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Negative Effects Of Technology (Essay/Paper Sample)

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Negative effects of technology

Technology utilization in the world is becoming very high with its rapid evolvement resulting in its use in every part of life making it incredible. It has seen numerous systems and appliances relying on them, among them, cell phones use and the internet. However, with its different forms of use and numerous benefits, it continually results in negative impacts in our mental, environmental and physical health.

Use of technology affects health. It does so by first affecting the way of thinking. The increased use of technology such as mobile phones or video games by children and teenagers affects how their brains work. It reduces their attention span on one thing due to continued working with multiple perspectives thus, decreasing their memory abilities. Additionally, the reliance on search engines to find information and constant data flow in 140 characters or less makes them prone to forgetfulness and reducing their attention span.

Secondly, technology affects health through causing obesity. The increased time spend on mobile phones, watching television, using the internet or playing video games results in a lack of physical activities and exercise. Moreover, spending more time watching television also results in increased snacking on unhealthy foods. These aspects lead to obesity. Thirdly, it affects health by emitting chemicals and waves that make one vulnerable to cancer, over extended use of the technology disturbs the sleeping schedule causing poor sleeping habits and causes neck, eyes, and headaches due to increased curving of the body and staring at the gadgets.

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Technology destroys the environment. The industries that manufacture technological products increases emission of numerous waste products to the air, earth, and water. When it is disposed of as runoffs, it contaminates water bodies such as lakes and rivers, while their manufacture emits carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful chemicals to the air that boost climate change. Disposing of their waste in landfills results in soil contamination and killing of vegetation around these environments as well.

Additionally, use of technology destroys the environment by causing the extinction of species. The high consumption of energy attributed to technology results in the disruption of the atmosphere through climate change. Thus, the increased emission of toxic substances to the environment produces harmful chemicals that kill various animals such as the peregrine and the bald eagle. Technology also affects the environment through excess power consumption. The high use of technology at work, home and schools result in increased need for energy to ensure the technologies work non-stop. Thus, it enhances the reliance on its generation that relies on nuclear and fossil fuels that further strains the environment.

The reliance on technology results in isolation. Physical interaction is crucial to human health as it facilitates bonding and creation of relationships. However, with technology use, it creates online social networks that result in constant and quick communications. However, it reduces face-to-face communication, personal contact with others and engagement in social activities with families and friends, leaving one in their world.  Isolation causes strained relationships, loneliness, depression and lack of support systems to enable one efficiently overcome various issues.

Technology use also breeds privacy and security concerns. Continuous use of technology and posting of personal information online makes it possible for everyone to know about one’s life. Criminals can access this information through phishing, virus attacks, and hacking and use it to conduct criminal activities stripping people of security. Moreover, technology makes children prone to sex crimes by sexual predators and bullying through avenues such as texts, emails or hurtful videos as perpetrators can hide behind fake identities.

In conclusion, use of technologies is an essential phenomenon in the world as it provides connectivity, and creates numerous positives that make a better world. However, its use presents severe adverse impacts that threaten the future. Therefore, one has to choose to use it effectively to reap the benefits while avoiding these consequences as well.

negative effect of modern technology essay

negative effect of modern technology essay

Image credit: Kristina Closs

Technology might be making education worse

Listen to the essay, as read by Antero Garcia, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education.

As a professor of education and a former public school teacher, I’ve seen digital tools change lives in schools.

I’ve documented the ways mobile technology like phones can transform student engagement in my own classroom.

I’ve explored how digital tools might network powerful civic learning and dialogue for classrooms across the country – elements of education that are crucial for sustaining our democracy today.

And, like everyone, I’ve witnessed digital technologies make schooling safer in the midst of a global pandemic. Zoom and Google Classroom, for instance, allowed many students to attend classrooms virtually during a period when it was not feasible to meet in person.

So I want to tell you that I think technologies are changing education for the better and that we need to invest more in them – but I just can’t.

Given the substantial amount of scholarly time I’ve invested in documenting the life-changing possibilities of digital technologies, it gives me no pleasure to suggest that these tools might be slowly poisoning us. Despite their purported and transformational value, I’ve been wondering if our investment in educational technology might in fact be making our schools worse.

Let me explain.

When I was a classroom teacher, I loved relying on the latest tools to create impressive and immersive experiences for my students. We would utilize technology to create class films, produce social media profiles for the Janie Crawfords, the Holden Caulfields, and other literary characters we studied, and find playful ways to digitally share our understanding of the ideas we studied in our classrooms.

As a teacher, technology was a way to build on students’ interests in pop culture and the world around them. This was exciting to me.

But I’ve continued to understand that the aspects of technology I loved weren’t actually about technology at all – they were about creating authentic learning experiences with young people. At the heart of these digital explorations were my relationships with students and the trust we built together.

“Part of why I’ve grown so skeptical about this current digital revolution is because of how these tools reshape students’ bodies and their relation to the world around them.”

I do see promise in the suite of digital tools that are available in classrooms today. But my research focus on platforms – digital spaces like Amazon, Netflix, and Google that reshape how users interact in online environments – suggests that when we focus on the trees of individual tools, we ignore the larger forest of social and cognitive challenges.

Most people encounter platforms every day in their online social lives. From the few online retail stores where we buy groceries to the small handful of sites that stream our favorite shows and media content, platforms have narrowed how we use the internet today to a small collection of Silicon Valley behemoths. Our social media activities, too, are limited to one or two sites where we check on the updates, photos, and looped videos of friends and loved ones.

These platforms restrict our online and offline lives to a relatively small number of companies and spaces – we communicate with a finite set of tools and consume a set of media that is often algorithmically suggested. This centralization of internet – a trend decades in the making – makes me very uneasy.

From willfully hiding the negative effects of social media use for vulnerable populations to creating tools that reinforce racial bias, today’s platforms are causing harm and sowing disinformation for young people and adults alike. The deluge of difficult ethical and pedagogical questions around these tools are not being broached in any meaningful way in schools – even adults aren’t sure how to manage their online lives.

You might ask, “What does this have to do with education?” Platforms are also a large part of how modern schools operate. From classroom management software to attendance tracking to the online tools that allowed students to meet safely during the pandemic, platforms guide nearly every student interaction in schools today. But districts are utilizing these tools without considering the wider spectrum of changes that they have incurred alongside them.

photo of Antero Godina Garcia

Antero Garcia, associate professor of education (Image credit: Courtesy Antero Garcia)

For example, it might seem helpful for a school to use a management tool like Classroom Dojo (a digital platform that can offer parents ways to interact with and receive updates from their family’s teacher) or software that tracks student reading and development like Accelerated Reader for day-to-day needs. However, these tools limit what assessment looks like and penalize students based on flawed interpretations of learning.

Another problem with platforms is that they, by necessity, amass large swaths of data. Myriad forms of educational technology exist – from virtual reality headsets to e-readers to the small sensors on student ID cards that can track when students enter schools. And all of this student data is being funneled out of schools and into the virtual black boxes of company databases.

Part of why I’ve grown so skeptical about this current digital revolution is because of how these tools reshape students’ bodies and their relation to the world around them. Young people are not viewed as complete human beings but as boxes checked for attendance, for meeting academic progress metrics, or for confirming their location within a school building. Nearly every action that students perform in schools – whether it’s logging onto devices, accessing buildings, or sharing content through their private online lives – is noticed and recorded. Children in schools have become disembodied from their minds and their hearts. Thus, one of the greatest and implicit lessons that kids learn in schools today is that they must sacrifice their privacy in order to participate in conventional, civic society.

The pandemic has only made the situation worse. At its beginnings, some schools relied on software to track students’ eye movements, ostensibly ensuring that kids were paying attention to the tasks at hand. Similarly, many schools required students to keep their cameras on during class time for similar purposes. These might be seen as in the best interests of students and their academic growth, but such practices are part of a larger (and usually more invisible) process of normalizing surveillance in the lives of youth today.

I am not suggesting that we completely reject all of the tools at our disposal – but I am urging for more caution. Even the seemingly benign resources we might use in our classrooms today come with tradeoffs. Every Wi-Fi-connected, “smart” device utilized in schools is an investment in time, money, and expertise in technology over teachers and the teaching profession.

Our focus on fixing or saving schools via digital tools assumes that the benefits and convenience that these invisible platforms offer are worth it.

But my ongoing exploration of how platforms reduce students to quantifiable data suggests that we are removing the innovation and imagination of students and teachers in the process.

Antero Garcia is associate professor of education in the Graduate School of Education .

In Their Own Words is a collaboration between the Stanford Public Humanities Initiative  and Stanford University Communications.

If you’re a Stanford faculty member (in any discipline or school) who is interested in writing an essay for this series, please reach out to Natalie Jabbar at [email protected] .

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Promises and Pitfalls of Technology

Politics and privacy, private-sector influence and big tech, state competition and conflict, author biography, how is technology changing the world, and how should the world change technology.

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Josephine Wolff; How Is Technology Changing the World, and How Should the World Change Technology?. Global Perspectives 1 February 2021; 2 (1): 27353. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2021.27353

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Technologies are becoming increasingly complicated and increasingly interconnected. Cars, airplanes, medical devices, financial transactions, and electricity systems all rely on more computer software than they ever have before, making them seem both harder to understand and, in some cases, harder to control. Government and corporate surveillance of individuals and information processing relies largely on digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and therefore involves less human-to-human contact than ever before and more opportunities for biases to be embedded and codified in our technological systems in ways we may not even be able to identify or recognize. Bioengineering advances are opening up new terrain for challenging philosophical, political, and economic questions regarding human-natural relations. Additionally, the management of these large and small devices and systems is increasingly done through the cloud, so that control over them is both very remote and removed from direct human or social control. The study of how to make technologies like artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things “explainable” has become its own area of research because it is so difficult to understand how they work or what is at fault when something goes wrong (Gunning and Aha 2019) .

This growing complexity makes it more difficult than ever—and more imperative than ever—for scholars to probe how technological advancements are altering life around the world in both positive and negative ways and what social, political, and legal tools are needed to help shape the development and design of technology in beneficial directions. This can seem like an impossible task in light of the rapid pace of technological change and the sense that its continued advancement is inevitable, but many countries around the world are only just beginning to take significant steps toward regulating computer technologies and are still in the process of radically rethinking the rules governing global data flows and exchange of technology across borders.

These are exciting times not just for technological development but also for technology policy—our technologies may be more advanced and complicated than ever but so, too, are our understandings of how they can best be leveraged, protected, and even constrained. The structures of technological systems as determined largely by government and institutional policies and those structures have tremendous implications for social organization and agency, ranging from open source, open systems that are highly distributed and decentralized, to those that are tightly controlled and closed, structured according to stricter and more hierarchical models. And just as our understanding of the governance of technology is developing in new and interesting ways, so, too, is our understanding of the social, cultural, environmental, and political dimensions of emerging technologies. We are realizing both the challenges and the importance of mapping out the full range of ways that technology is changing our society, what we want those changes to look like, and what tools we have to try to influence and guide those shifts.

Technology can be a source of tremendous optimism. It can help overcome some of the greatest challenges our society faces, including climate change, famine, and disease. For those who believe in the power of innovation and the promise of creative destruction to advance economic development and lead to better quality of life, technology is a vital economic driver (Schumpeter 1942) . But it can also be a tool of tremendous fear and oppression, embedding biases in automated decision-making processes and information-processing algorithms, exacerbating economic and social inequalities within and between countries to a staggering degree, or creating new weapons and avenues for attack unlike any we have had to face in the past. Scholars have even contended that the emergence of the term technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries marked a shift from viewing individual pieces of machinery as a means to achieving political and social progress to the more dangerous, or hazardous, view that larger-scale, more complex technological systems were a semiautonomous form of progress in and of themselves (Marx 2010) . More recently, technologists have sharply criticized what they view as a wave of new Luddites, people intent on slowing the development of technology and turning back the clock on innovation as a means of mitigating the societal impacts of technological change (Marlowe 1970) .

At the heart of fights over new technologies and their resulting global changes are often two conflicting visions of technology: a fundamentally optimistic one that believes humans use it as a tool to achieve greater goals, and a fundamentally pessimistic one that holds that technological systems have reached a point beyond our control. Technology philosophers have argued that neither of these views is wholly accurate and that a purely optimistic or pessimistic view of technology is insufficient to capture the nuances and complexity of our relationship to technology (Oberdiek and Tiles 1995) . Understanding technology and how we can make better decisions about designing, deploying, and refining it requires capturing that nuance and complexity through in-depth analysis of the impacts of different technological advancements and the ways they have played out in all their complicated and controversial messiness across the world.

These impacts are often unpredictable as technologies are adopted in new contexts and come to be used in ways that sometimes diverge significantly from the use cases envisioned by their designers. The internet, designed to help transmit information between computer networks, became a crucial vehicle for commerce, introducing unexpected avenues for crime and financial fraud. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, designed to connect friends and families through sharing photographs and life updates, became focal points of election controversies and political influence. Cryptocurrencies, originally intended as a means of decentralized digital cash, have become a significant environmental hazard as more and more computing resources are devoted to mining these forms of virtual money. One of the crucial challenges in this area is therefore recognizing, documenting, and even anticipating some of these unexpected consequences and providing mechanisms to technologists for how to think through the impacts of their work, as well as possible other paths to different outcomes (Verbeek 2006) . And just as technological innovations can cause unexpected harm, they can also bring about extraordinary benefits—new vaccines and medicines to address global pandemics and save thousands of lives, new sources of energy that can drastically reduce emissions and help combat climate change, new modes of education that can reach people who would otherwise have no access to schooling. Regulating technology therefore requires a careful balance of mitigating risks without overly restricting potentially beneficial innovations.

Nations around the world have taken very different approaches to governing emerging technologies and have adopted a range of different technologies themselves in pursuit of more modern governance structures and processes (Braman 2009) . In Europe, the precautionary principle has guided much more anticipatory regulation aimed at addressing the risks presented by technologies even before they are fully realized. For instance, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation focuses on the responsibilities of data controllers and processors to provide individuals with access to their data and information about how that data is being used not just as a means of addressing existing security and privacy threats, such as data breaches, but also to protect against future developments and uses of that data for artificial intelligence and automated decision-making purposes. In Germany, Technische Überwachungsvereine, or TÜVs, perform regular tests and inspections of technological systems to assess and minimize risks over time, as the tech landscape evolves. In the United States, by contrast, there is much greater reliance on litigation and liability regimes to address safety and security failings after-the-fact. These different approaches reflect not just the different legal and regulatory mechanisms and philosophies of different nations but also the different ways those nations prioritize rapid development of the technology industry versus safety, security, and individual control. Typically, governance innovations move much more slowly than technological innovations, and regulations can lag years, or even decades, behind the technologies they aim to govern.

In addition to this varied set of national regulatory approaches, a variety of international and nongovernmental organizations also contribute to the process of developing standards, rules, and norms for new technologies, including the International Organization for Standardization­ and the International Telecommunication Union. These multilateral and NGO actors play an especially important role in trying to define appropriate boundaries for the use of new technologies by governments as instruments of control for the state.

At the same time that policymakers are under scrutiny both for their decisions about how to regulate technology as well as their decisions about how and when to adopt technologies like facial recognition themselves, technology firms and designers have also come under increasing criticism. Growing recognition that the design of technologies can have far-reaching social and political implications means that there is more pressure on technologists to take into consideration the consequences of their decisions early on in the design process (Vincenti 1993; Winner 1980) . The question of how technologists should incorporate these social dimensions into their design and development processes is an old one, and debate on these issues dates back to the 1970s, but it remains an urgent and often overlooked part of the puzzle because so many of the supposedly systematic mechanisms for assessing the impacts of new technologies in both the private and public sectors are primarily bureaucratic, symbolic processes rather than carrying any real weight or influence.

Technologists are often ill-equipped or unwilling to respond to the sorts of social problems that their creations have—often unwittingly—exacerbated, and instead point to governments and lawmakers to address those problems (Zuckerberg 2019) . But governments often have few incentives to engage in this area. This is because setting clear standards and rules for an ever-evolving technological landscape can be extremely challenging, because enforcement of those rules can be a significant undertaking requiring considerable expertise, and because the tech sector is a major source of jobs and revenue for many countries that may fear losing those benefits if they constrain companies too much. This indicates not just a need for clearer incentives and better policies for both private- and public-sector entities but also a need for new mechanisms whereby the technology development and design process can be influenced and assessed by people with a wider range of experiences and expertise. If we want technologies to be designed with an eye to their impacts, who is responsible for predicting, measuring, and mitigating those impacts throughout the design process? Involving policymakers in that process in a more meaningful way will also require training them to have the analytic and technical capacity to more fully engage with technologists and understand more fully the implications of their decisions.

At the same time that tech companies seem unwilling or unable to rein in their creations, many also fear they wield too much power, in some cases all but replacing governments and international organizations in their ability to make decisions that affect millions of people worldwide and control access to information, platforms, and audiences (Kilovaty 2020) . Regulators around the world have begun considering whether some of these companies have become so powerful that they violate the tenets of antitrust laws, but it can be difficult for governments to identify exactly what those violations are, especially in the context of an industry where the largest players often provide their customers with free services. And the platforms and services developed by tech companies are often wielded most powerfully and dangerously not directly by their private-sector creators and operators but instead by states themselves for widespread misinformation campaigns that serve political purposes (Nye 2018) .

Since the largest private entities in the tech sector operate in many countries, they are often better poised to implement global changes to the technological ecosystem than individual states or regulatory bodies, creating new challenges to existing governance structures and hierarchies. Just as it can be challenging to provide oversight for government use of technologies, so, too, oversight of the biggest tech companies, which have more resources, reach, and power than many nations, can prove to be a daunting task. The rise of network forms of organization and the growing gig economy have added to these challenges, making it even harder for regulators to fully address the breadth of these companies’ operations (Powell 1990) . The private-public partnerships that have emerged around energy, transportation, medical, and cyber technologies further complicate this picture, blurring the line between the public and private sectors and raising critical questions about the role of each in providing critical infrastructure, health care, and security. How can and should private tech companies operating in these different sectors be governed, and what types of influence do they exert over regulators? How feasible are different policy proposals aimed at technological innovation, and what potential unintended consequences might they have?

Conflict between countries has also spilled over significantly into the private sector in recent years, most notably in the case of tensions between the United States and China over which technologies developed in each country will be permitted by the other and which will be purchased by other customers, outside those two countries. Countries competing to develop the best technology is not a new phenomenon, but the current conflicts have major international ramifications and will influence the infrastructure that is installed and used around the world for years to come. Untangling the different factors that feed into these tussles as well as whom they benefit and whom they leave at a disadvantage is crucial for understanding how governments can most effectively foster technological innovation and invention domestically as well as the global consequences of those efforts. As much of the world is forced to choose between buying technology from the United States or from China, how should we understand the long-term impacts of those choices and the options available to people in countries without robust domestic tech industries? Does the global spread of technologies help fuel further innovation in countries with smaller tech markets, or does it reinforce the dominance of the states that are already most prominent in this sector? How can research universities maintain global collaborations and research communities in light of these national competitions, and what role does government research and development spending play in fostering innovation within its own borders and worldwide? How should intellectual property protections evolve to meet the demands of the technology industry, and how can those protections be enforced globally?

These conflicts between countries sometimes appear to challenge the feasibility of truly global technologies and networks that operate across all countries through standardized protocols and design features. Organizations like the International Organization for Standardization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and many others have tried to harmonize these policies and protocols across different countries for years, but have met with limited success when it comes to resolving the issues of greatest tension and disagreement among nations. For technology to operate in a global environment, there is a need for a much greater degree of coordination among countries and the development of common standards and norms, but governments continue to struggle to agree not just on those norms themselves but even the appropriate venue and processes for developing them. Without greater global cooperation, is it possible to maintain a global network like the internet or to promote the spread of new technologies around the world to address challenges of sustainability? What might help incentivize that cooperation moving forward, and what could new structures and process for governance of global technologies look like? Why has the tech industry’s self-regulation culture persisted? Do the same traditional drivers for public policy, such as politics of harmonization and path dependency in policy-making, still sufficiently explain policy outcomes in this space? As new technologies and their applications spread across the globe in uneven ways, how and when do they create forces of change from unexpected places?

These are some of the questions that we hope to address in the Technology and Global Change section through articles that tackle new dimensions of the global landscape of designing, developing, deploying, and assessing new technologies to address major challenges the world faces. Understanding these processes requires synthesizing knowledge from a range of different fields, including sociology, political science, economics, and history, as well as technical fields such as engineering, climate science, and computer science. A crucial part of understanding how technology has created global change and, in turn, how global changes have influenced the development of new technologies is understanding the technologies themselves in all their richness and complexity—how they work, the limits of what they can do, what they were designed to do, how they are actually used. Just as technologies themselves are becoming more complicated, so are their embeddings and relationships to the larger social, political, and legal contexts in which they exist. Scholars across all disciplines are encouraged to join us in untangling those complexities.

Josephine Wolff is an associate professor of cybersecurity policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her book You’ll See This Message When It Is Too Late: The Legal and Economic Aftermath of Cybersecurity Breaches was published by MIT Press in 2018.

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Greater Good Science Center • Magazine • In Action • In Education

Relationships Articles & More

What makes technology good or bad for us, how technology affects our well-being partly depends on whether it strengthens our relationships..

Everyone’s worried about smartphones. Headlines like “ Have smartphones destroyed a generation? ” and “ Smartphone addiction could be changing your brain ” paint a bleak picture of our smartphone addiction and its long-term consequences. This isn’t a new lament—public opinion at the advent of the newspaper worried that people would forego the stimulating pleasures of early-morning conversation in favor of reading the daily .

Is the story of technology really that bad? Certainly there’s some reason to worry. Smartphone use has been linked to serious issues, such as dwindling attention spans , crippling depression , and even increased incidence of brain cancer . Ultimately, though, the same concern comes up again and again: Smartphones can’t be good for us, because they’re replacing the real human connection of the good old days.

Everyone’s heard how today’s teens just sit together in a room, texting, instead of actually talking to each other. But could those teenagers actually be getting something meaningful and real out of all that texting?

The science of connection

negative effect of modern technology essay

A quick glance at the research on technology-mediated interaction reveals an ambivalent literature. Some studies show that time spent socializing online can decrease loneliness , increase well-being , and help the socially anxious learn how to connect to others. Other studies suggest that time spent socializing online can cause loneliness , decrease well-being , and foster a crippling dependence on technology-mediated interaction to the point that users prefer it to face-to-face conversation.

It’s tempting to say that some of these studies must be right and others wrong, but the body of evidence on both sides is a little too robust to be swept under the rug. Instead, the impact of social technology is more complicated. Sometimes, superficially similar behaviors have fundamentally different consequences. Sometimes online socialization is good for you, sometimes it’s bad, and the devil is entirely in the details.

This isn’t a novel proposition; after all, conflicting results started appearing within the first few studies into the internet’s social implications, back in the 1990s. Many people have suggested that to understand the consequences of online socialization, we need to dig deeper into situational factors and circumstances. But what we still have to do is move beyond recognition of the problem to provide an answer: When, how, and why are some online interactions great, while others are dangerous?

The interpersonal connection behaviors framework

As a scientist of close relationships, I can’t help but see online interactions differently from thinkers in other fields. People build relationships by demonstrating their understanding of each other’s needs and perspectives, a cyclical process that brings them closer together. If I tell you my secrets, and you respond supportively, I’m much more likely to confide in you again—and you, in turn, are much more likely to confide in me.

This means that every time two people talk to each other, an opportunity for relationship growth is unfolding. Many times, that opportunity isn’t taken; we aren’t about to have an in-depth conversation with the barista who asks for our order. But connection is always theoretically possible, and that’s true whether we’re interacting online or face-to-face.

Close relationships are the bread and butter of happiness—and even health. Being socially isolated is a stronger predictor of mortality than is smoking multiple cigarettes a day . If we want to understand the role technology plays in our well-being, we need to start with the role it plays in our relationships.

And it turns out that the kind of technology-mediated interactions that lead to positive outcomes are exactly those that are likely to build stronger relationships. Spending your time online by scheduling interactions with people you see day in and day out seems to pay dividends in increased social integration . Using the internet to compensate for being lonely just makes you lonelier; using the internet to actively seek out connection has the opposite effect .

“The kind of technology-mediated interactions that lead to positive outcomes are exactly those that are likely to build stronger relationships”

On the other hand, technology-mediated interactions that don’t really address our close relationships don’t seem to do us any good—and might, in fact, do us harm. Passively scrolling through your Facebook feed without interacting with people has been linked to decreased well-being and increased depression post-Facebook use.

That kind of passive usage is a good example of “ social snacking .” Like eating junk food, social snacking can temporarily satisfy you, but it’s lacking in nutritional content. Looking at your friends’ posts without ever responding might make you feel more connected to them, but it doesn’t build intimacy.

Passive engagement has a second downside, as well: social comparison . When we compare our messy lived experiences to others’ curated self-presentations, we are likely to suffer from lowered self-esteem , happiness, and well-being. This effect is only exacerbated when we consume people’s digital lives without interacting with them, making it all too easy to miss the less photogenic moments of their lives.

Moving forward

The interpersonal connection behaviors framework doesn’t explain everything that might influence our well-being after spending time on social media. The internet poses plenty of other dangers—for two examples, the sense of wasting time or emotional contagion from negative news. However, a focus on meaningful social interaction can help explain decades of contradictory findings. And even if the framework itself is challenged by future work, its central concept is bound to be upheld: We have to study the details of how people are spending their time online if we want to understand its likely effects.

In the meantime, this framework has some practical implications for those worried about their own online time. If you make sure you’re using social media for genuinely social purposes, with conscious thought about how it can improve your life and your relationships, you’ll be far more likely to enjoy your digital existence.

This article was originally published on the Behavioral Scientist . Read the original article .

About the Author

Jenna clark.

Jenna Clark, Ph.D. , is a senior behavioral researcher at Duke University's Center for Advanced Hindsight, where she works to help people make healthy decisions in spite of themselves. She's also interested in how technology contributes to our well-being through its effect on our close personal relationships.

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Negative Impact Of Technology On Modern Society

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Negative Effects of Technology in Modern Society

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Exploring the Invisible Impact of Technology

The Times reporter behind the new On Tech newsletter talks about trade-offs, the power of big companies and cycling in Central Park without leaving her home.

negative effect of modern technology essay

By Sarah Bures

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

For years, technology has influenced every facet of modern life. But the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many people to work, attend school and socialize through screens, has underscored just how entwined technology has become in our lives. A new daily newsletter, On Tech, examines our changing relationship to technology and the effect it is having on us.

Shira Ovide , who writes the newsletter, sees technology as a topic that encompasses everything from the gadgets we use to what we do on the internet to the decisions big tech companies make. That’s broad, but Ms. Ovide hopes to show the many ways technology relates to readers’ lives and livelihoods.

To help contextualize those issues for readers, Ms. Ovide speaks regularly with other Times journalists who cover technology as it relates to elections, the environment and privacy.

Recently, Ms. Ovide spoke on the phone about her goals for the newsletter and what readers can expect in the weeks ahead. These are edited excerpts.

Most of us Times employees are working remotely right now. Where are you working from these days?

I am working remotely from my one-bedroom apartment in New York. My dining table where I eat meals has now become my workstation. My laptop is right now parked on top of a shoe box because it positions the video camera in my line of sight for video meetings. And I’m sitting on a crappy desk chair that hurts my back. So I have a pillow. It’s all not ideal.

You’re just a couple of weeks into writing On Tech. How’s it going so far?

I think the answer to everything now is it’s going OK under the circumstances. In a way, this was not exactly the newsletter I expected to be writing. I thought that this would be a normal year for technology and we’d be writing a lot about powerful big tech companies and the role of technology in the presidential election. And like everything else, this has become an all-coronavirus affair.

How has the pandemic changed your vision for the newsletter?

The subject matter is different than I intended. But the vision really hasn’t changed. The idea that we started out with was: Technology is reshaping our lives and world in ways that are both obvious and not obvious. We were tasked with being this useful guide to people to help them understand how technology relates to everything they see in front of them: their jobs, the nature of work, their relationships with their friends and family members. You know, just all these big and small ways that technology is changing and influencing things. Right now, there’s only life mediated through technology. So in a way, it’s made it much more clear how much we rely on technology in ways that are both good and bad.

Technology is a huge topic. You have the consumer side of tech, the business side and the actual technology that makes those products and companies possible. How do you decide what to cover?

There’s both an opportunity and a challenge when technology is sort of this broad subject that means everything and nothing. To some people, technology is this narrow thing that just means computers, smartphones and other kinds of gadgets or the things that are happening on the internet. And obviously, we’re going to write about all of that. But part of the point here is to show that there is this broad world of what technology means.

How often do you talk to other tech reporters at The Times?

A lot [laughs]. This newsletter was intended to be a product of the entire newsroom at The Times, and also the Opinion section. All of our colleagues are writing about the role of technology in the world, way beyond the tech or business stuff. The people who write about West Africa are writing about technology and drone delivery of medicine. The politics reporters are writing about the role of technology in campaigns. Environmental reporters are writing about the environmental impact of various technologies or e-commerce. So the idea from the beginning was that this should show the breadth of the work that The Times does on technology and that it is intended to be a collegial newsletter.

Some of the previous On Tech newsletters have included interviews with colleagues, while others have had written sections. How are you thinking about the structure of the newsletter?

This is definitely going to evolve as we go on. I suspect the newsletter is going to look pretty different in a year than it does today. But I have tried to make this a mix of my voice on things, the expertise of my colleagues and outside experts through interview-style pieces. The great thing about The Times is that there are basically experts on every subject matter. And so, rather than me writing about digital privacy, why don’t I talk to Charlie Warzel or Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, a couple of our colleagues whose life’s work is basically writing about digital privacy issues.

What are you paying particular attention to right now?

The power of big technology companies: What does it mean for a handful of companies to have so much influence on the information people see, what products people buy and how we all interact with each other?

The other thing I try to talk about a lot is evaluating trade-offs. Any meaningful change is basically a set of drawbacks and benefits. For example, with facial recognition, how far are we willing to go to keep ourselves or others safe at the expense of privacy or the risk of people getting incorrectly identified as criminals? There’s also, I think, a fallacy that technology is somehow magic, that it always works and that it’s perfect. And I think that’s a little bit of a dangerous trap.

We forget that technology is made by humans. And humans are fallible.

A phrase that you will see me write a lot is, “technology is not magic.”

We forget about that all the time.

I think we’re seeing that now with the coronavirus, too. There’s been a lot of discussion about the ways that technology in our phones, for example, can help. If I come down with Covid-19, my phone can log all the people that I’ve come in contact with over the previous week and who may be at risk. I think there’s this feeling that either, “Oh, that’s super creepy,” or “Yes, do that. That sounds like a perfect solution.” And neither one is true.

How do you use technology in your own reporting?

I think I’m pretty old-school. I am staring at a reporter’s notebook that’s in front of me. I still use a lot of paper and pens. There are things I use to write and to pay attention to news: I’m on Twitter quite a lot, I’m on Slack quite a lot with my colleagues. But in terms of reporting, I still call a lot of people on the phone. I don’t think I’m a person who talks on the phone a lot in my personal life. But as a reporter, I am much better doing interviews over the phone than I am in person. And I think that I’ve become habituated to engaging with sources over the phone. That’s probably the majority of the conversations that I have. And so that is my reporter mode: on the telephone.

How do you use technology in your own life?

Twitter is my main habit. I tried really hard to limit my exposure to other kinds of social media, because I am one of those people who can become addicted to things. I said to a colleague today that I’m probably going to come out of this pandemic addicted to TikTok because it just feels like such an antidote to everything horrible in the world right now. TikTok feels like this place of creative joy. There is this virtual cycling app called Zwift . I can turn my bicycle into a fixed exercise bicycle, connect it to this app, and cycle in “Central Park” and ride with other virtual people at the same time. And I’ve been watching a ton of shows on Netflix.

What do you want readers to take away from On Tech?

I sometimes say that we’re basically showing people the matrix in the Keanu Reeves sense of the word. The idea is to show that tech is really everything and that it’s shaping our world in ways that we may not necessarily see. These changes in technology are influencing our behavior in ways that we may not necessarily be aware of. So the idea is to just make that matrix visible to people.

Sign up here to get the On Tech newsletter in your inbox every weekday.

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The cycling world can be intimidating. but with the right mind-set and gear you can make the most of human-powered transportation..

Are you new to urban biking? These tips  will help you make sure you are ready to get on the saddle .

Whether you’re mountain biking down a forested path or hitting the local rail trail, you’ll need the right gear . Wirecutter has plenty of recommendations , from which bike to buy  to the best bike locks .

Do you get nervous at the thought of cycling in the city? Here are some ways to get comfortable with traffic .

Learn how to store your bike properly and give it the maintenance it needs  in the colder weather.

  Not ready for mountain biking just yet? Try gravel biking instead . Here are five places in the United States  to explore on two wheels.

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Impacts of digital technologies on education and factors influencing schools' digital capacity and transformation: A literature review

Stella timotheou.

1 CYENS Center of Excellence & Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus Interaction Lab), Cyprus, CYENS Center of Excellence & Cyprus University of Technology, Nicosia-Limassol, Cyprus

Ourania Miliou

Yiannis dimitriadis.

2 Universidad de Valladolid (UVA), Spain, Valladolid, Spain

Sara Villagrá Sobrino

Nikoleta giannoutsou, romina cachia.

3 JRC - Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Seville, Spain

Alejandra Martínez Monés

Andri ioannou, associated data.

Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.

Digital technologies have brought changes to the nature and scope of education and led education systems worldwide to adopt strategies and policies for ICT integration. The latter brought about issues regarding the quality of teaching and learning with ICTs, especially concerning the understanding, adaptation, and design of the education systems in accordance with current technological trends. These issues were emphasized during the recent COVID-19 pandemic that accelerated the use of digital technologies in education, generating questions regarding digitalization in schools. Specifically, many schools demonstrated a lack of experience and low digital capacity, which resulted in widening gaps, inequalities, and learning losses. Such results have engendered the need for schools to learn and build upon the experience to enhance their digital capacity and preparedness, increase their digitalization levels, and achieve a successful digital transformation. Given that the integration of digital technologies is a complex and continuous process that impacts different actors within the school ecosystem, there is a need to show how these impacts are interconnected and identify the factors that can encourage an effective and efficient change in the school environments. For this purpose, we conducted a non-systematic literature review. The results of the literature review were organized thematically based on the evidence presented about the impact of digital technology on education and the factors that affect the schools’ digital capacity and digital transformation. The findings suggest that ICT integration in schools impacts more than just students’ performance; it affects several other school-related aspects and stakeholders, too. Furthermore, various factors affect the impact of digital technologies on education. These factors are interconnected and play a vital role in the digital transformation process. The study results shed light on how ICTs can positively contribute to the digital transformation of schools and which factors should be considered for schools to achieve effective and efficient change.

Introduction

Digital technologies have brought changes to the nature and scope of education. Versatile and disruptive technological innovations, such as smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and software applications have opened up new opportunities for advancing teaching and learning (Gaol & Prasolova-Førland, 2021 ; OECD, 2021 ). Hence, in recent years, education systems worldwide have increased their investment in the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) (Fernández-Gutiérrez et al., 2020 ; Lawrence & Tar, 2018 ) and prioritized their educational agendas to adapt strategies or policies around ICT integration (European Commission, 2019 ). The latter brought about issues regarding the quality of teaching and learning with ICTs (Bates, 2015 ), especially concerning the understanding, adaptation, and design of education systems in accordance with current technological trends (Balyer & Öz, 2018 ). Studies have shown that despite the investment made in the integration of technology in schools, the results have not been promising, and the intended outcomes have not yet been achieved (Delgado et al., 2015 ; Lawrence & Tar, 2018 ). These issues were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced teaching across education levels to move online (Daniel, 2020 ). Online teaching accelerated the use of digital technologies generating questions regarding the process, the nature, the extent, and the effectiveness of digitalization in schools (Cachia et al., 2021 ; König et al., 2020 ). Specifically, many schools demonstrated a lack of experience and low digital capacity, which resulted in widening gaps, inequalities, and learning losses (Blaskó et al., 2021 ; Di Pietro et al, 2020 ). Such results have engendered the need for schools to learn and build upon the experience in order to enhance their digital capacity (European Commission, 2020 ) and increase their digitalization levels (Costa et al., 2021 ). Digitalization offers possibilities for fundamental improvement in schools (OECD, 2021 ; Rott & Marouane, 2018 ) and touches many aspects of a school’s development (Delcker & Ifenthaler, 2021 ) . However, it is a complex process that requires large-scale transformative changes beyond the technical aspects of technology and infrastructure (Pettersson, 2021 ). Namely, digitalization refers to “ a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts and operating models ” (Brooks & McCormack, 2020 , p. 3) that brings cultural, organizational, and operational change through the integration of digital technologies (JISC, 2020 ). A successful digital transformation requires that schools increase their digital capacity levels, establishing the necessary “ culture, policies, infrastructure as well as digital competence of students and staff to support the effective integration of technology in teaching and learning practices ” (Costa et al, 2021 , p.163).

Given that the integration of digital technologies is a complex and continuous process that impacts different actors within the school ecosystem (Eng, 2005 ), there is a need to show how the different elements of the impact are interconnected and to identify the factors that can encourage an effective and efficient change in the school environment. To address the issues outlined above, we formulated the following research questions:

a) What is the impact of digital technologies on education?

b) Which factors might affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation?

In the present investigation, we conducted a non-systematic literature review of publications pertaining to the impact of digital technologies on education and the factors that affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation. The results of the literature review were organized thematically based on the evidence presented about the impact of digital technology on education and the factors which affect the schools’ digital capacity and digital transformation.

Methodology

The non-systematic literature review presented herein covers the main theories and research published over the past 17 years on the topic. It is based on meta-analyses and review papers found in scholarly, peer-reviewed content databases and other key studies and reports related to the concepts studied (e.g., digitalization, digital capacity) from professional and international bodies (e.g., the OECD). We searched the Scopus database, which indexes various online journals in the education sector with an international scope, to collect peer-reviewed academic papers. Furthermore, we used an all-inclusive Google Scholar search to include relevant key terms or to include studies found in the reference list of the peer-reviewed papers, and other key studies and reports related to the concepts studied by professional and international bodies. Lastly, we gathered sources from the Publications Office of the European Union ( https://op.europa.eu/en/home ); namely, documents that refer to policies related to digital transformation in education.

Regarding search terms, we first searched resources on the impact of digital technologies on education by performing the following search queries: “impact” OR “effects” AND “digital technologies” AND “education”, “impact” OR “effects” AND “ICT” AND “education”. We further refined our results by adding the terms “meta-analysis” and “review” or by adjusting the search options based on the features of each database to avoid collecting individual studies that would provide limited contributions to a particular domain. We relied on meta-analyses and review studies as these consider the findings of multiple studies to offer a more comprehensive view of the research in a given area (Schuele & Justice, 2006 ). Specifically, meta-analysis studies provided quantitative evidence based on statistically verifiable results regarding the impact of educational interventions that integrate digital technologies in school classrooms (Higgins et al., 2012 ; Tolani-Brown et al., 2011 ).

However, quantitative data does not offer explanations for the challenges or difficulties experienced during ICT integration in learning and teaching (Tolani-Brown et al., 2011 ). To fill this gap, we analyzed literature reviews and gathered in-depth qualitative evidence of the benefits and implications of technology integration in schools. In the analysis presented herein, we also included policy documents and reports from professional and international bodies and governmental reports, which offered useful explanations of the key concepts of this study and provided recent evidence on digital capacity and transformation in education along with policy recommendations. The inclusion and exclusion criteria that were considered in this study are presented in Table ​ Table1 1 .

Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the selection of resources on the impact of digital technologies on education

To ensure a reliable extraction of information from each study and assist the research synthesis we selected the study characteristics of interest (impact) and constructed coding forms. First, an overview of the synthesis was provided by the principal investigator who described the processes of coding, data entry, and data management. The coders followed the same set of instructions but worked independently. To ensure a common understanding of the process between coders, a sample of ten studies was tested. The results were compared, and the discrepancies were identified and resolved. Additionally, to ensure an efficient coding process, all coders participated in group meetings to discuss additions, deletions, and modifications (Stock, 1994 ). Due to the methodological diversity of the studied documents we began to synthesize the literature review findings based on similar study designs. Specifically, most of the meta-analysis studies were grouped in one category due to the quantitative nature of the measured impact. These studies tended to refer to student achievement (Hattie et al., 2014 ). Then, we organized the themes of the qualitative studies in several impact categories. Lastly, we synthesized both review and meta-analysis data across the categories. In order to establish a collective understanding of the concept of impact, we referred to a previous impact study by Balanskat ( 2009 ) which investigated the impact of technology in primary schools. In this context, the impact had a more specific ICT-related meaning and was described as “ a significant influence or effect of ICT on the measured or perceived quality of (parts of) education ” (Balanskat, 2009 , p. 9). In the study presented herein, the main impacts are in relation to learning and learners, teaching, and teachers, as well as other key stakeholders who are directly or indirectly connected to the school unit.

The study’s results identified multiple dimensions of the impact of digital technologies on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes; on equality, inclusion, and social integration; on teachers’ professional and teaching practices; and on other school-related aspects and stakeholders. The data analysis indicated various factors that might affect the schools’ digital capacity and transformation, such as digital competencies, the teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development, as well as the school’s leadership and management, administration, infrastructure, etc. The impacts and factors found in the literature review are presented below.

Impacts of digital technologies on students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and emotions

The impact of ICT use on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes has been investigated early in the literature. Eng ( 2005 ) found a small positive effect between ICT use and students' learning. Specifically, the author reported that access to computer-assisted instruction (CAI) programs in simulation or tutorial modes—used to supplement rather than substitute instruction – could enhance student learning. The author reported studies showing that teachers acknowledged the benefits of ICT on pupils with special educational needs; however, the impact of ICT on students' attainment was unclear. Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) found a statistically significant positive association between ICT use and higher student achievement in primary and secondary education. The authors also reported improvements in the performance of low-achieving pupils. The use of ICT resulted in further positive gains for students, namely increased attention, engagement, motivation, communication and process skills, teamwork, and gains related to their behaviour towards learning. Evidence from qualitative studies showed that teachers, students, and parents recognized the positive impact of ICT on students' learning regardless of their competence level (strong/weak students). Punie et al. ( 2006 ) documented studies that showed positive results of ICT-based learning for supporting low-achieving pupils and young people with complex lives outside the education system. Liao et al. ( 2007 ) reported moderate positive effects of computer application instruction (CAI, computer simulations, and web-based learning) over traditional instruction on primary school student's achievement. Similarly, Tamim et al. ( 2011 ) reported small to moderate positive effects between the use of computer technology (CAI, ICT, simulations, computer-based instruction, digital and hypermedia) and student achievement in formal face-to-face classrooms compared to classrooms that did not use technology. Jewitt et al., ( 2011 ) found that the use of learning platforms (LPs) (virtual learning environments, management information systems, communication technologies, and information- and resource-sharing technologies) in schools allowed primary and secondary students to access a wider variety of quality learning resources, engage in independent and personalized learning, and conduct self- and peer-review; LPs also provide opportunities for teacher assessment and feedback. Similar findings were reported by Fu ( 2013 ), who documented a list of benefits and opportunities of ICT use. According to the author, the use of ICTs helps students access digital information and course content effectively and efficiently, supports student-centered and self-directed learning, as well as the development of a creative learning environment where more opportunities for critical thinking skills are offered, and promotes collaborative learning in a distance-learning environment. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) found consistent but small positive associations between the use of technology and learning outcomes of school-age learners (5–18-year-olds) in studies linking the provision and use of technology with attainment. Additionally, Chauhan ( 2017 ) reported a medium positive effect of technology on the learning effectiveness of primary school students compared to students who followed traditional learning instruction.

The rise of mobile technologies and hardware devices instigated investigations into their impact on teaching and learning. Sung et al. ( 2016 ) reported a moderate effect on students' performance from the use of mobile devices in the classroom compared to the use of desktop computers or the non-use of mobile devices. Schmid et al. ( 2014 ) reported medium–low to low positive effects of technology integration (e.g., CAI, ICTs) in the classroom on students' achievement and attitude compared to not using technology or using technology to varying degrees. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) found a low statistically significant effect of the use of tablets and other smart devices in educational contexts on students' achievement outcomes. The authors suggested that tablets offered additional advantages to students; namely, they reported improvements in students’ notetaking, organizational and communication skills, and creativity. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported a small positive effect of one-to-one laptop programs on students’ academic achievement across subject areas. Additional reported benefits included student-centered, individualized, and project-based learning enhanced learner engagement and enthusiasm. Additionally, the authors found that students using one-to-one laptop programs tended to use technology more frequently than in non-laptop classrooms, and as a result, they developed a range of skills (e.g., information skills, media skills, technology skills, organizational skills). Haßler et al. ( 2016 ) found that most interventions that included the use of tablets across the curriculum reported positive learning outcomes. However, from 23 studies, five reported no differences, and two reported a negative effect on students' learning outcomes. Similar results were indicated by Kalati and Kim ( 2022 ) who investigated the effect of touchscreen technologies on young students’ learning. Specifically, from 53 studies, 34 advocated positive effects of touchscreen devices on children’s learning, 17 obtained mixed findings and two studies reported negative effects.

More recently, approaches that refer to the impact of gamification with the use of digital technologies on teaching and learning were also explored. A review by Pan et al. ( 2022 ) that examined the role of learning games in fostering mathematics education in K-12 settings, reported that gameplay improved students’ performance. Integration of digital games in teaching was also found as a promising pedagogical practice in STEM education that could lead to increased learning gains (Martinez et al., 2022 ; Wang et al., 2022 ). However, although Talan et al. ( 2020 ) reported a medium effect of the use of educational games (both digital and non-digital) on academic achievement, the effect of non-digital games was higher.

Over the last two years, the effects of more advanced technologies on teaching and learning were also investigated. Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) found that AR applications had a medium effect on students' learning outcomes compared to traditional lectures. Similarly, Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) showed that AR had a medium impact on students' learning gains. VR applications integrated into various subjects were also found to have a moderate effect on students’ learning compared to control conditions (traditional classes, e.g., lectures, textbooks, and multimedia use, e.g., images, videos, animation, CAI) (Chen et al., 2022b ). Villena-Taranilla et al. ( 2022 ) noted the moderate effect of VR technologies on students’ learning when these were applied in STEM disciplines. In the same meta-analysis, Villena-Taranilla et al. ( 2022 ) highlighted the role of immersive VR, since its effect on students’ learning was greater (at a high level) across educational levels (K-6) compared to semi-immersive and non-immersive integrations. In another meta-analysis study, the effect size of the immersive VR was small and significantly differentiated across educational levels (Coban et al., 2022 ). The impact of AI on education was investigated by Su and Yang ( 2022 ) and Su et al. ( 2022 ), who showed that this technology significantly improved students’ understanding of AI computer science and machine learning concepts.

It is worth noting that the vast majority of studies referred to learning gains in specific subjects. Specifically, several studies examined the impact of digital technologies on students’ literacy skills and reported positive effects on language learning (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Grgurović et al., 2013 ; Friedel et al., 2013 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ; Chen et al., 2022b ; Savva et al., 2022 ). Also, several studies documented positive effects on specific language learning areas, namely foreign language learning (Kao, 2014 ), writing (Higgins et al., 2012 ; Wen & Walters, 2022 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ), as well as reading and comprehension (Cheung & Slavin, 2011 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Schwabe et al., 2022 ). ICTs were also found to have a positive impact on students' performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines (Arztmann et al., 2022 ; Bado, 2022 ; Villena-Taranilla et al., 2022 ; Wang et al., 2022 ). Specifically, a number of studies reported positive impacts on students’ achievement in mathematics (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Hillmayr et al., 2020 ; Li & Ma, 2010 ; Pan et al., 2022 ; Ran et al., 2022 ; Verschaffel et al., 2019 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ). Furthermore, studies documented positive effects of ICTs on science learning (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ; Hillmayr et al., 2020 ; Kalemkuş & Kalemkuş, 2022 ; Lei et al., 2022a ). Çelik ( 2022 ) also noted that computer simulations can help students understand learning concepts related to science. Furthermore, some studies documented that the use of ICTs had a positive impact on students’ achievement in other subjects, such as geography, history, music, and arts (Chauhan, 2017 ; Condie & Munro, 2007 ), and design and technology (Balanskat et al., 2006 ).

More specific positive learning gains were reported in a number of skills, e.g., problem-solving skills and pattern exploration skills (Higgins et al., 2012 ), metacognitive learning outcomes (Verschaffel et al., 2019 ), literacy skills, computational thinking skills, emotion control skills, and collaborative inquiry skills (Lu et al., 2022 ; Su & Yang, 2022 ; Su et al., 2022 ). Additionally, several investigations have reported benefits from the use of ICT on students’ creativity (Fielding & Murcia, 2022 ; Liu et al., 2022 ; Quah & Ng, 2022 ). Lastly, digital technologies were also found to be beneficial for enhancing students’ lifelong learning skills (Haleem et al., 2022 ).

Apart from gaining knowledge and skills, studies also reported improvement in motivation and interest in mathematics (Higgins et. al., 2019 ; Fadda et al., 2022 ) and increased positive achievement emotions towards several subjects during interventions using educational games (Lei et al., 2022a ). Chen et al. ( 2022a ) also reported a small but positive effect of digital health approaches in bullying and cyberbullying interventions with K-12 students, demonstrating that technology-based approaches can help reduce bullying and related consequences by providing emotional support, empowerment, and change of attitude. In their meta-review study, Su et al. ( 2022 ) also documented that AI technologies effectively strengthened students’ attitudes towards learning. In another meta-analysis, Arztmann et al. ( 2022 ) reported positive effects of digital games on motivation and behaviour towards STEM subjects.

Impacts of digital technologies on equality, inclusion and social integration

Although most of the reviewed studies focused on the impact of ICTs on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, reports were also made on other aspects in the school context, such as equality, inclusion, and social integration. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) documented research interventions investigating how ICT can support pupils with additional or special educational needs. While those interventions were relatively small scale and mostly based on qualitative data, their findings indicated that the use of ICTs enabled the development of communication, participation, and self-esteem. A recent meta-analysis (Baragash et al., 2022 ) with 119 participants with different disabilities, reported a significant overall effect size of AR on their functional skills acquisition. Koh’s meta-analysis ( 2022 ) also revealed that students with intellectual and developmental disabilities improved their competence and performance when they used digital games in the lessons.

Istenic Starcic and Bagon ( 2014 ) found that the role of ICT in inclusion and the design of pedagogical and technological interventions was not sufficiently explored in educational interventions with people with special needs; however, some benefits of ICT use were found in students’ social integration. The issue of gender and technology use was mentioned in a small number of studies. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported a statistically significant positive interaction between one-to-one laptop programs and gender. Specifically, the results showed that girls and boys alike benefitted from the laptop program, but the effect on girls’ achievement was smaller than that on boys’. Along the same lines, Arztmann et al. ( 2022 ) reported no difference in the impact of game-based learning between boys and girls, arguing that boys and girls equally benefited from game-based interventions in STEM domains. However, results from a systematic review by Cussó-Calabuig et al. ( 2018 ) found limited and low-quality evidence on the effects of intensive use of computers on gender differences in computer anxiety, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. Based on their view, intensive use of computers can reduce gender differences in some areas and not in others, depending on contextual and implementation factors.

Impacts of digital technologies on teachers’ professional and teaching practices

Various research studies have explored the impact of ICT on teachers’ instructional practices and student assessment. Friedel et al. ( 2013 ) found that the use of mobile devices by students enabled teachers to successfully deliver content (e.g., mobile serious games), provide scaffolding, and facilitate synchronous collaborative learning. The integration of digital games in teaching and learning activities also gave teachers the opportunity to study and apply various pedagogical practices (Bado, 2022 ). Specifically, Bado ( 2022 ) found that teachers who implemented instructional activities in three stages (pre-game, game, and post-game) maximized students’ learning outcomes and engagement. For instance, during the pre-game stage, teachers focused on lectures and gameplay training, at the game stage teachers provided scaffolding on content, addressed technical issues, and managed the classroom activities. During the post-game stage, teachers organized activities for debriefing to ensure that the gameplay had indeed enhanced students’ learning outcomes.

Furthermore, ICT can increase efficiency in lesson planning and preparation by offering possibilities for a more collaborative approach among teachers. The sharing of curriculum plans and the analysis of students’ data led to clearer target settings and improvements in reporting to parents (Balanskat et al., 2006 ).

Additionally, the use and application of digital technologies in teaching and learning were found to enhance teachers’ digital competence. Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) documented studies that revealed that the use of digital technologies in education had a positive effect on teachers’ basic ICT skills. The greatest impact was found on teachers with enough experience in integrating ICTs in their teaching and/or who had recently participated in development courses for the pedagogical use of technologies in teaching. Punie et al. ( 2006 ) reported that the provision of fully equipped multimedia portable computers and the development of online teacher communities had positive impacts on teachers’ confidence and competence in the use of ICTs.

Moreover, online assessment via ICTs benefits instruction. In particular, online assessments support the digitalization of students’ work and related logistics, allow teachers to gather immediate feedback and readjust to new objectives, and support the improvement of the technical quality of tests by providing more accurate results. Additionally, the capabilities of ICTs (e.g., interactive media, simulations) create new potential methods of testing specific skills, such as problem-solving and problem-processing skills, meta-cognitive skills, creativity and communication skills, and the ability to work productively in groups (Punie et al., 2006 ).

Impacts of digital technologies on other school-related aspects and stakeholders

There is evidence that the effective use of ICTs and the data transmission offered by broadband connections help improve administration (Balanskat et al., 2006 ). Specifically, ICTs have been found to provide better management systems to schools that have data gathering procedures in place. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) reported impacts from the use of ICTs in schools in the following areas: attendance monitoring, assessment records, reporting to parents, financial management, creation of repositories for learning resources, and sharing of information amongst staff. Such data can be used strategically for self-evaluation and monitoring purposes which in turn can result in school improvements. Additionally, they reported that online access to other people with similar roles helped to reduce headteachers’ isolation by offering them opportunities to share insights into the use of ICT in learning and teaching and how it could be used to support school improvement. Furthermore, ICTs provided more efficient and successful examination management procedures, namely less time-consuming reporting processes compared to paper-based examinations and smooth communications between schools and examination authorities through electronic data exchange (Punie et al., 2006 ).

Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported that the use of ICTs improved home-school relationships. Additionally, Escueta et al. ( 2017 ) reported several ICT programs that had improved the flow of information from the school to parents. Particularly, they documented that the use of ICTs (learning management systems, emails, dedicated websites, mobile phones) allowed for personalized and customized information exchange between schools and parents, such as attendance records, upcoming class assignments, school events, and students’ grades, which generated positive results on students’ learning outcomes and attainment. Such information exchange between schools and families prompted parents to encourage their children to put more effort into their schoolwork.

The above findings suggest that the impact of ICT integration in schools goes beyond students’ performance in school subjects. Specifically, it affects a number of school-related aspects, such as equality and social integration, professional and teaching practices, and diverse stakeholders. In Table ​ Table2, 2 , we summarize the different impacts of digital technologies on school stakeholders based on the literature review, while in Table ​ Table3 3 we organized the tools/platforms and practices/policies addressed in the meta-analyses, literature reviews, EU reports, and international bodies included in the manuscript.

The impact of digital technologies on schools’ stakeholders based on the literature review

Tools/platforms and practices/policies addressed in the meta-analyses, literature reviews, EU reports, and international bodies included in the manuscript

Additionally, based on the results of the literature review, there are many types of digital technologies with different affordances (see, for example, studies on VR vs Immersive VR), which evolve over time (e.g. starting from CAIs in 2005 to Augmented and Virtual reality 2020). Furthermore, these technologies are linked to different pedagogies and policy initiatives, which are critical factors in the study of impact. Table ​ Table3 3 summarizes the different tools and practices that have been used to examine the impact of digital technologies on education since 2005 based on the review results.

Factors that affect the integration of digital technologies

Although the analysis of the literature review demonstrated different impacts of the use of digital technology on education, several authors highlighted the importance of various factors, besides the technology itself, that affect this impact. For example, Liao et al. ( 2007 ) suggested that future studies should carefully investigate which factors contribute to positive outcomes by clarifying the exact relationship between computer applications and learning. Additionally, Haßler et al., ( 2016 ) suggested that the neutral findings regarding the impact of tablets on students learning outcomes in some of the studies included in their review should encourage educators, school leaders, and school officials to further investigate the potential of such devices in teaching and learning. Several other researchers suggested that a number of variables play a significant role in the impact of ICTs on students’ learning that could be attributed to the school context, teaching practices and professional development, the curriculum, and learners’ characteristics (Underwood, 2009 ; Tamim et al., 2011 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Archer et al., 2014 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Haßler et al., 2016 ; Chauhan, 2017 ; Lee et al., 2020 ; Tang et al., 2022 ).

Digital competencies

One of the most common challenges reported in studies that utilized digital tools in the classroom was the lack of students’ skills on how to use them. Fu ( 2013 ) found that students’ lack of technical skills is a barrier to the effective use of ICT in the classroom. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) reported that students faced challenges when using tablets and smart mobile devices, associated with the technical issues or expertise needed for their use and the distracting nature of the devices and highlighted the need for teachers’ professional development. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) reported that skills training about the use of digital technologies is essential for learners to fully exploit the benefits of instruction.

Delgado et al. ( 2015 ), meanwhile, reported studies that showed a strong positive association between teachers’ computer skills and students’ use of computers. Teachers’ lack of ICT skills and familiarization with technologies can become a constraint to the effective use of technology in the classroom (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Delgado et al., 2015 ).

It is worth noting that the way teachers are introduced to ICTs affects the impact of digital technologies on education. Previous studies have shown that teachers may avoid using digital technologies due to limited digital skills (Balanskat, 2006 ), or they prefer applying “safe” technologies, namely technologies that their own teachers used and with which they are familiar (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). In this regard, the provision of digital skills training and exposure to new digital tools might encourage teachers to apply various technologies in their lessons (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). Apart from digital competence, technical support in the school setting has also been shown to affect teachers’ use of technology in their classrooms (Delgado et al., 2015 ). Ferrari et al. ( 2011 ) found that while teachers’ use of ICT is high, 75% stated that they needed more institutional support and a shift in the mindset of educational actors to achieve more innovative teaching practices. The provision of support can reduce time and effort as well as cognitive constraints, which could cause limited ICT integration in the school lessons by teachers (Escueta et al., 2017 ).

Teachers’ personal characteristics, training approaches, and professional development

Teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development affect the impact of digital technologies on education. Specifically, Cheok and Wong ( 2015 ) found that teachers’ personal characteristics (e.g., anxiety, self-efficacy) are associated with their satisfaction and engagement with technology. Bingimlas ( 2009 ) reported that lack of confidence, resistance to change, and negative attitudes in using new technologies in teaching are significant determinants of teachers’ levels of engagement in ICT. The same author reported that the provision of technical support, motivation support (e.g., awards, sufficient time for planning), and training on how technologies can benefit teaching and learning can eliminate the above barriers to ICT integration. Archer et al. ( 2014 ) found that comfort levels in using technology are an important predictor of technology integration and argued that it is essential to provide teachers with appropriate training and ongoing support until they are comfortable with using ICTs in the classroom. Hillmayr et al. ( 2020 ) documented that training teachers on ICT had an important effecton students’ learning.

According to Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ), the impact of ICTs on students’ learning is highly dependent on the teachers’ capacity to efficiently exploit their application for pedagogical purposes. Results obtained from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) (OECD, 2021 ) revealed that although schools are open to innovative practices and have the capacity to adopt them, only 39% of teachers in the European Union reported that they are well or very well prepared to use digital technologies for teaching. Li and Ma ( 2010 ) and Hardman ( 2019 ) showed that the positive effect of technology on students’ achievement depends on the pedagogical practices used by teachers. Schmid et al. ( 2014 ) reported that learning was best supported when students were engaged in active, meaningful activities with the use of technological tools that provided cognitive support. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) compared two different pedagogical uses of tablets and found a significant moderate effect when the devices were used in a student-centered context and approach rather than within teacher-led environments. Similarly, Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) and Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) reported that the positive results from the integration of AR applications could be attributed to the existence of different variables which could influence AR interventions (e.g., pedagogical approach, learning environment, and duration of the intervention). Additionally, Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) suggested that the pedagogical resources that teachers used to complement their lectures and the pedagogical approaches they applied were crucial to the effective integration of AR on students’ learning gains. Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) also emphasized that the success of a technology-enhanced intervention is based on both the technology per se and its characteristics and on the pedagogical strategies teachers choose to implement. For instance, their results indicated that the collaborative learning approach had the highest impact on students’ learning gains among other approaches (e.g., inquiry-based learning, situated learning, or project-based learning). Ran et al. ( 2022 ) also found that the use of technology to design collaborative and communicative environments showed the largest moderator effects among the other approaches.

Hattie ( 2008 ) reported that the effective use of computers is associated with training teachers in using computers as a teaching and learning tool. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) noted that in addition to the strategies teachers adopt in teaching, ongoing professional development is also vital in ensuring the success of technology implementation programs. Sung et al. ( 2016 ) found that research on the use of mobile devices to support learning tends to report that the insufficient preparation of teachers is a major obstacle in implementing effective mobile learning programs in schools. Friedel et al. ( 2013 ) found that providing training and support to teachers increased the positive impact of the interventions on students’ learning gains. Trucano ( 2005 ) argued that positive impacts occur when digital technologies are used to enhance teachers’ existing pedagogical philosophies. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) found that the types of technologies used and how they are used could also affect students’ learning. The authors suggested that training and professional development of teachers that focuses on the effective pedagogical use of technology to support teaching and learning is an important component of successful instructional approaches (Higgins et al., 2012 ). Archer et al. ( 2014 ) found that studies that reported ICT interventions during which teachers received training and support had moderate positive effects on students’ learning outcomes, which were significantly higher than studies where little or no detail about training and support was mentioned. Fu ( 2013 ) reported that the lack of teachers’ knowledge and skills on the technical and instructional aspects of ICT use in the classroom, in-service training, pedagogy support, technical and financial support, as well as the lack of teachers’ motivation and encouragement to integrate ICT on their teaching were significant barriers to the integration of ICT in education.

School leadership and management

Management and leadership are important cornerstones in the digital transformation process (Pihir et al., 2018 ). Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) documented leadership among the factors positively affecting the successful implementation of technology integration in schools. Strong leadership, strategic planning, and systematic integration of digital technologies are prerequisites for the digital transformation of education systems (Ređep, 2021 ). Management and leadership play a significant role in formulating policies that are translated into practice and ensure that developments in ICT become embedded into the life of the school and in the experiences of staff and pupils (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). Policy support and leadership must include the provision of an overall vision for the use of digital technologies in education, guidance for students and parents, logistical support, as well as teacher training (Conrads et al., 2017 ). Unless there is a commitment throughout the school, with accountability for progress at key points, it is unlikely for ICT integration to be sustained or become part of the culture (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). To achieve this, principals need to adopt and promote a whole-institution strategy and build a strong mutual support system that enables the school’s technological maturity (European Commission, 2019 ). In this context, school culture plays an essential role in shaping the mindsets and beliefs of school actors towards successful technology integration. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) emphasized the importance of the principal’s enthusiasm and work as a source of inspiration for the school staff and the students to cultivate a culture of innovation and establish sustainable digital change. Specifically, school leaders need to create conditions in which the school staff is empowered to experiment and take risks with technology (Elkordy & Lovinelli, 2020 ).

In order for leaders to achieve the above, it is important to develop capacities for learning and leading, advocating professional learning, and creating support systems and structures (European Commission, 2019 ). Digital technology integration in education systems can be challenging and leadership needs guidance to achieve it. Such guidance can be introduced through the adoption of new methods and techniques in strategic planning for the integration of digital technologies (Ređep, 2021 ). Even though the role of leaders is vital, the relevant training offered to them has so far been inadequate. Specifically, only a third of the education systems in Europe have put in place national strategies that explicitly refer to the training of school principals (European Commission, 2019 , p. 16).

Connectivity, infrastructure, and government and other support

The effective integration of digital technologies across levels of education presupposes the development of infrastructure, the provision of digital content, and the selection of proper resources (Voogt et al., 2013 ). Particularly, a high-quality broadband connection in the school increases the quality and quantity of educational activities. There is evidence that ICT increases and formalizes cooperative planning between teachers and cooperation with managers, which in turn has a positive impact on teaching practices (Balanskat et al., 2006 ). Additionally, ICT resources, including software and hardware, increase the likelihood of teachers integrating technology into the curriculum to enhance their teaching practices (Delgado et al., 2015 ). For example, Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) found that the use of one-on-one laptop programs resulted in positive changes in teaching and learning, which would not have been accomplished without the infrastructure and technical support provided to teachers. Delgado et al. ( 2015 ) reported that limited access to technology (insufficient computers, peripherals, and software) and lack of technical support are important barriers to ICT integration. Access to infrastructure refers not only to the availability of technology in a school but also to the provision of a proper amount and the right types of technology in locations where teachers and students can use them. Effective technical support is a central element of the whole-school strategy for ICT (Underwood, 2009 ). Bingimlas ( 2009 ) reported that lack of technical support in the classroom and whole-school resources (e.g., failing to connect to the Internet, printers not printing, malfunctioning computers, and working on old computers) are significant barriers that discourage the use of ICT by teachers. Moreover, poor quality and inadequate hardware maintenance, and unsuitable educational software may discourage teachers from using ICTs (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Bingimlas, 2009 ).

Government support can also impact the integration of ICTs in teaching. Specifically, Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) reported that government interventions and training programs increased teachers’ enthusiasm and positive attitudes towards ICT and led to the routine use of embedded ICT.

Lastly, another important factor affecting digital transformation is the development and quality assurance of digital learning resources. Such resources can be support textbooks and related materials or resources that focus on specific subjects or parts of the curriculum. Policies on the provision of digital learning resources are essential for schools and can be achieved through various actions. For example, some countries are financing web portals that become repositories, enabling teachers to share resources or create their own. Additionally, they may offer e-learning opportunities or other services linked to digital education. In other cases, specific agencies of projects have also been set up to develop digital resources (Eurydice, 2019 ).

Administration and digital data management

The digital transformation of schools involves organizational improvements at the level of internal workflows, communication between the different stakeholders, and potential for collaboration. Vuorikari et al. ( 2020 ) presented evidence that digital technologies supported the automation of administrative practices in schools and reduced the administration’s workload. There is evidence that digital data affects the production of knowledge about schools and has the power to transform how schooling takes place. Specifically, Sellar ( 2015 ) reported that data infrastructure in education is developing due to the demand for “ information about student outcomes, teacher quality, school performance, and adult skills, associated with policy efforts to increase human capital and productivity practices ” (p. 771). In this regard, practices, such as datafication which refers to the “ translation of information about all kinds of things and processes into quantified formats” have become essential for decision-making based on accountability reports about the school’s quality. The data could be turned into deep insights about education or training incorporating ICTs. For example, measuring students’ online engagement with the learning material and drawing meaningful conclusions can allow teachers to improve their educational interventions (Vuorikari et al., 2020 ).

Students’ socioeconomic background and family support

Research show that the active engagement of parents in the school and their support for the school’s work can make a difference to their children’s attitudes towards learning and, as a result, their achievement (Hattie, 2008 ). In recent years, digital technologies have been used for more effective communication between school and family (Escueta et al., 2017 ). The European Commission ( 2020 ) presented data from a Eurostat survey regarding the use of computers by students during the pandemic. The data showed that younger pupils needed additional support and guidance from parents and the challenges were greater for families in which parents had lower levels of education and little to no digital skills.

In this regard, the socio-economic background of the learners and their socio-cultural environment also affect educational achievements (Punie et al., 2006 ). Trucano documented that the use of computers at home positively influenced students’ confidence and resulted in more frequent use at school, compared to students who had no home access (Trucano, 2005 ). In this sense, the socio-economic background affects the access to computers at home (OECD, 2015 ) which in turn influences the experience of ICT, an important factor for school achievement (Punie et al., 2006 ; Underwood, 2009 ). Furthermore, parents from different socio-economic backgrounds may have different abilities and availability to support their children in their learning process (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ).

Schools’ socioeconomic context and emergency situations

The socio-economic context of the school is closely related to a school’s digital transformation. For example, schools in disadvantaged, rural, or deprived areas are likely to lack the digital capacity and infrastructure required to adapt to the use of digital technologies during emergency periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ). Data collected from school principals confirmed that in several countries, there is a rural/urban divide in connectivity (OECD, 2015 ).

Emergency periods also affect the digitalization of schools. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of schools and forced them to seek appropriate and connective ways to keep working on the curriculum (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ). The sudden large-scale shift to distance and online teaching and learning also presented challenges around quality and equity in education, such as the risk of increased inequalities in learning, digital, and social, as well as teachers facing difficulties coping with this demanding situation (European Commission, 2020 ).

Looking at the findings of the above studies, we can conclude that the impact of digital technologies on education is influenced by various actors and touches many aspects of the school ecosystem. Figure  1 summarizes the factors affecting the digital technologies’ impact on school stakeholders based on the findings from the literature review.

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Factors that affect the impact of ICTs on education

The findings revealed that the use of digital technologies in education affects a variety of actors within a school’s ecosystem. First, we observed that as technologies evolve, so does the interest of the research community to apply them to school settings. Figure  2 summarizes the trends identified in current research around the impact of digital technologies on schools’ digital capacity and transformation as found in the present study. Starting as early as 2005, when computers, simulations, and interactive boards were the most commonly applied tools in school interventions (e.g., Eng, 2005 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Moran et al., 2008 ; Tamim et al., 2011 ), moving towards the use of learning platforms (Jewitt et al., 2011 ), then to the use of mobile devices and digital games (e.g., Tamim et al., 2015 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Talan et al., 2020 ), as well as e-books (e.g., Savva et al., 2022 ), to the more recent advanced technologies, such as AR and VR applications (e.g., Garzón & Acevedo, 2019 ; Garzón et al., 2020 ; Kalemkuş & Kalemkuş, 2022 ), or robotics and AI (e.g., Su & Yang, 2022 ; Su et al., 2022 ). As this evolution shows, digital technologies are a concept in flux with different affordances and characteristics. Additionally, from an instructional perspective, there has been a growing interest in different modes and models of content delivery such as online, blended, and hybrid modes (e.g., Cheok & Wong, 2015 ; Kazu & Yalçin, 2022 ; Ulum, 2022 ). This is an indication that the value of technologies to support teaching and learning as well as other school-related practices is increasingly recognized by the research and school community. The impact results from the literature review indicate that ICT integration on students’ learning outcomes has effects that are small (Coban et al., 2022 ; Eng, 2005 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Schmid et al., 2014 ; Tamim et al., 2015 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ) to moderate (Garzón & Acevedo, 2019 ; Garzón et al., 2020 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Talan et al., 2020 ; Wen & Walters, 2022 ). That said, a number of recent studies have reported high effect sizes (e.g., Kazu & Yalçin, 2022 ).

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Current work and trends in the study of the impact of digital technologies on schools’ digital capacity

Based on these findings, several authors have suggested that the impact of technology on education depends on several variables and not on the technology per se (Tamim et al., 2011 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Archer et al., 2014 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Haßler et al., 2016 ; Chauhan, 2017 ; Lee et al., 2020 ; Lei et al., 2022a ). While the impact of ICTs on student achievement has been thoroughly investigated by researchers, other aspects related to school life that are also affected by ICTs, such as equality, inclusion, and social integration have received less attention. Further analysis of the literature review has revealed a greater investment in ICT interventions to support learning and teaching in the core subjects of literacy and STEM disciplines, especially mathematics, and science. These were the most common subjects studied in the reviewed papers often drawing on national testing results, while studies that investigated other subject areas, such as social studies, were limited (Chauhan, 2017 ; Condie & Munro, 2007 ). As such, research is still lacking impact studies that focus on the effects of ICTs on a range of curriculum subjects.

The qualitative research provided additional information about the impact of digital technologies on education, documenting positive effects and giving more details about implications, recommendations, and future research directions. Specifically, the findings regarding the role of ICTs in supporting learning highlight the importance of teachers’ instructional practice and the learning context in the use of technologies and consequently their impact on instruction (Çelik, 2022 ; Schmid et al., 2014 ; Tamim et al., 2015 ). The review also provided useful insights regarding the various factors that affect the impact of digital technologies on education. These factors are interconnected and play a vital role in the transformation process. Specifically, these factors include a) digital competencies; b) teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development; c) school leadership and management; d) connectivity, infrastructure, and government support; e) administration and data management practices; f) students’ socio-economic background and family support and g) the socioeconomic context of the school and emergency situations. It is worth noting that we observed factors that affect the integration of ICTs in education but may also be affected by it. For example, the frequent use of ICTs and the use of laptops by students for instructional purposes positively affect the development of digital competencies (Zheng et al., 2016 ) and at the same time, the digital competencies affect the use of ICTs (Fu, 2013 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ). As a result, the impact of digital technologies should be explored more as an enabler of desirable and new practices and not merely as a catalyst that improves the output of the education process i.e. namely student attainment.

Conclusions

Digital technologies offer immense potential for fundamental improvement in schools. However, investment in ICT infrastructure and professional development to improve school education are yet to provide fruitful results. Digital transformation is a complex process that requires large-scale transformative changes that presuppose digital capacity and preparedness. To achieve such changes, all actors within the school’s ecosystem need to share a common vision regarding the integration of ICTs in education and work towards achieving this goal. Our literature review, which synthesized quantitative and qualitative data from a list of meta-analyses and review studies, provided useful insights into the impact of ICTs on different school stakeholders and showed that the impact of digital technologies touches upon many different aspects of school life, which are often overlooked when the focus is on student achievement as the final output of education. Furthermore, the concept of digital technologies is a concept in flux as technologies are not only different among them calling for different uses in the educational practice but they also change through time. Additionally, we opened a forum for discussion regarding the factors that affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation. We hope that our study will inform policy, practice, and research and result in a paradigm shift towards more holistic approaches in impact and assessment studies.

Study limitations and future directions

We presented a review of the study of digital technologies' impact on education and factors influencing schools’ digital capacity and transformation. The study results were based on a non-systematic literature review grounded on the acquisition of documentation in specific databases. Future studies should investigate more databases to corroborate and enhance our results. Moreover, search queries could be enhanced with key terms that could provide additional insights about the integration of ICTs in education, such as “policies and strategies for ICT integration in education”. Also, the study drew information from meta-analyses and literature reviews to acquire evidence about the effects of ICT integration in schools. Such evidence was mostly based on the general conclusions of the studies. It is worth mentioning that, we located individual studies which showed different, such as negative or neutral results. Thus, further insights are needed about the impact of ICTs on education and the factors influencing the impact. Furthermore, the nature of the studies included in meta-analyses and reviews is different as they are based on different research methodologies and data gathering processes. For instance, in a meta-analysis, the impact among the studies investigated is measured in a particular way, depending on policy or research targets (e.g., results from national examinations, pre-/post-tests). Meanwhile, in literature reviews, qualitative studies offer additional insights and detail based on self-reports and research opinions on several different aspects and stakeholders who could affect and be affected by ICT integration. As a result, it was challenging to draw causal relationships between so many interrelating variables.

Despite the challenges mentioned above, this study envisaged examining school units as ecosystems that consist of several actors by bringing together several variables from different research epistemologies to provide an understanding of the integration of ICTs. However, the use of other tools and methodologies and models for evaluation of the impact of digital technologies on education could give more detailed data and more accurate results. For instance, self-reflection tools, like SELFIE—developed on the DigCompOrg framework- (Kampylis et al., 2015 ; Bocconi & Lightfoot, 2021 ) can help capture a school’s digital capacity and better assess the impact of ICTs on education. Furthermore, the development of a theory of change could be a good approach for documenting the impact of digital technologies on education. Specifically, theories of change are models used for the evaluation of interventions and their impact; they are developed to describe how interventions will work and give the desired outcomes (Mayne, 2015 ). Theory of change as a methodological approach has also been used by researchers to develop models for evaluation in the field of education (e.g., Aromatario et al., 2019 ; Chapman & Sammons, 2013 ; De Silva et al., 2014 ).

We also propose that future studies aim at similar investigations by applying more holistic approaches for impact assessment that can provide in-depth data about the impact of digital technologies on education. For instance, future studies could focus on different research questions about the technologies that are used during the interventions or the way the implementation takes place (e.g., What methodologies are used for documenting impact? How are experimental studies implemented? How can teachers be taken into account and trained on the technology and its functions? What are the elements of an appropriate and successful implementation? How is the whole intervention designed? On which learning theories is the technology implementation based?).

Future research could also focus on assessing the impact of digital technologies on various other subjects since there is a scarcity of research related to particular subjects, such as geography, history, arts, music, and design and technology. More research should also be done about the impact of ICTs on skills, emotions, and attitudes, and on equality, inclusion, social interaction, and special needs education. There is also a need for more research about the impact of ICTs on administration, management, digitalization, and home-school relationships. Additionally, although new forms of teaching and learning with the use of ICTs (e.g., blended, hybrid, and online learning) have initiated several investigations in mainstream classrooms, only a few studies have measured their impact on students’ learning. Additionally, our review did not document any study about the impact of flipped classrooms on K-12 education. Regarding teaching and learning approaches, it is worth noting that studies referred to STEM or STEAM did not investigate the impact of STEM/STEAM as an interdisciplinary approach to learning but only investigated the impact of ICTs on learning in each domain as a separate subject (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Hence, we propose future research to also investigate the impact of the STEM/STEAM approach on education. The impact of emerging technologies on education, such as AR, VR, robotics, and AI has also been investigated recently, but more work needs to be done.

Finally, we propose that future studies could focus on the way in which specific factors, e.g., infrastructure and government support, school leadership and management, students’ and teachers’ digital competencies, approaches teachers utilize in the teaching and learning (e.g., blended, online and hybrid learning, flipped classrooms, STEM/STEAM approach, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning), affect the impact of digital technologies on education. We hope that future studies will give detailed insights into the concept of schools’ digital transformation through further investigation of impacts and factors which influence digital capacity and transformation based on the results and the recommendations of the present study.

Acknowledgements

This project has received funding under Grant Agreement No Ref Ares (2021) 339036 7483039 as well as funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement No 739578 and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy. The UVa co-authors would like also to acknowledge funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the National Research Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, under project grant PID2020-112584RB-C32.

Data availability statement

Declarations.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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January 27, 2024

Modern technology has a great impact on our environment

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no specialist knowledge.

Write about the following topic:

Modern technology has a great impact on our environment. Some say that people should adopt a simple lifestyle to solve this problem, while others argue that the technology itself should provide a solution. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample Answer:

In today’s world, modern technology has undeniably had a significant impact on our environment. While some individuals advocate for adopting a simpler lifestyle as a means of mitigating this issue, others believe that technology itself should provide the solution. In this essay, I will discuss both perspectives and present my own opinion on the matter.

Those who support the idea of adopting a simple lifestyle argue that reducing our reliance on modern technology can help alleviate the strain on the environment. They believe that by consuming less and living more sustainably, we can minimize our carbon footprint and protect the planet for future generations. This approach often involves practices such as minimalism, zero-waste living, and sustainable farming, all of which prioritize environmental conservation.

On the other hand, proponents of technological solutions argue that advancements in technology can help address environmental challenges. They believe that innovations in renewable energy, waste management, and sustainable agriculture can effectively combat the negative impact of modern technology on the environment. For instance, the development of electric vehicles, solar power, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are seen as promising solutions to reduce carbon emissions and preserve natural resources.

In my opinion, both perspectives have merit, and a combination of the two approaches may be the most effective way to tackle environmental issues caused by modern technology. While adopting a simpler lifestyle can certainly reduce individual environmental impact, technology also has the potential to offer sustainable solutions on a larger scale. By embracing eco-friendly technologies and making conscious choices in our daily lives, we can work towards a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, the impact of modern technology on the environment is a pressing issue that requires a multifaceted approach. While some advocate for a simpler lifestyle as a solution, others believe that technology itself can provide the answers. Ultimately, a balanced approach that incorporates the best of both perspectives is crucial in addressing environmental challenges in the modern age.

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Impact of Technology on Communication Essay

Introduction, advancement of technology in communication, media technology and online communication, the impacts of mobile phone on communication, reference list.

The realm of technology is ever-changing. New advances in applied science have forever transformed the way people interact. Exploring the impact of technology on communication and debating whether people connect with others differently seems to be the topic of the day.

Technology has allowed people to keep in touch no matter the distance. One is able to communicate 24 hours around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days on an interpersonal level.

What are the real impacts of technology on communication? How do electronics mediate and change the ways in which humans interact? How has the emergence of the Internet, mobile phones, and social networks affected society and businesses?

In order to reveal the importance of technology in communication, the essay tries to find answers to these questions. It explores how everything has changed over the years and discusses the connection between technology and communication.

To begin this examination and find answers to these questions, we begin by defining media and communication and outlining the stages of technological advancement from old age to the present day in the field of communication. The paper will highlight the use of the Internet, newspapers, radio, and other media, but it mostly dwells on the use of mobile telephony.

Communication is “the imparting or exchange of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium” (Daniel & Rod, 2011). On the other hand, media is defined as “the main means of mass communication (television, radio, and newspapers) regarded collectively.”

Technology has changed everything in the modern society. The way we communicate has been revolutionized by the advancement of new innovations in the telecommunication sector. Connecting with other people with ease is more feasible in today’s world, and this is due to speed.

Several centuries ago, books and newspapers reigned as the only choice of communication. Then later, innovators brought the radio and television before innovation was taken a notch higher with the coming of the personal computer (Johnson, 1997, p.3).

With every new innovation, the reliance on books and newspapers as the mass medium of communication continued to reduce. With time, human culture has come to understand the power and the mechanisms involved in technology and invention. In today’s world, information has permeated the cycles of change and development.

The world today, past and present, can be studied at ease with the growing information technology. Technology has advanced with sheer velocity allowing different media to shape our thinking and habits. The people who were born during the television era thought that it was the climax of innovation, but they suddenly found themselves acclimating to a new medium, the World Wide Web.

Every time a new medium rolls out, the perceptions towards the previous media you were used to change (Johnson, 1997 p5). Technology proved to be powerful in the sense that no human being can predict what will change and what won’t with certainty.

The irony of it all is the fact that the influence of technology extends beyond generations to come. It is with no doubt that technology has changed the lives of human beings; information and entertainment are being received in a more convenient way.

The innovation of having a conversation using a device called the telephone changed everything in communication. This became magical, and one couldn’t believe such innovation would exist (Tofts, 1997, p.40).

With the emergence of new media technologies, consumers have been empowered to ‘filter’ the information they want to receive. This allows them to have a choice of which news to watch or what information to listen to (Palmer, 2003, p.161).

Media consumption has been made an engaging experience with marketers studying the preferences of the consumers in order to reflect broader social changes in society. In today’s world, the computer is seen as a multi-purpose machine with work and leisure functions, therefore, creating more value.

The rise of the Internet has also made it possible to have virtual offices where the user can work from home or any convenient location. The flow of information from different media has greatly changed the social structures of society at different levels (Barry, 1999).

Digital media has enabled news and event to be channeled in real-time. The combination of the Internet and commerce has given birth to e-commerce sites providing huge potential for marketers to reach out to virtual communities.

In the world today, there are numerous media screens within our surroundings. This ranges from the television sets in our houses, computer monitors at the office, mobile phones and MP3 players in our pockets and handbag.

Even when shopping or waiting to board a plane, you’re most probably staring at screens with entertainment media (Soukup, 2008, p.5). Heavy marketing has been adopted by producers of mobile technologies targeting consumers who possess mobile phones with picture and video capacity (Goggin, 2006, p.170).

Media texts producers have termed mobile media as a “third screen,” a device that consumers carry around with much ease. Unlike television screens, broader communication networks have been integrated into personal computers and mobile phones (Goggin, 2006, p.9).

Train, buses, and airplanes have been dominated by mobile screens providing passengers with entertainment as well as other media content, especially advertisements (Caron & Carona, 2007, p.17). With a lot of commercial media content, the preferences of people change in their everyday lives.

The world of popular media has become chaotic, with hundreds of television channels to choose from, thousands of songs ready for download, and not forgetting millions of web pages to surf.

The emergence of social media like Facebook and Twitter has enabled people to manage interactions and relationships with many friends. Technologies have impacted interpersonal communication enabling people to interact more often than before.

In addition to reducing the distance between people, online communication with tools like Facebook and Twitter enables people to keep track of their contacts with friends and are more aware of the last time they interacted with them. Online communication now incorporates more than one mode of contact, including text, voice, and body language.

A mobile phone is a device that has always been seen as connecting people who are far apart, thus overcoming the geographical distance between them. The number of mobile phone users has continued to increase substantially. The mobile phone has been integrated as part of people’s lives in the sense that it’s available and easy to use, keeping us connected to our families, friends, and business people (Ling, 2004, p.21-24).

The how and when the way we use our mobile phones impacts our communication not only with those we’re communicating with but also with the people within our proximity. At this point, it is paramount to note the changes that have taken place and that have allowed the adoption of mobile phones. The tremendous proliferation of this device has drastically changed the traditional communication model.

Who are the users of mobile phones, and for what purposes do they use them? Has there been any change in the way mobile phone facilitates communication? How has the face to face interaction been affected by mobile calls? Has mobile communication enhanced relationships?

These are some of the questions that arise when we try to fathom the way communication has affected our personal and professional lives. There are sentiments that mobile phones have reduced humans to emotionless beings.

There is no doubt that the revolution brought about the use of mobile phones in the way we communicate. There have been different perceptions among individuals and social levels in society in regard to mobile usage.

When we had fixed telephone lines that were put in a booth, telephones were seen as business tools only and were placed in a fixed, quiet environment. There was restriction when it came to teenagers using these phones (Agar, 2003). The ‘birth’ of mobile phones brought changes, and phone calls became a habit to many irrespective of age or location.

Today, people can use mobile phones wherever they are in private or in public. People have been addicted to their mobile phones more than any other gadget known to man, with the device remaining on throughout. Its portability enables people to carry it wherever they go (Castells, 1996).

A personal virtual network has been created whereby users can be available at all times to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. The geographical barrier has been destroyed, making people feel close to one another, and the face to face communication has been rendered rather less important with this mediated communication (Richard, 2004, p.22).

Meetings and briefings have become obsolete, with communication being mediated by a computer or a phone. Mobile SMS (short messaging service) service and the Internet has become the preferable communication channels for most teenagers and young people all over the world (Plant, 2000, p.23).

There are places where mobile phones have become taboo devices, places like churches and crucial corporate meetings. At such places, the mobile ring is seen as a nuisance. In other scenarios, it is seen as a destructive device by acting as a third party and especially for dating couples who want to have a private conversation.

Any phone ring is seen as an ‘intruder,’ and this harms the relationship between the partners (Plant, 2000, p.29). In his research, Plant observes that there are those people who use mobile as ’a means of managing privacy where calls are carefully selected’. He categorizes this group of people as ‘hedgehogs.’

The other category is those people who use mobile phones as the key central part of their life. They become so attached to the device and cannot do without it. Plant referred to this group as ‘fox.’ They are regular users who need to feel connected with their families and friend. Their life will be dreadful if they lack the device (2000, p.32).

Telephones have promoted the use of text messaging and modernization since it’s allowing people to communicate more both verbally and by texting in a more convenient and efficient way. SMS has made communication to be more immediate, and users can customize the message at ease with the various applications installed on their mobiles (Richard, 2004, p. 100).

The advanced phones have email support as well as multimedia messages making chatting become a lifestyle for many who conduct business and those initiating intimate communication. It has emerged that SMS has made people become more united.

Users have developed abbreviated messages, which are now universally accepted as an appropriate language. The initial purpose of the phone to make calls has even lost taste with many people, especially the young generation.

According to Reid &Reid, more than 85% of teenagers prefer texting to talking on their mobile usage (Reid & Reid, 2004, p.1). There is ease of communication when it comes to texting in the sense that some formalities are eliminated, making communication more personal.

Texting has helped introverts who may lack the skills to have phone conversations allowing them to express their true self to other people leading to greater understanding and stronger relationships (Reid & Reid, 2004, p.8).

The use of mobile technology has affected the personalities of people to a great extent. Today, more people are hiding their feelings and whereabouts behind mobile phones, and this has raised suspicions among families, friends, and couples.

People go through text messages of others just to find out more about the individual who might even have no clue about what is happening. Contrary to this, most people believe that mobile is so crucial in enhancing the relationship between people no matter the distance and that it bonds us together more than it separates us (Plant, 2000, p.58).

The usage of mobile phones by children and teenagers has changed the way parents bring up their kids. Parenting has really changed as parents try to increase their surveillance and monitor their children’s mobile usage.

Their concern is to know who communicates with their kind and the kind of conversations they normally have. They are worried about the kind of social network the children create in their contact lists.

With the emergence of virtual communities, the influence of mobile phones has spilled over and affects parenting in general. Nonetheless, the primary purpose of mobile phones to facilitate communication has not changed.

There is no doubt that technology has changed the way humans communicate. Great impacts can be seen in the way communication has changed the social structures of our society at all levels. Even in years to come, technology remains the driving force of the way people interact.

The advancement of technology ensures that communication is quicker and that more people remain connected. There has been an evolution in interpersonal skills with the advancement of technology, and users should always be keen on adapting to new ways of communication.

Technology has continually brought new methods of communication leading to the expansion of mediated communication. The reality of having one message shared across a huge audience (mass communication) is now with us. A situation where neither time nor geography can limit the accessibility of information.

We have seen the merging together of newspapers and books with computer technology so that the frequency and ease of reporting information and advertisements can be increased. The exposure of both individuals and society to mediated communication has therefore affected our daily lives, particularly in our culture and the way we communicate.

Agar, J., 2003. Constant Touch: A Global History of the Mobile Phone . Cambridge: Icon Books.

Barry, W., 1999. Networks in the Global Village . Boulder Colo: Westview Press.

Caron, A, & Caronia, L., 2007. Moving cultures: mobile communication in everyday life. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Castells, M., 1996. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume 1. The Rise of the Network Society . Oxford: Blackwell.

Daniel, C., & Rod, M., 2011.The Dictionary of Media and Communications . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goggin, G., 2006. Cell phone culture mobile technology in everyday life. New York: Routledge.

Palmer, D., 2003. The Paradox of User Control’. 5 th Annual Digital Arts and Culture Conference (Proceedings), pp.160-164.

Plant, S., 2000. On the Mobile: the effects of mobile telephones on social and individual life . Web.

Postman, N., 1992. Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology . New York: Vintage Books.

Reid, D. J. & Reid F. J. M., 2004. Insights into the Social and Psychological Effects of SMS Text Messaging . Web.

Richard, L., 2004. The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society . San Francisco Morgan: Kaufmann.

Soukup, C., 2008. ‘Magic Screens: Everyday Life in an Era of Ubiquitous and Mobile Media Screens’, presented at 94 th annual Convention . San Diego .

Stephen, J., 1997. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate . San Francisco: Basic Books.

Tofts, D., 1997. ‘ The technology within’ in memory trade: A Prehistory of Cyberculture, North Ryde: 21C Books.

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