Tracking Technology
Integrating teaching into computer technology

~ Maurice O. Ené ~



The Internet has had a tremendous effect on our society. The computer technology that fired this medium continues to change the way humans accomplish tasks. These changes are everywhere, especially in educational institutions. Schools have not been slow in adapting to the immense potentials of the new technology. On the contrary, university laboratories and students have become the driving forces behind many startling innovations since the military let go of the technology. However, many schools have not kept up with state-of-the-art upgrades, either due to high cost or low demand. But all that is changing: cost is lower and demand is higher. The rate at which computer technology develops is already outpacing the rate of integrating it into teaching. Major theories of learning are either outdated or revised. Many factors are responsible for this situation, but the paper is not about the factors that drive the slow integration. It briefly reviews the main theories of learning and concludes that either-or theories do not stand in the face of computer technology. It goes on to show that computer technology will determine how educational endeavors evolve. In fact, we would soon be talking about integrating teaching into technology.



Learning is a lifelong process. According to the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, “Education happens everywhere and it happens from the moment a child is born -- and some people say before -- until a person dies.” A human child is not equipped at birth to focus on survival instincts. It needs to be directed and instructed in a structured setup to acquire new skills necessary and to make it in life. Making it in life, however, is not enough; continued evolution of the human person is absolutely necessary to the survival of the species in a fast-changing ecosystem. Therefore, during early education, students must be motivated to innovate and function independently in varying environments. They must speculate sensibly in order to accumulate knowledge. Therefore, teaching should be about using strengths to overcome weaknesses. The one-size-fits-all directed instruction is very inadequate in modern societies. On the other hand, a strict regime of constructivism is too unstructured and unsystematic [Roblyer & Edwards, 2000]. Computer technology has changed the way we look at the two main learning theories: constructivists and objectivists (directed learning).


The importance computer technology in education cannot be overemphasized. It ties neatly into Jerome Bruner’s theory of learning as a discovery. With computer and the allure of cyberspace, student can explore and discover for themselves the information-full network of borderless worldwide computers -- the Internet. As in Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget theories, technology in education is the contructivist’s dream. At early grade-school learning, students should be guided to discover the uses of computers as educational tools. This journey of discovery will equip them with necessary skills to develop their own approach to problems in class and in real life. In lesson plans, therefore, teachers can easily apply a non-puritanical philosophy, taking a little bit of the two principal fundamental theories of learning. The application of a constructive combination of the two is the key to success, as suggested by Molenda (1991):

               “[A]n either-or stance seems to gain us little. Rather, both sides need to find a way to merge the two                 approaches in a way that will benefit learners and teachers.”



Most people made their first contact with computers while seeking to produce a document of some sort: a resume, a basic contract, a proposal, etc. The ability of word-processing software applications to produce excellent works is probably the best thing to happen to written words since Guttenberg’s printing press. Sometimes I wonder how people managed to produce some wonderful doctoral theses 40 years ago. It must have been such a tedious process compiling materials, transcribing them in longhand, arranging them, and then hiring the services of a good typist to knock it all together. Every page is guarded like an egg, since duplicates are of such poor quality and there were no photocopiers. Suddenly at the tail end of last millennium, mankind was present with the greatest invention since the automobile a century earlier: computers. The United States Congress has since adopted electronic signature law, Senate Bill 761. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law on June 30, 2000 as Public Law No. 106-229, marking the beginning of a digital age.


The importance of computers cannot be overemphasized. The technology has revolutionized the way we work and, even much more significant, the way we live. It is arguably the greatest invention since the beginning of modern times. The evolution of computer technology, like other inventions before it, has passed through stages that address the needs of its minority users. In the process, aspects that targeted a certain population end up becoming mainstream technology. Today, both blind and deaf people, the physically handicapped and the mentally challenged, have become a part of mainstream users. Thus, by including everyone in the technological revolution, the computer technology has become universal. Educational institutions are part of this universe. In fact, no other area of human endeavor has felt this revolution more than education.


Computer technology has demolished either-or theories of learning. It has allowed teachers to device hybrid approaches that:

·                                    Teach students the basics of computing in a structured classroom

·                                    Guide students in an unstructured Internet medium

·                                    Allow students to learn by discovering information

·                                    Teach students to function in a group


Although the Internet is highly unstructured and sometimes dangerous to the initiated, its very flexible and hands-on nature maximizes teacher-student participatory activities and generates a learning process that is constructed and minimally teacher-directed. Working in groups, the teacher applies Howard Gardener’s “theory of multiple intelligence.” Students bring their different intelligence attributes to the success of the assignment. Each student learns from the other, competes with each other, and learns more. Humanity now accepts that there are many shades of gray in its endeavors; very few things come in a boxed, back-or-white prism.




Changes in society will drive the application of technology in education (Jack Treuhaft, 1995) The economic pressures, demographics, availability of technology, politics, labor demand, developments in workplace, competition, etc. will influence the way technology is applied in schools. In fact, computer technology could change the entire approach to education. With the changes in software programs and the need for employees to master these programs, universities could become a provider of flexible, short-term updating of skills. This is evident in the decrease in younger students and the increase in older ones, the growing number of part-time students doing fulltime work, and the increase in the demand for computer professionals. To cope in this fast-changing environment, educational establishments must adapt. Universities are already on the road to distant learning. At Seton Hall University, Blackboard platform has been introduced so students can now access course materials 24 hours, seven-day a week.


For the foreseeable future, the hybrid of contact with instructors and email communications will persist. The integration of technology into teaching will become a given, the rule rather than the exception. Gradually, wireless technology and hand-held modem-free devices will introduce a faster track for integration. It has been estimated that schools as we know them today will cease to exist. This is foreseeable: Why would anyone go to the huge edifices called libraries if one can pull the information anytime and from anywhere in the world. In the final analysis, we would no longer be talk about integrating technology into teaching; rather, we would be talking about integrating teaching into technology and the world would have become a wirelessly wired world.



Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: BasicBooks

Molenda, M. (1991). A philosophical critique of the claims of “constructivism.” Educational Technology, 31(9), 44-48

Roblyer, M.D. and Edwards, Jack (2000). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, Second Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill

Treuhaft, Jack (1995). Changes in Education. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on Friday, April 30, 2001., January 1995