Three Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology

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    Student Name, ID # DateCourse Number/TitleUnit Number

    Three Most Important Issues Shaping the Role of Technology in Education Today

    Defined as a combination of the processes and tools used to address educational

    needs and problems, educational technology emphasizes application of the most current tools,

    e.g. computers and other electronic technologies.1 It grew out of the incorporation of audio-

    visual programs in the 30s when movies and slides were used to augment lectures and books.2

    The significance of the use of technology in education cannot be questioned, save that the

    boon today in the advent of the internet, is accompanied by a bane of issues. In fact, the

    intertwined issues are complicated by the lack of or rejection of the laws that seek to define

    them. The lack of jurisdiction of the legal system of one country to implement them in another,

    aggravates the problem. The issues are best summarized into three: economic, legal and

    privacy and safety.

    Economic Issues

    The business of high speed computing and an equally high speed access to accurate

    information has transcended geographic, political, religious, business and other divides.

    Traditional barriers in business have given in to the high confidence placed in the technology of

    computing and access to accurate information. However, the bottomline for all of these can

    come down to an economic one cost.

    One of the questions asked about its impact on education is, Has it breached the

    digital divide between the wealthy and the poor in terms of access to technology? Some of the

    1 Robyler, M.D. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon, 2010.2 Ibid.

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    issues in the United States today which can impact on information technologies worldwide are

    the passage of protection laws, e.g. SOPA and PIPA. The issues concerning security, privacy,

    and copyright infringement, among others divide the groups into two. One advocating an

    ubridled freedom of access to information, and the other one which aims for protection. While

    the former is ideal, especially for the larger part of the global population, including the education

    sector; the latter is the more practical and business approach. After all, all of this is still about

    business. However, the realities are that no information can really be kept away from tech-

    savvy individuals with an ample knowledge of programming languages, and from a desire to

    share this information. So, the answer must necessarily be that it did breach the divide. As we

    see more and more of our less fortunate brethren lugging smart mobile phones or ipods, and

    ipads or laptops; we also see their economic opportunities improve, to say the least. The initial

    investment in acquiring a computer or a mobile phone are a lot lower now, so that it actually

    benefits the greater number of society. It is in the cost of add ons and improvements, in both

    hardware and software to customize one's equipment, where businessmen make a profit. In

    the case of institutions, the cost comes in the upgrades that necessarily come as a new version

    of the software and/or the hardware come every year. It is a wise decision to invest in

    technology that enchances education and wiser still when you plan your acquisition, given its

    high cost.

    Legal Issues

    The legal issue can best be viewed under the issue of copyright infringement. How it

    impacts in education is a two-sided issue. While peer-to-peer file sharing is at best half-legal,

    the fact remains that in developing countries, file sharing is uncontrolled. Case in point was that

    of Megaupload. The counterfeiting or pirating of educational software continues however, and is

    seen as a windfall from the technological progress in developed countries, in the past 20 years.

    The problem lies in the consequent development of a culture that does not recognize the right

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    of the artist, author or the artisan. Until this is recognized, the dangers of intellectual crime of

    plagiarism and violations of fair trade and copyright law, remain. Copyright infrigement breaks

    the law which protects artists, writers and artisans from receiving the lawful remuneration due

    them as the orignal creator of a work. The law impacts on education in the unbridled use of

    copyrighted digital material. The ease by which a digital work can be replicated and distributed

    may infringe on a person's copyright, or a business franchise. The law can only be adhered to

    by express consent of the author through a Creative Commons license, or by invoking the fair

    use act. The problem is borne by the state tolerating it, as its own artist, author and artisan

    can be subjected to the same injustice.

    Privacy and Safety

    Privacy and safety are issues in educational technology primarily because of the high

    incidence of cybercrimes against people who use the internet, 3 particularly young people like

    grade and high school students.4 Cybercrimes ranging from credit card theft, pornography,

    copyright infringement, and illegal fund transfer; get wider as more applications are found and

    more people are wired.

    One's privacy is often breached when one's preferences are studied as part of a

    consumer prefrence survey of a site or software, because the same can also be used to obtain

    credit card and other vital information. For several reasons such as this, internet users may

    also be unwittingly allowing their privacy to be breached. Adventurous young people lured into

    hacking a porn site, for example are unwittingly making themselves victims to bigger predators.

    According to the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire,

    there was an increase in arrests of online predators who solicited law enforcers disguised as

    3 Skinner, Carrie Ann. "65% of Web Users Are Victims of Cybercrime." PCWorld.http://www.pcworld.com/article/205309/65_of_web_users_are_victims_of_cybercrime.html(Accessed: June 7, 2012)

    4 "National Study Finds Large Increase in Arrests of Online Predators in Undercover Operations,"

    Newswise. http://www.newswise.com/articles/national-study-finds-large-increase-in-arrests-of-online-predators-in-undercover-operations (Accessed: June 7, 2012).

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    juveniles. The numbers nearly quintupled from 644 in 2000 to 3,100 in 2006.5

    There is not enough safeguard to check invasion of one's privacy and internet safety

    other than by understanding how it works and that includes studying programming, and how

    hardware works. Investing in a short course in computer troubleshooting, is a good start.

    Those are the three most important issues in the use of educational technology today.

    Addressing these issues has merely scratched the big problem of protection merely because

    the competing businesses are afraid that protection will whet the appetite of an otherwise,

    insatiable market.

    5 Ibid.

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    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Robyler, M.D. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, 4-6. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon, 2010.

    Skinner, Carrie Ann. "65% of Web Users Are Victims of Cybercrime." PCWorld.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/205309/65_of_web_users_are_victims_of_cybercrime.html(Accessed: June 7, 2012)

    "National Study Finds Large Increase in Arrests of Online Predators in Undercover Operations."Newswise. http://www.newswise.com/articles/national-study-finds-large-increase-in-arrests-of-online-predators-in-undercover-operations (Accessed: June 7, 2012).

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