Technology can be defined as making, usage and knowledge of tools, machine, techniques, craft, system or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function (Meriam-Webster, 2007).In education, technology is being used not only focusing as a teaching approach but it is also being used as a learning style. Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviours, skills, values and may involve blending different types of information while teaching is the act of instructing or to impart knowledge or skills. Quality education is a universal goal for every level of education systems. One of the approaches that being used toward quality education is by implementing technology that relate to the class or lecture topic. Technology in education has been introduced since early age of the earth such as paintings on the cave walls to share information or to educate their people using available early tools such as rock and colours (manhattaninfidel.com, 2010). In Islamic religion during Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) period, the hadiths and Quran verses being transferred by discussion lecture style and in some hadith, it is being explained with examples. One of the hadith that being used example is from Abu Hurairah r.a, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told that “Once a man, who was passing through a road, found a branch of a tree with torns obstructing it. The man removed the thorns from the way. Allah thanked him and forgave his sins.” Torn have been used to show the act that can gain rewards from Allah. The given hadith or Quran verses has been recorded by memorize and also writing it on the tree bark as learning tools (Khan, MM (2005). In 21st century, teaching and learning environment have been change laterally with the technology expanding from rock and tree bark up to computer technology via web-based learning. Reeve (1998) mention that in education, student can learn from the technology and also with technology. By emerging technology into the education system not only brings positive effect but also bad effect for both parties.
Technologies help educators to explain/show example of application to the theory that being discussed in the class using media. In engineering, videos and pictures helps educator and students to understand better in engineering process in industries that difficult to reach due to safety factor like chemical reaction process, lathing process and hot press for packaging. Besides that there are Computer Aided Design (CAD) softwares available for modeling design, testing and analysis such as AutoCAD, Catia and SolidWork. These software help educator and student to design 3 dimension (3D) models in the computer and analyze the model before proceed for prototyping process(Kalpakjian et. al, 2009). It helps on understanding for design principle practice and reduces cost of material due to error in design. In my Mechanical Engineering Design class, students used SolidWork software to optimize dimension for bicycle structure design and testing it for cyclic force loading available for city cycling activity.
Web-based education and internet information also helps educator and student to gain more information regarding to the subject that matter. Educators can provide more information with current research into their notes and also list of related suggested website link to their students (Bruilovsky et. al, 1998). Students also can make an extra self-study before and after attending classes to have a better view of the topic being or will be discussed. Social network, blogging and forums provide wide new platform for educators and student to interact virtually about related class topic. It offers educators to provide notes, video sharing and relevant website link share for all students. In my practice, I use my personal blog and I-Learn system provide by UiTM to share my notes, assignments, test, related topic website link and books, so that student can easily access to it via intranet and internet connection anywhere at any time. Beside that any announcement or discussion about the subject topic can posted at the forum wall for students to aware and notice important note like assignment due date and examination information.
Off all the benefits of the technology that helps in teaching and learning process, uncontrollable technology usage can oversee some important aspect required during education process. In active learning, two ways communication between the educator and student has been proved to be more effective in conveying the knowledge. However, most of the technologies applications nowadays promote passive learning where the student can learn independently without any good guidance. This type of learning situation wills gradually obliterates the important of two way communication in learning. More concern situation is the application of technology such as computer aided teaching will gradually take the emotion and heart out of the class heart out of the classroom. Wehrle (1998) states the technology did not emerge with the student emotional needs such as caring and concern feeling from the educators. Technology based education commonly has a path for achieving goals but not all students suitable with the available approach compared to educators based learning which educators can amend their style rendering to student respond or suitability. This process called ‘Human Support System’, it can bend within any situation and approach of educators for student levels.
The increase numbers of software available in the market that helps the engineers and designers to design product or buildings. Too much depending on software will dilute educators and students basic skill due to not practicing it and may also indirectly make them dependent on the software totally. Besides that, both parties also need to learn the practical skill example like for engineering student need to learn practical on how to welding metal, lathing medal and drilling a metal. This practical help them to recognize certain issue or problem during the practical which hardly to show in video or presentation. Students are encouraged to use all sense for neurons and dendrites in the brain can be activate so the knowledge can be learn better. Rhonda Adams (1997) in her ‘Brain Gardening’ article mentioned that to help growing the brain, the practical session help improved in memorizing and understanding the concept and principle related to subject. The Economist Intelligent Unit (2008) and Consumer Association of Penang (2004) reported that addiction to the internet has distract student focused in especially if student in front of the World Wide Web or internet connection, it is almost not possible to expect them do not use it for other purpose during classes.
As a conclusion, technology in education has brought many positive benefits to the educators and students but it also can turn out to be a negative effect to both parties if misused or over used of it. It is like a knife that has sharp edge that useful in many kitchen works while on the other hand it might ended with tragedy if incorrectly use it. The emerging of technology in education growing progressively, educators and students need to define their boundaries of using technology. These students are tomorrow leaders and we as educator are the architect to plan the best for them.
- Merriam- Webster, (2007) ‘Definition of technology, learning’, http://mw1.meriam-webster.com/dictionary. (Access on 2 Dec. 2011)
- Http://manhattaninfidel.com/2010/11/10 (Access on 2 Dec. 2011)
- Kalpakjian S., Schmid S.R. and Musa H., (2009), ‘Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology’, 6th Edition, Pearson ISBN 9810681445.
- Khan, M.M., (2005), ‘Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari’, Dar-Us-Salam Publisher.
- Reeves T.C., (1998), ‘The Impact of Media and Technology in Schools’, The Bertelsmann Foundation, University of Georgia.
- Brusilovsky P., Eklund J. and Schwarz E.(1998), “Web-Based Education for All: A Tool for Development Adaptive Courseware”, Computer Networks and ISDN Systems 30, pp 291-300.
- Wehrle, R. (1998), ‘Computers in education: The Pros and The Cons’, http://www.edweek.org/sreports/tc98/intro/in-n.html. (Access on 4 Dec. 2011)
- Rhonda Adams (1997), ‘Brain Gardening’, http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/fall97/brain.htm , (Access on 3 Dec. 2011)
- The Economist Intelligent Unit (2008), ‘The Future of Higher Education: How Technology Will Shape Learning’, The Economist.
- Consumer Association Penang,(2004) ‘Computer is not Helping in Education’, Consumer Association of Penang (CAP), ISBN 9831041178.
Sh Mohd Firdaus (6 Dec 2011)