Effective use of technology in education requires the educator to have a good understanding of the software and hardware used when delivering the instructions. The needed technology competency skills are varied but will also depend on the subject that the educator is teaching. The faculty plays an important role in ensuring that the resources are available, and that instructional delivery is done in an enabling environment. Current paper explores the hardware and software tools, as well as technology competency that educators require in instructional delivery in a technology based education.
Key words: hardware, software, technology competency skills, education
Technology has changed the way instructions are given to the students. Moreover, technology itself is changing, hence there is a need to have the most current skills to use in instructional delivery. Efficient delivery of instructions in any field, including nursing, depends on the ability of the person to employ various skills in the process. Quite a number of skills can be learned during the delivery of instructions but the learner and the instructor must have knowledge and skills before using technology in any instructional delivery process. Current paper will explore the application of technology in instructional delivery with a focus on the hardware, software, and the faculty support considerations. It also highlights some of the technology skills that an educator must have during the process of instruction delivery.
Technology Hardware in Instructional Delivery
The education sector has witnessed a transformation in the recent past. Educators and learners are moving at a fast speed to integrate technology tools in instructional delivery. The use of such tools cuts across all levels of learning and instructors and learners must keep up with the base of computer-based education. The modern learning environment is characterized by various computer hardware that are used when delivering the instructions. Apart from the desktop computers that are used in education, there are also tablet PCs, scanners, CD burners, digital video cameras, PDAs, and Projectors used in delivery of instructions. Educators are also using email, video conferencing and online programs, including Blackboard and WebCT to give instructions to learners (Januszewski & Molenda, 2013).
The most competent educator must thus have a better grasp on the use of the appropriate hardware as much as they use the software. The use of technology in instructional delivery is depended on the understanding of the hardware used. The educator and the learners must have the knowledge of setting up the hardware, including the computers and the projectors. The educator and the learner are required to use computer related storage devices, including zip disks, DVDs, USB drives, among others to transfer information from one computer to the other (Gagne, 2013).
Use of Software in Instructional Delivery
Software is the facilitator to the hardware and are used to complete the delivery of instructions in a format that will be understood to both the learner and the instructor. The most common software used in education is the word processing. It is one of the productivity software that instructors and learners use. Other software that are used in instructional delivery include presentation, spreadsheet, and database software.
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Apart from the general productivity software, there are also specialized and dedicated software that are used in instruction delivery. These are software specifically designed to be used in particular subjects or areas of study. They include math related software that allow learners and educators to practice numeric literacy skills, including geometry, algebra, and trigonometric software. The science software are used in teaching science animations as well as interactive multimedia courses. Other areas where dedicated software are applied in education include management and administration, language, and typing among others. Software are also used to download documents from the internet in the format that is relevant to the readers, including e-books and other materials (Januszewski & Molenda, 2013).
Faculty Support Considerations
Use of technology in education must be accompanied by the support from the faculty. The faculty provides resources in terms of finances to buy the hardware and the software. It also provides the human resources in the form of technicians to install and configure the hardware and software to enable them meet the instructors and learners’ needs. They also provide support in the form of repair to the broken hardware, software installation, and ensuring that the systems run seamlessly in relation to the needs of learners. The faculty is also in charge of program implementation, so as to allow smooth running during instructional delivery. The programs must run in tandem with each other to avoid confusion and overruns, especially where instruction delivery is done in different subjects using same technology tools (Gagne, 2013).
Technology Competency Skills Required by an Educator
The effectiveness of educators in instructional delivery relies on the technology competency skills that they posses, and which they endeavor to pass to the learners. These skills are usually updated and the educator must be prepared to learn them as well. There are many technology skills that educators can posses. They include word processing skills, electronic presentation, and web navigation skills. In addition, educators must also be well acquainted with computer network knowledge regarding the appropriate applications to use while teaching. They should be skilled in downloading software programs, including e-books that will be required by the learner (Smaldino & Lowther, 2014).
In addition, technology educators have skills in videoconferencing, presentations, scanning, and computer related storage devices. Knowledge on computer security and use of PDAs will also be required when using different technology tools in instruction delivery. It is also essential that they have skills in information, searching and retrieval that they will use to search for information from the internet. They should also be well versed in databases that have important information which they use to teach and also know how to retrieve information from those databases (Smaldino & Lowther, 2014).
The use of technology tools in the form of hardware and software in instructional delivery changes as the technology changes. Educators must possess the necessary skills, hardware, and software for them to be efficient in teaching their learners. The faculty also must ensure that support in the form of tools and human resource is availed to educators for them to deliver the information to their students effectively.