This paper explores technology, the structure of education, and illegal music downloading.
The purpose of education has evolved with society; education exists to benefit the society. Different societies have different needs for education based on the type of government, economy, and technology available to the society. As populations grow, the education system is modified to deal with the increase in population and the diverse needs of the society. In American society, the colonists that came over were educated in small schools or in the homes of the teacher. Sometimes the teacher was the parent. As the population and economy grew in the country, the schools grew as well. With the technology available in today’s economy, it is possible that education could go back to the days when students received more individualized instruction. There is no denying that technology will continue to change education; the future only knows how the changes will affect education.
Evolution of the purpose of education
In the early history of the United States, the purpose of education was to maintain the authority of the government and religion. Before this time, only the elite were educated. The goal of educating all citizens was to improve the prosperity of the society- a society that was working to establish roots in a new world where they could escape the controlling government that they came from. Education was still used as a way to maintain social superiority in that only the elite received higher levels of education.
As the country developed and grew, the common schools evolved to protect the ideals of Protestant culture. With the increasing numbers of immigrants coming into the country, it was believed that a common education would unite all of the cultures and protect the ideals of those who founded the country.
The Industrial Age brought about many changes to the public schools. Schools at this point in history now needed to not only prepare students for working in the industrial world, they also needed to care for the increased population in the cities. Social services were incorporated into the schools and curriculum continued to change to meet the needs of the evolving society.
Common purposes of education
During the course of American history, education has been viewed by society as the solution to the ills of society. If the society does not obey authority, then they need to be educated about how to obey authority, but not so much that they would overturn that authority. If the members of society do not hold the same beliefs as the majority of the society, those members need to be educated in the beliefs of the majority. If the parents are not doing their job teaching their children to be obedient, then the schools need to teach these values to the children. These central reasons for education have not changed much since the beginning of American history; they have evolved to adapt to the changes in society.
Social mobility has also been a common purpose of education in our nation’s history. Citizens who wanted to gain higher status in society saw education as their way to achieve this goal. As society developed, more educational opportunities opened up to those who before could not be educated. In today’s society, many people can go to college that would not have been able to a century ago. Part of this is due to the need for more educated people in society.
Maintaining of social status still continues to be a common purpose of education. Even though more people are able to attend college than a century ago, there are still many citizens who are unable to realize this dream. In today’s society, wealth is also an indicator of social status, and education is not always necessary to attain wealth. However, society does still place a high value on education; those with higher levels of education are viewed as part of the social elite.
How does this apply to technology?
Education exists for the benefit of society, so technology needs to be part of education if it is to truly benefit today’s society. The needs of society and education have directly impacted how technology is used in classrooms. In today’s global economy, the need for students to be technology literate means that the schools need to find ways to meet this need. In today’s high- stakes testing reality, there is not much room for schools to experiment with different technology possibilities while meeting the standards. In order for the schools to adequately prepare the students for the future economy, the economy needs to invest in the schools and work as a team.
Evolution of electric technology in schools
When televisions became a part of society, many felt that using them in the schools would provide many great benefits to the schools. One reason that television was seen as an appealing resource for schools was that there was a shortage of teachers. However, those who came up with this idea did not take into account that the student would not have the opportunity to be actively engaged in their learning, so the television lessons did not work as planned.
Too often televisions have been used by teachers to occupy the students while they do something else, like grade papers. Videos are commonly given to substitute teachers by teachers when they are absent so that the substitute does not have to try to teach material that they are not familiar with teaching. When used appropriately, television and videos can be very effective teaching tools. The video can be stopped in the middle of viewing to allow students to discuss what they have seen so that they do not have to be asked to remember everything they saw at the end of the class period. Like any other technology incorporated into schools, the technology must be relevant to what is being taught in the classroom and not just used for the sake of using technology.
In the 1980’s, the first IBM and Macintosh computers started to show up in classrooms. At this point in the history of the computer, the main focus on its use was to determine how to use it. During this time period, the paradigm of tutor- tool- tutee was established. Computers initially were used in classrooms to teach students by drilling them on the information learned in class. Today, this still exists in classrooms, where a computer is used to quiz students on knowledge. Tools then developed to further teach students the content and test them on the content. The software became more interactive and the assessments could be graded by the computer. This gave students immediate feedback and saved the teacher time by not having to grade the tests. Tools then developed to allow the student to program what they were learning into the computer. One example of this today would be using a music notation program to write out music.
The ability of the student to manipulate programs is still limited due to how software is sold, but there are products that give students the opportunity to manipulate data in more efficient ways. Because of these programs, students are able to focus more time on the interpretation of data, which leads to more time students are involved in higher learning processes. Students get to see the big picture and they have the opportunity to learn more in-depth about different subjects.
The Internet appeared on the computer scene in the 1990’s, which opened up many different opportunities for computer use in schools. Not only could schools use the technology within the school, they could now network with other schools. The “classroom” as we know it today goes beyond the walls of the classroom to include all that is available on the Internet. Students today are able to access sources outside of their school library on different topics. The ability to network with other classes and students around the world also provides many exciting opportunities for students.
With the creation of wireless connections, schools are able to access the Internet easier than before. With wired connections, computers could only reach out as far as the cable could reach, and the classroom setup was influenced by where the computers could go in the room. With wireless technology, computers can better adapt to the classroom setup with the use of wireless laptops. With the portability of these laptops, schools are starting to move towards issuing laptops that have electronic textbooks on them for the students, eliminating the need for textbooks.
Technology roadblocks in education
The reasons that technology does not always work in education have not changed much since electronic technology began to enter classrooms. Since teachers are likely to teach the way they have been taught, they are less likely to try something new that they are not familiar with. Common reasons for not using electronic technology in classrooms include the following:
• The technology is not accessible when needed
• The technology does not work well with the existing curriculum
• The technology is difficult to use
• The technology does not meet an educational need
Teachers are also reluctant to hand over the control of learning to the student. In today’s society, where learning accountability falls on the teacher, teachers need to know that what goes on in their classroom is getting students to learn what they need for the standardized tests. If they are not sure about whether a new technology program will work, they are more likely to stick with what they know is working for the majority of the students in order to ensure that they get the required results, even if that means not allowing students to learn material in more depth.
Much of the technology created for the schools has also been developed by those who are not working in the schools. These technology professionals do not know the way that schools work, so they are not able to create technology that works with what is being done in classrooms. For technology to be truly effective in the classroom there needs to be teacher input in the creation process. Teachers also need training on how to use technology and they need to be able to give input on how they are able to successfully or unsuccessfully use technology. The society has long expected education to fix the problems of society, so educators need to be involved in the creation of policies that directly affect them.
Technology and society: Illegal downloads
With the ease of access to online content, people are able to download content very easily, and this includes content that they obtain without paying for it. Recently, the issue of illegal music downloads has gotten attention in the news due to the huge loss in sales for the record industry. In music classes, it is important for me to teach students about the importance of paying for intellectual content that they want to own. The musicians who record the music make money off the sales of the music, and those who are illegally downloading the music without paying for it are taking money from those artists as well as from the government, because that is lost sales that are not being taxed.
Illegal music downloads take a huge cut from music industry profits. Since 2003, it is estimated that about 2 billion tunes have been legally downloaded from the ITunes website. Every month, about 1 billion tracks are downloaded illegally on the internet from peer- to- peer networks. In 2 months, the music industry loses revenue equal to what has been earned in 3 years time on the ITunes website! Since the thefts take place online, it is harder to track who is doing the illegal downloading, but it is not impossible.
In 2005, a student at the University of Arizona was convicted of illegally downloading music and movies off the internet. An online task force, like the ones seen on Dateline NBC, found out that the student had illegal content on their computer; the FBI found over $50 million of illegal content on the student’s computer. The student had also copied this content and sold it as well. The student got a light sentence when one takes into account the dollar amount of their crime: He received a three- month deferred jail sentence, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,400 fine, and was also ordered to take a class at the university about copyright.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has been targeting college students who download music illegally. They have sent out letters to many universities to send out to students who they suspect of downloading music illegally. The letters ask students to turn themselves in, and in exchange they can pay a smaller fine and avoid going to court. In addition to these letters, they have also been placing ads in college newspapers addressing the issue of illegal music downloading so that students can understand the effect of their actions.
Because of the trend in illegal music downloading, there are sites where people can download music for free legally. Rukus is one of those sites; because of the advertisements on the website, users can download the content to their computer for no charge. If the user wants to transfer that music to their portable music devices, they do need to pay a per-semester fee for that privilege. Sites like this are popular with college students because of the cost of the music and the ability to link the music to their Facebook accounts. Sites like this benefit all parties because the music companies get paid for their music, the users get the music they want, and advertisers get their message out to the users on the website.
Schools across the country are focusing not just on illegal downloads, but on copyright infringement in general. The ability to purchase term papers online has caused schools to focus on teaching students how to properly cite their research so that intellectual credit is given to those who have earned it. Schools must do what they can to make sure students are still doing class work for themselves instead of relying on others to do the work for them; improvements in technology continue to make this harder for schools.
How technology can change the format of education
With the availability of different technology programs, students will be able to learn in ways they could not learn before. These programs will allow students to become more efficient at learning by doing some of the work for them; this will allow the students to be able to have more time to look at the big picture. Students will have more opportunity to engage in higher thinking skills; depth over breadth. The standards that are required of teachers to cover in class could have a better chance of being covered, and those standards are likely to be reviewed regularly to adapt to the needs of the society.
Online college courses allow working professionals to work on higher degrees while working. Online high schools will allow students to participate in the extracurricular activities of their choice while working on their high school diploma. Students who once could not finish their high school classes due to chronic illness are able to finish their classes now. Students will also be able to enter the workforce sooner and start college sooner.
Education as we know it is reversing itself in that the student will be able to complete their education at their own pace, similar to the education of students in the one room schoolhouses. Students will no longer be grouped based on age. With computers being able to do some of the work of the teachers, education will become more individualized.