The world has in the recent past experienced drastic change in the Information Technology. Since then different organizations and institutions have been trying to integrate this technology in their daily operations to enhance efficiency. This includes learning institution especially in the institutions of higher learning. Most institutions have replaced their old class environment that include chalks, blackboard, and physical interaction between teachers and students into a more modernized learning environment that include virtual class, or an integrated class with both virtual and traditional aspects. More and more modern technological tools are being integrated in leaning. This paper evaluates the technological tools used in a learning environment and identifies possible ethical, intellectual property and legal issues that can arise during their use.
Technological Tools Used in Learning and in Career
Unlike in the past the modern learning environment has embraced the use modern technological tools to enhance teaching and learning. Some of the technological tools that are being used in learning and teaching today include laptops or computers, smart-board or interactive whiteboard, internet, software, and email.
Interactive whiteboard refers to an electronic devise that creates an interface with a computer for imageries to be displayed on the board and they are used interactively. In this interactive use, one can add notes, highlight point of interest, and manipulate program like one is using a big touch pad. It also allows one to print the resulting drawing or notes among other from the computer or one can save the work to be used in the future. Interactive board is also used to view website as a group, showing presentation, and creating digital lessons among other things. It helps in promoting active and collaborative learning through discussions, reading, analysis, writing, and evaluation, as well as bringing the class together (Smart Technologies, 2006).
Computer is another effective and powerful learning tool. Computers were introduced to school to enhance effective learning and they normally work with specific software designed to enhance learning. They are also used to create notes and presentations to enhance teaching. When used with projection video, computers assist the teachers to project notes in a more visible and engaging way compared to traditional classroom. They are also used in assignment preparation, conducting research, sharing information among other things. In sciences, computers are being used to develop simulation that would enhance students understanding of a particular subject, especially when 3D graphics are employed. Computers are also being used widely in different careers to make work easier and to enhance effectiveness. They are being used to analyses data in a class environment and also in statistical field. Actually, a computer can be used indifferent ways as long as one has the right software tools to help in achieving this.
Internet is another very powerful technological tool in learning. While integrated with computer and other modern tools such as smartphones, internet is playing a great role in enhancing virtual learning. With internet virtual students can easily interact with their tutors via the blackboard and through portals. They can easily access class notes and assignment and also submit assignments. Internet has also enhanced learning by promoting information sharing through digital academic and professional databases. It is currently ease for student conducting research to access digital journals, textbooks, position papers, and articles. People can also add to their knowledge through digitalized discussion forums. Internet has made the globe a village and education to more resourceful though instant information access (Thieman, 2008). Moreover, it has made teaching and learning to much easier and cheap compared to the traditional classrooms. Internet has made it easy to include all students in class discussion despite their nature. It has highly benefited students who lack confidence to raise their questions or give their ideas to the class.
Ethical and Legal Issues Associated with the Technological Tools
The difference created in the use of modern technological tools in learning and teaching has also presented new challenges to learning and in career. Normally, the operation of all the above discussed tools is based on the use of specific software which give one a platform to operate on. The software are created by specific companies who hold their intellectual right and sold to the public. However, these software are sometimes pirated or cracked to able to use them without paying the required fee, or longer than intended by the producer. This can create legal issues on the user. Another ethical and legal issue that can easily arise is plagiarism, the modern tools make it easy for students and teachers to access peoples work, including scholars and other students. This can tempt students to extract others work and present it as theirs which would result to violation of intellectual property of the original writer or publisher and also initiate educational crime. People can also be tempted to access personal information from government database and use it for personal interest or to violate rights of others (Akca, 2008). In addition, one is very likely to experience security issues that include hacking, losing information by stealing password, losing data due to computer virus or spyware among other issues. To safeguard from other students and employees one should employ strong passwords that cannot be easily hacked especially in public computers.
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