Technology that is based on computers has impacted every aspect of life and industry, yet there is little understanding of how to utilize it to encourage student engagement a concept receiving strong interest in higher education due to its relationship with a range of positive academic outcomes. This article is to provide a thorough review of the literature from the last five years in relation to how web-conferencing applications blogs, wikis, social networking sites ( Facebook and Twitter), and digital games affect student engagement. We started with thorough overview of student engagement definitions and indicators, which revealed three types of engagement (behavioral as well as emotional and cognitive) that influenced the way we classified the articles. Our findings indicate that digital games are the most powerful influence over different forms of student engagement, followed by web-conferencing and Facebook. Results on wikis, blogs, and Twitter aren’t as conclusive and considerably limited in the number of studies conducted over the past 5 years. Overall.
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Digital revolutions have dramatically affected our daily lives as is evident by the widespread use of mobile devices and the seamless integration of technology in everyday tasks such as shopping, reading and finding directions (Anderson in 2016; Smith & Anderson, 2016; Zickuhr & Raine, 2014). The use of computers, mobile devices, and the Internet is at its most advanced level and likely to continue to grow because technology is becoming more accessible and accessible, especially to users from emerging countries (Poushter 2016). Furthermore, there is increasing numbers of people who are dependent on smartphones and relying on smartphones to access Internet access (Anderson and Horrigan, 2016,) instead of more costly gadgets like laptops and tablets. The increased accessibility and the need for technology has brought distinct opportunities and problems for numerous industries, some of that have benefited from digitizing their processes and services (e.g. finance, banking, media) and others that have struggled to keep up with the speed of technological advancement. Adding to the problem is the limited time span of new devices and software as well as significant organizational obstacles that prevent universities from efficiently and effectively adapting to new technologies. A lot of technological barriers in the organization are a result of conflicting demands between institutional policy and practice and faculty beliefs and abilities. For instance, administrators at universities may see technology as a means to help students retain and attract students however, faculty members might struggle to determine how technology is compatible with their existing teaching methods (Lawrence and Lentle-Keenan, 2013; Lin, Singer, & Ha, 2010). In addition there are faculty who may be hesitant to employ technology due to a lack technical knowledge and/or skepticism about the potential of technology in improving student performance (Ashrafzadeh and Sayadian; Buchanan, Sainter, & Saunders 2013).
Student engagement has been a topic of interest for over 70 years ago with Ralph Tyler’s studies on the connection between the amount of time students spend on their coursework and the quality of learning (Axelson and Flick, 2011; Kuh, 2009). In the intervening years, research of student engagement has changed and expanded considerably, through the seminal research of Pace (1980; 1984) and Astin (1984) regarding how quantity and quality of learning is affected by student efforts and other recent research of the conditions in the classroom and individual dispositions which influence student engagement (Bakker, Vergel, & Kuntze in 2015; Gilboy, Heinerichs, and Pazzaglia (2015); Martin, Goldwasser, & Galentino 2017; Pellas,). One of the most well-known resources about student engagement can be found in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) it is an instrument created to measure student involvement in various educational activities (Kuh, 2009). The NSSE and other engagement instruments similar to it have been employed in numerous studies that connect the engagement of students with positive outcomes, such as better grades, retention, persistence and graduation (Leach (2016); McClenney, Marti, & Adkins, 2012; Trowler & Trowler, 2010) and further convince that students’ engagement is an important factor in the teaching and learning process. However, despite the increasing enthusiasm for the concept of student engagement, its significance isn’t always understood or agreed upon.
Technology’s impact on student engagement
Five technologies were identified that are post-literature search (i.e. web-conferencing, blogs, wikis and social networks , and digital games) to include in our study, based on frequency in which they appeared in the literature of the past five years. A commonality among the technologies mentioned is that they have potential for fostering a constructivist view to learning. It is defined as the active discovery of knowledge through the reflection of experiences with one’s environment, the connection of newly acquired knowledge to existing knowledge, and interaction with other people (Boghossian, 2006; Clements, 2015). Another feature that is shared is that the majority of the technologies, except maybe for games that are digital were designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration with other people. Our search yielded very little research on the ways that informational technologies, such as video lectures and podcasts influence the engagement of students. Therefore, these technologies are notably absent from our research. Unlike the technologies we identified in the past, informational technologies
Web-conferencing software is the virtual space for meetings where participants can log in simultaneously and exchange messages on a particular issue. Although each software program is different, they all have similar features, such as audio video, video, or instant messaging that allows for instant communication; whiteboards and screen sharing and digital pens to present and demonstrations; polls as well as tests for testing understanding or encouraging feedback; breakout rooms for small group meetings (Bower 2011, 2011; Hudson, Knight, & Collins 2012 Martin, Parker, & Deale, 2012; McBrien, Jones, & Cheng, 2009). Of the various technologies discussed in this literature review Web-conferencing software is the one that most closely mimics the face-to-face classroom environment.
A blog, which is short for Weblog, is an accumulation of personal journal entries, which are published online and presented chronologically, to which users (or subscribers) are able to respond with additional commentary or feedback. To make a blog, the author must compose content for an entrythat may contain texts, hyperlinks or graphics as well as audio or video or audio. Then, the content is published on the internet using a blogging software, and alert subscribers that new content is being posted. Blogs can be personal and informal in nature or may be used as a formal way of expressing opinions on a specific subject for instance, in the field of politics or education (Coghlan et al. 2007). Fortunately, many blog applications are completely free, and numerous learning management systems (LMSs) have blogs that can be easily integrated with the classroom online. The ease of blogging has sparked interest from teachers who employ blogs as an instructional instrument for the exchange of thoughts, opinions and experiences as well as for encouraging dialog on a range of academic topics (Garrity, Jones, VanderZwan, de la Rocha, and Epstein, 2014. Wang and Wang, 2008.).
A wiki is a website page that is editable by multiple users at once (Nakamaru, 2012). Wikis are becoming popular in the context of education as a useful tool for group projects in which group participants can collaborate to create content (i.e., pictures, writings, hyperlinks or graphics, etc.)) and track revisions through an extensive versioning system (Roussinos and Jimoyiannis (2013)). A majority of studies on wikis are related to engagement in the workplace, with much less research on cognitive engagement , and no studies of them focusing on the emotional aspect. Studies that focus on behavior show mixed results, with some showing very little enduring participation in Wikis after the initial few weeks (Nakamaru, 2012; Salaber, 2014) and another demonstrating active participation as evidenced in the high volume of edits and edits (Roussinos and Jimoyiannis, 2013,). The primary difference between the two studies is the absence of grading. This may be the reason for the inconsistent the results. For example, in studies.
Social networking is “the practice of expanding knowledge by making connections with individuals of similar interests” (Gunawardena and others., 2009, p. 4). Social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, allow users to share and create digital content publicly or with others to whom they are connected as well as communicate privately using messaging functions. Two of the most well-known social networks in the educational studies are the Facebook and Twitter (Camus, Hurt, Larson, & Prevost, 2016; Manca & Ranieri, 2013), which is consistent with the latest data that suggests both are extremely popular with the general public (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan 2016). In the sections to follow we will examine the ways in which Facebook along with Twitter influence different types of student engagement.
Digital game are “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 generally serve the dual purpose of encouraging the attainment of learning outcomes while making learning enjoyable through virtual scenarios that simulate real-life situations along with role-play as well as problem-solving and drill and repeat activities (Boyle and co. 2016; Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey, & Boyle, 2012; Scarlet & Ampolos (2013); Whitton, 2011). Additionally, gamified aspects, such as digital badges and leaderboards, can be integrated into teaching to give students a boost in motivation to completing assigned readings and other educational activities (Armier, Shepherd, & Skrabut 2015; Hew, Huang, Chu, & Chiu, 2016)