Technological advances have indeed enhanced life in the 21st century not only in the fields of engineering, medicine and business among many others but also in education where information technology (IT) is integrated into the instructional process and curriculum. The associated outcomes include flexible, purposeful and creative computer use and organization of curriculum and technology goals into a coordinated harmonious whole which enhances student engagement, information search and analysis as well as knowledge application (Dockstader, 1999).
Essentially, the various technological elements that enhance learning include the use of videos and other forms of graphic representation including pictures and animation as well as sound like music, among other surprise elements and features that enhance student engagement with course content.
Course management systems reflect one way through which information technology is integrated into the instructional process and curriculum. Specifically, the systems enhance learning outcomes through quizzes which are designed to encourage problem solving and understanding of concepts including through relevant feedback on correct and incorrect answers (Malikowski, Thompson & Theis, 2007). The systems also incorporate graphic and video content as well as varied and random questions designed in a manner where learning progresses from understanding and acquisition of simple to more complex information. This is in line with the use of instructional games which Shield (2000) affirms can enhance learning through rewards provided at every level and where learning progress is achieved through mastery of levels and enhanced abilities to manipulate text, graphics and sound. Videoconferencing and the use of wireless and handheld devices can also be used in real-time discussions and debates on topics and mediated by teachers who can moderate interaction and provide appropriate feedback when necessary.
The integration of e-learning systems which are comprised of digital content, pedagogy, varied multimedia tools (animation and simulations) and e-learning spaces in education is identified enhancing teaching and learning in molecular chemistry (Falvo, 2008). The specifics involved in the integration of technology in instructional processes and curriculum basically include the use of various software programs like spreadsheets and PowerPoints among others as well as enhanced access to the internet and resources like electronic encyclopedias. As such, student demonstrate ability to search for information through internet searches or make more sophisticated multimedia presentations among other capabilities in using electronic media such as laptops and desktop computers, software and the internet (Hew and Brush, 2007).
The authors aver that these technologies, when integrated into instructional processes and curriculum enhance content retention, problem solving capacity, motivation and enhanced self-concept, self-directed learning and improved performance in general. Even for the disabled, technologies like digital textbooks, the Reading Pen, Word Wizard alongside others like the ‘Let’s Go Read’ and K-3000 educational software enhances into instructional processes and curriculum (King-Sears and Evmenova, 2007).