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Technology has grown and become an important part of human lives; this is especially seen in the use of computers and peripherals related to them. It has become hard for today’s generation to understand the reasons why the use of technology should be limited in learning institutions. This is because most of these students use technology in their day-to-day lives such as job searches, business transactions, research, and education; those who lack access to these facilities are considered to be unprivileged. Research and information centers without computers will cause suspicion concerning their completeness, currency, and accuracy of their data. This is because math and science concepts are constantly evolving, and the use of technology makes it possible to find much of this new information. This paper focuses on the use of technology in K-12 education.
The rapidly changing pace in technology has created both chances and challenges for learning institutions. The chances include the use of social networking, construction and infrastructure, and e-learning to gain professional development. Concurrently, the rate of change has created challenges for institutions. Firstly, learning institutions are ever upgrading their technologies as innovations emerge. Some institutions have been good at keeping abreast with those changes, while others are lagging behind (Kumar, 1997).
Available Technologies in K-12 Education
Nowadays technologies are very common in classrooms that use K-12 education. They include personal computers, LCD projectors, interactive white board, e-readers, and wikis. Personal computers are invaluable resources that are used by teachers in the creation and editing of worksheets, word processing, data analysis and making charts, and creating products as videos, brochures, and posters. LCD projectors, on the other hand, are used by teachers in making information on the screens of their computers to be accessed by students. Interactive whiteboards work together with computers and LCD projectors to create a clear touch sensitive system, and this facilitates teaching and learning. Lastly, wikis and e-readers with the help of the internet enable the teachers and students to interact and learn thus providing a better learning and communication environment (Kumar, 1997).
Importance of Digital Literacy in K-12 Education
Digital literacy can be defined as the process of attaining deeper knowledge through the use of data analysis instruments and accelerated process of learning made available by technology. Digital literacy is important in k-12 education to both students and teachers. In students, it builds strong basis of skills to carry out higher education, is a portable certification which has value everywhere and can be accessed through fraud-proof on-line digital copies and it trains students for job markets. In teaching, it facilitates decision making. It utilizes data to enhance successful culmination of requirements for funding, a situation that enhances professionalism (Tettegah, 2007).
National Educational Technology Standard Requirements of Specific Grade Levels
A major part of NETS project is the general set of profile development that describes information and tech that particular students are supposed to attain at a specific grade level in the education system. The profile shows a few significant kinds of learning activities that might be engaged in by a student. The NETS profile constitutes four grades k-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Grade 9-12 leaning activities include designing, formulating, and examining digital learning games. This facilitates the demonstration of knowledge and skills which relate to the subject curriculum. Moreover, technology has facilitated the creation of an on-line art gallery with instances and commentary that demonstrates an apprehension of different cultures and societies from various parts of the world. It has, therefore, become imperative to choose digital tools that would facilitate the experimentation and justification of effectiveness and efficiency in learning. Lastly, technology has provided for critical thinking processes, and this facilitates the employment of curriculum simulations.
In spite of their benefits, learning technologies have a number of drawbacks. For instance, extra time is required for the training of personnel after the application of these technologies begins. Effective utilization of learning technologies necessitates the understanding of how human behavior is affected by technology. As such, teachers are required to undergo extra training so as to ensure effective integration of the classroom technology in the learning environment. This makes the implementation of technology difficult and time-consuming, a situation which has led stakeholders in education into abandoning their implementation in schools (Kumar, 1997). Nevertheless, their future implementation will be easy and cost-effective as teachers colleges are preparing the tutors in advance.