaire is made up of fifty queries. The answers are represented in Likert-type scale in which 0 denotes no answer, 1-2 is not true, 3-4 is slightly true, and 5-6 is very true. For each response, the answer is transferred to a response table whereby the questions are assigned certain level of integration ranging from 0 to 6 and also includes a CIP and PCU column (Moersch, 1995).
Taking A Good Look at Instructional Technology (TAGLIT)
TAGLIT is an online evaluation tool for providing schools with operational data that is used for the assessment and integration of technology in a learning and schooling environment. Through TAGLIT, school leaders can collect, assess, and report on how their schools use technology to facilitate teaching and learning (Moersch, 2002).
TAGLIT uses six versions of questionnaires and one summative report. The questionnaires are designed for high school tutor, administrator, learner, and the elementary teacher, administrator, and student. Different assessments for learners, educators, and the school management are included in the suite. The student questionnaire is used to collect information on learners' technology literacy concerning knowledge, resources, skills, application, and use in classrooms. The information on student involvement, classroom integration, technology skills, school technology plan, professional development, and instructional support are included in the teacher's questionnaire. The school leader questionnaire gathers all the statistics concerning technology policies, resources, planning, budgets, professional development, community involvement, and instructional and technical support. A detailed summative report is provided by the system (Moersch, 2002).
The rationale for the Choice of the Evaluation Tool
The right evaluation tools are vital for producing reliable, beneficial, and rigorous proof in assessments. In answering the numerous evaluation questions, various assessment methods are ranging from outcome mapping to randomised controlled trials to process tracing. It is difficult to select the correct evaluation method to use. The question that needs to be answered determines the assessment tool to select. Additionally, the goals and interests that you need to achieve also affect the choice of tool to select. Evaluation of technology integration is essential as it facilitates the process of coaching and learning. Additionally, the instructors will understand the appropriateness and effectiveness of the technology to learners. The LoTI assessment tool was chosen since it informs administrators and the teaching staff on the status of the technology integration that helps in planning for the professional growth to expand the learning consequence of students.
The evaluation was chosen as it would facilitate analysis of technology integration in schools to facilitate education. Several factors influence the choice of the evaluation tool to use. First, the purpose of evaluation which depends from one program to another. The emphasis is on the whether the tool will achieve the intended purpose. The tool may collect information focusing on the population to be served. For this case, the tool selected needs to be able to assess data of the teachers and students as they use technology in class. LoTI tool focuses on assessment, instruction, and the effective use of software and digital tools that engage learners, facilitate high order thinking, and evaluation practices that are used in classes.
Findings from the Evaluation Tool
The following issue is discovered after critically evaluating the impacts of ICT implementation on learning and teaching. The teaching and learning environment influences technology integration, the importance of integrating technology in the school atmosphere, technology proficiencies of the teachers and students, ease of access to advanced teaching facilities, the instructors coaching style and the student learning tactic. Thus, the focus should be on these concerns to decide whether the assimilation of technology in schools will produce the desired outcomes.
According to the LoTI assessment tool, some of the findings show that despite schools having computers, there is a mixed up as to whether the student achievement gap from using technology has increased or decreased (Moersch, 1995). Lack of collaboration influences the evaluation of technology integration in schools. In the traditional evaluation program, the external assessor collects data on a program or software and makes critical decisions from the findings. This, however, does not highlight who should make the decisions from the evaluation and the relationship necessary for the evaluator to collect information.
Using the LoTI framework, the impacts of level 0 to level 2 on technology integration on teaching and learning are low as compared to that of level 3 to level 6 which are high. The assessment shows that technology integration in coaching and learning changes the manner of the interaction between instructors and learners, improves quality of education and critical thinking, increases learners positive studying effects, learners' motivation and engagement increases, simplify learning and enhance performance, and develops learners' independent learning and assessment. There were eight possible LoTI levels where the teachers could be distributed the teachers were grouped in level 2 (exploration) and 4 (integration) indicating they have limited technology competence. Correspondingly, evaluation of the integration of technology develops students' collaboration, access to inventive data, and improved investigation output (Jimoh, Kawu & Shittu, 2012). The evaluation shows that both students and lecturers believe that technology brings positive effects to schools. Technology prepares learners for information society and global economy.
Recommendation for the use of Technology Integration
The rate at which technology is developing is astounding. Technology is altering the mode we interact, toil, use our leisure time, and learn. Information technology and computers have transformed peoples' way of life. The findings have proved that technology integration has simplified the coaching and learning process in institutions. The No Child Left Behind Act was enacted to promote learning through technological applications. Through identifying the effective uses of technology, students and instructors will benefit it (U.S. Department of Education, 2002).
Evaluation of the usefulness of technology in learning institutions encompasses complex issues. Despite these issues, technology as an educational tool is responsible for augmenting learning and teaching. The findings demonstrate that positive but limited results are existing from technology integration in learning institutions. However, more investigation is required to expound the appropriateness of integration of technology. There is a critical need to evaluate the usefulness of incorporating technology in schools. Thus the need to recommend the use of the program. The recommendations may not be exhausting, but they serve as benchmarks to those experiencing issues with technology integration.
One recommendation is to make sure that the relevant stakeholders agree on the intended consequences of implementing an intended technology. The practice and effects of technology in learning institutions are extensive (Hew & Brush, 2007). Several stakeholders may or may not be determined by technology integration in schools. Technology integration not only affects the students and teachers, but it also influences other stakeholders such as school leaders, parents, and administrators who are not directly involved in the integration. Thus, as schools implement the use of technology, they should consider including all the stakeholders who will be affected either in the short or long term use of technology. Therefore, all stakeholders can reach consent on purpose and intended consequences of the use of the technology. The agreement should then be documented with all the quantification and prerequisite of the expected results.
It is also recommendable to ensure that technology is equitably availed to students to increase their learning outcomes. Technology such as calculators, learning tools, and computers helps students to learn. Additionally, the technology gives instructors strategies for instruction.
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