The use of computers and technology has affected many aspects of life and industry, yet there is no understanding of how to utilize it in order to boost student engagement, something that is getting a lot of interest in higher education due to its association with a number of positive academic outcomes. The goal of this paper is to provide a comprehensive study of the literature of the last 5 years that pertains to how web-conferencing software blogs, wikis and blogs social networks ( Facebook and Twitter) as well as digital games influence the engagement of students. We started with a substantive overview of student engagement definitions and indicators that identified three types.
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The technological revolution significantly affected daily living, evident in the wide-spread use of mobile devices as well as the seamless incorporation of technology into routine tasks like shopping, reading and getting the right direction (Anderson (2016); Smith & Anderson, 2016; Zickuhr & Raine, 2014). The use of mobile devices, and the Internet is at its highest to date, and is expected to continue to increase as technology becomes more readily accessible and accessible, especially to users from developing nations (Poushter 2016). In addition, there is an increasing number of people who are smartphone dependent that rely on their smartphones to access Internet access (Anderson & Horrigan, 2016) instead of expensive devices like laptops and tablets. Increased access and technological advancement has created new challenges and opportunities for diverse industries, including some which have flourished due to digitizing their operations and services.
Student engagement has been a topic of interest for around 70 years ago through Ralph Tyler’s study of the connection between time spent on course work and learning (Axelson and Flick, 2011; Kuh, 2009). The study of student engagement has changed and expanded dramatically, thanks to the seminal work of Pace (1980; 1984) and Astin (1984) concerning the extent to which quantity and quality of students’ efforts affect learning and a host of more recent studies on the environmental conditions and personal dispositions that affect the engagement of students (Bakker, Vergel, & Kuntze in 2015; Gilboy, Heinerichs, and Pazzaglia, 2015; Martin, Goldwasser, and Galentino 2017; Pellas,). The most well-known resource about student engagement can be found in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
Technology’s influence on the engagement of studets
We identified five technology post-literature searches (i.e. web-conferencing, blogsand wikis, social networking sites , and digital games) to be included in our analysis, based on the frequency in which they appeared in the literature over the last five years. The commonality between them is the potential in promoting a constructivist approach to learning. It is defined as the active discovery of knowledge through the reflection of experiences with one’s environment, linking newly acquired knowledge to existing knowledge, and the interaction with others (Boghossian 2006; Clements, 2015). Another thing that is common to all of these technologies, aside from perhaps for digital games are designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration with others.
Web-conferencing software is the virtual space for meetings where users login simultaneously and exchange messages on a particular issue. While each software application is different, they all feature similar functions, like audio video, audio, or instant messaging for real-time communications; screen sharing, whiteboards, and digital pens to present and demonstrations; polls as well as quizzes for gauging understanding or getting feedback as well as breakout rooms for small group activities (Bower, 2011; Hudson, Knight, & Collins, 2012 Martin, Parker, and Deale 2012. McBrien, Jones, & Cheng, 2009).
A blog, short for Weblog is an online journal of personal posts that are published on the internet and organized chronologically in which the people reading (or subscribers) can provide additional commentary or feedback. To start a blog, you need to compose content for an entrythat may contain text, hyperlinks, graphics, audio, or video or audio. Then, the content is published on the internet using a blogging software and inform subscribers that new content has been posted. Blogs may be informal and personal however they could also be used as a formal way of expressing opinions on a specific.
A wiki is a website page that is editable by multiple people at once (Nakamaru 2012). Wikis have become popular in the context of education as a tool that can be used for group projects , where participants can collaborate to create content (i.e., text, hyperlinks, images and graphics, media) and keep track of revisions through an extensive versioning system (Roussinos and Jimoyiannis (2013)). Many studies of wikis refer to engagement in the workplace, with much less research on cognitive engagement , and no studies about emotional involvement. Studies pertaining to behavioral engagement reveal mixed results, with some showing minimal or no participation in websites beyond the first couple of weeks of the course (Nakamaru, 2012; Salaber, 2014).
Social networking sites
The term “social networking” refers to “the practice of expanding knowledge by making connections with individuals of similar interests” (Gunawardena et al., 2009, p. 4). Social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all use digital electronics systems that allow users to publish and share digital content publicly or with others who are connected to them and also communicate privately via messaging capabilities. Two of the most well-known social networking sites in the academic research literature include facebook and Twitter (Camus, Hurt, Larson, & Prevost, 2016; Manca & Ranieri, 2013) This is in line with recent data suggesting that these two sites are also extremely popular among the general population (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan 2016).
The term “digital games” refers to “applications using the characteristics of video and computer games to create engaging and immersive learning experiences for delivery of specified learning goals, outcomes and experiences” (de Freitas, 2006, p. 9). Digital games typically serve two purposes: promoting the achievement of the learning objectives while also making learning enjoyable through the opportunity to experience real-world scenarios in simulation as well as role playing or problem-solving as well as drill and repeat activities (Boyle and al. 2016, 2016; Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey, & Boyle, 2012; Scarlet & Ampolos 2013, 2013; Whitton, 2011). In addition, gamified elements, such as leaderboards and badges that are digital.