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ENGL 100-15
Brian Ganter
December 07th, 2012

The Way Technology Is Reshaping Education

From attending the traditional in-person lectures to accessing database online, students have increasingly greater opportunities to search for information they desire to learn. Not only can lessons be provided by lecturers but also be given via the media, such as websites, online accessing programs, and education channels. There are more and more innovative ways to absorb knowledge and turn brand new pages for the current generation in the age of information explosion. On the other hand, these forms of convenience also raise some concerns about how users, including instructors and students, utilize these technologies. As it rapidly evolves, technology offers countless digital resources that not only influence the perspectives of younger students, but also has a significant impact on the instructors’ way of resolving discontinuities such as educational goals, attitudes, and the change in instructing objectives.

‍First of all, because technological tools are essential in the daily lives for Digital Natives; who are defined as the generation born in the timeframe when technological tools are widely used and accepted by the society. It is important for Digital Immigrants, born during the period when technology was less accessible and convenient, to learn to evaluate their students’ academic processes. ‍Thus, evaluation varies in order to gain different points of view for student performance and students are able to strive consistently in reaching their academic achievements. According to Tamar Lewin’s The New York Times article “Instruction for Masses Knocks Down Campus Wall,” Mr. Thrun, a leader of the development of Google’s self-driving car, encourages instructors to focus on using online resources because students may cultivate a deeper understanding in lectures. Instead of sitting in a classroom, Digital Natives find it much easier to learn by researching and discussing their questions through the Internet. For instance, if a student becomes disorientated during a lecture, he or she is able to “go back and listen over and over” until the material is understood (Lewin). Furthermore, with the new grading form, the learning goal shifts from examining academic performance to the current one, which “[encourages students] to keep trying” (Lewin). Moreover, Marie Glenn’s Economist Intelligence Unit Report article, titled “Technology in Higher Education,” indicates that online resources improve literacy. In a survey, technologies are admired by students and employers, with “the specialization, customization, and convenience [from] distance education” (Glenn, 8). Many academic institutions consider online learning as the key to advance their mission and create a way for students facing challenges to access post-graduate education. Students are no longer required to be present for in-class learning since their outputs can be viewed by an online learning system. This novel approach brings a new belief for learning goals in the education system. For this reason, the new digital media reshapes the education system via changing the objective of learning, where students are evaluated by their effort instead of the result of their exams.

‍The way technology is reshaping education also leads to a change in the students’ attitude towards learning.‍ Since Digital Natives enjoy using technology, they are accustomed to simply looking up the ‍organized and variable that an online database generates for them‍; the step-by-step logic instruction that Digital Immigrants have been taught would be seen as inconvenient and inefficient by Digital Natives. They are uninterested in looking at information with a dull approach; therefore, the traditional way for lecturers to instruct, such as teaching directly from textbooks, becomes ineffective. For instance, in the article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” writer Marc Prensky presents a story that describes why Digital Natives are unsatisfied with the outdated teaching system. A student complains that “all [students] did was read from their textbooks,” so he lost his passion and decided to quit school (Prensky). With the habit of performing online searches, students prefer websites that display knowledge in an entertaining format. Therefore, digital media, altering the learning environment, causes an unconscious change in the Digital Natives’ attitude towards knowledge acquisition. Moreover, students nowadays tend to learn for their careers rather than out of curiosity. A Survey finds that there is a large amount of “an eager audience among students, working professionals and employers” who use the digital media as a learning tool; thus, the targeted users may indicate that the purpose of e-learning is to help them pursue certificates for their careers(Glen, 9). For this reason, the online program becomes a popular trend for students because it provides an unrestricted learning environment. In a competitive labor market, a certificate, as a proof of self-ability, often offers job seekers more opportunities to apply for better job positions. In a real situation, some people “who desire certification or degree programmes” may have difficulty “[attending] a residential programme”(Glenn, 8). By using digital technology, they no longer need to attend lectures and can save on tuition and printed textbooks. Curiosity used to be the fundamental basis for knowledge; however, the certificate approach replaces the main purpose of evolving human difficulties. The Digital Immigrants’ way of learning is not appropriate when it comes to the timeframe where Digital Natives have reshaped the education system.

In addition, two distinct educational objectives have formed because of the e-learning system. One serves the traditional purpose, which is to pass on knowledge to help students establish a brighter future. The other is for the capital purpose, which is to give rise to the sale of online lectures for profit. Consequently, some instructors have argued the fairness of the use of digital educational resources. As an illustration, Udemy, an online learning website, “is hoping that wide use of its site count ultimately generate profits,” while it also claims the creation of online resource is to improve students’ skills for their future needs (Lewin). In comparison, referencing Dede’s idea, a professor from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tracy Gray and Heidi Silver-Pacuilla’s book, “Breakthrough Teaching and Learning,” states that the shape of students’ learning style indirectly shifts the instructors’ attitude towards education as well. Namely, instructors claim that students rely heavily on social media as their learning tool; thus, the issue of using online resources puts disruptive pressures on schools such as colleges and universities. The students’ new learning style forces educational institutions to change the “classic models of instruction, authority, and epistemology” (Dede). Tracy Gray and Heidi Silver-Pacuilla’s research journal,“Ia Study On Secondary School Teachers' Attitude Towards Using New Technologies In Education,” says that younger teachers tend to accept more easily the use of technology in learning than their older counterparts because “young teachers have more positive attitude” (Manisha and Kulkarni, 4). In contrast, it is not as easy for older instructors to integrate modern technology in their teaching, since they require more time to become familiarized with something new. Since Digital Immigrants makes a greater effort to follow the trend of digital resources, they consider this commitment, along with their work, which consists of online learning programs via the Internet, as an output.

Since these developments pose benefits and harms, users have to be responsible for any opportunity ‍cost‍ that change may bring. Issues concerning this change need to be resolved in order to create a better world for the present and future generations. Firstly, the perception of learning from digital resources can be shifted in a positive way. The core of education is based on the purpose which develops students’ potentials instead of making it a difficult pursuit. For example, elite institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, offer many online educational programs, so “undergraduates may use these credits towards their bachelor’s degrees” (Glenn, 9). Secondly, the use of educational online resources also benefits instructors because it offers fresh perspectives from different communities. Today’s world is a global community, and teaching quality will improve if instructors discuss and share their ideas through the Internet.Combining different ways to analyze certain studies offers instructors and students more singular and creative ideas they may have never considered before. As the use of media resources “expand[s] beyond the four walls of the classroom and the hours of the school day,” instructors and students will be more flexible foreducation (Dede, 2). Since they are not restricted by time and space, they can explore their knowledge anytime they like. Last but not least, there is another new interpretation for the use of technology in education. Instructors should take online resources as “a medium for learning, discovering, sharing and creating knowledge” instead of a method, which is directly repeating and displaying text information (Manisha and Kulkarni, 4). The use of digital media should not only be constrained by the way instructors deliver their lecture notes because it also can be considered as a concept where online programs help to improve world literacy. Due to their characteristics, Digital Natives are more willing to pay attention to their knowledge while Digital Immigrants use various technological tools to make their classes more interesting and attractive. With the consideration of “the target group’s [needs] and interests,” the use of technology in education will create a double-win situation (Manisha and Kulkarni, 5). Instructors could continue passing their knowledge to the next generation, and students could use it to satisfy their curiosity.

New technology offers numerous digital resources that not only influence the perspectives of young students, but also significantly impact the way instructors resolve discontinuities such as educational goals, attitudes, and the change in instructor objectives. Since it is impossible to completely eliminate the use of digital tools, it is important to keep not only their benefits but to also find a solution to concerns that digital resources have brought upon this generation. New technology is reshaping the education system, creating an improved learning environment from the one before. Undoubtedly some issues have arisen from these innovations, so users should be conscientious when they assess digital media. Technological tools have brought convenience, efficiency, and effectiveness, which are three major attractions to Digital Immigrants and Natives. Thus, a win-win situation would form only when both groups reach a balance in processing online resources and constraining their approach to learning.


Gray, Tracy C., and Heidi Silver-Pacuilla. Breakthrough Teaching and Learning: How Educational and Assistive Technologies Are Driving Innovation. New York: Springer, 2011. Print. 16 Nov. 2012.

Glenn, Marie. The Future of Higher Education: How Technology Will Shape Learning. Rep. New Media Consortium, Oct. 2008. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://www.nmc.org/pdf/Future-of-Higher-Ed-(NMC).pdf>.

Lewin, Tamar. “Instruction for Masses Knocks Down Campus Walls.” The New York Times. 4 Mar. 2012, natl. ed.: A11. Print. 16 Nov. 2012.

Manisha, Tracy, and Kulkarni, Heidi. "Ia Study On Secondary School Teachers' Attitude Towards Using New Technologies In Education." Indian Streams Research Journal 2.8 (2012): 4-5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.

Prensky, Marc. "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants." Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press, Oct. 2001. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf>.


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